CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- "The Killing" returns to AMC at 8 p.m. Sunday, and it's not new, but it kind of is.
See, last summer, AMC canceled the crime drama after its mediocre second season. Then, the show's production company, Fox Television Studios, decided to shop it around to other networks. There was interest by DirecTV and Netflix to pick it up.
By November, Fox and Netflix were in final talks, and AMC was brought back to the table. The plan was for a "Friday Night Lights" situation where AMC and Netflix would share production costs.
(In the case of the acclaimed football drama, DirecTV got first broadcast rights, and NBC aired the episodes the following spring/summer. In this case, AMC still gets first broadcast, but Netflix gets early and exclusive streaming rights, beginning three months after the show airs on TV.)
That, coupled with AMC reducing its license fee "considerably" and Fox looking to cut the show's budget wherever possible, led to a deal. The official season three announcement was made in January.
This new season takes place a year after the close of the Rosie Larsen case, which was the focus of the first two seasons. It begins with Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) no longer a detective. She's drawn back, though, when Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), her partner on the Larsen case, discovers in his search for a runaway a string of murders that connects to an old investigation led by her.
Given the change in focus, there is also some change in the cast. Gone are Larsen family members and people related to the mayoral election, including Billy Campbell, who played mayoral candidate/suspect Darren Richmond. New characters are, among others, death row inmate Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard), Special Investigations Unit leader/Linden's ex-partner James Skinner (Elias Koetas) and Holden's new partner Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry).
I watched season one but wasn't enamored enough to watch beyond that. I wasn't one of the incensed viewers who felt betrayed when Rosie's murder wasn't resolved in the first season finale, but I also didn't feel like sitting through another 13 episodes for the resolution (which was as convoluted as you might think after stretching for 26 episodes.)
Now, though, I'm intrigued again, particularly with Sarsgaard's inclusion. And at least if the case ends convolutedly, it won't be because it dragged on forever. A press release from AMC explicitly states, "Season three will focus on a new case, which will be resolved over the course of 12 episodes."
Scripted series premieres: "The Fosters," 9 p.m. Monday, ABC Family (family drama about a lesbian couple raising biological and foster children); "Mistresses," 10 p.m. Monday, ABC (Alyssa Milano-led soap about four friends' steamy relationships).