The Killing is a series that has not nor will go gently into the good night. On Friday, Netflix ordered a fourth and final season of the drama. Very recently, The Killing was actually canceled by the show’s initial network, AMC, for the second time. The fourth and final season of the series is expected to be a Netflix exclusive, and will be given six episodes to officially wrap up the direction of the show.
I suppose the news shouldn’t be a huge stretch, considering all three of the first seasons of the drama have done well on Netflix. Additionally, initial reports with the third season indicated that Netflix was an interested party in developing the third season after it came back from the dead for the first time. While AMC eventually took up that mantle, The Killing did head to Netflix in the U.S. and Canada just three months after airing on the cable station. Still, I don’t think we should overlook the fact that AMC cancelled the drama, not once but twice, due to poor ratings.
Just a couple of months ago, AMC made the tough decision to drop the drama from the schedule, once more, after Season 3 failed to do better in the ratings than Season 2. Since the show was initially canceled due to low ratings, it makes sense that AMC might need to drop it a second time. The show clearly has an avid fanbase, but it should also be clear at this point that the fanbase isn’t broad enough for cable. Which may be why streaming the series on Netflix might be a better fit for the program.
The press release inconveniently doesn’t mention a lot of details about what Season 4 might look like. The last time that The Killing was canceled, Billy Campbell did not return. This time around, however, it looks like homicide detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) will still be the focus when The Killing earns a third life on Netflix. At least that’s what I’m gleaning from Netlix VP of original content Cindy Holland’s comments about the drama’s return.
“The rich, serialized storytelling in The Killing thrives on Netflix, and we believe that it is only fitting to give Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder a proper send off, We are looking forward to offering fans - both existing and new - a series that we know is perfectly suited for on-demand viewing.”
As noted prior, The Killing’s fourth season will be a shortened one, with only six episodes being produced for the show’s Netflix run. The subscription streaming service is marketing Season 4 as the final season, so presumably, this will be the end of the line for the drama, which follows two investigators pursuing tragic and gruesome cases. Still, I half expect the final season to be a rampant success story for Netflix, leading the service to pursue more original episodes of the series in the future. After all, The Killing has thus far proved to be a show that refuses to die. I’m sure creator Veena Sud still has a few more curveball pitches in her back pocket should anyone show interest in extending the show beyond a fourth season.