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Journey of a Screenwriter
Monday, June 20, 2011
Why "The Killing" Sucks!
MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD
I got into the show late in its run about the time the critics were making a sharp 180 degree turn against the show. At the time I didn't see what the problem was. The episodes I saw were character driven and tied together by the mystery of what happened. But then last night it all became clear to me what the critics were complaining about.
To recap, it looks like they've finally put the nail in the coffin of mayor elect Richmond. They have photographic evidence from the highway patrol that he was driving the same car that Rosie Larson drowned in. But then at the last minute our heroine gets the call that the photo was faked, that the camera in question has been out of service for months. The culprit behind this? Her partner Holder, who was meeting a mysterious somebody later. Brilliant twist right?
It is idiotic on the basest level. Holder just slaps together something on Photoshop and claims its from the Highway Patrol? And that's good enough to get a leading candidate for mayor arrested? Okay. Except there's this thing called an evidence chain. Holder can't just show up with a photograph, which by the way in order to fake would need serious Pixar level computer skills. All evidence has to be tagged and recorded. There is a CLEAR path from source to the evidence locker and that path is checked and double checked every step along the way. It most certainly would in this case. In other words Holder's deception would have lasted all of ten seconds as the captain or DA would have immediately put in a priority call to the Highway Patrol to VERIFY the photo and its provenance.
It had been obvious, even to a friendly observer like myself, that the writers and creators didn't do a whole lot of research when it came to detective work. The cops were doing things, like checking the odometer and fuel records of the car on day 13 that they would have started back on day 1. But Holder's turn is just sloppy hack work. He was easily the most interesting character with his urban slang and scarecrow appearance. Plus he never acted as a guy who was either A) covering up the murder or B) trying to frame Richmond. In just the last few episodes he was providing vital clues and/or leading the investigation away from Richmond. Richmond only became a suspect in the end of the last episode by pure chance.
AMC gets a lot of deserved credit for their shows. The writing is usually smart and razor sharp. This time however they missed badly. The people in charge of this train wreck can write dialogue and characters, I'll give them that. But it was achingly obvious they knew nothing about mysteries, thrillers or basic police work. And given the money involved they had no excuse not to change that.
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