User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 318 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 318

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  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 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. Expand
  2. 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 and turns its way to its climax.
  3. Apr 4, 2011
    10
    It's an excellent crime drama, bending the genre and beautifully filmed. The performances are also very good, with Billy Campbell, Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman delivering stellar performances. If you want to see something very different from a standard crime show, then you should see this show!
  4. Apr 16, 2011
    9
    This is as close to Twin Peaks as Mad Men is to Bewitched. Don't get me wrong I love Twin Peaks but it had it's limits. The surrealism which endeared so many was eventually it's downfall as it seemed that the writers didn't know what to do with it in the end. The Killing is about stripping a story to its bare bones. Where too many procedural's are on the nose with gory murder details, hero cop posturing and comically insane plot twists, The Killing respects it's audience by not ramming the horror of it all down your throat, devoid of the usual cops show fanfare the show is is harrowing in it's sparseness. There is some excellent acting on display, the understated portrayal of the bereaving family is powerful, their anguish is palpable without being gratuitous or overly intrusive, the investigating detectives are intriguingly intense and truly believable, especially Mireille Enos, who must be using all of four muscles in her face but is wonderfully expressive as the highly dedicated and intuitive Detective Linden. As you would expect from the makers of Mad Men the cinematography is excellent, the action is allowed unfold very naturally, close ups are used sparingly and little of the camera work feels forced or stage. Excellent use of the rain to build atmosphere which acts like a drumbeat never at the fore but always there to remind you an impending crescendo. After only three show it's easily one of the best things to watch on TV hopefully the story arc will maintain itself throughout the season Expand
  5. May 30, 2011
    10
    Easily the best show on TV at the moment... the characters are so well drawn and the acting and production is nothing less than masterful. I am always sad to see each episode end.
  6. Jun 9, 2011
    10
    The critics are right: this one is phenomenal. The pacing, the acting, the story, the music--all of it is top-notch. Dark, moody, intense, and truly entertaining.
  7. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    I watched the entire series and could not wait for each upcoming episode. And the season finale was just the best icing on any cake. Way to finish it. I can't wait for it's return. Yes there is a lot of raining. Yes it's very dark. Yes it's not C.S.I. and it's paced very slowly. It's more like Mystic River in it's plotting. It's extremely depressing at moments. But it's emotionally thorough. It's smart too. The police work seems to me what an exhausting mysterious case would be for a dedicated detective. And I felt compassion for her trying to be a parent and be a dedicated detective. I can understand where people are not interested. It's not just quick resolutions every Night. It's an emotional roller coaster and at times gut-wrenching and challenging. It's everything I would choose over Hawaii-50, C.S.I. or any standard television. I'll be back for sure. Expand
  8. Jun 20, 2011
    10
    Likely to be remembered, ex post facto, as one of the best TV crime dramas ever created - this show is almost cinematic in nature; a great mix of developed characters, intrigue with its narrative and supported by a high quality troupe of actors. Season 1 was simply phenomenal.
  9. Mar 25, 2012
    9
    Amazing show. acting is incredible (with a couple of exceptions). Texture, tension & suspense is internally based and yet so palpable it's uncomfortable at times (in a dramatically good way). It does have somewhat of a similar feel to Rubicon (which I was disappointed they canceled) but with more character development and personal narrative. Extremely compelling "page turner".
  10. Apr 3, 2012
    10
    Frustratingly compelling mystery. Like that long-winded author whose book you just can't put down. Would give it a 9.5, but it's worth rounding up. Superbly acted and very well thought out. It's Breaking Bad for the mystery lovers.
  11. Aug 1, 2012
    10
    This has so far been my all time favorite television show. I honestly think this is better than Lost and Breaking Bad, which or two of my favorite and most critically-acclaimed shows. The Killing is the most suspenseful show I have ever watched, It has produced bigger thrills not even films have given me.BEST SHOW EVER!!!
  12. Mar 26, 2012
    9
    AMC has been crafting beautiful original series' since 2007, and this is no exception. The quiet moments and the darkness define almost all of their dramas, but they are always in original ways. Don Draper staring at trains go by in the darkness, Walter White lighting matches and throwing them into his pool at dawn, Rick Grimes calling Morgan on the radio, and Sarah Linden's hard shell deteriorating watching Stan Larsen scream in anguish, these people know how to hire the people to do a show right. The Killing burns slow, extending every last agonizing detail to the extreme, which brings the acting to the forefront and tests the writers' abilities to capture a moment in someone you'd never be able to see in real life. This is masterful television at its best. Expand
  13. Apr 2, 2012
    10
    The Killing has become my absolute favorite show of all time. I cannot get over its depth and precision. I'm in awe of this series and am grateful for the wonderfully talented actors who bring it to life. I just recently discovered the show a few days before the season two premiere, and I watched the first season in two days. I wish I could watch season two in this way -- waiting between episodes is aggravating to say the very least. Bravo to all who are involved in this series, and I cannot wait for more! Expand
  14. Aug 5, 2013
    10
    Excellent series, beautiful filming, excellent story, very good balance between the protagonists. The performance of Peter Sarsgaard in the 3rd season is impressive.
  15. Apr 15, 2011
    9
    After waiting for months to see at least one version of this European "sensation" I was treated to AMC's American version. So far it's great! I love edgy, gritty, film noir stories, and this one has it in spades. Witht the exception of Michelle Forbes most of the faces are either new or relatively "unknown." although my wife did recognize the main lead as a polygamist wife from "Big Love." This newness helps the series come off as a close copy of the original Danish series, minus the sub titles, which many Americans cannot abide. Filmed in "rainy" Vancouver to appear like "rainy" Seattle, the series slowly moves it's way giving ample time for characters to evolve, and the who dunnit to meander from potential supsect to potential suspect. Atmosphere is the meat, and dialog is the potatoes. I hope the dessert is just as good. Expand
  16. Apr 18, 2011
    9
    Simply amazing! AMC has struck gold with this riveting show. My wife and watched the premier and haven't looked back since. We are both completely absorbed into the characters, setting and mystery. It would truly be a shame to miss this expertly crafted and acted show. Do yourself favor, AMC is allowing you to watch the full 3 hours of the show without commercials on their website. Take advantage, this is one not to missed! Expand
  17. Apr 8, 2011
    10
    Like other AMC ventures, this is a good show so far. I am not a huge fan of crime dramas, but I am a fan of good acting, and "The Killing" has plenty of that. The show is well cast - even the newly promoted homicide detective, played by Joel Kinnaman, seemed a believable sort. I mention him in particular because he does get quite a lot of face time, and his character seems the most out of his element compared to the rest of the characters introduced thus far. The cinematography is exceptional. The scenery, superb. I was a bit irked at the perceived use of emotion inducing imagery meant to stir up feelings in the viewer. This is fine in and of itself, but I found it to be a tad gratuitous. They're really trying hard to tug at those heart strings. Also, there are several slow-panning close up shots of Sarah Linden, played by Mireille Enos, that are reminiscent of a soap opera. This device was used to show how she was analyzing the crime scene or her surroundings, but I found myself shaking my head during those brief parts. Despite those small annoyances, all-in-all this is a good show, one worth giving a shot. Expand
  18. Jul 20, 2011
    10
    The pace is just so well done, that to some people it's "slow". These people who find this show "slow" are the same people that dislike shows like Breaking Bad. It's plot is good, and the character interaction is interesting. the season finale is excellent. I want to know who murdered Rosie Larson.
  19. Apr 7, 2011
    10
    Judging from the first two hours, this is going to be a very, very good series, and possibly one of the best on television. The acting, writing, and cinematography are all top-notch, and the story has the potential to be extremely engaging. It's going to be a slow burn, but, for me, that's part of the appeal. Oh, and bonus points for featuring what might be the most heart-wrenching moment I have ever seen in a television show. Expand
  20. Apr 5, 2011
    10
    AMC has themselves a three-headed monster. First Mad Men, then Breaking Bad, and now The Killing. Believe the hype! Now if season 4 of Breaking Bad would just hurry up and start.
  21. Jun 23, 2011
    9
    The killing has a great plot with only minor flaws. Some acting is mad, i hate Mrs. Larson's acting but its hard to predict whats going to happen next unlike other murder mystery shows. I give it a 9 just because there are minor flaws and some bad acting
  22. May 23, 2011
    10
    While the show starts off as a Twin Peaks knock off with a lot of Mireille Enos staring off into space, it quickly begins to carve out a niche of its own. In a world where TV Crime Dramas are dominated by brash and wise cracking cops, The Killing is a breath of fresh air. It's not a show about solving a murder, but rather and show about how one girl's murder impacts a city. It won't appeal to everyone (or even most people), but for those that it does work for it is fantastic. Expand
  23. Apr 6, 2011
    10
    A truly compelling show and I'll keep on watching. The rainy Northwest backdrop is perfect as this tale unfolds. Great acting and production values. And, as an aside, it's refreshing to see lead characters in gritty jobs who don't all look like they bounce out of bed at 4 am to spend the two hours or so necessary to putting on makeup and so forth. Characters are dressed for the part they are playing. Expand
  24. May 17, 2011
    10
    This show is just amazing. It features one of the best put together cast in recent times. Most of the actors are unknown; but boy can they act! Especially the young actors (Arya and Bran for example), they do a terrific job of playing their roles.
    As the show goes on you sympathize with their characters, you feel what they are going through. The show is full of deceit, backstabbing,
    violence, outstanding dialogues, intriguing characters and much more. I would even go as far as putting this show up with the likes of The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Deadwood and the Shield. It's by far one of the best shows in recent times.

    Of course this show won't appeal to everyone. If you're not into the genre then there's a chance you will not enjoy all other amazing aspects of Game of Thrones.

    A special note should go to the performances of Ned Stark (Sean Bean) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage). Especially the Imp :). He plays his character with so much wit and style that he even outclasses Sean Bean. He's by far the best actor in this series.
    He owns every scene he is in.

    There is however one thing that I dislike about the show and that's King Robert (Mark Addy). I'm sorry but he's the weakest link here.
    Other than that, there's not much to dislike about Game of Thrones.
    I'm always a little sad that I have to wait another week for the next episode! haha.

    oh and I like this show so much that I even went ahead and ordered the books :)
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  25. Apr 22, 2011
    9
    Moody and atmospheric, with some pretty stellar acting, 'The Killing' has an air of melancholy about it that reminds me a lot of the video game, "Hard Rain." Has joined my list of Must-See TV.
  26. Apr 27, 2011
    9
    The Killing retains some of the atmosphere of the original Danish series which sets it apart from the other procedurals out there. Dark and chilly, and with a glyphic central character, it takes a while to draw you in but has the makings of a compelling slow burner.
  27. May 13, 2011
    9
    Good show, but Americans would cheat them self, if they don't watch a subbed version of the original......European, and Scandinavian Drama's are more rough(not more violent), but focuses far more on character development and tries to break barriers.
  28. Jun 3, 2011
    10
    I love this show and can't get enough of it. I can't remember the last time I would watch a show and 45 minutes would literally fly by... I get so sad when it comes to an end every week because I have to wait until the next Sunday. Beautifully written and shot, there better be a second season!
  29. Jun 3, 2011
    10
    The hopelessness that is omnipresent throughout this show was shocking at first, but definitely in a good way. I hadn't seen a show like this before, and, like always, AMC delivers with another terrific drama. The Killing has the same addictive quality as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and The Walking Dead. That being said, if you like any of the aforementioned series and love realistic crime dramas, then you will love this show. Expand
  30. Jun 7, 2011
    9
    @ Why_Not

    I don't think this is Plagiarism. The one element this show shares with Twin Peaks is that the events and characters revolve around the death of one young girl and the investigation to find it's killer, and that's all the two shows have in common. It may only be the second tv show in recent history to use this story mechanic but there have be many books and films that have
    revolved around the death of a young girl and the investigation to find her murderer, would you consider all of them plagiarists? No, of course not because to be plagiarists they would not only need to copy the general storyline they would also need to copy characters, and dialogue. The killing hasn't copied characters from Twin Peaks or dialogue.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I think a lot of the buzz about the show revolves around the overall presentation. The dark feeling, which some have been calling noir, certainly adds some impact to the material. Overall I like the show and I like it's pacing thus far. However I will say that the slow build up means that the audience will be expecting a big payoff at the end of the season which I hope the writers can deliver.
    Expand
  31. Jun 18, 2011
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Sometimes things are so hard (no pun intended). Why do you - Americans- have to re-make a Danish series that was GREAT in every way? I just don't get it. Open your view on the world. Watch a Danish series in a funny language with subtitles. If it happens to be not your cup of tea ... Come to think of it: probably not enough sugar. THE KILLING IS GREAT TELEVISION. Too slow for you? Press fast forward. Too difficult: watch something else. But I pity you. FORBRYDELSEN is the name, top-notch TV is the game. Groetjes Expand
  32. Aug 11, 2011
    9
    I loved The Killing. It is not good like the original Danish TV series, but it was worth-watching, gripping and excellent. The Killing is cold and dark, but in a good way.
  33. Sep 4, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I thought I might get some idea of where the story is heading by watching the Danish version -- NOT! While this may be (roughly) based on the Danish show, it has been redone so that this version is its own show. And, what a show. I love the flawed characters, especially Mirelle Enos. I was disappointed in the last show of the season's ending, but I suspect that was intended even though it may (like the Dexter show when his wife is killed) turn some off. Expand
  34. Sep 26, 2011
    10
    Just started in South Africa - only seen three episodes - great show different than the normal crime show. Slow paced but compelling, hope it contunues to be a good show.
  35. Oct 15, 2011
    10
    I love this show!!!! I read about it after the first season was almost over and saw the cast members and knew I just had to watch it. I watched all the missed episodes in marathon style since with this show there really isn't any other way. The cast is as amazing as i thought they would be and the storyline is excellently written and executed. I will say it was a tad slow going at first, but only the first episode so that the viewers could get all the information needed to continue on. I wasn't sure at first if this was going to be a mini-series or a multiple episode series and I am glad for the latter. I have to say that it is a little ridiculous all the reviews that say how depressing the show is. It's call "The Killing"! Did you think it was going to be a cheerful uplifting comedy?!?!??? It is a depressing concept, but the show is not so much about the killing, but the apprehension of the killer. It is also about how this one event impacts the lives of people who haven't even met each other. Awesome, awesome show and I am sorry to those who gave up on it, you truly missed out on an excellent season. Expand
  36. Sep 8, 2013
    10
    I've seen all 3 series and campaigning for the 4th. Am a Dexter/Breaking Bad sort. This show is under-estimated, and under-marketed. The Killing is possibly the most realistic cop show on TV. I've seen reviews by real life cops who claim they watch this show for that reason. This show goes beyond realism however it draws you in, with surprises after surprises, slowly and surely. It goes beyond cop show cliches of the last decade, an amazing feat to pull off. Both lead characters were well-drawn by the writer and the actors. Enos is an amazing and courageous actress as Linda, possibly the sexiest deliberately-unsexy female cop ever. Kinnaman's Holden has depth, intensity, complexity and a unique brand of humor. The overall atmosphere is somber yet with tenderness. The story is well-paced and surprisingly caring about even the dead characters. The ending for Rosie series 1 & 2 promises surprises and satisfying enough resolution. Highly recommended for the discerning ones who're sick of cop genre cliches and cheap gores. Expand
  37. May 20, 2012
    10
    This show was pretty straightforward at first, and then had you guessing the rest of the time. The pacing was great, the acting was spot on, and the tone of the show matched the subject matter. I was glad that I could watch all of season 1 in one sitting. If I had to wait all week I would freak out. Just like Lost. I am totally looking forward to season 2.
  38. Jul 19, 2013
    9
    solid adaptation of a danish show. it uses the same red herring device of a murder investigation to invesigate the community its set in. a lot of great moments and incredibly well realised tone and world, but increasingly hampered by its need to use the plot to investigate the characters.

    the idea is in line with the wire, but the device and adaptive duty, holds the whole thing back a
    touch.

    even at its worst, its stll easily one of the best things on tv though.
    Expand
  39. Jan 10, 2014
    9
    I didn't know about this series until season 3 was about to air and the show had already been cancelled once. My wife and I decided to binge watch the first season, which turned into the first two seasons because of the way the plot spread out over the two seasons.

    Without a doubt, these two seasons were some of the best TV I've watched in a long time. They were emotionally touchy and
    somewhat emotionally draining because we were able to connect with the characters. I would highly recommend these seasons to anybody.

    The third season was not as good, but was still good TV. I'm saddened that it got cancelled again.
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  40. Jul 15, 2013
    10
    I love this show. Everything about it. It keeps my interest, it's suspenseful, the cast is great! I'm sad to see some of my peers are unhappy about this season. I hope they come back for another season!
  41. Jul 26, 2013
    10
    Great show! Atmospheric, intense, keeps you guessing, love the gloomy cinematography, reminiscent of seven/hannibal...the finale of the first storyline is heartbreaking, still shaking and i finished 3 days ago. 1/2way through season 3, just as good...missing billy campbell though!
  42. Apr 24, 2012
    9
    This isn't the kind of show for those who like fast paced crime drama's that solve their cases in a mere 45 minutes. It's a slow burning show that mirrors real life more then any crime drama before it. I would honestly say the score this show has been given is on the low end. It deserves much higher. The cast and crew behind the show do an outstanding job. The writing is terrific. The images, like for example the weather are used to great affect. The show is set in Seattle, there they happen to get a lot of precipitation but the shows directors wisely use the weather not just for realism. But to showcase the mode and/or tone of this series. The colours are also used brilliantly. Lots of dark colours. Black, blue and grey are often used. They should illustrate to at least the competent viewer that this a show that is bleak. An it tackles hard issues that can make some people uncomfortable. We see throughout the season how this one event has affected lives of so many people. An not just for example the parents but i would dare to say the entire community. The performances are of the highest quality. Especially that of the lead protagonist and the grieving mother, who is a supporting actress on the show. I would say to anyone about to watch this series you're in for superb acting and a meticulous well crafted story line with many twists and turns in it. Expand
  43. Mar 25, 2014
    9
    Great show. There were times when I saw a plot twist coming from a mile away but the acting, cinematography, dialogue and overall writing is superb. I would say it is better than Sherlock in every way except the main characters' charisma but the plot is just a step behind Wallander. But if you liked either one of those shows The Killing is a must watch.
  44. Jun 24, 2014
    9
    A great first season to this sad and dark show. The characters are very interesting and so is the plot. I was okay with the case not being resolved in the first season
  45. Jan 27, 2014
    10
    One of the best shows on TV, very underrated, i've rarely enjoyed a show as much as i did the first case (seasons 1 & 2), better to watch in a bundle though if you get them on DVD, the 3rd season was a new case and also great viewing, i'm very disappointed that all we are getting is a short 4th and final season, this show deserves so much more, as do the characters of Holder/Linden who are played xecellently by the two leads, it's much better than 90% of the shows on tv today Expand
  46. Aug 3, 2014
    10
    Season 4 wrap was perfect. I almost gave up on Season 1, but the characters, Holder in particular, brought me back. Season 3 was so much better than first two seasons. The character of Bullet gave the series someone to care about and took the performances to another level. Season 4 gave us the ending we needed.
  47. Aug 3, 2014
    10
    The acting is great. The photography is superb; great close-ups and panorama shots. That blue-grayish tone goes really well with the storyline.

    It's a shame the show cannot continue. The two actors are great working together, too bad they were found for a mini-series of limited episodes. They could had become an excellent TV series of many seasons.
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: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 7, 2011
    80
    Sharply contrasting with the florid Borgias is AMC's emotionally spare and atmospherically dank series The Killing.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.