As you maybe noticed, we are BIG murder mystery fans over here at BYT. Shut up. It is a totally valid hobby. We are also big fans of streaming television. So, when Netflix announced that they would be taking the much-maligned, often frustrating, but at-times-brilliant The Killing off of AMC’s hands and producing their season 4 as one of their original programs – we were intrigued.
And, maybe because we’re into potentially punishing ourselves more than most, we watched it right after it premiered this weekend. And what can we say – it was good. And here is why (in bullet point form, since we know you are maybe not quite as much into wasting your time as we are).
PREVIOUS PROBLEMS WITH THE KILLING INCLUDED:
- The goddamn over-extended, never-ending Rosie Larsen murder mystery which spanned seasons 1 and 2 – 21 episodes or so
- The Bait-and-Switch attitude of Season 3 which started promisingly but lost steam substantially towards the end
Well, mainly those two problems. But those problems were enough and viewers petered away as if the show was trying to purposefully alienate them.
Netflix taking a chance on this number was a risk but they delivered and did so in these easy-to-follow steps:
- Season 4 is only 6 episodes long, and therefore more in line with the European and British Murdery Mystery mini-series formats (think The Fall, Top Of The Lake, Bletchley Circle...) which also means: leaner, tighter and yes, RESOLVED IN 6 SHORT HOURS. #GRATIFICATION.
- The murder, after the seasons 1-3 youth obsessed crimes is this time around more family centric and while deeply grisly, decidedly more upscale (the family is rich, the setting for most interrogations is a rich kids private army academy, with all the hazing, secrets and secret hazing that goes with the territory- a nice turn, especially after all the pure, unadulterated street kid despair of season 3.
- The writing is a good balance of snappy AND gritty and the wink worthy references range from Carrie (in a particularly memorable all-male shower scene) to To Kill A Mockingbird (after interviewing a witness, Linden asks Holder for his thoughts and he quips: “Think Boo Radley over there is one sunny day away from cutting his ear off”).
- Jonathan Demme, AKA “the man who brought us Silence of the Lambs and therefore knows a things or two about a well built atmospheric pot boiler,” is directing. Jonathan Demme! It shows!
- Billy Campbell is back. In a wheelchair. Somehow more threatening than when not in a wheelchair.
- The supporting cast is amazing (Joan Allen! We’ve missed you!) and the cameos are even more amazing (Patti Smith everyone! I am pretty sure that was Patti Smith. (It was! -ed.)). I swear Netflix uses some “most searched people whose movies WE DON’T have on Instant” algorhythm to cast these.
- The Holder – Linden dynamic operates on two levels – the family one (all the more poignant given the nature of the crime at hand) and also in resolution to the dark secret they are carrying over from season 3 (no worries if you didn’t finish season 3, you’ll get it all fast enough)
- But mainly, it is 6 episodes long. Perfect for one lazy afternoon-into-evening-sit down (pray for rain this weekend?) binge watch that you KNOW is not going to leave you hanging.
Do it. I know it may be hard to trust us on this one, but do it.