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The Killing: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
  • Region: A (Region-Locked)
  • Rating: NR
  • Run Time: 587 Mins.
  • Discs: 3 (3 x Blu-ray)
  • Studio:  20th Century Fox
  • Blu-ray Release Date: March 13, 2012
  • List Price: $49.99

[amazon-product]B004X1VZYW[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Killing: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Series

[Rating:4/5]

Not since Twin Peaks has a television series dealing with a murder mystery been so effective as AMC’s new crime drama The Killing, based on the Danish series Forbrydelsen. A complete move away from the banality of the normal, phoned-in crime procedurals that clog up the airwaves these days, The Killing, set in Seattle, Washington – a perfect stand in for the original’s Scandinavia – is a series-long arc, with each episode lasting roughly 24-hours. That isn’t all that makes it outstanding, however. The remarkable craft in The Killing is its exposition on the effects of a crime on an entire community, including family, friends, acquaintances and the public at large as the circle of suspects grows ever larger in the gruesome killing that is at the epicenter of the drama, causing a ripple effect that creates hysteria, violence, an atmosphere of racial and religious intolerance, and causes otherwise decent people to do horrendous things.

On the eve of her leaving the police force in order to move herself and her 13-year-old son to San Diego to join her fiancé and settle down, once and for all, to a life of marriage and domesticity, Seattle Police Department Detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) stumbles into a murder investigation that will have major repercussions. 17-year-old high school student Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay) turns up dead, and Sarah must stay on to take the lead in the investigation while training her replacement, Detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), a new transfer from the vice division.

The investigation grows ever more complex as the two detectives dig deeper into the crime, with the circle growing to encompass many likely to have committed the murder. It even has ties to the campaign of a Seattle City Councilman (Billy Campbell) running for the Mayor’s office, being that Rosie’s body was found in the trunk of one of his campaign’s cars, which was reported stolen. The investigation moves from focusing on Rosie’s teacher (Brandon Jay McLaren), a black muslim married to one of his former students, to one of her former boyfriends, even to her own father (Brent Sexton), a former Polish mob strong man, and many others.

Across its 13-episode, fortnight arc, the series touches on everything from political intrigue, racial profiling, teen drug use and sexuality and religiosity against the bleak, rain soaked backdrop of Seattle. In perhaps what was the perfect casting (and bit of writing) Mireille Enos plays one of the best detectives on television today. I say detective, rather than “female detective” because, the writers haven’t encumbered her with the usual baggage reserved for women in these roles. She is neither playing a woman trying to overcompensate by being very “macho” or “one of the guys” nor is she a weak sidekick who must take the backseat. She is strictly in control from the beginning here, but allowed a normal sense of vulnerability, a single mom struggling to raise her kid in the absence of his deadbeat dad. This makes her character all the more compelling and relatable. It also helps offer The Killing a sense of realism anchored in the everyday.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

The Killing is an original Super 35mm film production captured with Kodak Vision2 Expression 500T 5229 high-speed film stock. This particular film supposedly has a relatively small grain size for a such a high speed film, but, as anyone watching this production can see, The Killing is still a rather grainy series, particularly in the darker scenes, a characteristic of the source. It also has a gloomy, desaturated look. No worries, however, although some might balk at the textured grain and lack of “pop,” I have no doubt that this AVC/MPEG-4 1080p transfer from Fox looks pretty much as the creators intended and see no signs of digital manipulation at play in the image nor do I see any effects of the compression.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

A rather fine DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack is offered for The Killing that shows remarkable low frequency extension, particularly during the opening credits, for a television series. Given the nature of the series, much of it is very dialogue-heavy, but opportunities abound to surround listeners in the driving sound of rainstorms, sirens, and police radios. Dialogue is full with only the subtlest hint of clipping from time to time.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2.5/5]

The audio commentaries provide the most information on here, whilst everything else is just window dressing.

The supplements:

  • Orpheus Descending – Extended Season Finale
  • Commentary on The Killing (Pilot) with executive producer/writer Veena Sud
  • Commentary on Orpheus Descending with actress Mireille Enos and writer Nicole Yorkin
  • An Autopsy of the Killing
  • Gag Reel
  • Deleted Scenes

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

What at first seems like it is going to be the usual crime fodder on television opens up and becomes an atmospheric and addictive treasure trove, every episode dripping with its Scandinavian roots, yet artfully realized for U.S. audiences in an American vernacular. This is like Stieg Larsson meets Henning Mankell with the slightest hint of Stephen King for good measure. Highly recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

[amazon-product]B004X1VZYW[/amazon-product]

Purchase The Killing: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for More Blu-ray Titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Series
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2.5/5]

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