AMC’s the Killing is an intense drama. If Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead have taught us anything it’s that AMC knows how to pick intense shows that keep you engaged. They also have a strong trend for unconventional characters and plots. The Killing is no exception. However, unlike other AMC flagship shows The Killing has some really significant failings.
1. The characters are not good. In my entire life I have never disliked a lead character in a show more than I dislike the main character in the Killing. The actress does a good job with what she is given. The character is just poorly written. In the rare moments where they try to really personalize her character to make her likable she ends up being even more agitating and annoying.
2. Poorly crafted red herrings. What’s a murder mystery without some false trails to go chasing? The problem with a red herring is that if you do so many of them you kill the investment in your viewer. When it becomes clear that what really happened is going to be so befuddled and twisted that no early leads are really going to pay off then it stops being fun to try and figure it out. We just have to sit and wait for the writers to tell us. While the little clues can line up you can only cry wolf so many times before your audience doesn’t want to chase you down the rabbit hole any more.
3. The cops are terrible. I would be the worlds worst detective. I could walk into a room filled with giant purple mountains and miss it. I would be a better detective than the characters on this show. They are so bad it’s laughable. They miss some of the most basic, obvious things it’s hard to believe they have ever worked a case before. In the first season a huge “plot twist” develops because the detectives failed to investigate the whole case. It’s seriously like they pull clues out of a hat at random, pursue only that one clue, and ignore everything else until their negligence gets someone hurt. This is likely a result of laziness on behalf of the writers. They take the time to weave the story but their complicated turns only work if their characters have the detective skills of a six year old girl where a tiara.
Despite some serious flaws the show is watchable. The drama is intense. It’s even enjoyable at times. It’s hard to believe when their are literally no characters to root for and no characters worth liking.