SEE THIS :: THESE ARE SPOILERS (BELOW)
About the Show: The first season of The Killing is set in Seattle, Washington, and follows the investigation into the murder of local teenager Rosie Larsen, with each episode covering approximately 24 hours. The first season covers the first two weeks of the investigation and has three main story-lines: the police investigation into Rosie’s murder, the attempts of her family to deal with their grief, and the fluctuating electoral fortunes of a political campaign that becomes embroiled in the case.
Episode Synopsis: At Fort Washington High, Detective Linden discovers a peephole in “The Cage“. It is revealed by the school’s Principal that only she and the school janitor, Lyndon Johnson Rosales, have a key. The peephole provides a clear view of “The Cage“.
Later, Oakes asks Sarah to remain on the case through the end of the week because he does not have confidence in Holder’s ability to control things as they continue to unfold (even though it was Holder who found “The Cage“). Oakes manipulates Sarah, but she also allows herself to be manipulated into staying.
Holder boasts to Sarah about finding the crime scene. She dismisses it as an assumption and orders him to stop intimidating suspects.
In Rosales’ apartment, Holder distracts the mother while Sarah explores. When she notices a teen-themed porn magazine on the floor, Rosales comes up behind her and slashes her arm with a knife. Holder rushes him, with gun drawn, while Sarah pleads with Rosales that they just want to talk to him. He jumps out the window. At the hospital, Rosales is diagnosed with a skull fracture and rushed into surgery. While a medic stitches and bandages Sarah’s arm, Holder lists the suspect’s priors that include various sexual crimes (indecent exposure, child molestation). He also notes that this suspect has an alibi: picked up for a DUI the night of the murder, spending that Friday night in the drunk tank. In his hospital room, Sarah questions Rosales. He confirms seeing Rosie, but not Jasper, at the Halloween dance. Pointing to a yearbook photo of Kris Echols, Rosales whispers, “El diablo (note episode title).”
Reporters surround mayoral candidate Richmond, all of them asking about the Rosie Larsen case. He insists that the case is not about politics. Councilwoman Yitanes calls Richmond a liar and says she’s withdrawing her endorsement.
At City Hall, Mayor Adams offers to endorse Richmond in four years, if he abandons his current campaign, and hints that the police had informed him about the discovery of Rosie in a campaign car. Later, Richmond tells Sarah about the Rosie press leak, but she denies the police as the source. He then meets secretly with Nathan, who clears Jamie and Gwen of campaign car press leak but produces an office e-mail showing who leaked the Yitanes endorsement to the press. Richmond shows Gwen the e-mail — Jamie is the leak.
In Richmond’s office, Jamie comes up with a plan to win back Yitanes’s endorsement by offering her husband a city plumbing contract. Gwen then accuses him of being the Yitanes leak. He claims that his computer was hacked, then accuses Richmond of letting sex cloud his judgment and leaves. Yitanes enters Richmond’s office, confronting him about his suggesting to the press that she’ll still endorse him. Richmond offers her the contracting deal in return for her support. She later officially endorses Richmond during a press conference as Jamie quietly leaves the office with a box of his belongings under his arm.
Holder tells Oakes and Sarah about Kris, a runaway expelled from high school and Jasper’s best friend. Reviewing video from the dance, Sarah notices someone wearing a devil’s mask. She whispers, “El diablo.” While visiting the Larsens, she reveals that Rosie’s cause of death was drowning, then learns that Kris lived nearby until three years ago. At the police station, Kris’s mother admits to Holder that she gave up on her son, adding that he mainly hangs out at a skateboard park.
At the skate park, Holder smokes a joint and talks with a teenage girl, who confirms that Kris is a regular there. Returning to the car and reeking of smoke, Holder assures Sarah that what he is smoking is “narcscent“, a substitute that narcotics officers use that looks, smells, and tastes like marijuana.
After noticing that the skate park is within walking distance to the Richmond campaign office’s parking lot, Sarah wonders if Kris stole the campaign car. Holder later spots Kris, pins him down, and asks if he caused Rosie to overdose. Sarah tells Holder to release Kris.
Later, outside the school, Kris accuses Jasper of telling the police they were at the dance. Watching from a distance, Sarah notes to Holder that Rosie wouldn’t have entered ‘The Cage‘ with Kris, but would have with someone she trusted, “like Jasper.”
Inside, after confiscating a cell phone from a student, a teacher later hears it ring. While trying to silence it, he starts a video. At the police station, Sarah, Oakes, and Holder watch the cell-phone video. The footage shows a male, wearing a devil’s mask, forcing himself on a girl in a pink wig and a witch costume. The male mentions Rosie’s name. When the devil’s mask is taken off, the male is revealed to be Jasper. Jasper then switches roles with the cameraman, who turns out to be Kris. Oakes tells his detectives to bring in both boys.
At the Larsen’s apartment, father Stan and the boys try to sustain normality, but Mitch is not doing well. After sleeping in a near comatose state in Rosie’s bed, she wakes to the sound of Rosie’s voice on their answering machine, which nearly breaks her completely. Later we see her in the bath, holding herself underwater as long as she can, until she violently sits up, gasping for air, then collapsing over the side of the tub, sobbing uncontrollably.
My thoughts in three sentences: My first thought is that the episodes go by faster than the hour length that they are, I am so engrossed in the story that when the screen goes dark, and the credits begin to roll I am both shocked and dismayed, wanting more of the story. I find Sarah such an interesting character, seemingly so focused on her job, and so removed from her fiance and son. Holder is still my favorite, so unorthodox and almost shady at times, though completely persistent with solving the case – I want to know so much more about him.
Best: Holder’s mystery and dark edges, Sarah’s brooding silences and focus, and to some extent the Larsen’s, especially the Father, who my heart goes out to in his efforts to keep the household going, and be the rock for his wife and sons. I love, too, how I am still so much in the dark of where this is going – in the very best way.
Worst: Have I mentioned not having either a) longer episodes, or b) more time to watch more episodes?
My predictions: Jamie isn’t the leak and Gwen is untrustworthy. The boys, Kris and Jasper, didn’t kill Rosie. I think they were making a video for someone(s) and that Rosie was in on the production. Oh, and I think Holder isn’t smoking fake pot at all.
Rating (out of 5): 5+