Finally caught up last
night to this week’s debut of AMC’s new 13-part whodunit The Killing and what a debut it is. It struck me as a beautifully constructed model for a
series opener, or, for that matter, the opening of a suspense novel.
The new Sunday-night show,
AMC tells us, is based on a wildly
successful Danish television series, Forbrydelsen. AMC’s version tells the story of the murder of a young girl in
Seattle and the subsequent police investigation.
This week’s installment is
a two-hour opener, but scratch all the commercials and credits and really
there’s probably 90 minutes for set-up and storytelling. What director Patty
Jenkins and writer-producer Veena Sud accomplish in that 90 minutes is
impressive. They create layer upon layer of intrigue, suspicion, potential
conflict and varying personal agendas. Most of the leading characters get some
personal backstory sketched in, which is to say that we quickly come to see
them as multi-dimensional rather than mere cogs in a plot machine. And what a
credit to the creators of this show that they’re intelligent enough to choose
actors who look and dress like real people, not models.
The perpetually overcast,
rain-filled Seattle sky becomes a brooding, ominous presence. (Not exactly a
great advertisement for Seattle tourism, though the show was actually filmed in
Vancouver.) Somewhere there may be a mole loose in the office. (I love moles.) So far the show is not
overly gory or explicitly violent, which would have probably been the case on
HBO. That fact lets you concentrate on the intrigue and emotion.
I hope the rest of the
series can live up to its debut. If you’re a fan of crime fiction, I’d
recommend you give it a try. The opener gets four more showings, beginning
tomorrow evening. Find the schedule here.
-- Ron Kovach, senior
editor, The Writer
Want to leave a comment?
Login or register for an account to join our
There are no comments for this post.