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[Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Killing‘s season finale.]
The Killing closed out its mystery with an intense two-hour finale — delivering on the promise to reveal the killer at the end of the season.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for AMC’s Seattle-set drama, with the Rosie Larsen murder mystery spanning two seasons. When season three kicked off in June, however, executive producer/showrunner Veena Sud promised viewers — hesitant or not — that The Killing would wrap up the introduced case by the end of the 12-episode run. She came through on that promise.
In what began with a reunion of Seattle Police Department’s Detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos), the revived drama embarked on a new case: identifying the serial killer Pied Piper, who targeted teens living on the streets. The journey to the final two hours of the season wasn’t without its twists and turns, including the execution of death-row inmate Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard) the previous week.
In true Killing form, the suspicious party seemed to be Holder’s former partner, the boisterous Detective Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry). The evidence, as Holder and Linden laid out during the finale, was stacked against him. Why? Reddick lived next to the serial killer’s first victim, and he took Bullet’s (Bex Taylor-Klaus) calls before her murder. But Reddick wasn’t the Pied Piper.
The reveal came when Linden went to Lieutenant James Skinner’s (Elias Koteas) house to discuss the disappearance of Ray’s young son, Adrian Seward (Rowan Longworth), after failing to get a hold of Skinner via phone after multiple attempts. When Skinner’s family returned home, Linden noticed Kallie’s (Cate Sproule) unique blue ring on the finger of Skinner’s daughter. It could only mean one thing: Skinner was the Pied Piper.
It didn’t end there. Linden held Skinner at gunpoint as they traveled to the isolated cabin where Adrian was supposedly being held. (He was actually at his mother’s grave, it was later revealed.) Once they arrived at the cabin, with Holder on the scene, Linden shot Skinner point blank — twice — killing him. Chilling. “No, no, no, no,” was all Holder could muster. Then the screen faded to black.
The Killing is as much about the journey than it is about the resolution of the mystery — and that certainly held true in season three. Should the show return for a fourth season (its ratings are on par with season two), what does Linden’s life-altering decision mean for her future?
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