'The Killing,' tense and gripping, back for year 2

By Frazier Moore

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, March 28 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

But I think the show's real message, and power, lies in the likelihood that solving the crime will solve practically nothing. Long before then, the damage — a great deal of it — will be done, and be beyond repair, for its broad swath of victims.

This is a theme "The Killing" has dramatized better, perhaps, than any series that came before. TV mostly treats death as a convenient plot point and source of motivation. The emotional cost is given short shrift. But not with "The Killing," which immerses the viewer in Rosie's drowning death and its rippling consequences. It's melodrama, but with an authentic edge.

And the excellent cast is equal to the challenge of putting it across — especially the superb Kinnaman, whose squirrelly, oddly endearing Detective Holder gives "The Killing" its welcome sparks of comic relief.

Looking at the show from this perspective, I never understood what the fuss was about over last June's finale. Yes, it left viewers dangling. But a certain measure of the audience saw this as more than a cliffhanger, taking it instead as a personal affront. As a result, Sud was pilloried for breaking a promise she never made. Before the series' premiere, she told me that her creative team had explored how the case should "organically" end. "So, whether it's this season or the next, or after that, remains to be seen."

Naysayers were having nothing of it.

In one extreme example, The New York Times' Ginia Bellafante saw closure in the finale where almost no one else did, but then blasted it as a "tenuous resolution."

Then, dismissing the fact that Rosie Larsen's murder isn't a real-life mystery subject to independent confirmation, but a make-believe yarn whose twists and turns are the province of its authors, Bellafante mounted her own exhaustive argument for why Darren Richmond was all but .0009 percent guaranteed to be the doer — never mind that the show's creators seemed decisively stepping away from that theory.

Alas for all of us critics, fans, bloggers and tweeters: Even in the age of interactive media, artists aren't obliged to heed their audience, or even take our feelings into account.

I don't know if Veena Sud has made any changes in response to the uproar with which "The Killing" exited last season, or to complaints about how the mystery unfolded. (Right now, she's not talking.)

What I do know: The investigation is ongoing while losses mount, it's still raining, and I'm still hooked on the show.

Online: http://www.amctv.com/shows/the-killing

EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at fmoore(at)ap.org and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier

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