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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the mood of this crime drama is pretty grim, but that's due largely to an overarching sense of foreboding rather than grizzly violent scenes and blood (though there is some of that, too). In fact, sometimes what you aren't seeing is more disturbing than something intentionally graphic. There's unbleeped swearing, too (in the form of "s--t" but not "f--k"), along with audible language like "ass" and "prick," and some sexual content that's more implied than overt.
Very exciting and the characters are awesome
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What's the Story?
A remake of the Danish television series Forbrydelsen, THE KILLING examines a murder investigation from three different angles, splitting the perspectives of the killer, the detectives, and the victim's grieving family. In the series premiere, Seattle teenager Rosie Larsen goes missing on homicide detective Sarah Linden's (Mireille Enos) last day on the job before a planned move to a new life in California. But while Sarah works with her restless replacement (Joel Kinnaman) to find the girl, they uncover a body -- and a suspicious connection to a local politician (Billy Campbell).
Is It Any Good?
The fact that The Killing is nothing like other crime dramas on American television is a welcome relief. After all, between multi-city franchises (sorry, CSI and Law & Order) and tired formulas (that's aimed at you, Criminal Minds), they are beginning to blend woefully together. So while The Killing is hardly a novel concept to the Danish people, at least, it feels like a revelation to us.
Imagine a really good movie that never ends, a riveting crime drama with good writing and seamless casting that (yes, oddly) lasts for months. By following a single murder case over the course of a season, that's kind of what The Killing becomes. Noticeably absent though are the manipulative "gotcha" moments and lingering shots of crime scenes and corpses we've come to expect from the genre...which doesn't mean you'll really be missing them.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about violence and the way this show portrays the world around us. Are shock-value scenes necessary to make fictionalized crimes seem real? Is it more upsetting to contemplate the violence that you aren't seeing?
How does this show compare to other TV crime dramas? Does it do anything differently in terms of structure or storytelling that sets it apart?
Does the series reflect reality in terms of the nature of crimes committed in the United States? Does it take a position when it comes to good vs. evil? Is the outlook generally positive or negative?
- Premiere date: August 1, 2014
- Cast: Billy Campbell, Joel Kinnaman, Mireille Enos
- Network: AMC
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-14
- Last updated: November 5, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Law & Order
Dead bodies + courtroom drama = mature teens only.
Dark-toned crime drama has an inspiring purpose.
Realistic look at the LAPD is gritty, violent, enthralling.
For kids who love drama
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate