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'The Killing' goes beyond the procedural

Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in "The Killing."

Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos in "The Killing." Credit: AMC

“Who shot J.R.?” “Who killed Laura Palmer?”

“Dallas” and “Twin Peaks” captivated a nation with those infamous questions, and now a new show will leave viewers with another query: “Who killed Rosie Larson?”

This Sunday, AMC debuts its latest drama, “The Killing,” about the murder of a girl in Seattle that follows the stories of the family, the cops and the politicians. The series, created by Veena Sud, a writer and executive producer on “Cold Case,” is based on a Danish television series.

amNewYork spoke with NYU alumni Sud about the series.

How did you discover the original Danish version of the show?
I was in the middle of developing and looking for ideas and projects right after I left “Cold Case.” My agent said, “There’s this project — a cop show with a female lead — and it’s called ‘The Killing.’” And the minute I heard the title, I just said, “Oh my God — I have to see it. I have to be part of it.” And then when I saw the show. Within the first few episodes I was absolutely hooked and knew I wanted to develop it for American television.

Would you consider this a procedural show?
No, not at all. I consider it a character show that has elements of a procedural in it, kind of holding it up. We take it one step further and show two other worlds as well — victims and the city, the wider world of the city.

People complained that your fellow AMC show “Rubicon” didn’t give enough resolution in each episode. Will “The Killing” provide new pieces of the puzzle and move you along?
Yes, absolutely. There are revelations within every episode, so there is a sense of a satisfying discovery, a satisfying journey, whether it be related to the investigation and/or related to the characters, the family, the politician — there’s always discoveries that are fun.

What are the challenges of maintaining such a dense, three-headed plot?
We have an intensively diagrammed writers’ room, so we’ve spent a lot of time at the beginning sitting in a room — locked in a room — and literally going through the arc of every character, and going through the arc of every story, and then breaking it down into the elements and then interweaving them so that they become one tapestry per episode. It’s a house of cards — it’s very, very, very tough to balance.

Who has better coffee, New York or Seattle?
Deli coffee, without a doubt, in New York. Nobody can beat that. Is it still 75 cents?

On TV: “The Killing” premieres on Sunday at 9 p.m. on AMC.

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