Season #: 1, 2, 3, 4
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 29 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 29
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 29
  3. Negative: 0 out of 29
  1. Reviewed by: Matthew Gilbert
    Apr 1, 2011
    90
    The Killing quickly hooks you with its steadily unfolding story line. Created by Veena Sud, based on a Danish TV hit named "Forbrydelsen," the show draws you into the tragedy of the crime, and then makes you crave its solution.
  2. Reviewed by: Mark A. Perigard
    Apr 4, 2011
    91
    This is no CBS crime procedural, and viewers deserve the chance to delve into this smart mystery for themselves.
  3. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Apr 1, 2011
    88
    With their moody new mystery series The Killing, AMC clearly knows what's good for us.
  4. Reviewed by: Ken Tucker
    Mar 23, 2011
    83
    Some viewers may find The Killing a little too cold and deliberate, but give it time. Its intensity builds steadily, giving the series unexpected power.
  5. Reviewed by: Alan Sepinwall
    Apr 1, 2011
    70
    So the atmosphere and central performances feel worthy of telling one story over 13 hours. My concern is whether the story can say the same.
  6. Reviewed by: Mary McNamara
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    A show that is visually poetic, normatively compelling and, most important, sustainable for a good long haul.
  7. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 7, 2011
    80
    Sharply contrasting with the florid Borgias is AMC's emotionally spare and atmospherically dank series The Killing.
  8. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    The Killing marks another bull's-eye for AMC in presenting complex, literate, well-crafted television.
  9. Reviewed by: Linda Stasi
    Mar 30, 2011
    100
    A bleak, slow-moving, humorless show that is still so good that you will be angry every time an episode ends.
  10. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    Mar 31, 2011
    91
    Smart new cop show that takes time to build, but will reward patience.
  11. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Mar 29, 2011
    75
    As lead detective, Mireille Enos is terrific and makes up for the sense that we're revisiting terrain already covered--and reduced to parody--by Twin Peaks. [11 Apr 2011, p.46]
  12. Reviewed by: Ellen Gray
    Mar 31, 2011
    80
    The best reason for tuning in to The Killing is that it might re-sensitize those who've seen one too many episodes of "Criminal Minds"--or overdosed on local news.
  13. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Apr 4, 2011
    90
    The Killing is also the least prepossessing, an eerily quiet, yet compelling and complex, tale of the way the murder of a teenager affects the lives of many people.
  14. Reviewed by: Rob Owen
    Apr 4, 2011
    90
    Even on the rare occasions when those shows [like CSI or Law & Order] tell stories involving the death of a child, they're almost never as raw, palpable and grim as The Killing, an engrossing, well-made drama series that viewers should embrace despite its tough subject matter.
  15. Reviewed by: Cynthia Fuchs
    Apr 4, 2011
    80
    If the premise is standard--an excellent cop is dragged back in, just when she's headed out, in this case, from the Northwest's renowned rain to California's sunshine--the details are insistently odd and creepy.
  16. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Mar 31, 2011
    80
    As adapted, produced and written for the screen by Veena Sud (creator of "Cold Case"), it's a subtle piece of work.
  17. Reviewed by: Phillip Maciak
    Mar 31, 2011
    75
    The Killing is both new and old, on-trend and deeply unfashionable. But, throughout the first couple of episodes, we watch as the show masterfully transforms its anxiety of influence into a propulsive anxiety.
  18. Reviewed by: Troy Patterson
    Apr 5, 2011
    80
    In the suspenseful early hours of The Killing, Rosie's family goes about its bereavement in muted tones, and a subplot about a mayoral candidate drawn into the crime's eccentric orbit flashes with potential, and, primarily, our expectations for cop shows are teased, gratified, and artfully upended.
  19. Reviewed by: Tim Goodman
    Mar 30, 2011
    90
    The series is excellent, absorbing and addictive. When each episode ends, you long for the next--a hallmark of great dramas.
  20. Reviewed by: Maureen Ryan
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    Like 'Breaking Bad,' 'Mad Men' and 'The Walking Dead,' The Killing uses savvy aesthetic choices and minimalist but effective acting to create a vibe and tell a story with an irresistible undertow of forward momentum.
  21. Reviewed by: Alessandra Stanley
    Apr 1, 2011
    90
    The Killing is as bleak and oppressive as any, but it's so well told that it's almost heartening.
  22. Reviewed by: James Poniewozik
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    The Killing itself is a slow burn, or rather drizzle. Three episodes in, I can tell you that I'm drawn in by the characters and eager to see a fourth; I can't guess whether the story is finally going to be satisfying, and the show is deliberate and sparing in parceling out details on the case.
  23. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    The Killing is deliberately paced, but creepily engrossing in a way that may take the audience by surprise.
  24. Reviewed by: Ed Bark
    Mar 31, 2011
    91
    The disparate detectives of The Killing may have their own means and methods of getting to the bottom of this. But the overall air of believability is palpable from the start. All the better for taking a deep breath and diving right in.
  25. Reviewed by: Robert Bianco
    Mar 31, 2011
    100
    What sets The Killing apart are its steady sense of dread, its dense atmospherics--that feeling that rain may at any moment pour from our sets--and its beautifully drawn characters.
  26. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Apr 1, 2011
    80
    There's considerable strength in the performances (Forbes and Sexton are especially good), while delivering a reminder how TV can tease out such a narrative in a way almost no other medium can.
  27. Reviewed by: Dorothy Rabinowitz
    Apr 1, 2011
    90
    What distinguishes this drama from countless mysteries about missing young women gone to terrifying deaths is the unrelenting focus, complex and haunting, on the family left behind. A riveting tale with a hunt for the killer that's no less compelling.
  28. Reviewed by: Hank Stuever
    Apr 4, 2011
    80
    I trust completely the template laid out for The Killing by the original "Forbrydelsen" (which I've not seen) and the artistic instincts evident in the first three episodes.
  29. Reviewed by: Rick Porter
    Apr 4, 2011
    80
    There aren't a lot of hints as to whodunit by the end of the first three episodes, but the accumulation of these little things adds up to a very engrossing story.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 343 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 65 out of 87
  2. Negative: 11 out of 87
  1. Apr 5, 2011
    10
    The critics have it right this time: "The Killing" is compelling television. Subtle and intricate without ever seeming slow, the seriesThe critics have it right this time: "The Killing" is compelling television. Subtle and intricate without ever seeming slow, the series manages something rarely seen outside of Shakespeare: the sense of a single death having tainted an entire city, from the corridors of power to the hallways of the local high school, even the weather. Normally, I'm annoyed when the media depict Seattle as a place of hard rain, as its precipitation falls mostly as drizzle, but the torrents have a role to play in the series, not as pathetic fallacy, but as something apocalyptic, nature out of control and dangerous. As for more conventional role-playing, I can't cheer loudly enough about the casting, especially the two lead detectives. Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman give unusually raw, intelligent performances, demonstrating by contrast how used to bad acting we've become here in the US. Enos's senior detective, divided between longing for a gentler life and intimacy with violent death, serves as a master class in restraint, hinting at depths of understanding and compassion while maintaining the hard surface the job requires. Kinnaman's young gun is more brash, a badge-wearing bad boy emboldened by success working undercover narcotics and willing to cross ethical lines to solve cases. She's a little bit frumpy, and he's a little bit sleazy, which is brave and absolutely perfect. I'll admit, I don't see much of "Twin Peaks" here, outside the fact that the plot revolves around the body of a murdered girl in water. But "The Killing" lacks TP's quirky characters and fascination with the surreal, and its metaphysics are more "King Lear" than "The Lotus Sutra." The two series do have in common a respect for viewers' intelligence and for the artistic achievement possible in television when those involved are willing to take some real risks. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Full Review »
  2. Apr 22, 2011
    3
    This show didn't appeal to me. I watched the first half of the hour-and-a-half long pilot and I was bored. Some parts of it were thrilling butThis show didn't appeal to me. I watched the first half of the hour-and-a-half long pilot and I was bored. Some parts of it were thrilling but overall, it was simply too slow and too long to my taste. I feel like nothing happened in the 45 first minutes and I really wasn't caught up in the show. Under the pretense of realism and suspense, the show delivers boredom and depression. Don't watch it -- or if you do, you've been warned. Full Review »
  3. Apr 4, 2011
    10
    Scandinavian noir at its very best. Original and compelling the best TV since The Wire. The acting is excellent and the story twists andScandinavian noir at its very best. Original and compelling the best TV since The Wire. The acting is excellent and the story twists and turns its way to its climax. Full Review »