What is it about police procedurals set in the Pacific Northwest that divide television critics? Twenty years after David Lynch's Twin Peaks wrapped its polarizing run, nobody seems quite sure whether The Killing, the new Seattle-set police procedural (adapted from the Danish hit Forbrydelsen) that premiered on AMC last week, is the best new show on television or an unwatchable slog through the minutiae of big-city police work. Two weeks into its run, here's how critics are coming down on the show's strengths and weakness:
Pro (and Con): It is slow
The one thing supporters and detractors agree on is that The Killing is slow. Very slow. Slow enough for The Hollywood Reporter's Tim Goodman to compare it to Rubicon, the glacial CIA drama that AMC cancelled after just one season. "Put [The Killing] next to the hyper-paced, action-packed, fast-talking American police procedurals and it looks like Abe Vigoda in the 100 meter sprint," concedes Goodman, who likes the show. This isn't a problem, he writes, since "the hook [the show] sets goes impressively deep" and lures viewers in. Time's James Poniewozik offered up a dissenting review in his wrap-up of the most recent episode Poniewozik complained that after three hours, viewers still "don't yet know why we should care" about the show's central mystery, a result he says, of the deliberate pacing.