Grit trumps gloss

2011-09-23 10:06

If, like me, your eyes had to be peeled off the TV after every episode of weirdo filmmaker David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, you might want to have a gander at The Killing.

At first glance, the link to Twin Peaks is tenuous – but it is more about attitude and atmosphere than plot similarities.Both shows have at their core the same starting point – Who Killed Lara Palmer? (Twin Peaks) and Who Killed Rosie Larson? (The Killing).

Based on a Danish TV series of the same name, the makers have managed to maintain the Scandinavian sensibility of the show, even though the American remake is set in Seattle and, confusingly, filmed in Vancouver, Canada.

Perhaps it is the constant cold and damp feeling that permeates every shot in rainy Seattle that makes it reminiscent of shows like Wallander, based on the Sweden-set books by Henning Mankell.

There is a bleakness in the setting and a feeling that a storm is always on the horizon reinforces the tragic story – the callous murder of a teenage girl.

What makes The Killing, which was nominated for six Emmys this year, a nice change from the glossy CSIs is that it explores grief. Rosie Larson’s dead body is not simply a vehicle for fandangle forensics and glib oneliners.

She is a daughter, a friend, a person whom the makers invite the audience to get to know. And more importantly, feel empathy for.

The plot is three-pronged – the investigation and the characters conducting it; the Larson family coming to terms with their loss; and the political fortunes of a would-be governor whose campaign car was used to dispose of Larson’s body.

But don’t think you know whodunit – this is the first season of 13 episodes and there’s another season just starting in the US.

Heading up the cop contingent are Mireilli Enos as reluctant leaddetective Sarah Linden and Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holden.

Linden is trying to retire and leave Seattle for California, but the investigation in Larson’s death holds her in her job.

Larson’s bereft parents – Stan and Mitch – are played by actors familiar to TV fans. Brent Sexton, who featured in Life, is Stan and True Blood’s Michelle Forbes is Mitch.

Billy Campbell is politician Darren Richmond and is another well-known TV face from the likes of The 4 400 and The OC, while his campaign manager-slash-lover Gwen Eaton is played by Kristin Lehman, who has guest starred on just about any TV show you care to mention.

Only three of the 13 episodes have aired so far, so it’s not too late to catch up and spend your Friday nights pondering the nitty-gritty:

Who did kill Rosie Larson?

» The Killing is on MNet Series on Fridays at 9.30pm


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