AMC’s “The Killing”: Season 1 Recap, Twin Peaks, & Predictions for Next Season

Let’s face it. New TV shows usually suck, and the rare, good ones end up being taken off the air prematurely. Naturally I was just as skeptical about AMC’s new series “The Killing,” especially as it seemed like a clear “Twin Peaks” rip-off, but I was pleasantly surprised…sort of.

“The Killing” features both fresh and familiar faces, including: Mireille Enos (“Big Love”), Brendan Sexton III (“Empire Records”), Joel Kinnaman (“Easy Money”), Michelle Forbes (“24”), Kristin Lehman (“Killer Instinct”), Brent Sexton (“Life”), Bill Campbell (“Once and Again”), Eric Laden (“Generation Kill”) and Jamie Anne Allman (“The Shield”).

As you may already know, this show is based on the Danish version which was broadcasted in the UK under the same name, so technically it can’t be considered a copy of “Twin Peaks.” For one, anyone who’s watched the latter show knows that David Lynch’s vision was a bit more surreal, resembling more of a bizarre soap opera than a straight-laced crime drama. Still, if you happen to have watched both shows you can see the similarities, beyond the mystery of a dead girl in the northwest.

SPOILERS!

So far in “The Killing,” some of the first suspects are kids that go to school with Rosie and were once involved in her life; they were taken in when detectives found a video recovered of Rosie (as was a video of Laura in “Twin Peaks”). In addition, recently Rosie has been associated with a casino/fetish website that is some ways across the water and has protective owners, just as Laura was part of a similar fetish club apart from the main area of Twin Peaks. As of now, we won’t know if “The Killing” will continue with the similarities (unless you’ve seen the Danish version). Still, this is different from “Twin Peaks” in that this show is based in reality and doesn’t contain any of the symbolism or dream-like elements found in Lynch’s creation.

Here’s a brief recap of what’s happened so far in season one of “The Killing”:

Detective Linden is on her last day of work when Rosie Larsen goes missing. Her body is discovered in the trunk of a car in a lake by the woods. The car belongs to councilman Richmond’s campaign; Richmond has an alibi for the night of murder.

Detectives question students in Rosie’s life. Mitch, Rosie’s mother, is asked by her sister Terry why she didn’t try to reach Rosie the entire weekend, as Mitch was supposedly a very strict parent. Detectives Linden and Holder discover a place called The Cage in the school basement, where it’s discovered a sex tape was made that showed two boys having sex with what appears to be Rosie, but ends up being her friend Sterling. Meanwhile, councilman Richmond fights to keep his campaign alive after he’s publicly connected with Rosie’s death, while Rosie’s family struggles to cope, particularly Mitch.

After following Rosie’s footsteps by riding the bus, Holder discovers Rosie was associated with the Seattle All-Stars program, run in part by Rosie’s teacher Bennet, while Linden finds a stash of notes in Rosie’s bedroom from Bennet as well. Bennet claims his relationship with Rosie was strictly professional, his special attention to her being given as she was a remarkably promising student. He gives detectives a video made by Rosie which reflects a somewhat dark, artistic side to her. Meanwhile one of Rosie’s little brothers finds Belko, an employee of Mr. Larsen, in their bedroom snooping around.

Various factors lead detectives to believe Bennet is the number one suspect. After following several leads, specifically an address of a friend of Bennet’s, detectives inadvertently obstruct an FBI terrorist investigation. Under pressure from Mitch, Stan Larsen and Belko take Bennet for a ride and beat him into critical condition, assuming he murdered Rosie and the police aren’t doing anything about it. That same night a piece of evidence is found clearing Bennet as a suspect, and as a result Stan turns himself in to police. Meanwhile Darren Richmond’s campaign is starting to turn around for the better.

Detective Linden discovers a casino across the water that contains the same logo that was on Rosie’s keychain. Detectives discover video footage of a dressed-up Rosie using the casino’s ATM, where she was making unusually large cash deposits. From Rosie’s computer, detectives learn that Rosie was working at an escort service called Beau Soleil. Holder pretends to be a client in order to get information from one of the escort girls who wrote on the company’s message board about a customer named Orpheus, who asked her if she knew what it felt like to drown. Through an anonymous email, Linden sends various threats to Orpheus’s account in hopes to get a response. She goes to visit Richmond at his home and learns that Orpheus read the email but didn’t respond; Linden’s coworker sends the email again, and Linden hears the message being sent to Richmond’s computer; Richmond is Orpheus.

In the season 1 finale, Holder and Linden work to break Richmond’s alibi before they make an arrest. They retrace Richmond’s potential driving routes the night of Rosie’s murder, and discover another piece of evidence in the woods, while Gwen, Richmond’s girlfriend and co-worker, reveals to Linden photos of Richmond meeting and interacting with Rosie, while Gwen also admits to Richmond returning home late that night soaking wet.

Still, detectives don’t have enough to arrest Richmond until Holder brings in photo stills of Richmond in his car from bridge footage. They arrest Richmond at one of his campaign rallies. Linden, thinking the case is finally solved, gets on a plane with her son Jack, presumably to finally meet her fiancé. On the plane, however, she receives a call that the bridge’s cameras were not working that night, hence there’s no way the photo stills of Richmond were real. The episode closes with Holder getting into a car with an unseen person, telling them the photo trick worked, while amid a crowd of onlookers, Belko raises his gun to shoot Richmond as he’s being taken away.

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So, it’s clear that “The Killing” is going to take fans in circles regarding suspects. First Richmond was suspected, cleared and then suspected again. We still don’t know all of Terry and Belko’s past, nor are we given much insight into Sterling, Rosie’s best friend. As a main character in the show, it’s safe to assume Linden will come back in order to solve the case justly, while in the season finale we see that Holder may indeed be corrupt or working with someone on the side.

Of course fans of the show are a bit upset, as AMC gave viewers hints that by the end of the season, the case would be resolved, or at the very least provide a shocking cliffhanger. However, it seems fans were more shocked with the revelation of Richmond as Orpheus than by the season 1 finale. It seems that due to positive reviews, the network is going to stretch the show out for another season, hopefully this time with less filler (towards the end of the season it seemed they killed time by extending “emotional” scenes with characters when clearly emotions about Rosie’s death had been already established- not to mention that episode that focused purely on Jack being missing- a definite time-waster).

Overall, the show works because it is appropriately paced. It attempts to focus on all the characters evenly within each episode, keeping us curious and suspicious of even the seemingly innocent. Still, assuming the network is keeping the show running as long as Rosie’s murder is unsolved, viewers can then assume that either councilman Richmond is innocent, or he is covering for someone.

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