So I’m keeping that in mind. Because it’s hard to say too much about this show without revealing about 50 spoilers. And when I say “spoilers,” I really mean “red herrings.” After 13 episodes, roughly analogous to 13 days of a murder investigation, pretty much everybody in the cast except the lead detective (Mirielle Enos) has emerged as a solid suspect. Then some new clue surfaces and the focus shifts to somebody else.
Normally I’d quickly lose patience with that sort of thing. But as preposterous as the labyrinthine investigation seems when viewed as a whole, the writers somehow make each twist and turn seem plausible. You don’t get the feeling you’re being jerked around — until you come to the season finale. I stayed up way past midnight to get to it, and when it was over I had two competing impulses: swear off the freaking show forever, or get on the computer and buy the next season pronto.
It’s that kind of show. Great writing, with a superb cast and deft, interwoven story lines that take it way beyond a regular police procedural. But since the story is shackled to a single investigation, it’s impossible to ignore that nothing conclusive will ever happen until the finale. And (OK, one spoiler alert) apparently not even then. Instead, we have to be content with minor sub-mysteries being resolved at precisely the same rate new ones are being added.
In some ways, The Killing reminds me of Twin Peaks: both set in the Pacific Northwest, both involving the murder of a young girl who turns out to be less innocent than she seemed. Both shows also toss out red herrings like it’s feed-the-sharks day at Sea World. Twin Peaks, of course, finally abandoned the pretense of being about a particular crime and vanished in an aimless spiral of contrived weirdness.
I haven’t started Season 2, so I don’t know if The Killing is going that route. I don’t know if the writers have something more in mind than a bunch of new suspects and disintegrating relationships. I do know that another full season seems like a few episodes too many. I guess I’ll have to wait until it’s over to comment further. Meantime, feel free to weigh in.