TV review: The Killing

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Maybe AMC has set the bar too high. Maybe my expectations for its original programming are unrealistic. Either way, its latest effort, "The Killing," is very good, yet not the perfection - yes, perfection - I demand from AMC.

The murder mystery, a remake of the popular Danish series "Forbrydelsen," is very well executed, with magnificent cinematography, some strong performances and a commanding sense of darkness. But its flaws really stand out.

The first half of Sunday's two-hour premiere plays as the search for a missing person, but the show's tagline - "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?" - leaves little room for suspense.

Even as a required device to introduce major players and their motivations, the first hour is a bit of trudging exposition.

We're introduced to veteran detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), whose hunches lead to the discovery of Rosie's body, as well as Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), who has just transferred from the narcotics unit to take over for Linden.

See, Linden is leaving the ugliness of the murder game behind and moving to California with her son and fiance. But because she's the lead character, we know she's not leaving until this gruesome case is closed.

While Enos is capable - if not really captivating - as a strong silent type, relative unknown Kinnaman succeeds as a brash detective with unconventional and sometimes unscrupulous methods.

The standouts are Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes as the deceased teen's parents. They're given meaty, showy roles and both convey the fitting combination of emotional explosiveness with subtle devastation.

The setup was lackluster and I might already know who the killer is (hopefully not), but the second hour is a significant improvement once the case gets rolling.

So far, "The Killing" is inferior to AMC's previous masterpieces, but there's immense potential and - despite my quibbles - it's still better than 90 percent of TV shows right now.

The Killing

9 p.m. Sunday on AMC

3 stars