The Killing: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray Review)

Following a shocking murder, the lives of the police, suspects and victim’s family are intricately woven together in this “spellbinding” series starring Mireille Enos and my boy Joel Kinnaman, This engrossing series has earned huge acclaim, as well as a Golden Globe nomination and multiple Emmy nominations in its first season alone. AMC seems to be on fire with quality programming as of late, which is all good, because the more the better. How does the first season of The Killing stack up? All aboard!



The Killing: The Complete First Season tells the tale of a murder in a small community within the Seattle limits. No one knows the who, where, why, aspects of the situation. Enter detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), who has been given former narc undercover detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) by her boss, on her last day on the job before transferring out of state, to help familiarize him on how they do things around the department. It’s one of those situations that you can see from a mile away. Last day on the job, but the case is so shocking that the detective whose last day it is won’t be going anywhere anytime soon due to the obsession that person has developed on trying to solve the case.

No, that’s not a spoiler at all, because you can see it coming in the first 10 minutes of the first episode. The murder victim in question is high school student Rosie Larsen, a good girl, who by all accounts, stayed out of trouble and was a good student. This is where everyone’s lives will converge. The cops, the parents, etc., everyone’s got something to hide, and like an onion, the layers will be peeled off very slowly. The tears will run.

 The Killing is a very impressive show, because each episode spans a day, so 13 episodes equal 13 days. I was not able to pick up on that initially, so it did get kind of confusing, because the passage of time threw me off in those early episodes. I kept wondering why the days were going so slow. Once I figured this out, I just let the show take me on a journey. The characterizations of the parents hit especially hard, because you’re with them through the death of their child and you’re there during the aftermath and your empathy levels shoot through the roof until you start to see that they weren’t always a happy family.

Then you have a shift towards the cops in charge, mainly Linden and Holder, and what they deal with within the department and what they deal with outside of it. Linden has a son and is getting ready for a big move to another state, and Holder is actually a recovering junkie. No, that’s not a spoiler either, because one look at Holder and you’ll see he has that total junkie-shiek thing going on.

Some reviews ago we were throwing out words like “slow burn” and what not. The Killing, in my opinion, can be considered a slow burn of show. You get 13 episodes, which take place within a 13 day time frame, but there are times where plot points build and build and nothing might happen, but then lead to something else. You have to be patient with the show. I remember when I finished the show and kept hearing rumblings about how abrupt the ending was, or whatever. I disagree that it was abrupt, because it’s not like the show ended forever. It had a great stump at the end before making the audience wait for the second season.

If you like cop shows with a hard edge, gritty subject matter, and intense performance, then The Killing is right up your alley. It’s not over yet – stay tuned for the second season coming to Blu-ray later on down the road.


The Killing (Pilot)

The Cage

El Diablo

A Soundless Echo

Super 8

What You Have Left




I’ll Let You Know When I Get There


Beau Soleil

Orpheus Descending – Extended Season Finale


The Killing: The Complete First Season is presented in 1.78:1 widescreen. The visual aesthetic is one of my favorite aspects of the show. The show is drab and dreary, with tons of overcasts skies and darkness. The transfer contains a lot of grain, contrast is somewhat boosted, but that actually enhances the overall look. Interiors fare the best in that they’re low-lit for the most part. This may be a procedural show, but the neo-noir influence is apparent. Flesh tones look as natural as can be considering there is no sun, so most of the folks especially Joel Kinnaman look pale and pasty due to lack of UV goodness. Black levels are strong, deep, and inky. Edge enhancement is absent, and I didn’t spot any signs of DNR. I also didn’t spot any over intrusive compression artifacts. The Killing looks great.


The Killing: The Complete First Season is presented in DTS-HD MA 5.1. The Killing is a drama-based show, so don’t expect tons of explosions, martial arts, and that sort of think. Wink. Dialogue is crystal clear and Mr. Kinnaman’s uber-ebonics-intellectual accent comes off clear and crisp. Likewise, everyone sounds great as their voices come through the front channel unobstructed. The ambient channels handle the creepy goodness of certain scenes without fail, and the LFE does come through for those hard to reach areas that require a low bass push. The Killing really pulls you in to the despair.


The Killing has a few extras worth mentioning. We get audio commentaries on the season finale – Orpheus Descending by with writer Nicole Yorkin and actress Mireille Enos. There’s also audio commentary on the Pilot with executive producer/writer Veena Sud. We also get an extended season finale in addition to some deleted scenes, and a gag reel.

  • Orpheus Descending – Extended Season Finale
  • Commentary on The Killing (Pilot) with Executive Producer/Writer Veena Sud
  • An Autopsy of the Killing
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Commentary on Orpheus Descending with Actress Mireille Enos and Writer Nicole Yorkin


I really enjoyed the first season of The Killing. The storyline kept me entertained until the end, the Blu-ray looks and sounds pretty damned good, and regardless of what you may have heard from the haters, is really gripping stuff. I anxiously await the second season of The Killing on Blu-ray. Bring it on!



Order The Killing: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray!


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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