Spoiling 'The Killing' Finale: Revealing the Murderer of Rosie Larsen

“The Killing” crashed to a absurd, comical conclusion last night, finally revealing who the murderer(s) of Rosie Larsen, capping a second season that in no way redeemed the awful, maddening season finale of the first. In fact, maybe the only thing worse than ending the first season without revealing the killer was ending the second season by revealing a main killer so out of left field as to almost make the glacially paced, numbing 25 episodes that preceded the finale completely moot. In fact, besides establishing that there was a murder and establishing that Rosie Larsen was at the island casino on the night of her murder, almost nothing in the entire first season of “The Killing” was necessary to explaining the murderer(s).

However, before I do reveal the killer(s) and thwart anyone from trying out the series, let me just answer this: Is “The Killing” worth watching? In short, no, with one caveat: Mireille Enos and Joel Kinnaman — who play the investigating detectives, Linden and Holder — are fantastic. They’re given bad storylines, terrible motivations, and they make stupid decisions all the way through the series, but they actually do make watching much of the series tolerable. They do not, however, make it enjoyable. Or interesting. Or in any way compelling.

So, who were the killers? SPOILERS AHEAD. However, you will have to have a basic understanding of the characters. This post is essentially designed for people who watched the first season of “The Killing” and then quit after the infuriating first-season finale.

The sad, depressing realization is that there was no grand conspiracy behind the murder of Rosie Larsen. There wasn’t a sex scandal. There wasn’t a real political motivation. The truth is, Rosie was at the wrong place at the wrong time. She overheard a conversation about a backroom deal that Jamie (Darren Richmond’s campaign manager) was making behind Richmond’s back to further his campaign, and Jamie — who found her hiding in a room under construction — accidentally knocked her unconscious trying to shut her up. He thought she was dead, so he took her out to the island, where she escaped his trunk. He chased her down and beat her AGAIN, and AGAIN, he thought she was dead. (She was not).

This much Holder and Linden figured out. How much foreshadowing was there that Jamie was behind the death of Rosie? Very little. In fact, Jamie’s involvement didn’t really come into focus until the final minutes of the penultimate episode. He was never really a suspect. However, Holden and Linden decided to check out his alibi again, found out he was at the casino the night that Rosie was murdered, made some deductions based on a missing key card, and fingered Jamie for the murder. By the time they tracked him down, however, Richmond had won the election, and Jamie was giving him a crazed, comical, overly-acted left-field confession to Richmond that he’d killed Rosie by accident. Richmond was shocked. At that point, Holder and Linden arrive with Gwen, and Jamie says he needs to do what is best for Richmond’s political future. So, he pointed his gun toward Gwen, goading Holder to return fire and kill Jamie.

Murder solved, murderer dead, right? No. Not quite.

The final two acts of the season finale track the aftermath. Richmond becomes mayor and moves ahead with the backroom deal that Jamie set up. Rosie’s parents, Stan and Mitch, move into a new house to make a fresh start. Linden and Holder arrive at Stan and Mitch’s house to inform them that they found the murderer. However, they find Terry (Mitch’s sister, who took care of the kids after Mitch disappeared) in the garage, espy a broken taillight on her car, and deduce that she was at the scene of the murder based on accounts that a car with a broken taillight had left the scene. Mitch and Stan return, and that’s when Terry confesses.

This is what happened: Terry was having an affair with Michael Aames. Michael Aames was behind the land development deal at the heart of Jamie’s backroom dealing. (Michael is also Jasper’s Dad, Rosie’s ex-boyfriend who was the very first suspect in the murder of Rosie). Rosie was in the trunk of Jamie’s car. Jamie and Michael got into an argument about hiding Rosie’s body. Michael says he wants nothing to do with it, says he’s calling off his affair with Terry (who was in a parked car at the scene), and that Jamie had gone too far. Because Jamie and Michael were too chickensh*t to do anything about it, Terry gets out of her car, disengages the park break on the car with Rosie in the trunk, and pushes it into the water, finally killing Rosie.

The catch? She didn’t know that the girl in the trunk was still alive (you can hear her screaming “Help!” as the car sinks into the water) and she also didn’t know that the girl was her niece, Rosie.

Holder and Linden handcuff Terry, a weeping Terri hugs her sister, Mitch, sobbing, “I didn’t know it was Rosie,” and Mitch reluctantly returns the hug.

Murder solved, case closed. The end. Also, BOOOOOO!