The Killing is the kind of show that requires patience. It’s a slow burner, very much in the style of Swedish and Danish films and television (it’s based on the Danish hit Forbrydelsen). Dark and gloomy, The Killing is various shades of grey and it’s backdrop of Seattle makes for a fitting setting. Seasons 1 and 2 of The Killing, centered around the mystery of who killed Rosie Larson, a sweet but troubled teenage from a loving family. When the mystery of Rosie’s murder wasn’t solved by the end of Season 1, fans of the show were left frustrated. Season Two was a bit of a slog, the tension seeping out of the story like an old air mattress with a mysterious leak. There were too many characters whose motivations were unclear, and too many subplots that just weren’t all that interesting. (City Hall, I’m looking at you.) The Killing was not originally renewed for Season 3, but in miracle of redemption, it was resurrected.
There is a new mystery in town, this time centered on the death and disappearances of street kids in Seattle. Gone are the Larsens and Darren Richmond and his cronies, replaced by a grittier, edgier supporting cast. As before, Linden and Holder are the heart of the show. When we last saw them, Linden had become obsessed with solving Rosie’s murder, and in her nonstop quest, managed to lose custody of her son, her job and a little bit of her sanity. Holder, freed of his addiction and bad boy reputation, stayed on the force without her.
The first episode opens with a shot of the rainy evening streets of Seattle. A strange car pulls up to a young girl, who gets inside with a smile. This can’t be good.
Holder and his new partner Reddick, who is a grade A asshole, arrive at a crime scene. Holder is looking good, all spiffed up in a suit and tie. As soon as he opens his mouth, you know it’s the same old Holder. You know, the guy who punctuates most of his sentences with “bitch.” They come across the body of a young girl and from the looks on their faces; it’s a gruesome scene. She’s been nearly decapitated and left in a pool of blood.
In the next scene, we see a teenage girl, climbing over the side of a bridge. For a moment, you think she may jump but she grabbed and pulled back over by a petite punk dyke, named Bullet.
Bullet screams at her friend, whose name we find out is Kallie. Kallie tells Bullet to chill; she was just trying to look at the water while it was pristine and beautiful, before people and garbage ruin it. Foreshadowing much? The two friends complain about getting kicked out of their squats. Apparently police have been raiding their regular crash pads forcing them all into the street. Bullet knows where they can get bacon and eggs and maybe a bed.
Back at the morgue with Holder and Reddick, the coroner tells them that their Jane Doe had been stabbed repeatedly, her spinal cord intentionally nicked, and brutally raped. She also suffered defensive wounds and a broken finger. Reddick complains about this dog of a case, and wants to pawn it off on another cop, named Jablonski. Jablonski offers them a drug dealer case in trade, and he and Reddick bump fists. Holder holds on to the Jane Doe case file, because he’s a decent guy and there is something about it that feels familiar.
Bullet and Kallie are walking the streets, discussing Bullet’s major crush on fellow street kid, Lyric, she of the perpetually greasy hair. Bullet managed to swipe a blue ring to give to Lyric, because it is similar to one that Lyric’s grandmother had. Kallie breaks the news that Lyric’s playing house with a guy named Twitch, and Bullet goes all Paige McCullers on a trash pile. Kallie calms her down and takes the ring, telling Bullet to snap a pic with her phone (yes, they all have cell phones).
When we finally lay eyes on Linden, she is not wearing one of her trademark oversized wool sweaters. She is wearing the orange vest of a transit authority worker. She makes eyes at a young guy working across the dock. Later, she retires to a small white house. She brings in the mail, where she finds a letter from the Dept of Corrections addressed to her. She leaves it unopened. The house is sparsely decorated, and feels very much like the home of someone who has had to start all over. In the kitchen the guy from the dock grabs her from behind. They scream and giggle and kiss. The guy, Cody, wants to take Linden out on a real date, but she’d rather just get it on before her next shift, so after a brief hesitation, he carries her upstairs.