You Are Killing Me Here: The Killing

A while back "The Killing" caught my eye on Netflix. It's a moody four-season crime drama that begins with the mysterious murder of a teenage girl named Rosie and follows two detectives as they attempt to track down Rosie's killer and solve the case. Interestingly enough (to me) the story is set in Seattle, though most of the filming happened in Vancouver BC.

"The Killing" has excellent production values, great actors, and a knack for feeding us revelations at just the right interval and setting up solid cliffhangers to virtually guarantee "just one more episode".

However, there are also two very frustrating things about the show.

First it's essentially grief porn. Meaning it spends at least half of its time - episode after episode - watching Rosie's family and friends stewing in their grief and anguish at her death. It's a bit much.

Second - and worse in my book - the show is so chock-full of red herrings and dead ends that it's essentially one long shaggy dog joke where the viewer assumes that the hours of TV that they're watching are somehow relevant to the overall story... but they're not.

Slight spoilers follow:

After chipping away at the show for a week or two I binge-watched the last four episodes of Season 1, ready to find out who Rosie's killer was and urged on by the cliffhangers at the end of each episode. Sure, I was a bit disappointed when - two or three episodes from the end - they threw out all the previously gathered clues as being unimportant, but I was still pumped to see who did it. The detectives made an arrest, the case looked air tight, and then riiiiight at the end of the episode they're like "j/k, tune in next season to find out who REALLY did it." It was so frustrating! That was S1E13. I then scrolled to the end of the Season 2 episode list and damned if it wasn't until 13 EPISODES LATER that it said "Rosie's killer is revealed." OMG, all that work for nothing!

At that point I skimmed through the plot points of Season 2 online, unwilling to be teased for a whole 'nother season.

My grade: D. In terms of general craftsmanship I'd give the show high marks, but in terms of overall satisfaction it's really not worth the time.