Murder Most Dull: AMC’s “The Killing”


At the end of the eighth episode of The Killing‘s 12-episode first season, the show began its now-standard closing montage. Every show-closing montage is the same, set to thudding, 24-like percussion as we look at each of our characters and get a grasp on where they are within the story. As the montage went on, and the music got louder and thuddier, I realized that NOTHING has changed on this damn show, and I finally reacted in a way this drab and humorless show would not have preferred: I laughed, long and loud and hard, cackling at the montage’s pointlessness. We don’t need to have a show-closing recap, because nothing ever happens on this damn show.


Back in high school, a game came out for the Playstation called Silverload. It was a Western-themed adventure games, and when you made a mistake, the calm but determined voice of the game’s hero would say “Nothing happens.” At one point, I got to a part of the game where, no matter what direction I turned, I got the same message: “Nothing happens. Nothing happens. Nothing happens.”

That cowboy’s voice echoes throughout my brain every time I watch an hour of The Killing. This show is the dullest pile of Who Cares AMC has churned out. It makes Rubicon look like the opening credits to Enter The Void. SOOOOO SLOOOOWWWWW. Nothing happens.

The pilot, while slow, at least set the table and provided the illusion that things might eventually occur. Nope. Slow-ass non-happenings ooze forward each week, intersperse with character “beats” that aren’t even interesting. The set design is constantly rainy and glum, and not one of the characters has ever smiled. Everything is dour, and drab, and oh so serious. This slow-paced solemity is supposed to be heavy drama, but it’s really just an hour of CSI, stretched out to 12 hours but just as generic. The characters are cartoons, but they’re dull, uninteresting cartoons. The main cop glowers a bunch, with the twist being it’s a red-headed female.I hate this lazy kind of producer-think: It’s not generic because the cop has boobies! Derp.

The main cop is So Darn Committed, that she ends up alienating her husband, because she cares so darn much. Her sidekick looks exactly like a strung-out junkie. In an amazing twist, he told her that he had once been in rehab. HOLY CRUMBS! Meanwhile, the boss that dragged her in for One Last Case is now claiming she’s A Loose Cannon Out Of Control! But see, it’s classy television because it’s raining all the time and there aren’t any jokes. Shut Up, Show.

So, we have the Crappy Generic Cop Show aspect. To make things wacky, they also throw in a political subplot that takes up 15 minutes of the show each week and is beyond uninteresting. I guess there’s a major scandal going on because the music gets really loud. Otherwise, I couldn’t tell you why any of that story matters. “Nothing happens. Nothing happens.  Nothing happens.”

The actors aren’t to blame. The cast is talented. For example Some Actor and An Actress Lady do great work as a grieving couple; the problem is that we’ve now watched them grieve for eight episodes, with no change whatsoever. Each day on the show is a new blast of misery for this couple, and then we watch them wail and moan and grieve and moyvin and flavin. It’s so overwrought and dramatic I feel immediately compelled to mock it.

Earlier in the season, the couple is being interviewed at the station, and in a hilarious scene, the doors to a room fling open right when the the couple is walking by it, and there are pictures of their daughter’s brutalized body projected on the wall. (DERP!) Then, to make matters worse (and way more hilarious), Redhead Cop Lady walks back in all shocked, because she had lied to the couple and said that Rosie had not been beaten. Because all cops dedicated to the letter of the law always do that, apparently. The moment is ill-conceived and stupid, but watching Detective Gingergoof awkwardly bumble through an apology while the couple stands there staring at her was a pinnacle of Bad Drama. That scene was so bad it should have been introduced by Leonard Pinth-Garnell.

And then, as if they couldn’t top that, on the last episode, the news for some reason (I barely even listen when this is on anymore) showed the same photos on TV, right when the victim’s mom turned the TV on. So funny, so ridiculous. I can’t wait to see what awful coincidence the couple will have forced upon them by the writing staff next. Maybe the garbage truck will drive past their house, and the truck will hit a bump on the road and their daughter’s bones will land on their doorstep. Maybe the cop will be at the grocery store, eating a jelly donut and staring at blown-up poster size prints of the crime scene when the couple walks around the corner. Maybe the couple can go to a baseball game and their daughter’s battered, caged body will be projected on the Jumbotron. The possibilities are endless.

The Killing. Don’t watch it!


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