March 18th, 2012  No Comments

Not since Twin Peaks has a television series dealing with a murder mystery been so effective as AMC’s new crime drama The Killing, based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen. A complete move away from the banality of the normal, phoned-in crime procedurals that clog up the airwaves these days, The Killing, set in Seattle, Washington – a perfect stand in for the original’s Scandinavia – is a series-long arc, with each episode lasting roughly 24-hours. That isn’t all that makes it outstanding, however. The remarkable craft in The Killing is its exposition on the effects of a crime on an entire community, including family, friends, acquaintances and the public at large as the circle of suspects grows ever larger in the gruesome killing that is at the epicenter of the drama, causing a ripple effect that creates hysteria, violence, an atmosphere of racial and religious intolerance, and causes otherwise decent people to do horrendous things.

On the eve of her leaving the police force in order to move herself and her 13-year-old son to San Diego to join her fiancé and settle down, once and for all, to a life of marriage and domesticity, Seattle Police Department Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) stumbles into a murder investigation that will have major repercussions. 17-year-old high school student Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay) turns up dead, and Sarah must stay on to take the lead in the investigation while training her replacement, Detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), a new transfer from the vice division.

The investigation grows ever more complex as the two detectives dig deeper into the crime, with the circle growing to encompass many likely to have committed the murder. It even has ties to the campaign of a Seattle City Councilman (Billy Campbell) running for the Mayor’s office, being that Rosie’s body was found in the trunk of one of his campaign’s cars, which was reported stolen. The investigation moves from focusing on Rosie’s teacher (Brandon Jay McLaren), a black muslim married to one of his former students, to one of her former boyfriends, even to her own father (Brent Sexton), a former Polish mob strong man, and many others.

Across its 13-episode, fortnight arc, the series touches on everything from political intrigue, racial profiling, teen drug use and sexuality and religiosity against the bleak, rain soaked backdrop of Seattle. In perhaps what was the perfect casting (and bit of writing) Mireille Enos plays one of the best detectives on television today. I say detective, rather than “female detective” because, the writers haven’t encumbered her with the usual baggage reserved for women in these roles. She is neither playing a woman trying to overcompensate by being very “macho” or “one of the guys” nor is she a weak sidekick who must take the backseat. She is strictly in control from the beginning here, but allowed a normal sense of vulnerability, a single mom struggling to raise her kid in the absence of his deadbeat dad. This makes her character all the more compelling and relatable. It also helps offer The Killing a sense of realism anchored in the everyday.

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Meet Joel
Real Name: Charles Joel Nordström
Other Names: Joel Kinnaman
Birthday: November 25, 1979
Height: 6’2”
Hometown: Stockholm, Sweden

Kinnaman was born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. His mother Bitte Kinnaman, a therapist, is Swedish. His father, Steve Kinnaman (originally David Kinnaman), is American, and left the United States at the time of the Vietnam War. He has both Swedish and American citizenship due to his father's United States birth. Joel's father, whose family was from the American Midwest, is of English, Irish, Scottish, and German descent, while Joel's mother is Jewish (she is descended from Ukrainian Jewish immigrants to Sweden). He has five sisters, one of whom is actress Melinda Kinnaman (his half-sister). Through his childhood, Kinnaman learned two languages as he "[spoke] English with my dad and Swedish with my mom". Kinnaman spent a year in Texas as a high school exchange student. More?

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Current Projects
Run All Night (2015)
... as Mike Conlon
Action | Crime | Drama | Thriller
An aging hitman is forced to take on his brutal former boss to protect his estranged son and his family.
Child 44 (2015)
... as Wasilij Nikitin
Drama | Thriller
Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, a disgraced MGB agent is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders -- a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership.
Knight of Cups (2015)
... as TBA
Drama | Romance
Once there was a young prince whose father, the king of the East, sent him down into Egypt to find a pearl. But when the prince arrived, the people poured him a cup. Drinking it, he forgot he was the son of a king, forgot about the pearl and fell into a deep sleep.
The Killing (2011-2014)
... as Stephen Holder
Crime | Drama | Mystery
An American crime drama television series based upon the Danish television series Forbrydelsen (The Crime).
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