There’s something to be said for a show that is unapologetic about itself. No matter how loud its fans on the interwebs scream and cry about the show’s flaws, the creators have the intestinal fortitude to just plug away and do the show they want to do. That’s what we saw during last night’s second-season premiere of “The Killing” on AMC. And that makes us worried about what we’re going to see this season.
Despite all the criticism leveled at executive producer Veena Sud last season for creating a plodding procedural without much depth of character, and then extending the Rosie Larson murder mystery at the end of a head-scratching finale — season two isn’t looking all that much different than season one.
We pretty much pick up where we left off: Seattle PD detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) has gotten off the plane after finding out the incriminating photo that linked Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) to Rosie’s murder was likely faked. Richmond is lying in a hospital bed after hours of surgery, paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by creepy Larson family friend Belko Royce (Brendan Sexton III).
Linden’s former partner, Det. Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) is enjoying the spoils of “breaking” the case, but then realizes that the info he got from his source/sponsor might not be 100% kosher. The investigation continues to creep along, with the 2-hour premiere representing the next two days of the life of the case. It still seems to rain every single day in Seattle.
If you’re one of those viewers that are still intrigued by the show despite all of its drawbacks, the fact that it hasn’t changed much will be a welcome sight. But, for the fans who feel they were completely had by Sud and her writers, there are still some shards of character development to hold onto. For instance, Linden tells her pouting son Jack (Liam James) that they’re staying for good; with no strawman of a Napa Valley finance to worry about anymore, we can see Linden launch herself into this case with full force.
We also find out more about why Gwen (Kristin Lehman) told Linden that Richmond was soaked the night of Rosie’s murder — he tried to jump of a Tacoma-area bridge near where he and his late wife went on their honeymoon. In addition, we see pangs of regret from Holder, the motivations of Richmond’s staffers Gwen and Jamie (Eric Ladin), and some deep-seated anger from Rosie’s father Stan (Brent Sexton) that goes beyond just what’s gone on during the last two weeks, especially after Belko blew his brains out in one of the premiere’s tensest scenes.
So if you were disappointed by how flat the characters were in season one, the premiere gave you some hope that as the mystery extends for another two weeks in “Killing” time — Sud has said that we won’t find out who killed Rosie until the end of season 2 — we’ll find out more about the primary players.
But what gives you some pause is that there’s now a possible wide-reaching conspiracy grafted onto the Larson murder mystery, with everyone from Lt. Oakes (Garry Chalk) — who’s abruptly replaced by a new lieutenant (Mark Moses) after charges against Richmond are dismissed — to Mayor Adams (Tom Butler) potentially involved. This could make the show more twisty, with even more red herrings thrown at us than what we got in season 1, and make the show into the slowest, most annoying procedural ever.
At this point, though, AMC and Sud have made sure that all expectations of where the story is going have been greatly lowered. Eventually, finding out who killed Rosie Larson might become a bit of an afterthought, with viewers judging the show purely as viewers along for the ride rather than a mob looking for answers that never come. Then again, those lowered expectations might make people check out once they see that the show isn’t going anywhere. After the first two hours, we’re just not sure which of the two is going to happen.