- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 23, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - From the first moments of “The Killing,” the mood is foreboding.

The climate for the show’s Seattle setting is wet. Water plays a key role on this series, and you feel you could catch cold just by watching. But you can’t turn away. You’re hooked by the simple spectacle of ordinary people living their lives.

Then, catching you by surprise only by how long it takes to confirm, a murder will disrupt the lives of everyone in sight.

“The Killing,” which premieres April 3 at 9 p.m. EDT, is the latest entry in AMC’s portfolio of original dramas that began, of course, with “Mad Men” four years ago and most recently saw the wildly popular attack last October by “The Walking Dead.”

In keeping with the AMC formula of defying formulas, “The Killing” has little in common with the network’s other dramas (which include “Breaking Bad” and the short-lived “Rubicon”), other than its fierce distinctiveness.

This is a whodunit, unleashing Homicide Detective Sarah Linden (series star Mireille Enos) and her partner Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) on a grisly case _ the drowning murder of Seattle teen Rosie Larsen.

This case will drive the narrative at least through the first season, which, episode by episode, will cover 12 consecutive days of the investigation.

But there’s more going on than that.

Rosie’s murder will have an explosive impact on the mayoral race of Seattle City Council President Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell), as he becomes swept up by the crime. His imperiled campaign and political career is the show’s second narrative strand.

A third: the aftershocks of the murder on Rosie’s parents (played by Michelle Forbes and Brent Sexton) and two little brothers.

The overarching mystery (and it promises to be a dandy one) will eventually yield the identity of Rosie’s killer.

But based on the first three episodes previewed, the greater power of “The Killing” is the meditative way it takes stock of the living; the brooding, anxious way it tracks the ripple effects of a death on those left behind.

“A child’s death is devastating to her family and the other people around her, and the cops are affected, too,” says Veena Sud, the series’ creator and executive producer. “On most crime shows, we spend time with cops as they put clues together, but we don’t see the price of a death. This show allows us to feel how sad and how profound a death like this is.

“Many other cop shows are more what I would call left-brain,” she says. “They’re more about the puzzle than going on an emotional journey.”

By contrast, “The Killing” is an emotional journey for a collection of travelers that keeps you riveted every step of the way.

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