Interview: The Killing's Mireille Enos

by Fiona Rae / 03 June, 2013
The American actress is back as Sarah Linden in the US version of the Danish series.

Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden

She will soon be seen on the big screen as Brad Pitt's wife in World War Z, but she has returned for the third season of The Killing, starting Wednesday on SoHo. The new RoboCop, Joel Kinnaman, also returns, and cast members include Peter Sarsgaard and Elias Koteas.

Congratulations, you’re back for a third season. We’re really lucky and I’m so grateful because [creator and executive producer] Veena [Sud] had already definitely laid out the plot of a three-season arc and I’m sure she had more seasons in her mind, but this third season she had already laid breadcrumbs as early as the pilot of year one and it felt so heartbreaking to not get to tell the end of this story which is so important for Sarah’s journey. Anyway, I’m thrilled. The whole show has grown this year, we have this incredible new cast and it’s found an even edgier look, and it’s working really well this year.

What has changed – we’re getting intimations that it’s not going to be as rainy, maybe not quite as gloomy as it was in the first two seasons, what’s new? Visually that’s true, the storyline is I think darker than the first two seasons. Sarah’s dealing with a serial killer. With the Rosie case there was always a sense of it being kind-of random violence, and this year it’s very calculated violence and repeated violence which I find to be a darker subject matter. And we’re also dealing with death row. In the first two seasons there was this historic case – the Picasso case – that Sarah was never peaceful about having put this man away. A boy’s mother was killed, they put the father away, and now that man is sitting on death row. There’s potential evidence that they did in fact get the wrong guy and there’s this ticking clock of this man sitting on death row, and that’s who Peter Sarsgaard plays.

Does that mean we’re going to get a bit more of Linden’s back story because of this case? Yeah, the case definitely brings up a lot of stuff with her, a lot of questions and doubts, and she’s also reunited with her old partner, who she was with when they put Peter Sarsgaard’s character away and he’s part of this larger investigation. So there’s all of that history too which is super-interesting, and the relationship between she and Holder of course – they continue to know each other more and more and need each other more and more.

At the start, she’s no longer a cop, she’s working a low-wage job, she has a boyfriend and it seems like she’s in a healthier place – why would she go back? Yeah, at least momentarily she’s managed to strip her life and start fresh in a healthier place. I don’t think it could be a long-term solution; her boyfriend is 25 years old, and she’s working the ferries, which I think would only be satisfying for so long, but she did do a good job for the short term of making her life peaceful. It makes it complicated for her going back in, because when she goes back into the police force she’s much less guarded, and some of those walls were actually helpful and protective while she was around such violence.

With Joel Kinnaman as Stephen Holder

Holder [Joel Kinnaman’s character] looks like he’s in a better place too – he’s wearing nice suits, he’s playing it straight; it almost seems as if being together is unhealthy for them. Well, they each have complicated sides of their personality. I don’t know that they bring out the worst in each other, I think they’re able to acknowledge for each other what those tricky places are. Both of them in this last year are trying a different tactic. Holder got super-ambitious. Sarah is dubious about whether you can actually be an undercover cop and do a good job if you’re wearing suits.

He looks good in a suit though, doesn’t he? He sure does, doesn’t he? Especially with his RoboCop shoulders.

Season three also has this issue of kids who run away and live on the streets – is that something that Veena wanted to particularly highlight? Definitely, she’s been really concerned about this epidemic in Seattle and the whole Pacific Northwest of street kids who are drug addicts and prostitutes and its growing and growing and nothing is being done about, and that’s the population that is being targeted in this serial murder case.

This is an original story, not one based on the Danish series – has that been freeing for Veena and the production? I imagine so, I never watched the Danish show, I was unclear about how tethered we were in the first two years. I know the Holder character was completely different from the Danish one, that partnership was totally different, so we had already taken our own track in some ways and I think the seeds of this case in season three, that was our own, so I imagine for Veena it’s nice to get to a point where she’s just completely telling her own story.

What do you make of the Scandinavian influence coming through in crime series? I know there’s really interesting storytelling coming out of that part of the world. The weather there is pretty moody, and that lends itself to wonderfully moody stories.

Peter Sarsgaard as death row inmate Ray Seward

Audiences seem to like the gloomy, melancholy thing – do you put that down to anything? I think the whodunit genre has been popular for forever and I think audiences are getting more sophisticated, especially on cable. Cable’s become this medium where they’re able to do more risky storytelling and people fall in love with these characters and I think they enjoy getting to spend longer time with them. More and more film writers and actors are coming to TV because they get to live with these characters for a long time and I think audiences are responding to that.

Has The Killing been quite a big deal for your career – you’ve gone on to do a movie with Brad Pitt and you’ve got other things in the offing. Yeah, absolutely, it kind-of opened the doors to the future world. There’s only so much you can do until you have the part, and Sarah is such a multilayered wonderful role and gave me an open forum to do my work, and from there it’s allowed me to meet with wonderful feature directors and I’ve been able to do five features in three years, so I’m a really lucky girl.

THE KILLING, SoHo, Sky 010, Wednesday, 8.30pm.
MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


New Zealanders love a good ghost story
86094 2018-01-22 00:00:00Z History

New Zealanders love a good ghost story

by Redmer Yska

We New Zealanders are known for being down to earth and no-nonsense, but there's a surprising number of Kiwi stories with a supernatural element.

Read more
How to avoid burnout at work
86051 2018-01-22 00:00:00Z Psychology

How to avoid burnout at work

by Marc Wilson

Taking positive steps at work will help keep weariness at bay.

Read more
A puppy-buyer's guide to getting a new dog
86100 2018-01-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

A puppy-buyer's guide to getting a new dog

by Sally Blundell

Just saying “oh, how adorable” is not all you need to do before taking on a new dog.

Read more
Tarawera eruption: What was the mysterious ghost canoe?
86076 2018-01-21 00:00:00Z History

Tarawera eruption: What was the mysterious ghost c…

by Dale Williams

For more than 130 years, lovers of ghost stories have enjoyed talking about one of our most enduring mysteries: the Phantom Canoe of Lake Tarawera.

Read more
How to get the health benefits of nuts without the cost
85733 2018-01-21 00:00:00Z Nutrition

How to get the health benefits of nuts without the…

by Jennifer Bowden

You need 30g of nuts a day to maximise their health benefits. Here's some tips on how to do it without putting a hole in your wallet.

Read more
Model car collector Winton Amies: 'I'm just a big kid collecting toys'
84783 2018-01-21 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Model car collector Winton Amies: 'I'm just a big …

by Guy Frederick

When Amies moved to Naseby’s old butcher shop 22 years ago, he brought 1200 model cars with him; now he has more than 3000.

Read more
Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bulldogs
86110 2018-01-20 10:49:32Z Business

Trade Me bans sale of pugs, British and French bul…

by Sally Blundell

As a result of growing concern over the welfare of pugs, British and French bulldogs, Trade Me has announced they're banning the sale of these breeds.

Read more
Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding shame
86056 2018-01-20 00:00:00Z Currently

Puppy farming: New Zealand's secret dog-breeding s…

by Sally Blundell

NZ has an unregulated puppy-breeding industry where unscrupulous operators can flourish, so why aren’t we following the lead of overseas governments?

Read more