AMC’s The Killing, by all rights an exceptional crime drama, was killed in season two. However, talks with studio execs and creative teams about how the show could continue after the Rosie Larsen murder is solved by Seattle PD homicide detectives Stephen Holder, played by Joel Kinnaman, and Sarah Linden, played by Mirielle Enos quickly led execs to believe the show still had life. After watching the season two finale, I had my doubts that it could happen. Everything about the Rosie Larsen murder was tied up. The bad guys were (mostly) caught and the family is left with a sliver of closure and the hope of a new start away from the awful memory of Rosie’s death. Linden and Holder part ways. I didn’t like that. I was not ready for the show to end, but with the murder solved, where could it possibly go?
With a deal from Netflix, Fox Television Studios was able to broaden the market for the show and have now included in their cast veteran actor Peter Sarsgard, who plays death row inmate Ray Seward, thirty days out from execution.
Seward’s case was the one that defined Sarah Linden’s character and career, making her an intense powder keg of emotional repression. She is haunted by details surrounding the case. Raised as a foster kid herself in the Seattle system, she watched this man’s son, who spent five days locked in a room with his brutally murdered mother, sent into the same system that informed her formative years. It was this case that ultimately landed her in a psychiatric unit.
Fifteen months after the solving of the Rosie Larsen case, Stephen Holder is looking to make Sergeant and has a new girlfriend. He’s found his place on the force after falling down as a Narc. In his role as a homicide detective he has landed on his feet, though he had to cash in his clean chips a couple of times during the first two seasons after coming face to face with his inner demons.
Holder has a new partner and they are covering a case where a series of bodies turned up, working girls with their throats cut. When the M.O. seems to coincide with Linden’s old case, he comes to his partner for help. Linden has backed out of the cop’s world. She works as a ferry patrol, lives on Vashon island and enjoys a quiet life. Unlike Holder’s career track, she is comfortable putting the past behind her. Until the ghosts come calling, as ghosts have a tendency to do. Linden becomes convinced that Seward is innocent and that the murder he is accused of is part of a larger pattern that coincides with Holder’s investigation. Knowing Linden’s character, it could be a subconscious attempt to implode her personal life, as she is wont to do. Regardless, she starts working with Holder again.
The chemistry that drove the relationship between Linden and Holder was one of opposites and similarities that are innate in both characters. They are so similar in background and experiences but deal with their troubles in such different ways. There are things that set them both off and the other, a necessary foil to hot tempers, is there to take them down from the edge. Holder is abrasive and clumsy. He says things before he thinks but means well. He over-shares and is giving of himself. Linden is downright surly in her self-possession. She doesn’t like “share time”. She is contained to the point of obsession and Holder toes the line of her eccentricities and sometimes oversteps it. Linden doesn’t like that. Still, you get that these two characters care about each other, however guarded that care may be.
A lot of fans of the show were upset by the two season run of the case of Rosie Larsen. They complained of feeling cheated out of a tidy conclusion in the first season. I watched it streaming on Netflix and, bolstered by the fantastic performances of the cast, was sucked into the drama of politics and murder in the Pacific northwest. I’m excited to see the characters revived and hope against hope for strength in the writing. Early reviews are out and they aren’t pretty but I reserve the right to think for myself, thanks. Let’s see what you got for us, AMC.