What stands out now in The
Killing is the remarkable range of flaws in the characters, from
Holder's casual disregard for police protocol to the many shortcomings
of leading detective Linden. Her flaws have been alluded to from the start, but their depth grows with each week.
Unlike Holder, Linden's problems don't concern professional competence—quite
the opposite. Her single-minded devotion to her homicide cases often
causes her to ignore her personal life, from her fiancé to her son. Last
week, family friend Regi warns Linden: The cop's incredible strength,
her friend cautions, has the power to limit her other
emotions—friendship and love, especially. Linden's work-life dilemma
reflects a classic archetype of the devoted police officer, which The
Wire explored with alcoholic, crazed super-cop Jimmy McNulty. But Linden
doesn't give in to vices like McNulty; she always means well, and comes
across as an inherently nice person, sweater, quiet smile, and all.
dominates Linden's relationship with fiancé Rick and young son Jack,
and for good reason. She intended to fly to join Rick in California
multiple times now, and in missing her flight once more this week, Rick
stops talking to her. Although the ever-dangling plot element of Sonoma
may be contrived, Linden's continual failure to leave Seattle and the
Rosie Larsen case speaks volumes for her priorities.
aren't you a little bit worried about how this is affecting Jack?" Regi
asks Linden as they share coffee on Regi's boat. "He doesn't know where
he's going to be from one minute to the next."
don't want to do this anymore," Linden says, her voice firmer than
usual—as though she's trying to convince herself her own words are true.
"I'm finished with this life, but I have to wrap up this case."
"That's exactly what you said about the other case, with the kid," Regi
accuses. "And you're doing the exact same things that almost lost you
custody of your son."
These allusions to Linden's past
make sense, given the distance she keeps from the various characters
around her. Rick fears her manic workaholism, the injuries she never
even mentions to him. Jack has never trusted his mother to deliver on
her promises. This week, the most poignant illustration of Linden's
conflicted priorities came in her car. She dropped Jack off for a party—an outdoor event with paint guns—and she can immediately see he's being picked on. The boys push one another, and the word "douche bag" is thrown around. But what occupies her attention?
Not her son initially but Holder, on the phone and updating her on a
lost warrant and the case's trouble. The updates clearly bother her and
will inevitably send her returning to the station soon.
luckily Regi's words make a difference, at least briefly. Linden hangs
up on Holder and approaches her son. In a gentle way that doesn't
embarrass Jack, she instructs him on the best ways to shoot a paint gun.
That Linden's parenting skills come alive in the handling of guns, of
course, is not an encouraging sign in favor of future domestic bliss.
of the Week: Why did FBI agents waylay Linden and Holder in the final
moments? Is Mitch, perhaps, the person who will violently lose it and
not Stan? What events or revelation might permit a comeback for
Councilman Richmond after his recent crushing defeats?