As resilient and plucky as the little engine that could (I think I can, I think I can…be a great show one day!), The Killing chugs back for an improbable fourth season, a six-episode Netflix bingeable. In the same way the fitfully riveting rain-soaked policier dug deep into the experience of grief during its first couple of seasons, the new installment wallows in guilt: Soul-mate Seattle detectives Linden (Mireille Enos) and Holder (Joel Kinnaman)—tweaking with shame after slaying a serial killer (Linden’s ex-partner and lover)—slowly unravel in familiar ways as they slowly investigate the murder of a troubled military cadet’s seemingly respectable, secretly skeevy family. Did I mention it’s slow? You get the sense that Linden and Holder could crack the mystery lickety-split if not for the contrived obstacles of amnesia and a hyperprotective military-academy headmistress played by Joan Allen, who does little more than tell the cops that they can’t interview their chief suspect. There’s enough intrigue to pull you through, and the Enos/Kinnaman chemistry is, as always, engrossing. Also: less rain! But the relentless commitment to making Linden and Holder miserable—a shallow approach to quality-drama heaviness—grows tedious. In a rare light moment, Holder says, ”The sun’s out. Got my smokes. There’s a murder case I’m working.” If only it were just that: The Killing shines brightest when its stars aren’t mired in gloom and their characters just do their jobs. B-
Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in The Killing (Carole Segal/Netflix)
Starring: Mireille Enos, Joel Kinnaman, Peter Sarsgaard; Broadcaster: AMC
Posted January 17 2015 — 5:04 PM EST
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