A few nights ago, AMC aired the final episode of the first season of the formerly critically acclaimed
television series, The Killing
. Based off of the highly regarded Danish television series Forbrydelsen
, the show centered around two homicide detectives investigating the murder of a seemingly innocent high school girl in Seattle. Heavily marketed with the tagline "Who Killed Rosie Larsen?", the show's finale sparked a nearly unprecedented degree of outrage among television critics, with some going so far as to call it "the worst season finale of all time."
[assume SPOILERS in all links and below the fold]
Much of the ire came from the critics' assumption - and growing desire - that Rosie's killer would be revealed in the season finale, as was the case in the Danish version. Instead, the writers included a final plot twist that cast doubt on the guilt of the show's suspected perp and implicated the show's most likeable character in a (possible) mass conspiracy.
Reaction was harsh.
Bill Simmons in Grantland
: "I can't remember a single show damaging a network's brand this severely, to the point that AMC either needs to apologize, offer the entire Breaking Bad series on DVD for 85 percent off, or even publicly distance itself from the show the same way a sports team distances itself from a star player who does something horrible."
Alan Sepinwall at hitfix.com
: "[the finale] is a mess, and an insult to the audience who have stuck around for the last three months. And based on my conversation with Sud, it sounds like we're getting more of the same next year. So this will be the last review I write of The Killing
, because this will be the last time I watch The Killing
. Because I have no interest in going forward with a show that treats its audience this way.
Andy Greenwald in New York Magazine
: ". . . all of this led to a finale that spat in the face of convention, logic, and the audience. There was tone of condescension about this entire project from the start — all the talk of defying audience expectations, of how the writers would sort of 'figure out' the killer’s identity as they went along. All of this reeked of poorly thought out elitism, like a college freshman clutching a half-read copy of Siddartha and explaining to everyone how they just 'don’t get it, man.'"
Todd VanDerWerff in the LA Times
: ". . . one of the most frustrating season finales in TV history."
And the Onion AV club, in another critical review, outlines the show's various red herrings, unlikely coincidences, and fabulous plot points that don't add up.
In the midst of such vitriol, showrunner Veena Sud gives an interview
in which she states "We never said you'll get closure at the end of season 1. We said from the very beginning this is the anti-cop cop show. It's a show where nothing is what it seems, so throw out expectations. We will not tie up this show in a bow. There are plenty of shows that do that, in 45 minutes or whatever amount of time, where that is expected and the audience can rest assured that at the end of blank, they will be happy and they can walk away from their TV satisfied. This is not that show."
Somehow, though, the showrunner's claim that the audience would not get closure did not reach Ginia Bellafante at the New York Times, who wrote on Sunday evening that An Obsessive Killer is Revealed in a Stylish Whodunit
. Accused of writing a review without even actually watching the final episode, Bellafante dug in and wrote a defense of her article, stating that it is clear to her who the killer is.