The whispers became full-on conversation last week when it was announced that The Killing might be back for a third season on AMC and/or via Netflix. Chris Morgan mentioned this yesterday, and in my mind the conversation was drowned out by the sound of head-scratching. Seriously. Is anyone going to come back for this?
I was completely, totally, insufferably behind The Killing in season 1. Sure it was lugubriousness made manifest. And the rain! My lord, the rain! But I liked Mireille Enos (Linden) with her nervous energy and Joel Kinnaman (Holder) with his protective big-brother charm. I knew the show was based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen, which was doing gangbusters in Europe. (Now in its third season there, it still is.) And at the beginning I felt the American version had captured the glacial pacing and ambience that would set it apart from typical U.S. TV fare. So while most everyone I knew thought it was BOR-ing, I found The Killing tantalizing and I kept watching.
Then they went and messed it all up by refusing to reveal the identity of Rosie Larsen’s killer at the end of season 1, thereby taking one season’s worth of decent material and teasing it out into two seasons of hand-wringing, “character development,” and misdirection culminating with the most unsatisfying conclusion since Pam found Bobby Ewing in the shower. In fact, if Stan and Mitch Larsen had found Rosie in the shower it would have been an improvement. (Tommy: “Dad! Rosie’s hogging all the hot water!” Stan: “What the…? Mitch! Come quick! Rosie’s back and it was all a dream!”)
In response to the general feeling of dissatisfaction over the way season 1 ended, the producers, led by series developer Veena Sud, came out with a few obnoxious “we’re smarter than you and we know better” remarks that only served to tick off the audience even more. Then season 2 happened, the handful of viewers who’d actually hung on to the end felt sorely duped, the series was promptly cancelled, and it looked like the producers weren’t so smart after all.
Turns out, someone at The Killing really did have vision: the person who wrote the contracts.
I asked above whether anyone would come back for season 3 of The Killing. According to Deadline.com, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman will come back for a third season because their contracts say they have to.
Sadly, despite having taken a show with great potential and reducing it to rubble, Veena Sud will probably be back as well. Deadline.com says The Killing might be getting its reprieve because of her “strong third-season pitch” for it. Although… How hard is it to pitch a show that already has two stars audiences recognize and like under contract to do it? Nah. That’s not hard. Writing strong scripts that have a consistent voice and a logical, compelling story line: that’s hard. Here’s another thing that’s not hard: treating your audience with respect. If you expected us to come back and spend thirteen more weeks sloshing around in the rain and slogging through the gloom with you, you shouldn’t have taken us for granted. ’Cause winning us back now that we know what you think of us? That’s going to be hard.
If the information reported last week is correct and the deal goes through as planned, Enos and Kinnaman and whoever else is obligated to be there could be headed back to Vancouver in February to start shooting The Killing season 3. I know they’re going to be cold and wet; I suspect they’ll also be mighty lonely.
What do you think? Will you be watching if The Killing comes back from the dead?
Leslie Gilbert Elman is the author of Weird But True: 200 Astounding, Outrageous, and Totally Off the Wall Facts. Follow her on Twitter @leslieelman.
Read all of Leslie Gilbert Elman’s posts for Criminal Element.