July 27, 2012

THE SKED: “The Killing” Is Mortally Wounded

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Not many people will mourn THE KILLING.  AMC’s serialized mystery saga began with a great head of steam, and seemed poised to become the network’s next big show, but it became increasingly frustrating to watch.  Its signature blunder was not solving the Rosie Larsen murder after its initial 13 hours, as it seemed to have promised at the start (although showruner Veena Sud swore that had never been the plan), breeding much viewer and online hostility.  Even more problematic over the long term, though, were the relentlessly draggy pace, clumsy plot contrivances, endless red herrings, and much less genuine depth than 26 hours devoted to a single case should have provided.  Ratings dipped in Season 2, even for the final revelation of who Rosie’s killer was (yet another unsatisfying plot twist), and although AMC–fittingly–delayed its cancellation decision, today the announcement was finally made.

Technically, the show isn’t quite dead yet, as the production company, Fox TV Studios, is going to shop it to other platforms, and in this era of new distributors like Netflix and DirecTV who are hungry for pre-sold original titles, it’s barely possible the series could find a new (lower budget, limited run) home.  As these things go, however, that seems unlikely, as unlike Friday Night Lights or even Damages, there’s little if any hard core of enthusiastic fans who would follow The Killing to a more obscure location.

Sud’s reputation suffered as The Killing went on and on without improvement, but the show was a boon for its cast:  stars Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman, previously little known, have moved on to bigger if not better things, with Enos soon to be seen in the Brad Pitt zombie vehicle World War Z and Atom Egoyan’s The Devil’s Knot, while Kinnaman will be the 21st century incarnation of Robocop.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."