The Killing: The Complete First Season (BLU-RAY)

The Killing

On Blu-Ray: 
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The television landscape is full of procedural crime dramas that solve murders in less than an hour, The Killing is a rare show that takes a more practical and deeper look at the anatomy of a homicide. Don't sit down to this show expecting the high tech antics of CSI where fibers reconstituted from ash lead them to a car and owner and murderer that they track down using even more unrealistic methods. Instead, watch The Killing for the impact a single murder can have on a wide array of people.

In the pilot episode, we are introduced to Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos, Big Love), a homicide detective in Seattle, Washington. She's set to retire and on her last day she's called to the scene of a potential murder. With new transfer Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) assigned as her parner, they find a bloody woman's shirt and a credit card belonging to Stan Larsen. A frantic search for a missing girl eventually leads to the discovery of her body, and thus begins the investigation into who killed Rosie Larsen.

The murder is complicated because she was found in the trunk of a car belonging to the mayoral campaign of Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) which draws in all of the political machinations one might expect. Along with the meticulous work of the detectives on the case, we also get a look into their personal lives, as Sarah prepares to retire and move to Sonoma, California; and her partner struggles with baggage from his days as a narcotics cop, the addictions he acquired and his fight to kick them. And we get to watch the family of Rosie, her parents and brothers, as they deal with her death. In fact you get to see how Rosie's murder impacts her school and friends, the other workers at the family business, the detectives, the politicians and more. You get to see that a murder isn't just a fact to file away and a puzzle to solve.

The special features of the Blu-ray set include deleted scenes, a gag reel and a making of featurette, but the real gems are the commentaries on the pilot and the finale. For the pilot, producer and writer Veena Sud takes us through what it took to get the show on the air, and all the choices that were made about the look and feel of the show. We get to hear about how they constructed the mood of the city so that it enhanced the drama of the events. For the finale, star Mireille Enos and writer Nicole Yorkin talk about the process behind crafting the shows words and how they make it from the page to the screen. Nicole gives insights into the writer's room for the show, while Mireille provides glimpses of how the actors and directors and the rest of the crew bring the pages to life.

The one problem with a show like The Killing, is that compared to all those other procedurals the pacing is slow. Very slow. When it aired on AMC, watching it from week to week is almost maddening and the mystery unravels one detail at a time, often just one or two details per episode. However, being able to sit down with the entire season on Blu-ray or DVD and run through it in just a few days brings a much heightened level of intensity to the otherwise glacial speed of the episodes. Instead of 13 weeks, you can see all the threads come together over just under 10 hours. And despite knowing that the episode per week unveiling is almost painful, finishing up season 1 has me eager to see season 2, which begins in just a couple days.

AMC is making great dramas, and The Killing is no exception.

Review by Jason Pace
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