‘The Killing’ should be renewed for a fourth season

Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman in "The Killing" -- Photo courtesy of AMC
Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman in “The Killing” — Photo courtesy of AMC

AMC’s The Killing is one of the strangest shows to ever hit the airwaves. Fans have embraced the show and loathed the show. For some (perhaps many), the quest to find the killer of Rosie Larsen in seasons one and two took too long and included too many red herrings. Although there is truth behind that criticism, the first two seasons proved to be engaging television, especially compared to the humdrum procedurals that populate basic cable.

Detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) are remarkably deep characters, and we have come to know their strengths and weaknesses like no other duo in recent American television history. Linden is an astute detective who gets too close to her cases and cannot find time for her son (Liam James, not a central figure in season three). Holder is a man of the street, not too far removed from the informants and suspects he talks to on a daily basis. He’s also a drug addict in recovery, constantly battling his reality, perhaps putting up a humor-tinged front as a defense mechanism.

The Killing is a quiet show. There are many scenes when Holder and Linden do actual police work, meaning they sit in cars, drink coffee and talk about the case and their personal lives. The conversations, many of them written by showrunner Veena Sud, feel organic and built around themes of loss, anguish, pent-up anger. Every character on this AMC series is bruised, many times internally and externally.

Season three of the show has perhaps eclipsed the near-perfection of the first two seasons. We move away from political corruption in the mayoral race and Rosie Larsen’s family and into the streets of homeless teenagers. Without spoiling the findings of the investigation (a nod to those still catching up on DVR), Holder and Linden travel the alleyways of Seattle looking for a killer preying on the less fortunate souls of the street. Linden, always teeter-tottering between skepticism and obsession, sees something deeper in the evidence. She thinks the present-day crimes tie back to a murder allegedly committed by Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard). Linden helped put the man behind bars, and now he awaits his public execution. But if the killer is still on the streets, could Seward be innocent?

There’s so much to appreciate in season three of The Killing. Although it’s unfortunate to not have Billy Campbell, Michelle Forbes or Brent Sexton around from the first two seasons, we have a few new supporting characters that more than fill the void. Amy Seimetz plays Danette Lutz, the mother of a missing girl. Hugh Dillon means business as Francis Becker, a prison guard watching Seward’s final days. Aaron Douglas (from Battlestar Galactica) is the kinder guard, a person with compassion for the circumstances of death row. Bex Taylor-Klaus offers an Emmy-worthy performances as Bullet, a teenager who offers advice and confidential information to Holder. Elias Koteas is the new man in charge of homicide and also an old flame of Linden’s.

With the final two episodes set to air Sunday, Aug. 4, the waiting game for the show’s fate begins. Much like last year’s crazy resurrection, fans are waiting to hear whether AMC will bring back the heralded series. If season three’s storytelling success is any indication, there’s plenty left in the tank for Holder and Linden. Now that we’ve seen them investigating two cases, it’s obvious they are characters with room to evolve. Let’s be honest: We love investigating them as they investigate Seattle. Plus, there are some characters from the first two seasons that could always return to the spotlight. Maybe season four can enter the political arena again? Perhaps there’s a case that will take the detectives outside of Seattle? Maybe into Canada? Are there any cold cases worth investigating?

The Killing should not be killed just yet.

By John Soltes / Publisher / John@HollywoodSoapbox.com

John Soltes

John Soltes is an award-winning journalist. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Earth Island Journal, The Hollywood Reporter, New Jersey Monthly and at Time.com, among other publications. E-mail him at john@hollywoodsoapbox.com

5 thoughts on “‘The Killing’ should be renewed for a fourth season

  • August 3, 2013 at 10:55 am

    Thank you for such a great article about the show that we love The Killing. Our fan group @TheKillingonAMc has been pushing all season for recognition of this great show. It has been such an intense season and we have enjoyed watching the character dynamics.

  • August 3, 2013 at 10:44 pm

    I’m not sure what I will do if they don’t renew it. I love the characters so much. Even if the 4th season were about the best way to eat doughnuts it would still be the best thing on TV. I really really hope it’s coming back. And I still won’t be happy about the wait.

  • August 5, 2013 at 1:26 am

    There must be a forth season. I have to know what happens to sarah and how wrapping up this case works out. Was there enough evidence to prove that the head homicide detective was actually a serial killer? What about the uproar it would cause in the media?

  • August 5, 2013 at 5:42 am

    The third season has been exceptionaly good so far (I have yet to see last night’s finale) and The Killing is one of the best drama series on TV right now (second only to Sundance’s Rectify). I sincerely hope it gets renewed, as Linden and Holder are simply brilliant.
    We need more quiet, thoughtful, slow-paced series like that.

  • August 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Taylor-Klaus’ performance really is Emmy-caliber, and she deserves at least a nod so she can get greater exposure. She demands attention.

    With almost no credits to her name, her portrayal of Bullet has definitely been the out-of-nowhere performance of the year.


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