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.

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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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