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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Aug 05, 2014
Headline for There is No Bad Guy: 10 Reasons why "The Killing" is Captivating
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There is No Bad Guy: 10 Reasons why "The Killing" is Captivating

"The Killing" is a crime drama that started on the AMC in 2011 and finished on Netflix this month. It had a rocky history as a television show that had to fight to be aired, but this story of two complicated detectives trying to solve brutal murders is dynamic and honest. The grey covered sky is not only part of the landscape, but also exits in the blurring of black and white morality, and the inner lives of the characters.

1

Partnership

Partnership

Detectives Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder have a complicated relationship. With all that time in a car together life stories will be told, secrets will be spilled, and fights will be had. A partnership like theirs is set up by a justice system with the goal of solving a case in mind, but human beings are connected to each other through interaction and experiences. Linden and Holder unfold in front of us as characters in their conversations with each other. They are broken anti-heroes, and they need one another.

2

Flaws

Flaws

Sarah Linden is one of the most captivating characters I've ever seen on the television. Finally, there's a female character who is fully developed, well thought out, and not all consumed by romantic love and finding a man. She is flawed in ways that make her believable as a human being with a real history. Her choices are made with her anxieties written all over her face.

3

Grey Area

Grey Area

In the final episode, Holder asks Linden about finding the bad guy and she replies with "there is no bad guy". The choices that were made by both these characters personally and professionally were rarely clean cut. That is true to life. A badge is a symbol, but it has no control over the complicated outcomes of the decisions that are made. The bad/good dichotomy never sits in one spot, the line gets blurry, and the definitions change with society.

4

Systems and Structures

Systems and Structures

Linden and Holder work under a state apparatus that enforces laws and abides by strict rules and structures. These are made to restrict and control, but these detectives push the boundaries by using methods outside the books. When dealing with human activity, the lines drawn on paper don't apply, and there is a world outside of the police station.

5

The Weather

The Weather

Everything is damp. The entire story is covered in rain clouds that reflect the greyness of the feeling and morality that dominates this narrative. The city isn't covered by any oppressive heat, but a wet coolness that changes the tint and doesn't restrict movement like any snow or sunburn. Secrets are buried in mud and water.

6

Reflections

Reflections

The one-way mirror, the cracked mirror, and the reflection on the water, all make Linden stop for a moment. In the relief from her tunnel vision, she sees herself in different pieces. The mirror is a reflection based on reality and what you want to see, but it is also a brief moment for inner reflection and a shot back into reality for this detective. The mirror gives you what you think the other sees.

7

The Mind

The Mind

Linden and Holder push their struggles into the back of their minds for the sake of their work. The system expects them to act as machines, but like the bodies that go missing, their issues come back to the surface at some point. Holder's drug addictions and Linden's family problems break free in outbursts of emotion and irrationality. Detachment is only an illusion.

8

Misery

Misery

Linden carries a sadness, but it's not pure negativity. She isn't on some absurd ideological search for happiness, she's living her life the best way she knows how, and the outcome is what it is. There are times when the darkness seems like it will never clear, but regardless, she does not budge. By the end, she knows where she belongs.

9

Power

Power

There are obvious power struggles in this story. There's a struggle between the detectives and their higher ups, the military, politicians, and so on. There is also a power struggle with who gets to tell their version of the truth. Justice is defined by the people with the power. Linden and Holder have tension between each other in the secrets they have to keep, making the struggle a a very close one.

10

Rawness

Rawness

Everything about this show is scraped clean of superficial B.S. It doesn't play the game of good vs. evil, but instead details the aftermath of a life (or lives) lost and how we cope as individuals, communities, and society as a whole. The powerful falter and the honest reveal their lies. There isn't a category we can place someone in and feel secure about it.