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The Killing Post Mortem: The Story Behind the Shocking Finale and Scoop on Season 2!

Warning: If you have yet to watch Sunday’s season finale of The Killing, run — don’t walk — to the nearest emergency exit. Everyone else, onward and downward….

After watching the season finale of AMC’s The Killing, I am almost speechless. I mean, I have loved the show since the first of its bazillion raindrops fell. Its pace. Its broken heart. Its dirty mind. All of it. And right up to and including the end, it didn’t disappoint, delivering one tantalizing twist after another, the biggest of course being that the most engrossing whodunit since Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer remains unsolved. Grrr. And don’t even get me started on the potential new suspect that emerged in the episode’s final minutes. Thankfully, AMC has renewed the show for a second season, which means answers are coming. But when? Will Rosie Larsen’s killer be caught in Seasons 2, or will the investigation span the show’s entire run? And who was in the car with you-know-who? Series creator Veena Sud is here with answers to those questions and much, much more.

TVLINE | That was a very bold move not to solve the murder mystery in the season finale considering the show was only recently renewed for a second season. Why did you decide to deviate from the Danish version of the show in this regard?
The Danish series’ investigation was 20 episodes. So they had a big giant season with tons of really interesting twists and turns that, because we only had 13 episodes in our first season, we weren’t able to use. And I really wanted to be able to use some of that material.

Eye On Emmy: Should Mireille Enos Snag a Gold Statue For The Killing?

TVLINE | But what would’ve happened if the show didn’t get picked up? Did you have an alternate ending in place to ensure fans got closure?
We did not have an alternate ending. From the very beginning, we knew — AMC, Fuse, everyone involved in the show — that we didn’t want to do a formula show. So there were a lot of discussions about, “We’re definitely not going to do the 45-minute procedural.” Then we stepped back and said, “Should we do a murder a season? But is that not creating yet another formula, and yet another expectation, and yet another way to put a bow on a gift and wrap it up really easily?” So then we very organically [concluded that] the [Rosie murder] story still had other possibilities after 13 hours, after 13 days, so that’s where we went. It was risky, it was brave, it was bold – that’s what AMC is known for.

TVLINE | Did AMC privately tell you that a second season was a sure thing just to give you the piece of mind?
No. I didn’t have any assurances about a Season 2. But I did have an incredible vote of confidence from the network that they loved this storytelling and they were behind it.

TVLINE | Were you concerned that the possibility existed that Sunday’s season finale could’ve been a series finale?
I can’t answer that. I am truly the worker-bee who came up with the best possible story I could come up with. So I don’t know what the machinations of [a renewal] are. All I know is there was an incredible vote of confidence all along, and lots of discussions all along about how to end the season, and this was a decision.

TVLINE | OK, let’s talk about the big climactic twist regarding Holder. Viewers were really growing attached to him towards the end of the season and then you drop this bomb. Were you intentionally pulling a bait-and-switch?
Yes. There’s more to come in Season 2 with Holder and the story. And remember, the [season covered only] 13 days. How well do you ever know anybody in 13 days? People have secrets. Everyone’s got something else going on. And over time you will hopefully — or maybe not — find that out.

TVLINE | Can you say whether the person he was talking to in the car is someone we have met before?
I can’t say.

TVLINE | Fair enough. Can you say whether Rosie’s murder will be solved in Season 2?
We will solve the investigation of who murdered Rosie Larsen in season 2, and there will also be a second case that will emerge next season. But I can’t tell you when exactly either will happen.

TVLINE | Just to clarify, when you say the investigation will be solved — does that mean the real killer will be caught?
[Laughs] I’m sorry. Yes, the killer will be revealed. All will be revealed about who murdered Rosie Larsen. [Laughs] I wasn’t trying to parse words.

TVLINE | Can you confirm which castmembers will be back next season? Mireille Enos (Sarah) and Joel Kinnaman (Holder) will obviously return, but who else?
Unfortunately, I can’t say anything else creatively about season 2, including casting decisions.

TVLINE | The show has enjoyed a lot of acclaim, but there has also been some criticism. One common complaint is that the pacing is too slow.
Remember, every episode is one day. So if every episode is one day, it moved at perfectly the right pace it should’ve moved at — with the investigation, with a family’s grief, with the political campaign.

TVLINE | Some people also felt the show was too gloomy.
It’s the Pacific Northwest in November. It’s gloomy. It’s rainy. It’s a state of mind. Do you mean physically gloomy?

TVLINE | Physically, emotionally… There wasn’t a light of levity.
Well, there’s Glee. There are other shows that aren’t the same tonality of The Killing. There are many other cop shows that you can watch in hi-def color and have music and women in bikinis. This is not that show. It’s going to portray the murder of a child in the way it should be portrayed.

TVLINE | Will we learn more about who Rosie was in Season 2?
That’s an interesting question. I’ve been asked it a bit. This is my take: I’ve met cops who’ve had the one [big] case of their career, like Sarah has with Rosie Larsen. And these cops have neglected their children and left their marriages and destroyed their families for a dead person they’ve never known. And, like Sarah, they get to know tiny pieces of that person. And that’s endlessly fascinating to me. It really is about the cop. It’s about Sarah and something in her that is empty and needing something and that’s why she fixates on these dead people. And so not getting to know Rosie Larsen and not seeing her in flashbacks and just seeing tiny pieces of this girl who Sarah will never know is part and parcel of who she is and why she’s doing this. And it reveals a lot about her character. Like Sarah, [viewers] got to know pieces of who Rosie was. Terry said it really well to Mitch, “Did anyone really ever know her?” And that’s the mystery of Rosie. Who was this girl? Not only who killed her but who was she? And as time goes on in the investigation and Sarah gets to know her more and what she was doing the night of her murder there will be more revealed about who she truly was.

TVLINE | Talk to me about the decision to air the self-contained “Missing” episode — which focused almost entirely on the relationship between Sarah and Holder — at the end of the season as opposed to the beginning?
It [goes back to the mandate of] taking detours and doing the unexpected. Right when this giant piece of evidence comes hurling at us, to take a detour was kind of a crazy brave move. But I think definitely in our wheelhouse. The two-man play [concept] was inspired by other AMC shows — Don and Peggy in [the Mad Men episode "The Suitcase"], Jesse and Walter dying in the desert because they ran out of water [in Breaking Bad's "4 Days Out"]. I was so fascinated  by those episodes and what they allowed the audience to get to know about the people they were spending time with. And I really wanted that for Sarah and for Holder — and at the most inconvenient time, which is how s— happens in life. This thing happens and you’re stuck with the last person on Earth you thought would be your aid and your friend to deal with potentially a huge tragedy.

TVLINE | Aside from you, who else knows the identity of the killer?
The writers.

TVLINE | Any concern about it leaking? Will there be a penalty of death if someone gets drunk at a party and says something they shouldn’t?
[Laughs] There certainly is no penalty of death. The writers and myself are really proud of this mystery and we worked really hard to wrap it up in a way that is deeply satisfying so we want to protect it. We want to unleash it on the world when it’s time and not before that.

For scoop and spoilers round-the-clock, follow me on Twitter via @MichaelAusiello

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220 Comments
  1. Brian says:

    I was very disappointed with the season finale. No, I am not one of these people who watches CSI and expects a conclusion at the end of every episode. I loved Rubicon, and thought it was a much better show than the killing, and don’t understand why the Killing got a second season and Rubicon did not. The killing kept introducing new potential suspects almost every episode, only to reveal that they weren’t the killers after all either by the end of the episode, or in the very next episode. After the fourth or fifth time this happened, it got kind of hard to care anymore. I like the “slow burn” type of shows. The Wire was extremely slow, taking an entire season to build a case against a suspect, and is my favorite show ever. And you know what happened at the end of every season of The Wire? They solved the case and brought the season to a conclusion. I feel like most people, after the tedious nature of the first season, are not going to care about the second season in 8 or 9 months, myself included.

    • ALEXIS says:

      AGREED, TOO MUCH OF A TIME LAPSE, THE VIEWERS DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT, OR AT LEAST SOME WARNING. FRANKLY, I’D HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO WATCH IF I KNEW INVESTING IN THE LAST THIRTEEN HOURS WOULD BRING NO CONCLUSION.

  2. Savannah says:

    The season finale was unpleasant but it rocked! The Killing was one of the most realistic police shows I have ever watched.

    At least there is a promise of this case being solved in the next season. I mean how many murder cases there remain unsolved? Let’s face it. Some murderers are really smart and know how to cover their tracks well and will never be found out.

    And as for those who say they won’t be watching next season will still be curious for sure. We all want closure no matter how long it takes for us to get it. :-)

  3. Man you people who get so angry at a TV show need to lighten up.

    It was a fantastic show and I enjoyed the fact they didn’t wrap it all up neatly.

    Angry at a TV show, what a bunch of goofs.

  4. Renee says:

    There are a ton of cliffhangers. Read some case studies of actual unsolved cases, or cases that have spanned decades. It is common to assume certain people are guilty of a crime and masterminds (or serial sociopaths) can and will attempt to set other people up.

    I too was annoyed with the episode about her missing son – I kept watching the show, just to see where it would go. I’ve got a few friends for detectives and cases do go this way at times…. I am interested to see what happens next year.

  5. Alexis says:

    watching from the U.K I misakenly invested two days to view the entire series thinking that thirteen hours of my life would bring some conclusion. It was brilliantly written and acted but frankly, given the time lapse between series one and two, I’m with the other poster on ‘its no longer just ‘who killed Rosie Larsen’, but rather, who cares. This plays more like a soap opera….hugely disappointing.

  6. Fading-Dream says:

    I love this show, though I see what a lot of people are saying. The only real criticism I have is about Benet. I can and appreciate being led astray as long as something they discover down that path leads them further in their investigation. However, that entire plot line had no real weight on any part of the show minus Stan’s arrest.

    What would have helped them is to have solved Rosie’s murder, but have had that connected to another murder, say, there is another murderer or person who helped and it’s connected to many murders. The show can’t survive by moving onto a brand new unrelated murder, but if they are connected, then I believe it would work well. I loved the whole show though, but then again, I marathoned it. This is one of those shows that is not meant to be watched weekly.

  7. JCap77 says:

    I’m amazed that shows like this get remade – it’s so rare for any kind of TV show to survive being transferred into a different culture (of the top of my head, Law & Order:UK is a pretty strong adaptation, but there was so much source material they could pick and choose the good stuff) that to try and remake The Killing was pure folly. It’s just so Danish – the rain, the somber atmosphere, the speed at which things happen, the nicotine dependency…
    When I saw this adaptation was only 13 episodes, I thought it was a shame as they’d have to drop lots of the quieter, slow character building scenes that don’t move the plot along at all (Lund/Linden’s continuous move postponements, Meyer/Holders family shopping lists, Pernilles/Mitch’s collapse into self destruction, Troels/Richmonds political infighting). But instead they just stop the series half way through the Danish plot, with at least three more people to be main suspect before the final denouement. And don’t get me started on the Lund – Linden transfer – almost a character assassination.
    And I’m really concerned they are going to change the identity of the killer (I won’t spoil it, but at this stage it probably isn’t who you think), which will mean a change in motive, a change in character for Nanna etc.
    All thing’s considered – if you get a chance, beg borrow or steal a copy of the original – yes its 20 hours with no advert breaks. Yes it’s in Danish, a language so difficult it’s like aliens invented it. Yes, it’s dark and it rains a lot. But it is probably the best police drama you’ll ever see.

  8. Me says:

    I loved loved loved the show!!!! It had it all and I cannot wait to see season 2, my whole family has watched, we have even gone on the website. To all the haters of the show, guess what, you do not have to watch, change the channel, but don’t ruin it for us, the viewers that enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next season. As for the whole Holder thing, that was a great shock and twist, but I am invested in him, for one he is grungy but hot and for two he probably has some reason for what he did, and we will forgive him! Sarah is great and the Rosie’s dad is great, I am not a fan of Rosie’s mom and I am sure I will get blasted for this, but oh well… just my opinion

  9. Dam, I really wanted answers has anybody got a copy of season two on the black market! (although it has not come out yet)
    Mabe I should just watch the rest of the Danish version. Great thriller but I cannot stand the wait. I just don’t have the patience. What am I going to do? ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  10. Friso says:

    The Killing is the best thing on TV for years by a long way. Fresh and original. Great acting and excellent casting. The atmosphere and cinematography give the show a realistic gloomy feel to the landscape

    The writers cleverly laid trap we all fell in to in warming to Holder only to be punched in the stomach at the season finale was genius. Leaving us feeling let down by a friend was brave and a very welcome departure from the run of the mill Hollywood endings was refreshing to say the least

    It’s been a while since i have been left wanting more while watching tv. This reminds me of the first time i watched ‘The Silence Of The Lambs’

    I hope the producers change nothing and i am hungry for more of the same. Can’t wait for season two

  11. helend says:

    I watched the finale in the uk a couple of weeks ago and initially was disappointed because i didnt realise there was a 2nd season to come. Now i know this i think it is great. With a 2nd season, who cares if loose ends weren’t tied up from season 1?? For those of you who are moaning – it’s called a cliffhanger! Acting was great. Plot was great. Not trashy or brashy, all to the point. One of the best cop shows for years which actually required brain power to watch and keep up. Hurry up season 2. For those of you who are moaning about cliffhangers and breaks in between seasons and how “people wont be loyal after season one”, who cares? they’ll win some and lose some but thats the case with all programmes.

  12. janicke73 says:

    exactly! unlike some of the other posters on this page (can’t be bothered to read all 12 right now) I don’t care about the crime being unsolved, but was totally thrown by Holder letting us down this way. I personally loved the “missing” episode where he & Linden bonded – though I almost started to fear the writers’ going all cheesy love story (at least this season 8) – & just don’t see how we, or Linden, should be able to forgive him after this?

    I loved almost every moment of the series (that I watched in less than a week) & the only problem was how soapy it (& one of my other summer series, “damages”) made my returning fun favorites like “the mentalist” & “Castle” look. after watching their season premieres I just wanted to go back to hanging with Holder & Linden (albeit _with_ an umbrella & rain gear – I can’t imagine Seattle being thrilled with the portrayal ;) & totally believed every second of it. I’m glad AMC were brave enough to put something this dark on but don’t know that I’ll be able to forgive them if they turn Holder into a bad guy – & I’m not saying that just because I’m a swedish gal with a crush on Kinnaman, I think 8)

  13. janicke73 says:

    eehm, my comment was supposed to be in reply to Owen’s comment – & only to be posted once ;(

  14. Lica says:

    When will season 2 “the killing” start?

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