The Killing: Nearing the End

I know how The Killing ends. Spoiler Alert. Turns out, they’re not in Seattle at all, but a limbo world where they wait after death before moving on to the afterlife. Or maybe I’m getting The Killing confused with another television series . . . .

With only two episodes left, we seem to be zeroing in on someone in the Richmond campaign office. After much effort, Lund and Holder have recovered the bloody key card from the casino, and it has led them through the city hall to the door of the Mayor’s office—which it does not open. Instead, the key card lets them into Richmond headquarters, so, unless there’s another twist, the question is, who on the Richmond staff is responsible for the murder of Rosie Larsen?

Although I continue to enjoy The Killing, there have been some elements of season two that have bothered me, the stereotyped Native American characters, the suggestion that native sovereignty is little more than a cover for illegal activities, in particular. As season two departs more sharply from the Danish original, the changes that have taken place in the story and in the characterization have also been troubling at times. Michelle Forbes’s portrayal of the grieving Mitch Larsen was one of the strongest parts of season one, and the extended focus on the Larsen family marked the series’ most compelling departure from the typical police procedural. I don’t know if the actress was unavailable for the filming of season two, or what the reason is that we’ve only seen Mitch in a couple of cameos this season, but her absence has been one of the flaws of season two. Brent Sexton has been fabulous as husband Stan, but it’s asking too much of that character to carry the narrative of Rosie’s family mostly by himself. Fortunately, the end of the episode “Bulldog” reveals that Mitch has returned home.  This is a promising sign for the final episodes.

Although I have liked the willingness of the American version to present alternate visions of Lund and Holder, I was not so fond of the turn Lund’s character took in “72 Hours,” when she is forcibly institutionalized because of a supposed suicide attempt at the casino. Hints of Lund’s prior mental breakdown have been sprinkled throughout the series. However, during the period of her confinement, we have a long session with a psychiatrist, in which it is suggested that Lund’s interest in the Rosie Larsen murder is not because of the great injustice that is taking place but because of her own childhood trauma. She was abandoned by her mother and left alone in their apartment for a day before she was discovered. The psychiatrist suggests that Lund is obsessed by Rosie because she is another child abandoned in a confined dark space. In other words, in the case of Rosie Larsen, “this time . . . it’s personal,” the great cliché of American crime drama. Not only that, but Lund is revealed to be a female detective whose career in crime is explained by her abandonment issues (didn’t we just have 5 years of that character in In Plain Sight?). In contrast to the Danish version, the American version feels like it must explain (via pop psychology) Lund’s dedication to solving the crime.

Still, Lund and Holder are on the final trail. Forbrydelsen ended tragically. Lund solved the crime and fingered the culprit, but things didn’t go quite as planned. I wonder if the American version will follow the Danish series in presenting a conclusion that includes tragic unexpected consequences for all involved.

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