Back to the bleak world of The Killing

The Killing is back for Season 2.
The Killing is back for Season 2.

Why is it that whenever an actor wants to convey extreme stress they, or their director, pull the splash the water over the face in a bathroom with a bleak stare into the mirror routine?

And so it was for the resumption of The Killing, series two (SoHo, Wednesday, 8.30pm) where we saw Sarah Linden, head homicide detective of the Rosie Larsen murder inquiry, in an airport public toilet performing the above staring horrified at her grim reflection as she realises that councillor Darryn Richmond, the politician running for Seattle Mayor and also believed to be Rosie's killer, may not be the perpetrator.

To say the Seattle Police Department has bungled the case is a whopping understatement. Not only has Stephen Holder, described by a dodgy detective and fellow partner in crime as a "crack head, lowlife tweeker", inserted false evidence, namely a mock-up of a photo that put Richmond in the frame for the murder prompting his arrest, but it would seem that most of the Seattle police force are hell bent on covering up their mistakes to save their own heads.

I felt something was missing in the first three-quarters of the The Killing and it wasn't till Detective Linden appeared in one of her signature heavyweight jumpers that I knew we were back on track. Incidentally you can go online and download the knitting pattern if you feel so moved. Help has quite possibly come to the wool industry in the doldrums since mohair and possum took over the knitting scene, and Sarah Linden and her Danish counterpart should be presented with wool medals.

Detective Linden is still dragging her son Jack around with her as they try yet again to unsuccessfully board a plane as the dogged policewoman allows the murder to take precedence over her private life.

Jack is sick to death of motel rooms and his mother having to continually pop out for a minute to do something, and wants to stay with his father, who has only just re-entered his life, but Sarah is adamant the kid sticks with her.

"For the last 11 years we've made a life together and I won't give up my son," she tells him in impassioned solo mother speak, putting her own needs ahead of his.

The Killing resumes at day 13 of the investigation and that day, like all other days in this high quality drama which has taken the look of its location extremely seriously, are sunless and bleak. Note to self, bypass Vancouver if it's a sun-filled holiday you're after.

To make sure we get the message that the feel of The Killing is grey and tragic even the bridge that Richmond threw himself off in a suicide attempt is named Desolation Bridge.

The Larsen family dwelling is darkness itself as Stan Larsen tries to take arms and alms against a sea of trouble, as he freaks out after finding out his former employee and close friend Belko has made an assassination attempt on Richmond. Mitch, his wife, is nowhere to be seen and one wonders how long it will be before Stan and Mitch's sister playing mother, will seek comfort in each other's arms.

The assassination attempt has left Richmond paralysed below the waist and he will probably have to have a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. Gwen, his former lover and campaign adviser, dobbed him into the police, confessing he did not spend the whole night with her the night of Rosie's murder.

Now she's keeping vigil at the hospital as Richmond's life hovers in the balance and the actress who plays Gwen, who bears a striking resemblance to Uma Thurman without the large bosom, does a good job of arranging her face to show all the conflicting emotions.

So the botched murder investigation is the epitome of the expression "spiralling out of control", with a teacher severely beaten, a councillor shot and horribly maimed, not to mention Sarah's relationship and plans for a marital future down the toilet.

Poor old hapless Holder, who revealed himself to be a decent bloke and a good friend to Sarah in her hour of need, has now put himself beyond the pale, and Sarah has put up the barricades against him. Her look of cold disapproval when she re-encounters him after realising his involvement with the photo, said it all but Holder is so immersed in his own dudester world he didn't pick up the temperature radiating from the impressive cold calculation.

How marvellous to have The Killing back as we go once more into the breach without the foggiest notion of the identity of Rosie's murderer.

One To Watch

Tonight actors Cate Blanchett, Ewan McGregor and comedian Matt Lucas appear on the The Graham Norton Show at 8.30pm on TV One. The final seven contestants appear on American Idol at 7.30pm on TV2 and the Australian cop show Rush returns to TV One at 11pm.