James Hibberd
June 24, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Will you still care who killed Rosie Larsen in 2012? The season finale of AMC’s The Killing stunned viewers by not revealing the murderer of a teen girl after 13 twisty episodes and enough red herrings to capsize a schooner. Though the network never promised the Larsen case would be closed in the last episode, the finale’s last-minute twist — casting doubt on the guilt of arrested politician Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell) and the motives of Det. Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) — has outraged fans and critics. That’s partly because The Killing is based on a Danish show that solved one murder per season. AMC programming executive Joel Stillerman acknowledges that wrapping the Larsen case would have made it tougher to relaunch The Killing for round 2, but says honoring the rain-soaked drama’s model of ”slow-burn” crime solving was the biggest factor in the decision to extend the mystery, which wasn’t made until midway through the season. ”If we thought the show was contingent on the Rosie Larsen case to be compelling TV, we’d be a lot more nervous,” he says. ”Ultimately we want a show that’s about these characters.” AMC assures viewers that the mystery will be solved next season (it had better be — they’re running out of suspects!), which also leaves time for Det. Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) to start investigating a new murder. Just don’t expect the rain or the cliff-hangers to let up anytime soon.

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