Hunting ‘El Diablo’
I was a little worried when I initially heard comparisons between The Killing and AMC’s dearly departed 2010 series Rubicon. Not becuase I didn’t like Rubicon, I loved it, no because that meant I would get invested in another damn good AMC series only to have it cancelled. After having watched 3 episodes I can safely say The Killing is not Rubicon. It moves briskly, the twists and turns are more frequent than Rubicon, it’s plot points are more relatable and frankly, compelling and it’s star, Mirelle Enos is far less obnoxious than Rubicon’s Brillo coiffed James Badge Dale. I am invested in Rosie Larsen’s murder – I want to know who killed her – for justice, for her family and for Rosie herself. Let’s run down the series’ three plots thus far.
The LarsensCan we officially begin Michelle Forbes’ supporting actress Emmy campaign right now? The scene with her and Rosie’s remaining outgoing message was hard but not as hard as watching her try to relive her daughter’s horror by trying to experience drowning. Chronicling a grieving family is risky for a weekly series but in the hands of Forbes and Brent Sexton it’s compelling beyond its sadness, it’s heartbreaking but never emotionally manipulative which is a rarity. I have a feeling in the coming weeks this plot is going to take a ‘Mystic River’ turn as Stanley begins to take matters into his own hands.
Richmond’s Mayoral Bid
Councilman Richmond’s campaign hurt by the leaking of his campaign’s involvement in Rosie’s death (her body was found in a campaign car), a leak that cost him the endorsement of the Ruth Yitanis (a ballsy Lee Garlington) and the precious unions. The leak was discovered to come from Jamie (Eric Ladin), who when confronted denied it, and blamed the councilman’s affair with his aide Gwen (Kristin Lehman) for blinding him. Ladin is so good at playing the weasel I almost believe he didn’t do it. Also worth noting was a great short exchange between Linden and Richmond – I hope we get more of these as the series progresses. I love Linden (Enos) as the bridge between storylines.
The Murder Mystery
Linden, much to the chagrin of Holden (the wiry Joel Kinnaman), has been permanently put in charge of the investigation, mainly to clear it fast but also to keep her loose cannon replacement in check. Tonight marks the second time in two episodes that Holden has used smoking weed to advance the case, it’s a good move and I want to see more from Holden’s bag of undercover tricks. This week it lead him to a suspect and last week it helped him discover the blood-soaked “Cage”, a place in the bowels of the school where kids went to party – a sex and drug cave fully equipped with a peep hole for voyeuristic pedophile and presidentially named janitor Lyndon Johnson Rosales. The moment Rosales said ‘el diablo” i though to myself – someone dressed as a devil at the dance! Nailed it! Expelled tweaker Kris (Gharrett Patrick Paon) used the Devil mask to sneak into the dance. The episode ended with Linden and Holder watching a video that was sent around the school of Jasper and Kris running a train on a drugged out and disoriented Rosie in the cage.
Mireille Enos is perfect in the lead. Ken Tucker at EW pointed out how much he loves watching Enos, skilled supporting actor (who played twins Kathy and Jodeen Marquart on Big Love) settle perfectly into a leading role and I can hardly echo that sentiment enough. As the anchor of the series but also the person responsible for bridging all the plots together The only plot testing my patience thus far is Sarah Linden’s home life. It’s well written and acted enough (Callum Keith Rennie is perfect as her frustrated fiance) it’s just that we’ve seen this plot a thousand times, and I like Sarah too much to watch her personal life get flushed down the toilet for her job. That being said; I’m going to assume that with it’s pedigree, The Killing will stay away from cliche territory.
Who Killed Rosie Larsen?
At this point I believe the killer is Rosie’s teacher, Bennett Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren, above left). Actually I thought it was him from the first moment I saw him. I believe he had a secret relationship with Rosie and flew off the handle when he spied her getting it on with Kris and Jasper in the cage. I don’t know how Richmond’s campaign car fits into this theory but I’m willing to concede that perhaps Ahmed didn’t act alone. Maybe he had Kris’ help? Or Jamie’s?
Two weeks and three episodes in I am under the Killing’s spell. It accomplishes what a thousand CSI’s and Law and Order’s fail to do which is make one person’s murder compelling. This series is about more than solving a crime, it’s about the effects that said crime has on the world around it, the ripples it creates.