In a mood for murder

In a mood for murder

In a mood for murder

Let most of us unabashedly admit that, as a new-age audience, we have a certain unexplained proclivity towards watching television shows that portray crimes in a highly romanticised light. Shows like The Wire and Law and Order heralded a different, almost ghoulish sort of entertainment on television, which has perhaps seen much refinement over the last few years.

And our fascination with such shows does not stop there. Viewers want more of this — in the gory side of Dexter, the ruggedness of Don Eppes, and needless to say, the buoyant inflated ego of Jack Bauer. Jumping onto the bandwagon of these crime series is another — The Killing, a serial crime drama that premiered on television two years ago. The concept was created by Veena Sud, based on a Danish series called Forbrydelsen.

To begin with, The Killing initially impresses upon as a richer cousin of the show Breaking Bad. And here is why. The two shows are similar in their choice of locales — not resorting to the American cliché of basing crimes in New York, Los Angeles or Baltimore, with no fancy federal buildings or a brigade of handsome oversexed colleagues whose stories overshadow the main plot, the not-too-colourful cinematography and the candid portrayal of human emotions, with little melodrama trailing it.

Set in the city of Seattle, Washington, the show follows the operations of the Seattle Police Department in solving local crimes. It is deep, dark, intense and laced with morbidity. The show does not follow the concept of ‘single case an episode’. Instead, it focuses on one crime, which is solved through the course of a season, with many intricate sub-plots wove in. The first season follows the murder of a local teenage girl, Rosie Larsen. Introducing a political angle to the show in finding the girl’s body in the campaign car of mayoral candidate and local councilman Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) was a clever move by the writers, who have been successful in subtly blending elements of crime, drama, horror, emotions and family ties into one cauldron of entertainment.

The person in focus is homicide detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), a single mother who is at the juncture of quitting her job when the show begins. She is heading to San Francisco with her fiancé and son, when she is stopped and held back by her boss for a day more to solve the murder of a teenage girl. Does she stay back or not, and why? Well, that is a reason which may compel one to watch the show. Mireille Enos comes as a whiff of fresh air with a refreshing lack of guile in her acting skills.

A dormant USP of the show lies in the female protagonist Sarah Linden, but let that not delude you into thinking that the character is of the likes of Kate Beckett from Castle or Catherine Willows from CSI. In fact, Linden is highly reminiscent of Clarice Sterling from Silence of the Lambs. Appearing placid and ordinary prima facie, cameras have been exercised enough to indicate profundity and layers to her personality and life. Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) as her prospective replacement, a cheeky young detective, who worked for the county police and is not afraid to ask questions to people in power, indulges in some much-needed black comedy.

Now, why, one may ask, must I watch The Killing after having watched scores of episodes of crime series. A television devout may just devour the show irrespective of its appeal, while someone who feels jaded from viewing myriad crime series may call it another brick in the wall. The show starts on a well-written note. However, with a lesser-known cast and not-too-powerful dialogues, it might have to look for another pillar of cinematic strength if it intends to stick around for longer. The acting efforts may seem laboured and the theme itself might be lost in the gloomy atmosphere. However, if you are a crime series aficionado and would like to expose your entertainment senses to something new, go for The Killing. It’s probably worth a shot.

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