AMC cancels ‘The Killing’ again

AMC has canceled “The Killing” – again.

“We have made the difficult decision not to move forward with a fourth season of ‘The Killing,'” AMC said in a statement. “We want to thank our great partners at Fox Television Studios, creator Veena Sud, an extraordinary cast and the dedicated fans who watched.”

You all know the story of “The Killing” by now: greeted as the next great thing from the channel that gave us “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad,” then with frustration as its first season consumed too many red herrings at the expense of interesting plots or characters, then with anger and incredulity when the first season didn’t solve the Rosie Larsen mystery in a way the ads had implied, and then apathy by the time the Larsen case was closed at the end of its second season. AMC pulled the plug, then reconsidered when scheduling needs changed and a it looked like a deal could be made with Netflix to help pay some of the budget for a third season.

That third season was a creative improvement over the first two, but only to a point: the non-police characters were much better integrated into the storytelling (and the performances by Peter Sarsgaard and newcomer Bex Taylor-Klaus were terrific), but cop heroes Linden and Holder remained gullible at every turn, and the finale was another disappointment. The ratings were about on par with the second season, but despite that, the Netflix deal and better reviews – not to mention the big holes in the schedule that are about to be left after the final seasons of “Breaking Bad” and “Mad Men” (and the probable one-and-done fate of “Low Winter Sun”) – AMC (as first reported by Deadline) decided to move on.

As I said when the season three finale aired, Veena Sud had improved the show just enough that I would have watched more episodes (while focusing on the characters and ignoring the plot entirely) if they were made, but I’m also fine with the show coming to an end. Sud got a second chance after the negative response to the Larsen-centric seasons, and she fixed what she could, but the TV landscape today is so much denser than even a few years ago when “The Killing” debuted that viewers will not lack for other dense, slow-burning drama series.

What does everybody else think? Given the tweaks for season 3, are you upset AMC isn’t continuing the show, or are you ready to let Joel Kinnaman do something better?