“The Killing,” returns to AMC with a strong start

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By Tressa Eckermann, Senior Staff Writer

Last season of AMC’s “The Killing” started with the murder of teenager Rosie Larsen and ended with the Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), a much older conflicted politician, arrested for her murder.

By the time detective Linden (Mireille Enos) figured out that her partner, Holder (Joel Kinnaman), faked the photo that got Richmond arrested, fans of the show were in a rage. Promos for the show’s second season promised fans that Rosie’s real killer would be revealed. But all along creator Veena Sud maintained that the plan was to reveal the killer at the end of the second season, just as the original Swedish version did.

“The Killing’s” second season picks up where the first season ended. Richmond has been shot by Belko Royce, the creepy and obsessive Larsen family employee. Linden has figured out that Holder helped fake the picture and is back in Seattle with her son and looking for the real killer.

“The photo, it was faked,” she tells her boss. “What if it was a setup? What if Rosie was a part of something bigger?”

That’s the question that seems to be driving the show right now. Where last season was about the emotional destruction of Rosie’s murder on everyone who touched the case, this season has a sense of conspiracy. The general nature of the show is still oppressive and sorrowful.

But there maintains something incredible about “The Killing.” It’s brutal and daunting in the way it confronts grief. Rosie’s father (Brent Sexton) and mother (Michelle Forbes) are stunning. Although Linden would probably win the worst mother of the year award, Enos plays her as a woman with a fierce determination and a fragile hold on pretty much every aspect of her life. In short, she is terrific.

To me the real standout has always been Kinnaman as Linden’s recovering “junkie,” partner, Holder. His character is full of consistent surprises sense day one of the show. He has been the scene stealer and is shockingly brilliant. Last season, Holder was desperate to prove himself-now he’s just desperate. By the end of season two’s first episode, he knows he’s been played and wants out, only to find himself alone. Kinnaman plays that hurt, hollow desperation perfectly.

Campbell’s portrayal of Richmond is also an incredible character played wonderfully well. In the beginning of the show, Richmond was the darkest character out of a bunch of dark characters. The first season would reveal him as a man who was deeply distraught over the premature death of his wife.

This season finds his political career in scandal and every other part of his life destroyed, after he’s been paralyzed by Belko’s bullet. Campbell plays Richmond as that cold, pained man who actually makes you feel bad for a character that under normal circumstances you would hate.

Really what makes “The Killing” so great is its intense portrait of obsession and grief. Linden is more than willing to give up everything to save this case.

It’s hard to find anything wrong with “The Killing,” but if I really wanted to nitpick, I would say it can be tedious at times. But even when the rare episode drags, it’s still exceptionally raw and vivid.

For those who watched the first season and felt betrayed, give “The Killing” another shot. If it’s possible, the show has only gotten better.

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