For all of the narrative flaws, obvious red herrings, and frustrating story teases, the first two seasons of AMC's The Killing did one thing right: The unconventional yet fluid chemistry shared between detectives Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) and "Eminem wannabe" Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) never grew into anything romantic. Linden had her baby father drama outside of the office, and Holder, well, talked a good game, but neither of them got into any interoffice hanky-panky, and The Killing was the better for it. The show is at its best when the investigation and depressing mood are at the forefront—save the police department love affairs for non-cable network procedurals. And if Linden and Holder's sexual escapades must be divulged, keep them with people outside of the Seattle PD.
On last night's episode, "Seventeen," The Killing jumped this shark (a shark that only exists around these Complex parts, but a shark nonetheless). As Holder's new partner, Reddick (Gregg Henry) tells him while they're on a stakeout, Linden used "to bang" Ed Skinner (Elias Koteas), her former partner who's now heading the task force that's investigating the disappearance of Kallie Leeds (Cate Sproule), the teenage runaway/prostitute. And, as Reddick sees it, their history of coitus—which explains why Skinner's wife gave Linden the icy, I'll-kill-you goodbye during the second half of last week's two-part episode, "That You Fear the Most"—is the reason why Linden's officially back on the force and enjoying the office's relative calmness while he and Holder are out on the streets.
It's not that Linden shouldn't have a love life or openly discuss her past boyfriends (jeez, you'd think we're her new boyfriend here)—she's just proven herself to be a hard-nosed, work-comes-first detective, and her dedication to the show's previous Rosie Larsen case was one of the few consistent silver linings on The Killing's prior seasons. To learn that she's no different from any, if even only one time, promiscuous female cop one would see on, say, CSI or *insert cookie-cutter ABC or NBC cop show here* program is a slight letdown. If she ends up reigniting that old physical interplay with Skinner (which, let's face it, is a strong possibility), the disappointment could be profound.
It'll make us wish that she'd hooked up with Holder instead. That would be put The Killing in the same hokey league as Bones and Castle, yes, but at least it'd yield some funny post-intercourse banter from Holder. "Damn, Linden…I didn't know you could put it down like that. You've got me sprung, girl." Only Stephen Holder could get away with saying that. Well, Stephen Holder and Jesse Pinkman.
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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)