Wow. It must take A LOT of negativity for the president of a network to come out and address a season finale on his network.
In an exclusive interview with EW.com, AMC president Charlie Collier addressed fans criticisms of the inaugural season finale. “We underestimated the passion of viewers have for closure within this season.” You think? “It was never our intention to misguide the viewer.” Then what was your intention?
I’m very torn on this. I’m not someone who always needs a story or a season to be wrapped up in a tight little bow. And I love a great cliffhanger at the end of a season. I also tip my cap to show runners and creative teams that think outside the box and take some risks with their storytelling. And for the most part, The Killing was good. It was gripping and exciting and heartbreaking. It really showed, in real-time, how something like this affects so many people in different ways and how a tragedy like this can completely change and uproot your life in ways you never imagined.
Having said all that, when you take a risk (like not closing a season long case in the season finale) you take a big chance of alienating your audience and losing their trust if not handled correctly. I personally don’t think the people behind The Killing handled this correctly. First, AMC promoted this series as “Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” It talked about following one case throughout the entire season and telling the story from the different perspectives of the detectives, the family, and the suspects involved. When you talk about following one case and the whole premise being who killed Rosie, you give the audience the impression that by episode 13, the case will be solved. When you look back on some of the promos for the show and there was a series of commercials with the cast (which were awesome) where all they talk about is how this show grips you and all you want to know is who killed Rosie. Well, that’s exactly the excitement you built up in your audience. So are you really that surprised that when you don’t tell them, they are pissed? Are you really surprised that when you don’t solve the crime and say guess what, you have to come back next season to find out, that people are annoyed and feel tricked? You shouldn’t be. If I were the person coming up with this idea the first thing I would say is that people are either going to love us for this or hate us for this. So the hate us part, shouldn’t be a shock at all. That is what has surprised me. That Veena Sud and Charlie Collier underestimated the backlash. That shocks me. The baseline premise of your show is who killed this girl. You don’t tell the audience and you didn’t think it would be that big of a deal? Ok then.
As I mentioned in previous posts, my issue with the show wasn’t the fact that they didn’t close the case out in 13 episodes, but that the story telling was disjointed at certain parts of the season and there was plenty of opportunity to tell a gripping, mesmerizing story and wrap up the case. The way the story was told this season (wasting so much time on the teacher for example) it didn’t surprise me at all that they didn’t wrap it up because they didn’t leave themselves enough time to do so. About episode 11, I got the feeling this case wasn’t going to be solved. And I would rather them not solve it this season and go into the next and wrap it up correctly vs. hurrying to close a case where it feels cheap and easy. But if the story telling flowed better, they should have been able to get this done in 13 episodes.
The Killing was still one of the best new shows of the season. With all it’s faults, I still enjoyed it and I will be back for season two. If for no other reason than to see who killed Rosie!!!! But Sud and Collier cannot be surprised by the negative backlash they have received as a result of their risk taking. They can’t be surprised that people are furious that the promotion they witnessed leading up to the show…Who Killed Rosie Larsen…gave people the idea that the case would be solved only to be left hanging until next season. But see Collier’s comments for yourself by clicking on the link above.