“The Killing,” a complex and twisted murder mystery

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

As a devoted “Twin Peaks” fan, I rolled my eyes every time I saw the trailer for the new AMC drama, “The Killing.”

“Who killed Rosie Larsen?” the tagline asks, in what looks like a rip off one of the most burning questions from the 90s: “Who killed Laura Palmer?”

Well, it turns out these are people who’ve created the newest, most compulsively watchable show on TV.

“The Killing” tells three stories centered around the murder of 17-year-old Rosie Larson, including the cops investigating her murder, her family and friends, and the murder suspects.

The series begins on day one. Detective Sarah Linden (Mireielle Enas) is preparing to move from Seattle to California with her fiancé and 13-year-old son. With just hours to go before her flight leaves, she and Stephen Holder, the detective assigned to replace her, catch a case: the Rosie Larsen murder investigation.

We meet Rosie’s parents, Stanley (Brent Sexton) and Mitch (Michelle Forbes), happy and in love just before their world shatters around them. Also brought into the picture is Rosie’s best friend, Sterling, as she looks for Jasper, Rosie’s rich ex-boyfriend.  He was with Rosie and Kris, a drug-addicted high school dropout, on the night Rosie died. We also see Bennett Ahmed, Rosie’s dedicated teacher who only grows more suspect as the show goes on.

Then there’s Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), a handsome, yet seemly, unconnected councilman running for mayor. Though his connection to Rosie is not immediately clear, it’s apparent that there’s something off about him. Suspicions grow when we learn that Rosie’s body was found in the trunk of a stolen Richmond campaign car.

Seattle is portrayed as cold, dark and volatile; similarly, everything about the characters is under the surface. Darren has secret trips, a deceased wife and is all too willing to lie; Rosie’s father has an explosive temper; Linden seems uncertain of most things in her life except her career; and Holder seems to be clinging to his former life as a crass and inexperienced, but smart vice detective.

“The Killing” is styled much like its Seattle setting, but that doesn’t mean the characters aren’t wonderfully absorbing. Mireielle Enas is set to become a breakout star. Joel Kinnaman, already a major actor in  Sweden, lets his character fall somewhere between creepy and one of the most entertaining characters on the show. Every time one of his scenes ended, I couldn’t wait for his next appearance on screen.

Everyone on this show holds their own, and it’s safe to say that the scene featuring the discovery of Rosie’s body will go down as one of the most disturbing and heart-wrenching scenes to be seen on TV, all thanks to the acting of Sexton and Forbes as the devastated parents. “The Killing” breaks from the norm of procedurals that have flooded our airwaves for years.

The stresses mount on each character and the audience in the search for Rosie’s killer. “The Killing” is intense and stands on its own merits. It’s impossible to compare it to anything else because, though it borrows from different shows, it’s uniquely its own.

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