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 The Danish original is under Forbrydelsen. If your moody sweater-wearing detective has black hair, follow the link.

File:The-killing-amc 3046.jpg

The Killing is an American crime drama airing on AMC based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen (literally translates The Crime but marketed to English-speaking territories as The Killing). Each arc focuses on one crime with each episode devoted to one day in the investigation. Set in Seattle, Washington, the first arc (broken into two half-seasons) focuses on the murder of Rosie Larsen, from three different perspectives:

Detective Sarah Linden was about to move to San Francisco, but the grisly crime persuades her to stick around and solve it herself, accompanied by her would-be replacement, Stephen Holder.

Rosie's parents, Stanley and Mitch, try to move on with their lives to the best of their ability, but it's far easier said than done.

Mayoral candidate Darren Richmond makes the case an important part of his campaign, declaring that this kind of crime will not happen on his watch. But along with the tactic comes struggles with his conscience over exploiting the tragedy.


The Killing provides examples of:

  • Artistic License Geography: The Blue Moon bar is a real place, as mentioned below (See Did the Research), but it's in Seattle, not Tukwila.
  • Bottle Episode: "Missing"
  • Cliff Hanger: Who killed Rosie Larsen?
  • The Cobbler's Children Have No Shoes: Several people point out that Linden is neglecting her own son, leaving him alone for extended periods of time, in order to try and discover the murderer.
  • Cryptic Background Reference: People close to Linden are routinely bringing up events in her life and past cases which hint that they have a reason to worry about her getting too involved in the Larsen case.
  • Did the Research: Jasper says that during the night of the crime, he was at a bar called the Blue Moon in Tukwila. There actually is a Blue Moon Tavern in Washington.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Linden leaves Stanley and Mitch in her office, not noticing that the door to the evidence room across the hall is open. By the time she gets back, they've gotten a thorough education in the hell their daughter went through before she died.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Rosie Larsen is dead.
  • 555
  • Foregone Conclusion
  • Functional Addict: Kris, the resident drug dealer, hints that Holder might be a junkie as well. The only reason he qualifies as this is that they have yet to show him do drugs on-screen. Turns out the reason for that is that he's a functional ex-addict. He's been in a Narcotics Anonymous program for six months.
  • Gender Blender Name: Rosie's mother Mitch (short for Michelle), and her friend Sterling. Also Reggie, Linden's houseboat-dwelling female friend.
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: Linden and Holder. Lampshaded.
  • Grey Rain of Depression: A given in Seattle.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Councilman Richmond and his late wife met at Dartmouth.
  • Lady Macbeth: Mitch to Stan which lands him in jail when she pushes him to pursue Ahmed after the police let him go.
  • Last-Name Basis: Linden and Holder.
  • Maligned Mixed Marriage: Mr. and Mrs. Ahmed. Her racist family doesn't approve.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: An imam notes that the cops are looking a lot harder for Rosie Larsen's killer than for a missing Muslim girl. Possibly justified by Linden's Mysterious Past and the fact that Linden is a homicide detective, meaning a girl who is only classified as missing wouldn't fall under her caseload, regardless of her ethnicity.
  • The Mole: There is one in Richmond's campaign. Also Holder, but he turned out to be a Subversion when it was revealed that he had no idea that the photo implicating Richmond was fake.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: There ha ve been hints that Linden sees the case this way.
  • Not So Stoic: Linden flips her lid when Holder gets attacked on the Indian reservation and her boss won't authorize a search party.
  • Rasputinian Death: The titular killing, which even ends in drowning.
  • Red Herring: Too many to count- the first season is just an endless string of these. possible Deconstruction; following up on all these false leads causes severe consequences for many people, and the Chief puts them on a much shorter leash after all their mistakes.
  • Retirony: A non-fatal version; Linden is about to leave for California the day the Rosie Larson case begins.
  • The Remake: Of a smash-hit Danish show.
    • With some scenes that are pretty much identical to the Danish version.
  • Scary Minority Suspect: The Somali teacher.
  • Seattle
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: Holder and a fellow officer are hotly debating whether or not hamburger pickles count as vegetables when Belko tries to break out of confinement with a gun and takes a hostage.
  • Sleazy Politician: Richmond zigzags on this trope as the series progresses.
    • Played straight with his campaign manager Jamie, a ruthless shark who heartlessly sets to coming up with ways to exploit Rosie's murder to win the election. And the current mayor does quite a few low blows himself, culminating in apparently framing Richmond for the murder by tampering with evidence.
      • Jamie is anything but sleazy. Jamie suggested giving the press a release so that it wouldn't look like the Richmond campaign was hiding anything. There was never a way to exploit the situation to help the campaign. Jamie was just trying to not let it kill the campaign. I hardly think that makes him a terrible person.
  • The Stoic: Linden
  • Sweater Girl: Linden!
    • In fact wearing the same type of sweater as her Danish counterpart, Sarah Lund.
  • The Unintelligible: Holden frequently borders on this...
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Poor Jamie.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Stan gives Mitch one when she lays into him for attacking Bennett, reminding her that he only did it because she pushed him to it.
  • You Just Told Me: How Linden tricks Richmond into revealing that he had someone watching them while they were investigating the school.
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