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AMC's 'The Killing' Returns Tonight: Will the Viewers Come Back, Too?

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When AMC’s The Killing premiered in April 2011, it started off with a bang. Seattle cop Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) agrees to take on one last case before she starts a new life with her son. (She’s ready to quit the police force to move to California to marry her boyfriend.) But the Rosie Larsen case—in which a young girl’s murder leads to bigger political implications—proves to be a doozy.

The numerous leads, byzantine plot twists and dead ends brought Linden, her ex-junkie partner Stephen Holden (Joel Kinnaman) and the audience who hung in there for two seasons to the edge of insanity.

What made The Killing great were the flawed characters of Linden and Holder. Though she loves her son Jack, Linden would never win the mother of the year award. Most of the show, they were homeless, staying on a friend’s boat, in motel rooms or at Holder’s apartment. And recovering addict Holder often skirted the ethical line when on duty.

But the Rosie Larsen case went on far too long. What should have ended after one season, strung viewers along for two, leading to an anti-climactic conclusion to the case. The fans that stuck around were just glad that it was over.

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At the end of that second season, AMC cancelled The Killing. But it’s now back tonight with a whole new case, with Holder calling Linden out of retirement for help. And as a bonus, the excellent Peter Sarsgaard joins the show.

In a commentary Unkilling the Killing, posted on Thursday on LinkedIn (of all places?!), Charlie Collier, president and general manager at AMC, talked about the mistakes they made with the show, the uncomfortable decision to first cancel the series and the uncommon decision to revive the show.

This time, however, it looks like the network and Collier might have learned their lesson:

But there’s one more fact that viewers should know about third season of The Killing: The investigation that provides the backdrop for these 12 new episodes will resolve itself, without fail, at the conclusion of the season. The decision for season three closure was creator and showrunner Veena Sud’s vision for the story that she beautifully tells this season and we are happy to support it. Unlike other judgments on The Killing, however, this one is set in stone. Some decisions you don’t need to revisit.

We’ll see whether the viewers give the show a second chance.

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The Killing has its two-hour premiere tonight (June 2) at 8 pm on AMC (airing at 9 pm Sundays thereafter).