While most current television viewers will probably have at least heard of AMC’s The Killing (which has been cancelled twice only to be renewed twice and will have a final, shortened season on Netflix), few Americans will have encountered Forbrydelsen, the Danish series The Killing is based on.
Anyone who stopped watching The Killing after the first two seasons is missing out on seeing the great ideas behind the show being executed well. In a recent podcast discussion about the new FX series The Bridge, Dan Fienberg rightfully pointed out that there was never anything wrong with the structure of The Killing or the choice to not solve the Larsen case at the end of the first season – it’s just that the story that was being told wasn’t good enough. In season three, the story of The Killing is hitting all the right marks as its three parallel stories are all playing off each other well.
AMC’s current original lineup is incredibly diverse in tone. There’s the action-first approach of The Walking Dead and the slow, methodical movement of shows like Mad Men and The Killing (Hell on Wheels and Breaking Bad are somewhere between those two extremes, a little closer to The Walking Dead’s pace). When pace is purposeful and established, it’s hard to criticize it on any grounds other than personal taste. So, when people talk about The Killing being boring, I’m inclined to say they’re reacting based off their personal expectations as TV viewers and are not basing that criticism on anything substantial that has to do with the quality of the show itself. And to reiterate: The Killing is a quality show – one that doesn’t have aspirations higher than what it achieves.