Wednesday, April 20, 2011

AMC's THE KILLING Redefines Cop Show Genre

I recently screened the first two episodes of AMC's new original series, THE KILLING.  Basically, this series is originally Danish (does that make AMC's version an "original series?") but regardless, the show has been expertly adapted for American television's favorite genre: the cop show.

While at first it seems to fit the cop show procedural formula (two cop partners of opposite style find a body and proceed to follow the clues), it sets it's self apart.  Yes, the two leads Mireille Enos playing Sarah Linden and Joel Kinnaman playing Stephen Holder are cop partners, and yes they are opposites.  Linden is a by-the-book sorta cop and Holder is more unconventional (read: controversial).  At one point, Holder offers pot to some teens to get them to talk (we find out later it's not really pot, but still...).  And while this is a convention (read: cliche) common to all cop TV series, this show does it differently.  The two play off one another casually, with minor power struggles, it's not over-bearing or in your face.  In fact, it's pretty realistic.

This whole let's-make-TV-realistic thing continues when we see the family of the young girl who has been recently murdered.  The scenes where the grief takes over them and we see some truly raw emotion is difficult to watch, it's that good.

The other way the show manages to redefine the cop show is the fact that for the thirteen episodes of the series, they will only follow this one murder and each episode is one day after the death.  So this makes the series feel more like novel or a detective story then a cop TV procedural. This is serialized drama (where the story continues every episode and doesn't wrap up at the end of one episode, like say House or Law & Order) which makes this cop show completely different to any other cop show on TV.

I saw the first two episodes and then later found that AMC is allowing the first four episodes to be viewed online for free until May.  When I heard this I immediately watched them - and was hooked.

And while this show is reminiscent of TWIN PEAKS, the network has chosen to embrace this comparison to arguably the greatest show that never found a large fanbase.  So, AMC has chosen to lean-into the comparison by spinning-off TWIN PEAKS's tagline for THE KILLING.  And so that is how the very blunt but very enthralling tagline emerged: WHO KILLED ROSIE LARSEN?

Watch a trailer of THE KILLING here:
Then, when you're hooked, watch the first few episodes (UNTIL MAY!) here:

1 comment:

  1. I welcome a follow-up review to your exciting review of THE KILLING, which after its strong opening hours devolved into the most maddening, frustrating and unintelligent seasons high end cable has ever seen. AMC has significantly watered down their brand value with The Killing. Though it's admirable that AMC's President has valiantly reigned in showrunner Veena Sud's asinine post-finale comments in damage control, myself and viewers alike are done with THE KILLING. My household has just finished the first season of the Danish original, however, and it's fantastic! Would welcome your thoughts on this too. Cheers