5 keys to ‘the Killing’, the television ‘Seven’ that comes to Disney +

Disney + adds to its catalog the four seasons of ‘The Killing’, the North American adaptation of one of the greats of ‘Nordic Noir’. We review the keys that made this version one of the best criminal series that have reached our screens in recent years.

By Series lists – 29 Jul 2021

Bail, Source / Broen and The crime. For many, the Holy Trinity of the ‘nordic noir’. Three series that made the genre a worldwide phenomenon. So much so that the success of the latter, released in 2007, caught the attention of the Hollywood industry, who, through an AMC that was taking its first steps, he ended up adapting it from the hand of Veena Sud, then scriptwriter of the crime drama open case, starring Kathryn Morris.

The Yankee version of The Killing tells the story of the brutal murder of young Rosie Larson in a lake outside Seattle. Leading the investigation are Agents Linden and Holder, who will witness how the case grows more and more thorny as they delve into its depths. And the evidence suggests that death could be related to high places and some kind of dark interest.

Taking advantage of the fact that La Casa del Ratón has decided to re-fish it for its catalog, the Serielistas newsroom has analyzed the keys that have made The Killing on one of the most exhilarating crime series of the past decade. The reasons are many: from its original narrative structure to the gloomy of its setting, passing through its slow and phlegmatic rhythm.

‘The crime’ a la americana

‘The Killing’ is the North American version of ‘Forbrydelsen’.

American television has always had the sanctuary of not knowing how to successfully adapt foreign series, especially British ones. The Killing is one of the exceptions. Among the keys that have allowed it to become a great adaptation is the fact of scrupulously respecting the previous material. What’s more, during the first episodes, the series is a copy of the Danish one. It is not until the middle of the first season when the differences begin to be seen, but always to add details that enrich the main plot and without deviating from the original story.

The legacy of ‘nordic-noir’

The claustrophobic landscape of 'The Killing' brings an unmistakable stamp to the series.
The claustrophobic landscape of ‘The Killing’ brings an unmistakable stamp to the series.

Despite the fact that the adaptation of Veena Sud changes Copenhagen for Seattle, the series remains faithful to its Scandinavian origin and, in addition, expresses one of the hallmarks of ‘Nordic-noir’: the dark and suffocating setting. In fact, as it happens in titles like Source / Broen O Trapped, here, that oppressive atmosphere, marked by a dense and constant rain and a slow narrative tempo, takes on a special role, to the point of turning the stage into one more character in the story.

Who Killed … Rosie Larson?

The unforgettable 'Twin Peaks' greatly influenced Veena Sud's version.
The unforgettable ‘Twin Peaks’ greatly influenced Veena Sud’s version.

Another of the keys to its success were its references. The Killing did not want to be a police procedural more, but preferred to get closer to products such as Seven or own Twin Peaks. Saving the distances, the series is reminiscent at times of David Lynch’s thriller, of which it tries to emulate above all its humid and heavy setting. Its influence on where it puts the focus is also noticeable: Sud knows the importance of knowing the murderer of Rosie Larson, but gives even more prominence to the family’s grief, exploring the consequences from the victims and their circumstances, and how to try to get ahead when tragedy has collapsed your life.

A very peculiar narrative structure

The narrative structure of 'The Killing' contributes to the audience's immersion in the story.
The narrative structure of ‘The Killing’ contributes to the audience’s immersion in the story.

There are some with linear, inverse plots, and some even mess up the events in order to create an even more complex puzzle. When telling your story, The Killing it is quite traditional; even so, It has a very interesting peculiarity, and that is that the plot is divided into calendar days, so each episode corresponds to one day in the investigation. With 26 episodes in total, the plot takes place literally in 26 days, the time that passes from the discovery of the body to the date the mayoral candidates are voted on.

Imperfect protagonists

The characters of Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman stand out for their three-dimensionality.
The characters of Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman stand out for their three-dimensionality.

It is another of the legacies of the ‘nordic-noir’. The complex personalities of Detectives Linden and Holder fit in with the Scandinavian tradition of placing imperfect characters at the center of the tale. She is cold and selfish; him, informal and arrogant. Both are very far from the classic and immaculate hero prototype, settling to be, luckily, authentic antiheroes full of contradictions and whose main motivation is the compulsive obsession they develop with the case. This makes the protagonists of The Killing are tremendously more interesting by feeling real, worldly, flesh and blood.


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5 keys to ‘the Killing’, the television ‘Seven’ that comes to Disney +