The Killing Versus Twin Peaks

This tweet by @jekelish sums it up nicely: “I can’t wait until next week’s season finale of The Killing so I can finally learn who killed Laura Palmer“.

When I watched it a few months ago, I noticed some similarities between Twin Peaks and the original Danish series (“Forbrydelsen”) that AMC’s The Killing was based on (especially the moment when the parents find out their daughter was murdered). But the writers of the American remake drew even more parallels by adding the videotape’s “reflection” clue, and lately even a One-Eyed Jack’s kind of casino (“Wapi Eagle Casino”) and a history of prostitution (at “Beau Soleil”) to the storyline.

Laura Palmer = Rosie Larsen on The Killing?

In an interview with Michelle Forbes, who plays Rosie’s grieving mother, she agrees there are quite some resemblances between The Killing and one of her personal favorite series, Twin Peaks.

You know, it’s really interesting — I mentioned earlier, I did have a show in Canada, “Durham County,” which was also compared to “Twin Peaks” and it was also compared to “The Killing” in the NY Times because it was more of a character study than a police procedural and very beautiful to look at and very broody, and that was also compared to “Twin Peaks.” And I never understood the comparison, and on this one, I tended to sort of pooh-pooh that initially, but I am understanding how deeply similar it was. In fact, somebody sent me a scene where Laura Palmer’s parents discover their child’s death and it’s shockingly similar. so there are a few similarities, but I don’t know how ‘Twin Peaks’ goes by way of Denmark 20 years later and comes back to AMC, I’m still trying to understand, but I think the similarities are fairly intense.

I was a massive fan of Twin Peaks. Massive. I dont know how any of us grew up in this age of television and weren’t astounded, and saying that, I’m still shocked that that was on network television. I was just watching it 6 months ago and there’s this little scene with Kyle MacLachlan is with somebody, in this little room having dialogue, and this marching band just goes walking past, and I just thought, “How did — this is so David Lynch, it’s so insane, and it’s so insane that it was on network television 20 years ago.” I can’t imagine it getting through today, I don’t know how it happened, but I’m so glad it did. And it changed television.

But two decades had passed and I didn’t see it. I think it was when I saw the one sheet for the show and it was ‘Who Killed Rosie Larsen?” and it was so similar to “Who Killed Laura Palmer?” And so yes, initially I missed it, but now I see the similarities are intense.

Now don’t expect it to be a modern-day Lynch/Frost production, because The Killing is completely different in every other way. I just wish the writers would fess up so it becomes a homage instead of a ripoff.

» I’ve also found an excellent episode-by-episode comparison between Forbrydelsen and The Killing here.

Written by Pieter Dom

Founder and curator of Welcome to Twin Peaks since 2011. Bobsessed since March 1991.

5 Comments

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  1. The Killing is indeed very much like Twin Peaks — that is, TP stripped of all its likable, memorable characters, off-beat situations, dramatic scenes, and flirtations with horror.
    And most importantly, humor: TP was downright funny very often, without encroaching on the drama, while TK is morose and lifeless.

    I really wanted to like the Killing, but with every episode I flinch more at the contrived plotting, and care less about the miserable characters.

  2. I was so turned off by Veena Sud’s denial that The Killing (via the Danish series) was in no way, shape or form related to Twin Peaks that I stopped watching the show after a few episodes because the truth was so glaringly obvious. (And making Rosie physically look more like Ronette than Laura didn’t hide anything.) Thanks for posting the interview with Michelle Forbes (love her!).

  3. I watched the first episode of the Danish “Forbrydelsen” TV series, subtitled in English and shown as “The Killing”. It was fine until the last 5 minutes where the mother of the dead girl is on the phone and the father is near the crime scene and the body is found. Such a rip off of Twin Peaks. I couldn’t believe they’d have the cheek to do that. I stopped watching any further episodes.

  4. The first season certaintly runs like Twin Peaks,things occur in the same order. But I must admit those similarities is what Im always looking for. Allan Wake, Deadly Premonition are also games based on Twin Peaks and I love em. I only care about the TP experience and to be honest The killing is a modern and realistic version of TP.

  5. I came seeking out this site today because I’m 5 episodes in and I can’t believe how similar the shows are! I’m a TP fanatic and the similarities are bugging the hell out of me. It’s essentially Twin Peaks without the interesting quirky stuff.

    1) Takes place in the Northwest
    2) Girl is already dead at start of first episode
    3) Best friend finds out at school (Same as donna)
    4) Girl presumed to be “good girl” actually rebellious, into drugs, dating older guy (Killing: Teacher, TP: Ben).
    5) Douchey boyfriend primary suspect, interviewed by cops, shown a video of dead girl and best friend shot shortly before the murder.
    6) Boyfriend was with another woman at the time of the killing (Bobby & Shelly)
    7) Clue found in reflection in video
    8) Janitors name is Lyndon Johnson (Like Sheriff Harry S. Truman!)
    9) Father with police when he finds out daughter is dead, on phone with mom who starts screaming and crying and calling out his name to tell her what’s happening.

    I’m only a few episodes in and every time I see one of these I’m like “This has to be intentional”! It’s like Pink Floyd claiming Dark side of the moon lining up with the wizard of oz is a coincidence!

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