The Killing: The Complete First Season looks good at times on Blu-ray, but it is an inconsistent transfer at best. The show’s look is intentionally shadowy. Even the daylight scenes are fairly dark, due to the constantly overcast, rainy skies. But there is a general lack of detail caused by the unusual amount of grain. Some interior scenes do have the level of clarity expected of Blu-ray. If the show was intended to look extra grainy for aesthetic reasons, they should have kept the look consistent throughout. Instead we have a show that alternates between a fairly strong appearance and an overly grainy one.
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is simple but effective. There isn’t anything wrong with the way it presents the show’s audio, but it isn’t that interesting either. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand, which is impressive for a show that has so much mumbling and slurred speech. There isn’t much activity in the rear speakers, aside from the frequent sound of rain and other light ambience. Most of the show is pretty muted, so this is an acceptably low-key audio presentation.
Special features are not extensive, but there are a few worth checking out. There is commentary from the show’s creator Veena Sud on the pilot episode that helps explain the differences between this and the original Danish series. The final episode features commentary by the show’s star Mireille Enos and one of the writers, Nicole Yorkin. A 17 minute featurette “An Autopsy of The Killing” should definitely not be watched in advance of all 13 episodes, as it includes a discussion of the season finale. The deleted scenes were almost all deleted for good reason. The gag reel is kind of fun because it shows the cast, normally so deathly serious throughout the episodes, having some lighter moments.