Who killed Rosie Larsen? This is the question that the entire first series of The Killing ponders.
When 17 year old Rosie Larsen is found dead in the boot of a car in a lake Detective Sarah Linden with her new, slightly junkie-just-holding-it-together-as-a-professional-and-being-creepy partner Stephen Holder set about investigating. Each episode represents one day in Rosie Larsen's murder case and tells the story of multiple groups affected by the girl's death from the police, to politicians, to her brilliantly acted grieving parents.
The show has no CSI flash and pizzazz, it is depressing, it moves slowly, it has no gun fights or car chases, no sexy goth lab assistants with mild Aspergers, and you constantly have the feeling you're being played with. It's fucking brilliant.
You can't solve a murder in 60 minutes with some fancy light that finds semen and hot girls in lab coats. A 17 year old girl is dead, of course it's depressing. It moves slowly because the pace of each episode is so intricately balanced - you see the slow drawn out process of investigation and the way it relies on people not gadgets or chasing down bad guys. The characters are deep, layered human beings with real emotions. And the way you constantly feel one step behind until another revelation is sprung on you is a pleasure. It's that beautiful feeling of "getting the twist" again and again.
The show definitely draws comparisons with The Wire, another stellar piece of television that takes the shine of police work and draws single investigations out over an entire series. Not everyone will agree with me, my girlfriend made this clear when I made this statement to her, but I think The Killing is better. There is just something about this bleak show that grabs me by the balls each episode and gently squeezes until I watch another one.
Do yourself a favour and check out The Killing it's Good Stuff. The scene in the show's first episode when Rosie's parents learn of the discovery of their daughter's body is one of the best, emotionally gut wrenching pieces of television I've seen in a long, long time.