Television that’s slower than continental drift

The Killing starts off incredibly well. A well scripted murder mystery with conspiracies and twists but it ultimately falls flat because it takes too long for the audience to get their pay off by watching – whodunnit, why and so on. The premise is simple. A young girl is found murdered in Seattle and the initial links point to involvement by a mayoral election candidate who’s like the Ned Stark of politics – all good looks and honour, but lacking that certain something to win.

The police are obviously interested in solving the case and they set off amidst their own personal dramas to find the killer and understand the circumstances of the murder. However, the premise gets turned on its head by the second or third episode in when it’s clear the show isn’t just about the mystery of who killed Rosie Larsen, but also about how her murder affects her family, her friends and the general community. For example, this murder happens in the middle of the election campaign for a new mayor of Seattle and one of the main issues at the time is crime and punishment.

While The Killing is an excellent and compelling drama series about the effects of a crime, it’s hardly what I would call a good crime drama. The fact is that each episode has more about the Seattle detectives’ personal lives than anything to do with solving the case. This is probably why it takes a full 26 episodes (which only cover two weeks!) to actually find out who killed Rosie in the first place.

Finally, the setting to this glacial show is Seattle, which is quite possible one of the prettiest cities in America, but the show depicts it as constantly raining. Any scene with characters outside a building means it’s raining. It’s raining when the detectives are staking out a lead. It’s also a show that seems to be filmed in perpetual twilight or really bad lighting. Granted, it is a dark story about murder and conspiracy, but could there at least be some sunshine around? It’s not a fantastic ad for Seattle as a tourist destination.

Should you watch The Killing? Well, if you like dramas and soap operas, sure. The characters are complex and the tangled web of secrets the police investigation exposes about each and every one involved rivals the complexity of rocket surgery. However, if you are in it for the mystery of the murder, well it’s a long slog. You have to wait 26 episodes and two seasons to have the crime solved. Are you patient enough?


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