The Killing vs. Homeland: A comparison of two first seasons

Even though the second season of AMC’s hit show, The Killing, has finished airing, I only recently started watching the first season. Adapted from a popular Danish series (Forbrydelsen), the show follows a homicide officer investigating the murder of a local high school girl. Over three long nights I watched all thirteen episodes, from the discovery of Rosie Larsen’s body, all the way to the unsatisfying end of the season when many questions are yet to be answered. All the while I couldn’t help comparing it to Homeland, a popular Showtime series that I caught up on after the first season had already finished airing on television.

image via AMC
Mireille Enos in AMC’s The Killing

image via Showtime
Claire Danes in Showtime’s Homeland

Similarities between the two shows:
-Leading petite female characters (Mireille Enos’ Sarah Linden and Claire Danes’ Claire Mathison) who are employed in some area of criminal investigations and who enjoy jogging and engrossing themselves in their professional work to the detriment of their personal lives
-Older male bosses who are constantly trying to talk the ladies out of risky, unprofessional tactics
-Histories of mental breakdowns
-Linking crime to the Islamic community
-Sloppy investigative work (as an ordinary citizen, I hope people aren’t this careless in real law enforcement!)

The Killing tries to stay interesting by revealing a new, seemingly important piece of evidence to the audience at the end of each episode. By the third or fourth episode, it’s clear that anything they find out at the end of the episode will get explained away by the end of the following one, and the viewer is usually only privy to details that Linden or her partner Stephen Holder also know. In contrast, Homeland‘s revelations about characters and their activities often keep the viewer a step ahead of Mathison’s investigations, and are less often red herrings. Also, in Homeland Carrie starts with a target suspect and has to work out his past crimes and prevent any future ones, whereas in The Killing, the investigators were faced with a specific crime and their main goal is to find the perpetrator.

Although The Killing angered many fans who stuck through it during the first season by not concluding the investigation, I recently found out that season two, which ended this past Sunday, does reveal the killer of Rosie Larsen. I can’t imagine how many more suspects they can round up, but at this point I have to see it through to the end.


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