Last night, AMCs The Killing wrapped up their first season to mostly negative feedback. I’ve been on board for all 13 hours of this show and certainly had a lot of negative moments, but I’m not yet convinced that this wasn’t a decent ending. For those that checked out of the show and only stuck with the show to find out who killed Rosie, well I can understand that disappointment.
First, why am I talking about a television show on a law blog? Obviously s good question. As you may be able to see from the lack of content below, I think it’s time for a change in direction. Simply put, I hope this time around to put more in to the blog and one of the things that I want to write about is the law as seen through, well, the main way the law is viewed: entertainment.
The idea came to me when remembering the night before a criminal procedure final exam where I spent more time thinking about whether the law of double jeopardy was portrayed accurately in the movie Fracture. I guess part of it was simply needing a distraction from the stress of the exam period, but, even in flawed legal television there is a lot that can be used for good jump off points to legal conversation. And speaking of that if you have a legal entertainment moment you’re curious about, feel free to make this the place to ask about it.
So, back to The Killing, and OK maybe not the best example of potential legal conversation, but I had to kick this blog off somehow. So, let’s start with how the show ended. Spoilers coming, I guess, although is no resolution to the season even something that can be considered a spoiler? As for Holder, over the course of the season, he has been the character I have most enjoyed. He’s been consistently good throughout and in a very layered manner.
When the show ends by the audience learning that Holder had fabricated evidence, I think it was an acceptable moment. Holder had an up and down history in a lot of ways on the show. His desire for career improvement and a knack for cutting corners to make the big case was something I felt they had done solidly at establishing. So, despite the end result being a red herring in a season filled with that sort of all too easy misdirection for the sake of misdirection, I could live with it.
So, what about it didn’t work? Do we really need this air of conspiracy around Holder? Rather than just a moment of overzealous police work, we see Holder hop in to a car and cooly brag about his set up to an unknown entity. It felt forced and unnatural and overall, that was probably the thing that held back season one of The Killing the most. The show producer called The Killing the “anti-cop” show. And, if you’re only comparing the show to Law and Order, that might be factually correct, but this is also a World that has now been privy to The Wire and The Shield. The Killing clearly isn’t in that class of quality and for season two should recognize that. Instead of trying as hard as you can to make a classic show, I think the show can find some breathing room if the show is a bit less full of itself and embraces its flaws.
It wasn’t a bad season, and I thought there were definitely some really good moments, but if you were going to take the viewer through this many twists, I’d rather they seem to have more fun with it.