Here’s a barometer of how much “The Killing” star Mireille Enos is invested in the show, not just as an actress but as a fan: When she and her castmates are filming and they see new scripts arrive on set, “as soon as we end the scene we all rush to our seats” to read them.
“Just last night at work, the makeup artist and I were sitting around theorizing about who we think the killer could be,” Enos told Zap2it when we spoke with her last week. “It’s pretty telling when you’re already spending 12 to 15 hours a day there on the set, and on your downtime you’re sitting around theorizing. I think it means we all really like what we’re doing.”
“The Killing,” which premieres at 9 p.m. ET Sunday (April 3) on AMC, tracks the days after the killing of a 17-year-old girl named Rosie Larsen (Katie Findlay). The show follows Rosie’s parents (Brent Sexton and Michelle Forbes) and a city councilman (Billy Campbell) who’s drawn into the case, but you’ll see Enos on screen more than anyone else as lead investigator on the homicide, Seattle PD Detective Sarah Linden.
When we meet Sarah, she’s in her last day on the force and looking forward to moving to California with her fiance (Callum Keith Rennie) and son. So she’s less than thrilled when she catches the Larsen case, which starts out as a disappearance.
“At the beginning, she’s definitely trying to keep some professional detachment,” says Enos, who’s best-known for playing twins Kathy and Jodeen Marquart on “Big Love.” “There’s something about this case that’s going to prove difficult for her and harder for her to keep that detachment. But I think especially because she’s leaving and she’s capable of really being a person who invests everything in a case, at the top she’s trying to keep a remove so that she’s able to get on a plane.”
She’s also saddled with a new partner in Detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman), a former undercover narcotics cop who’s new to homicide and pretty much the opposite of Sarah in most ways. “Their styles couldn’t be more different,” Enos says with a laugh. “I think both of them are going to be very conscious of how different they are” — he’s confrontational where she’s calm, open while she’s very private — “but both are good at what they do in different ways, so there will be a mutual respect as well.”
Sarah’s past ends up playing a part in the case, Enos says, so she’s not eager to tell us too much about it. She will say, though, that the character comes by her world-weariness honestly. “She went to the police academy young and saw she had a real talent,” she says. “She’s got a very quick mind; she’s an observer, and quite a private person. All those qualities lent themselves to her being a powerful investigator, and the more she did that, the more it got tied into her self-esteem and identity. That’s where we meet her.”
Enos also acknowledges that the qualities that make Sarah good at her job don’t necessarily make her the most fun person to be around: “I think she’d be a frustrating person to try and be a partner with,” Enos says. “She’s capable of thinking she’s smarter than everyone — and a lot of times she is, so she’s justified in thinking that. But still, it’s not very fun spending time with someone who’s a big ol’ know-it-all.”
At the same time, though, Sarah’s occasional prickliness helps make her a more compelling character, and over the course of the show she becomes someone you’ll very much want to spend time with.
“It’s like reading a novel as opposed to a short story,” Enos says of “The Killing’s” long-form approach to telling a crime story. “In most TV shows, time is so compressed that … there’s not [a chance] to actually feel much for the victim, to know who they are. It’s kind of a quick in and out. With this, you have 13 hours of the first season to spend with these people and get to see the inner workings of their hearts and minds. It’s just a deeper investment, which I think audiences will really enjoy.”