The Killing is one of the more intense shows out there and every season I get completely hooked, cleaving out two hours each week in my usual multi-tasking schedule to just sit and focus on the subtitles. Unfortunately, that level of intensity is particularly susceptible to frustrations, and this season I found myself irritated more often than not.
I spent a large amount of each episode shouting at characters, desperately wanting them to stop rushing about and instead talk and listen to each other. I realise that this kind of show requires some internal conflict to boost the drama and intensity, but too much of it this season was manufactured by having people not say the things any normal person would say, which in turn just made them all look stupid and bad at their jobs. Every episode someone went off to investigate a lead without telling anyone where they were going or why, often making for a dramatic cliff hanger reveal, but also undermining their position and leaving everyone open to challenge. Mind you the senior police officers once again seemed to spontaneously lose all confidence in their employees and cheerfully compromise their own investigations just to keep the politicians happy.
Why the politicians were involved in the first place was almost as big a mystery as the criminal cases. I’m pretty scared for the fate of Danish politics if the outcome of their election and forging of coalitions really was completely dependent on one police investigation, rather than on the economy or something of actual national importance. The level of involvement in the case never really made sense to me, the apparent psychic hotline enabling the political aides to update the prime minister (and the audience) the instant everything happened, and the withholding of evidence by both individuals and the entirety of special branch just seemed ridiculous.
On the plus side though, the case was a lot more interesting than that of season 2, a lot more focussed and, thanks to the significant presence of the family of the kidnapped girl, it never lost the connection to the victims and the emotional impact of the crime. When I wasn’t frustrated with the characters, I was completely engrossed in the twists and turns of the case and the way the present kidnapping case intertwined with the older murder case. The series continues to be elegantly shot and the location work was particularly beautiful and the cast all do a phenomenal job adding depth to the frustrating script.
The Killing is a great thriller, but unfortunately it has drifted rather too far into the land of contrivance to be a truly intelligent thriller – you can’t watch it without switching off a bit of your brain. The ending was pretty depressing, leaving me rather despondent for politics, the police, big business and the mental health of pretty much everyone everywhere. If this truly is the final season, I can’t say that I’m massively disappointed. It’s had a good run, but I think it has fallen down a rabbit hole.