Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Killing Brings us Back to the Cold NorthWest

It's not too late to try AMC's latest masterpiece series, The Killing (Sunday nights at 10pm). Only three one hour episodes have aired so far, and you can stream them all on AMC's website or go to On Demand to catch up. Not since Laura Palmer was wrapped in plastic in David Lynch's now decades old Twin Peaks, have we loved a murder mystery set in the great, wet, Pacific Northwest so much. Although The Killing lacks Twin Peak's quirky charm and off beat humor (no dwarfs, log ladies, far), it makes up for it with a relentless realism that is seldom found on scripted television. Come to think of it, The Killing feels more real than most reality TV.

The series kicks off with the brutal death of a local teenage girl. We are introduced to Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), a Seattle
detective who gets pulled into the case right before she had plans to move to California to get married. She brings a quiet authority and sorrow to her job. We don't know much about Detective Linden yet, (except that she chews gum delicately and incessantly) but something tells me her past was not a bowl of cherries. She's paired odd couple fashion with Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), a former narcotics detective who looks and sounds like he just escaped from an Eminem video. Billy Campbell brings a pinch of celebrity B-List to the series, playing Darren Richmond, a city council do-gooder running for mayor of Seattle. He's swept up in the crime scandal when the murdered girl is found drowned in the trunk of one of his campaign vehicles.

The Killing is not a fast paced action series, but there is something enormously compelling about its rain soaked realism. Based on a successful Dutch television series, it's actually filmed in Vancouver, but with multiple Space Needle shots spliced in to make us feel like it's Seattle . And that's enough to set up a creepy murder vibe for me. No offense to Microsoft workers, coffee buffs or Nirvana fans, but I've always thought that Seattle is the kind of place where it seems quite likely that something absolutely terrible is about to happen. Must be the weather thing. My apologies to all the perfectly reasonable people who live there and seem quite fond of it, including my nephew and his family.

Here's a little taste of The Killing. It's official. AMC is the "go-to" channel for quality television. Better watch your back HBO!


Lisa said...

Great spotlight on a series that I haven't watched yet but have been intrigued to catch. It's been getting nice press on other sites, too, so this is a must!

I always thought that I'd like living in a place like Seattle, but after having long bouts of overcast while in Nova Scotia over the years, I decided that it would probably be too much of a good thing. But, boy, what a mystique has grown up around the city, and certainly it's a perfect setting!

Great heads-up!

Jane said...

What The Killing could really use is a haunting score like the unforgettable Twin Peaks music by Angelo Badalamenti. It set the tone so perfectly. A Seattle setting begs for music to make you want to fling yourself off Mt. Rainier!

Lisa said...

Please, yes, a mesmerizing score is in order!

Also, I believe episodes of "The Killing" are also available on AMC's website, which is good. Get them out there for sampling!