The Killing: The Complete First Season [DVD Review]

Who killed Rosie Larsen? Well, your guess is as good as mine. And while, yes, I know a lot of you are probably saying, “Whoa, spoiler, dude,” let me just say this: It’s better you know that the killer isn’t revealed at the end of the first season. It will save you a lot of needless anger. Besides, you probably knew that already if you’ve read anything about the show, as it’s practically the only thing anybody’s talked about since the season ended, and for good reason. The Killing, which was at times maddeningly slow with its plot, was often only bearable because we were led to believe we would find out who the killer was at the end. And when we didn’t find out, we all felt lied to. People were right to be furious. Some people are still mad.

That said, I may be the only person who says this, but I actually still like The Killing. The question is, though, is this DVD set worth picking up? Well, yes and no. It depends on if you’ve never watched the show before. If you haven’t, then I’ll say yes, even with the knowledge of the killer not being revealed at the end. The acting and mood is still superb, and the story is engrossing for the most part. Mirelle Enos, who plays Detective Sarah Linden, is okay, even though she’s always making a face as if she just stepped in shit, but the main draw here is her partner, Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman -- who, I might add, is the new Robocop). He grows on you piecemeal, and it’s interesting to see him go from unlikeable to likeable to unlikeable again over the course of a season. He really is the break-out star.

But alas, for people who already saw this season, this DVD set really isn’t worth your time. The special features don’t add any hints at what you really want to know, which is, of course, who did kill Rosie Larsen? The only reason I took on this assignment in the first place was to maybe glean some clues on the crime, hoping that the special features would provide some added hints on figuring out the case, but no, there’s none of that. The special features are utterly useless in trying to put the pieces together.

There’s commentary on both the pilot and the final episode, but neither of them offer any insight to the case. In fact, in the final episode, which has commentary by the main character and a writer, the two of them almost seem to dance around the disappointing finale. Not until the final minutes do they even mention that the killer isn’t revealed, and even then, they’re not apologetic about it. The writer talks about how they never planned to reveal the killer, even from the get-go. That’s just heartless, like a smack in the face to anybody who invested their time. If you were angry with the show before, prepare to be even angrier with that knowledge. It was one thing to believe that the writers wrote themselves into a hole, but it's another thing entirely to learn that there was never supposed to be a payoff.

And don’t even get me started on the deleted scenes. Some of them are literally only five seconds long, so you know they won’t tell you anything worthwhile. I can’t even see why the scenes would be included on the show. They feel like they were filmed just for the DVD, so you can skip those altogether. Even the whole, “Extended Season Finale,” which is obviously the main draw for this disc, isn’t worth watching. I couldn’t tell a single added scene in the finale. I felt like I wasted my time.

“An Autopsy of The Killing" is just a bunch of the stars talking about the show, which is not an autopsy of anything. And then you have the least funny gag real in the world. I’m not even joking. There was a scene where a car trunk wouldn’t close but nobody even laughed about it. It was almost as depressing as the setting. I guess all that rain got to the cast.

All the same, The Killing is a show worth watching. If you didn’t see it when it aired, you owe it to yourself to see it before season 2 starts up in April. It’s no Twin Peaks, in that the show's central case didn’t even really matter after a while since the strangeness of it all carried it. In The Killing, the case is everything, but it’s still a fascinating show and one of AMC’s best. Pick this up if you didn’t watch the season, and don’t if you did. It’s that simple.

Length: 578 min.

Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Release Date: 3/13/12

Starring: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Jamie Anne Allman, Brent Sexton, Brendan Sexton III

Directed by: Agnieszka Holland, Brad Anderson, Daniel Attias, Ed Bianchi, Gwyneth Horder-Payton, Patty Jenkins, Jennifer Getzinger, Phil Abraham, Nicole Kassell, Keith Gordon

Produced by: Piv Bernth, Mikkel Bondesen, Ingolf Gabold, Veena Sud, Soren Sveistrup

Written by: Veena Sud, Dawn Prestwich, Nicole Yorkin, Soo Hugh, Jeremy Doner, Nic Pizzolatto, Linda Burstyn, Aaron Zelman, Dan Nowak

Rich Knight
Content Producer

Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.