The Killing - 101 + 102 - Pilot + The Cage
I enjoyed this more than Camelot or The Borgias although I wouldn't say I was hooked yet.
AMC's The Killing is a police drama aiming to spend its whole season on one crime: the murder of Rosie Larsen. We are in an interesting phase of TV history right now. Cable drama shows are proliferating fast and thanks to the success of shows like Dexter, Mad Men and The Walking Dead more and more dramas are arriving. However they are not all succeeding even with critical acclaim. Terriers, Rubicon and Lights Out all lasted one season before being cancelled. The question is can The Killing grab enough of an audience to survive. These first two episodes are very solid but not spectacular. They have the kind of patient and thorough investigation that you would expect on The Wire or Rubicon. Nothing yet though tells me how the show is going to get me emotionally invested.
I liked the performances from the lead detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder. Their dynamic was good with Linden being very professional and careful, often just staring at a crime scene and thinking. While Holder asked several questions that she didn't want him to ask during their investigation, he soon revealed his usefulness. In "The Cage" he tricks some teenagers into revealing to him where the local teen hangout is but it wasn't that moment that switched me onto him. It was actually in the pilot when he tried to catch Rosie's teacher out by giving him a kind of male, fist-bumping comment about how hot these teenage girls were. It was really clever because he knew that if he could catch him out in a moment where his guard was down then they would have identified an obvious suspect instantly.
The direction was strong at times. The opening scenes were clever as Linden was led to what looked like a horrible crime scene only for it to be revealed as her goodbye party. That neatly established both her job and her current situation (she is moving away to California). The end of the pilot was good too with poor Mr Larsen realising that his daughter was dead and wailing into the night as Linden was forced to keep him away from the crime scene. The show built a nice sense of impending doom and tragedy throughout and the Seattle rain helps that sense of sadness.
Otherwise though it's difficult to tell what the show is going to turn into. I will definitely keep watching and certainly write again if the show remains consistent.