Last June, the finale of "The Killing" seemed to be hurtling toward wrapping up the season-long whodunit — a suspect was arrested and dogged homicide detective Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) could finally head to California with her son and try to patch up her relationship with her fiance. The family of the murdered teenager Rosie Larsen might be permanently shattered, but they had closure.
And then, in the final minutes, a key piece of evidence was revealed to be fabricated, the motivations of a character we believed trustworthy were brought into question, and an act of vigilantism was on the verge of taking place — cut to the credits and a fanbase that started to resemble an angry mob.
While the ending maddened some viewers, it was in line with the Danish series on which "The Killing" is based; it took two seasons to solve its mystery. Creator Veena Sud has promised the identity of the killer will be revealed at the end of season two, which kicks off this Sunday on AMC at 8pm, after unapologetically explaining last year that viewers can look at the show as either "a left-brain journey where you're just connecting the dots of who the suspects are" or "more of a holistic journey where a young girl is murdered these are the potential suspects and this is why."
Holistic or not, "The Killing" introduced a solid selection of potential suspects from different segments in Rosie's complicated life in its first 13 episodes, and has made it clear that no alibi is airtight. Here's our list of the five most likely suspects, which includes spoilers from the first season.
And if you haven't caught up on "The Killing," we've got five first-season DVD sets to give away — read through to the end of the article to find out how to enter.
Read about the suspects — and then give us your best guess for a chance to win.
5. Jasper Ames (Richard Harmon)
Rosie's ex-boyfriend is like Chuck Bass crossed with Kip Kinkel. The son of a real estate tycoon, Jasper has an infinitely long leash for a high school kid. His father, who's quick to call in legal counsel whenever he's in trouble, doesn't seem to be around the rest of the time, leaving Jasper free to party in their spacious empty house on Mercer Island and hang out with his meth-dealing pal Kris Echols. We first see him blankly gunning down characters in a first-person shooter while an older woman he picked up at a bar stirs in his bed upstairs, and later learn he and Kris had a questionably consensual encounter with Rosie' best friend Sterling Fitch at a Halloween party the evening of the murder. It cuts into his window of opporunity, but Jasper's dead eyes and disdain for the world suggest he'd kill someone just to see how it feels.
4. Tom Drexler (Patrick Gilmore)
The sleazy billionaire can't not be a suspect. Tom's been supporting Darren Richmond in his campaign against the current mayor because he doesn't like the latter's waterfront development plans — he has his own aims to build a stadium in the spot. Darren's interactions with the self-indulgent entrepreneur have been portrayed as deals with the devil, and there are suggestions that he won't like it when Tom comes calling for what he feels he's owed. In addition to his power plays, Tom has a thing for call girls, especially on the younger side — we see that he's stocked his ceiling pool (see? he must be evil) with ladies from Beau Soleil, the high end escort agency for which Rosie may or may not have been working. If he got bored or violent, it doesn't seem out of character to believe he would have discarded his plaything in such an gruesome way.
3. Belko Royce (Brendan Sexton III)
All is not quite right with Belko, a former juvenile offender that Rosie's father Stan (Brent Sexton) hired to work at his moving company and took in like an adopted son (or creepy uncle). Belko's got no life of his own beyond a troubled situation at home with his overbearing, promiscuous mother. He's latched onto the Larsens to the point where he has his own set of keys and sometimes lets himself into their house when no one else is around — which is what he did the night that Rosie was killed. Belko may love the family a little too much, and his capacity for violence is demonstrated not just in his heading off to shoot Darren in the finale but in his earlier offering to Stan to "take care of" the suspect, a reference to their tough pasts. Plus, the collage of photos of the Larsens, including Rosie, on the ceiling above his bed suggests a creepy fixation that could have gone wrong.
2. Bennet Ahmed (Brandon Jay McLaren)
Rosie's hip young high school teacher likes to pay special attention to the bright girls in his class, and he not only wrote Rosie long, personal letters of encouragement and praise, he also seemed to be a closer to her than is typical. Then there's his very pregnant wife Amber (Ashley Johnson), who was also once his student, and who recounted to the detectives details about how they got together that sound uncomfortably like his relationship with Rosie. Investigating Bennet lead the series down a rabbit hole of terrorism scares and female circumcision in the Somali refugee community, but though the girl he was involved in hiding turned out to be very much alive and on the run from a traditional marriage, he still could have killed Rosie — there are suggestions he's still hiding something to do with her, and he has a lot to lose. The brutal beating he took from her father when the man was convinced he was the killer was awful, but also didn't necessarily clear him.
1. Darren Richmond (Billy Campbell)
The idealistic mayoral candidate looked to be fully pinned down at the end of the first season, until a photo placing him in the car in which Rosie was found turned out to be a fake. But that doesn't mean Darren didn't do it, just that there's no proof. The principled politician has turned out to have one hell of a dark side, though as his former lover and campaign manager explained, "He's good at compartmentalizing his grief, his emotions — shutting off. I think that's what makes him a great leader. He doesn't let others see his wounds." Does it also make him a great killer? His obsession with women (some paid) who look like his dead wife implies a deeper instability, and he's certainly got the smarts to hide his tracks well. Now that he's already been arrested for the crime, access to him or his campaign will surely become almost impossible for Sarah.