The Killing: The Complete Third Season (DVD Review)

The KillingSeason three of The Killing begins one year after the close of the Rosie Larsen case (the focus of The Killing’s first two seasons), with Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) no longer working as a Seattle homicide detective. But when her ex-partner Stephen Holder’s (Joel Kinnaman) search for a runaway girl leads him to discover a gruesome string of murders that may connect to a previous murder investigated by Linden, she is drawn back into the life she thought she’d left behind. The new season also stars Peter Sarsgaard, Elias Koteas and Amy Seimetz.


The Killing

The Series

In doing some minor research on the latest happenings of The Killing I read that the show has now been canceled TWICE but being resurrected by different networks. AMC canceled the show after the second season and then brought back and canceled again by AMC. The final season will air on Netflix and this is the review for the complete third season. Detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) have returned to duty after solving the case of murdered teen Rosie Larsen in the previous two seasons. Linden no longer works for Seattle PD and Holder has a new partner Detective Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry). Some gruesome killings are starting up in Seattle as someone is preying on teenage runaways and brutally killing them. Holder consults with Sarah to see if she can help with the case.

The first murder has similarities to that of an old case of Linden’s where the person who committed that crime is now on death row. Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard) is the defiant death row inmate who is awaiting his execution but not before he breaks everyone around him down-this, being his fellow inmates, guards, warden, etc. Seward is seriously mental and very scary. It also helps that Sarsgaard sounds just like John Malkovich, which enhances the overall dread as we wait for him to act out within the prison.

On the outside, the body count is increasing almost daily with new victims. The young runaways, all female, engage in prostitution, drug uses, and basically live in the streets. They’re easy targets for the killer and the way he does away with them is even more brutal. His signature is to cut their throats so violently that the victims’ heads literally dangle by a thread, and by also severing a finger and taking it as a trophy. The Killing season three really set the bar high after coming off of the great first two seasons that were more self contained than this one. Season three explores the rankness of the city as lots of young runaways struggle to stay above the dire straits they are in – never mind the serial killer out on the loose making mince meat out of them.

Meanwhile Holden and Linden have to follow every lead, nook and cranny, and see if they can put a stop to it before the body count really mounts up. The third season of The Killing really crossed the line into Se7en-ish territory even going so far as to making a little joke about a “head in a box,” which was a nice touch. The aesthetic, mood, cases, etc., could have been lifted off of the Se7en cases file log and transported over. It’s that touch that pulls the viewer into the seedy world of The Killing. Enos and Kinnaman still have great chemistry as partners and some of the new supporting cast is stellar along with the actors that play the runaways. There’s good stuff there.

Netflix has acquired season four of The Killing, so that will be very interesting as to how everything plays out, because the shit really hit fan at the end of season three. I’m really looking forward to that final season in a couple of weeks. As for season three, if you were a fan of the first two then you will enjoy three. I will say that this season is much more violent and even more “realistic” than those first two seasons. Be warned. Now, let’s talk about the disappointing part of this release down below shall we?


That You Fear The Most

The Jungle


Head Shots

Scared and Running

Eminent Domain

Hope Kills



Six Minutes

From Up Here

The Road to Hamelin

The Killing


Encoding: MPEG-2 (DVD-R)

Resolution: 480i

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

Clarity/Detail: First and foremost this season, like season two, is DVD-R and is manufactured-on-demand (MOD). Apparently this series does not sell well enough in physical formats (season 1) that the studio decided to manufacture these by demand. The DVD-R’s are stripped of special features and the video levels suffer for it.

Depth: Bleak is the keyword here and The Killing is that. You do get lost in the fog and mugginess of the city and the low quality of this transfer serves its purpose.

Black Levels: Crush is present all over the place but this is to be expected.

Color Reproduction: Color? Yes, technically there is some color, but it gets muted by the washed out color palette. Blood turns into a brown looking sepia paste, with only Mireille Enos hair to break the monotony of the palette. It’s literally like watching Se7en. 

Flesh Tones: Every either looks healthy or sickly. Even Joel Kinnaman, who is a recovering drug addict, doesn’t always look so healthy. The teens on the streets show visible wear from being on said streets and for using drugs.

Noise/Artifacts: There is plenty of noise and debris but it lends itself well to the overall aesthetic of the series. Live and let live, I say.


The Killing


Audio Format(s): English Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics: This DVD-R pressing has a decent sound mix and it’s more than adequate. The Killing has always been a drama driven show, so a full-blown soundtrack may or may not have been overkill. All things considered, it does fare better than the video transfer and for that I am grateful.

Low Frequency Extension: LFE levels are decent – it’s not the type of show that has constant action but when the LFE does do its thing then it helps the overall episode. I like the added bass in some scenes.

Surround Sound Presentation: The ambience is really enveloping in that you feel like you’re in the city of despair. The show is relatively low-key in that it doesn’t have constant action; so don’t expect bullets flying about. If bullets two fly they will be up close and personal.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are clean and clear. I was able to understand and hear everyone perfectly.




As this season on DVD is manufactured on demand (MOD) there are no special features included.

The Killing


The Killing: The Complete Third Season had me in its clutches and never let me go. I honestly thought this season alone was better than the last two (the last two season were still excellent) and I really liked how this one expanded on the dark, dreary, and bleak world where no one is safe. Don’t let the final score deceive you, because it’s the technical specifications and lack of extras that really drag the overall score down. I’m really shocked that the DVD and Blu-rays of the first season didn’t sell well enough to warrant mass production of DVDs and Blu-rays with better offerings in terms of video, sound, and extras. It’s really a shame. Oh well, seek the third season on manufactured-on-demand DVD and if you want the season in HD then you can probably purchase it on Amazon or iTunes. Don’t hold your breath for a Blu-ray version of this set.


Order The Killing: The Complete Third Season on DVD!

The Killing


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