While “The Killing” may have earned a passionate following over its three-season run on AMC, it was clear at the show’s fourth-season premiere Monday at the ArcLight that the cast members are passionate fans of Netflix.
“We had a partnership with Netflix in season 3,” executive producer Veena Sud told Variety. “So when we wanted to tell the very last season, Netflix was there to catch us and bring us home.”
“The Killing” has now cheated death twice. After the show’s initial cancellation, Netflix teamed up with AMC in a shared-window pact to help the show live on, however, a low-rated season prompted the cabler to pull the show a second time. Once more, Netflix stepped in, offering “The Killing” a shortened final run to be offered exclusively on the streaming service.
“To come back twice from the dead is pretty extraordinary, and is such a testament to our fans and to all the support that the studio and Netflix has given the show,” Sud said.
The cast found that working with Netflix had its advantages. By producing content for streaming versus a broadcast model, the show’s structure was no longer bound by traditional regulations. “There’s the old swearing thing and things like that,” said Gregg Henry.
“It doesn’t become gratuitous,” added Levi Meaden of the more colorful language and violence, “but I think you can kind of prod at the darker parts involved in the murders a lot more.”
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Meaden and co-stars Tyler Ross and Sterling Beaumon described the final season as “darker than it’s ever been,” crediting the creatives for truly shining after Netflix allowed them free rein over the show.
“Netflix is changing television by changing the way [it] is allowed to structure story,” said Meaden. The freedom of the streaming platform put the show in a position to explore grittier facets of the show’s universe without restraint, in addition to offering a new murder, and follow-up from “The Killing’s” last run of episodes.
Cast members, including guest star Frances Fisher, also felt a great amount of good faith from Netflix’s pilot-free policy. “Nobody has to sit around and wait for 25 executives to make a decision,” Fisher said.
“And it’s such a confidence booster,” she exclaimed, “Netflix just says cast it, do it and go. It gives the performers a lot of confidence — it’s a great working relationship to have.”
Ultimately, the cast expressed their gratitude to the show’s fans, who stood behind it even in its darkest hour. “The fans absolutely affected the longevity of this show,” stressed lead actress Mireille Enos. “Without them we would’ve had two wonderful seasons, and then it would’ve gone by the wayside but because of the fans’ response we got a third season and then finally a fourth.”
All six episodes of “The Killing’s” fourth season will be available for streaming on Aug. 1.
(Pictured: Showrunner Veena Sud, Netflix’s Cindy Holland, Mireille Enos and Fox Television Studios’ David Madden at “The Killing” season 4 premiere)