‘The Killing’ Finale: Has the NYT Reviewer Been Paying Attention?

The Times presumes one suspect guilty despite reasonable doubt raised by the show

Last Updated: June 20, 2011 @ 9:08 AM

(Spoiler warning: Don't read this if you haven't seen the season finale of "The Killing.")

"The Killing" ended its first season without saying for certain who killed Rosie Larsen — a cliffhanger that left most viewers thrilled, frustrated, or furious.

Also read: "The Killing": Plenty of Red Herrings, But Whodunit, Really?

But New York Times critic Ginia Bellafante isn't among them — because she considers the case closed. In a review Monday, Bellafante accepted at face value that mayoral candidate Darren Richmond, who was arrested for the crime near the end of the finale, was almost certainly guilty — despite a major twist that raised at least reasonable doubt.

Has she been watching "The Killing"?

Week after week — to the annoyance of many viewers — the AMC drama has built a seemingly airtight case against different suspects, only to reveal their innocence later. Nearly everyone on the show has seemed at one point to be the guilty party.

The finale ended with Det. Sarah Linden realizing that her partner, Det. Stephen Holder, had used a fake photo as the final, crucial piece of evidence leading to Richmond's arrest. This strongly hinted that Richmond was the victim of some kind of frame, especially when Holder was seen getting into a car and telling the unseen driver, "Photo worked. He's going down."

Bellafante dismisses this — in parentheses, no less — by writing, "As a matter of due process it should be said that the series satisfies conspiracy theorists with the .0009 percent chance that Richmond is actually not guilty. The sane among us will run, as they say, with the facts on the ground."

The sane among us? Or the paying attention among us?

Asked Mediaite, which first noted the presumptuousness of the Times' review: "Did someone at the Times review the episode without actually watching it? Did they get a screener with a different ending? What the heck happened?"

Bellafante was widely criticized in April for a review of another show that wrapped its season Sunday, "Game of Thrones." She said the show seemed to include sex and eroticism to draw in women who wouldn't watch otherwise, calling it "boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half." Female fans said the review was insulting.

In Bellafante's interpretation of "The Killing," Season 2 would have to focus heavily on efforts to prosecute an obviously guilty man with obviously fake evidence. That doesn't sound like a very good show. 

Of course, those sick of its many twists and turns would argue that "The Killing" isn't a very good show as it is.

Your humble correspondent, for whatever it's worth, is enjoying the ride.

The essential source
for entertainment insiders

Sign up for your