Welcome chill in “The Killing” (2011)

11 April 2011

It’s been hot here. Hot. 90 degrees for the past three days, which is damn hard to stomach in early April. No wonder I’ve attached myself to AMC’s new series, The Killing (streaming on Amazon right now for those of us who need to catch up; the third episode aired last night). Set in Seattle, this show is wet, cold, and unlike so many of those other detective procedurals on TV that wrap everything up in a neat 44-minute episode. Like so many Scandinavian mysteries (this one is a US remake of a phenomenally popular Danish series, Forbrydelsen) it takes its time: detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos, above) investigates a single murder over the course of the entire series.

Enos is great to watch. As Linden she’s laconic, with a self-possession that allows her to deal with the heightened emotions of everyone around her — hysterical parents, imperious businessmen, tetchy politicians. She responds to all of it with a searching, devastating quietness — in other words, like no other woman I’ve seen on TV. When my partner and I watched it last night with my Dear Friend, she commented that she wouldn’t want to be involved with Linden: “she’s got that reproachful look,” she said, and she’s doubtless right. But what a great protagonist she makes.

She’s perfect as the Scandinavian qua Seattle detective, helping to cool down the usual procedural even more. If this Texas weather is any indication of the coming weeks, I’m going to need this series in a serious way for the rest of the semester for a kind of air-conditioning-for-the-spirit.


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