Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Killing (Season Three)

(2013) Spoiler Warning

Sarah Linden and Stephen Holder (Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman) are back fighting crime in the sodden streets of Seattle for a third year. The Rosy Larson case was solved, after larking off on a dozen dark alleys. Linden isn’t even a detective anymore; she either left the force or was fired at the end of last season, I can’t recall.

1. The Jungle: She’s now a ferry boat operator on Vashon Island. She has a much younger lover, and her boy is living with his father in Chicago, from where I hope he won’t be around to interfere with Mom’s investigations. Because you see, homicide is in her blood. When she discovers the wrapped and dead bodies of 17 young street girls in a lake, she knows she has to come back.

2. That You Fear the Most. She discovers similarities between the recent throat-slashing murders of the teens and a case she wrapped up four years before of a man, Ray Seward, convicted of killing his wife. Seward is on death row, and seems to be an extreme hard case; guilty or innocent of that murder, it’s clear that he’s guilty of a great deal more.

3. Seventeen. Holder befriends a lesbian teen known as Bullet, who seems to know something, but is very wary of cops. Seward somehow smuggles a razor blade into max security.

4. Head Shots. A sleazy motel is discovered where porn tapes of underage girls are being made. Some of the kids are among those murdered and dumped.

5. Scared and Running. A street kid named Kallie is missing. Linden and Holder keep finding bloody things, but no Kallie. But another girl is tortured and somehow escapes, mutilated. They discover her at a veterinary clinic, where she fled to have her injuries treated. And Kallie’s worthless mother finds that her boyfriend has Kallie’s cell phone. Oops.

6. Eminent Domain. Kallie’s mother belatedly gets worried and goes to the cops. And Holder and Linden begin to suspect a preacher who runs a no-questions-asked shelter for street kids as being the serial killer.

7. Hope Kills. The Reverend is looking better and better as the bad guy … but I’m not buying it. I think it’s still too early in the story. But he has disappeared, and there was a lot of blood in the back seat of his car. Elsewhere, the man on Death Row is beginning to lose his cool as the rehearsal for his hanging goes on. Linden and her boss both think he’s innocent, but have nothing to take to a judge to seek a stay.

8. Try. Oh, my, Linden is in deep shit. They found out that the pastor in charge of the kid’s shelter is not who he says he is, and in fact was charged with child abuse in Arizona. They raid his house, but he’s not there. Where is he? In the back seat of Linden’s car, holding a knife to her throat. She’s driving around with her radio open, unknown to him, and has to try to make some human contact with him, at the same time telling the police listening in where she is going. It was a tense episode. And since, in a series like this, I don’t think a spoiler warning is needed until the final resolution, I will say that I never thought the reverend was the killer, and he’s not. He was in Mexico when most of the murders happened. So, now, that annoying little bitch, Bullet, leaves a phone message with Holder saying she knows who the killer is … and that annoys me. It’s such a cliché in a mystery. “I know who the killer is! Meet me somewhere, and I’ll tell you!” What, it would inconvenience her to say the fucking name? Oh, well. Every writer does it, I guess.

9. Reckoning. Well, I warned her. If she had only told Holder who the killer was, even though he didn’t pick up his messages, I’m sure she would have survived. It’s a hex, the “Meet me soon, I have important information!” hex. Saying words like that guarantees you are doomed. So they pick up a guy who looks pretty good for the serial killer. I mean, Bullet’s body is in his the trunk of his cab, and he’s got the rings taken off the dead girls. However, with three episodes left, I’m highly dubious it’s him. Also, it seems unlikely he killed Mr. Death Row’s wife, and that dude is now proclaiming his innocence and is terrified of the noose, and Linden believes him. And you know Linden’s gut feeling is going to be right. And it’s only about 24 hours until he takes the Big Drop …

10. Six Minutes. After a momentary setback when Linden finds that Death Row was lying, that he had been there the night his wife was murdered … he explains he had come back to get his son. So she believes him again. She has identified a ring found in the serial killer’s trophy case as belonging to the murdered woman, but it’s not enough to convince the guv or the A.G. that he’s innocent. Linden is desperate, Holder falls off the wagon. And it was hard to sustain the suspense for me, because though I’m sure he is innocent of this crime, he’s such a violent loser I couldn’t really care much if he took the Big Drop, no matter how much they tried to jerk me around. SPOILER: They hang him.

11. From Up Here. 12. The Road to Hamelin. They combined the last two episodes into one two-hour showing, so it’s all over now. I won’t reveal much of the ending, except to say that I never believed the man they caught as the serial killer, a pathetic child pornographer, was actually the serial killer. And he wasn’t. And I didn’t believe that the second suspect they offered up, and that Holder and Linden then pursued, was the guy, either. Which really left only one man who could have been doing it, unless they pulled a totally dishonest rabbit out of the hat in the form of some person we had never met. They didn’t. The one I suspected was the one who did it. I suspected him because he was the one that would be most hurtful, which is a pretty good principle to follow when trying to figure out a story like this. It all ended very abruptly. I could have used a few more scenes after the climax, but at least it was wrapped up. There are plot threads that could easily be followed if they want to go for a Season Four, but if it ends here, it’s satisfying enough.