I don’t know about you, but the recent trend of American producers recreating award-winning foreign film and TV series is not only starting to get on my nerves, but it’s also says something about the nature of US audiences. Perhaps they are just too lazy to read subtitles, or maybe it’s their view that anything created abroad will never be as good as anything created in the U,S of A? I’m hazarding a guess that both of these assertions have some vestiges of truth..
Anyway, putting my views of the obligatory Americanisation of everything and anything successful aside and looking at the reboot of The Killing with fresh eyes, I am happily surprised that this time around (don’t get me started on The Prisoner) the result is a great piece of drama.
Following the same format as it’s European counterpart, the series follows the police investigation of a single murder. The storyline of the show is also similar, but there are slight differences, one major thing being that it is aired over 13 episodes rather than the 20, as the Danish version was. In advance of the series airing on US TV, Executive Producer Veena Sud, who helped develop the concept for an American audience, refuted the idea of the show being a carbon copy of the original, stating the producers were “using the Danish series as a blueprint” but were ultimately putting their own stamp on the thing.
Set in Seattle, the series focuses on Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and her investigation into the murder of 17 year-old student Rosie Larsen. Assigned to the case on her last day of work, Linden is supposed to be relocating to California, but can’t help being drawn into the unravelling situation.
Alongside new detective Stephen Holder, the pair find the student’s body after she drowned in the boot of a submerged car at the end of the first episode, a vehicle that just happens to belong to mayoral candidate Darren Richmond.
With a complex but compelling storyline, the show is smothered in atmosphere and has all the hallmarks of your archetypal slow-burner, with plenty of characters that will hopefully be fleshed out in their own right. The cliff-hanger at the end of the first episode certainly made me want to watch more, drawing me in like any good piece of drama should.
As a viewer you do feel that perhaps there are some unnecessary moments and also some scenes which seem a bit misplaced, however these may yet come to show their importance to the plot as the series develops.
Enos definitely makes the lead character her own, putting in a believable and likeable performance as a cop who lives for her job, despite attempts by a love interest to give her a new life in California. New cop Stephen Holder, played by Joel Kinnaman, is also an interesting character, complete with mysterious tattoo and previous experience of going undercover in vice.
Fans of the original Danish show are bound to be annoyed about the reboot, though perhaps in a way the US version deserves to be looked at with fresh eyes and new expectations. As a series in it’s own right, The Killing‘s re-up may have legs, and certainly has a storyline complex and interesting enough to lure viewers back week after week. Expect to see season two winging it’s way to us in due course, next time round on Sky Atlantic instead of Channel 4.