It's been at least a year since the Rosie Larsen case was closed. Jack's been living in Chicago with his dad, freeing up Linden to perfect her impersonation of a human person: Lives in a house, doesn't smoke, jogs, keeps it tight, has a crazy hot boyfriend that I still remember from this one insane episode of Saving Grace from like five years ago, the whole thing. She's got the whole thing on lock. Works for the Transit Authority. I guess just constantly taking people back and forth to that shitty hell casino and having suspicions.
The tree drawing Linden was so obsessed with before, if you recall, came from a murder in which a man sawed his wife's head off and locked up his son for a week or something. That man is Peter Sarsgaard's Ray Seward, and Linden wasn't sold on the official story: Either way (presumably at the end of the season), he's going to be put to death. It is clear that he's going to be a major character, based on the actor, the time we spend with him and how the first thing that happens is that he beats a priest unconscious through the bars of his cell. He's crazy and angry and violent and an utter Sarsgaardian delight.
Investigating a similar throat-slashing murder, Holder runs into some mean street kids who quickly prove to be main characters as well, centered around a mesmerizing and very fucked-up young lady named Bullet.
You're going to be hearing a lot about Bullet over the next few months, I think. She's like if a razor blade were a person.
What Holder's been up to is his old tricks of looking amazing and wearing clothes like he's doing them a favor. He's about to take the Sergeant's test (again, I'm guessing at the end of the season), his new partner is the always charming Gregg Henry as Detective Carl Reddick and they like to share milk right out of the carton, like you know how normal people are always doing that.
Holder gets some kind of intuitive hit off this latest prostitute murder, and brings that shit to Linden's door because of some seemingly circumstantial connections that -- because it's this show, obviously -- will turn out to be central to solving the case. One day. Just a quick cup of coffee and a few rounds of "remember that one murder" are enough to turn Linden back into her old robot self, and before you know it, she's lying to everybody she knows and stealing evidence from the police and eventually shooting a sick cow in the head.
At the close of the first hour, Bullet's stressing about her crush -- another homeless girl, whose boyfriend is also homeless and also they are all hookers -- with no idea that her best friend is about to be serial murdered. Holder has just about had it with "business as usual" and Linden's self-conscious portrayal of what she thinks apathy looks like, while Linden is firing her gun into the heads of creatures in the rain. So... yeah, The Killing is back.
A major case from Linden's past involved a lady who was decapitated and whose son was left with her body for going on a week, resulting in some major psychic damage and connecting the boy with Linden in a visceral way that played on her own childhood stuff. Eventually she and her partner put the woman's husband away and as our story begins he's a month from execution.
But Linden's retained doubts about his guilt -- for this particular crime -- and has held onto the evidence, even upon leaving the force after the Rosie Larsen case nearly destroyed what little life our feral heroine had managed to build for herself. The Larsens have moved on, the entirety almost of the first two years' casts has moved on.
It's been a while. Not sure how long, but since the first two seasons were a day-per-episode, it could be as much as two years? Linden's got a job working with the Transit Authority, riding the boats to Vashon Island. Jack's still in Chicago with his dad. Holder is a month away from taking the Sergeant's exam, having built a steady string of successes with his new partner, Gregg Henry. They don't seem to have spoken since she walked away that day.
Is 16 and she is none too excited about getting into the guy's car, but she puts on a brave face. The camera -- and thus our unsub -- lingers on her jewelry. He's a collector, he likes souvenirs.
Unsub: "So like are you ready to have sex with an adult for money?"
Ashley: "What's that song on the radio? It's kinda creepy."
Unsub: "It's called 'The Rains Of Castamere.'"
Holder and his partner, Carl Reddick (Gregg Henry), arrive at a warehouse the next day, where bits and pieces of Ashley Kwon are just everywhere. Reddick is fairly gross and I believe what he is telling Holder -- while drinking directly from a carton of milk at a bloody crime scene -- is how his vice bust turned into actual fucking?
Reddick: "So it's dress blues, extra starched, white gloves, spit shine, whole nine. Knock knock, she opens the door. Nothing on but the radio. I haven't even touched her yet, it's already Niagara Falls. Had to break some laws."
Holder: "At least in a couple of months that foot of glass between you won't affect your chemistry."
Stephen Holder, you and I both know that you're the average of the five people you spend the most time with. This man cannot be good for your inner beauty. On the other hand, Gregg Henry is the greatest, so maybe there's a trade-off. Wait no, because also he hands the carton of milk to Stephen Holder, who also drinks out of it, which is a strange thing for a person to do, but most especially for a vegan person. Reddick complains about how the milk they are sharing is skim milk, and Holder says something about cholesterol, and follows that up with something about breast milk, and I kind of envy Ashley Kwon right now.