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Published June 23, 2013 on Vancouver is Awesome

Season three of The Killing introduces us to a darker, seedier part of Seattle called “The Jungle” where teenage runaways earn money by hopping  into stranger’s cars for “dates”. They’re the type of victims who can go missing for days, weeks, months or years and no one notices until detective Stephen Holder (Joel Kinnaman) catches the case of a dead teen working girl and contacts his former partner Sarah Linden (Mireille Enos) because he sees a connection to a case from her past. She resists but this is who she is and her private investigation leads to a pond of rotting corpses in biohazard bags. 17 teen victims and counting. Who’s the monster killing Seattle’s street kids?

Several Vancouver area streets play “The Jungle” from  Columbia Street in New Westminster to Raymur Street under the Hastings Overpass to Gore Street in the Downtown Eastside.  Here are the reunited detective duo Linden (Enos) and Holder (Kinnaman) walking through a street kid set on Main Street and stopping so that Holder can buy a slice.

AMC resurrected the rain-soaked Seattle-set murder mystery early this year with Netflix’s backing, after cancelling it last July. Producer FOX didn’t give up on the series, knowing it had two movie-stars-in-waiting as its leads: Mireille Enos plays Brad Pitt’s wife in mega-zombie movie World War Z, which opened on Friday, and a buffed-up Joel Kinnaman stars in the RoboCop reboot as the fatally-wounded cop made it into a cyborg, which opens in theatres next year (after two weeks of reshoots in Vancouver). Kinnaman’s transformation is so striking that AMC has dubbed his Holder character “Smolder” this season.

To reflect the new star power of its leads, Joel Kinnaman’s reformed addict Stephen Holder is wearing suits, treating his body like a temple and focused on making a career, sometimes at the expense of being a good cop. His girlfriend Assistant District Attorney Caroline (Jewel Staite) is gently nudging him to marriage.

Mireille Enos’s character Sarah Linden is in a much happier place too a year after solving the Rosie Larsen murder and walking away from detective work. When Holder visits her on Vashon Island, he teases her about her much younger Vashon Island ferry worker boyfriend Cody (with scenes filmed on Bowen Island and the Queen of Capilano): “Ain’t that sweet, Linden’s dating.” “I’m not dating.” “Booty callin’ then. Dial 1-900-Linden.” He deliberately leaves the case file of the street girl killing  behind and she eventually pursues it to the pond of bodies.  Lieutenant James Skinner (Elias Koteas), her former partner, lover and now head of  Seattle’s Special Investigations Unit, brings her back onto the Seattle police force, still rocking the Nordic sweaters, jeans, boots and black raincoat.

Elias Korteas’s Skinner was Linden’s partner three years ago investigating the death of Trisha Seward, whose husband Ray Seward (Peter Sarsgaard) sits on death row convicted of her killing and awaiting execution with a ticking clock. But did he do it? Although she was older than the other victims Trisha Seward was a hooker and the manner of her death mirrors those of the teen working girls — throat cut and trophies taken. Could Ray Seward be innocent of this crime? Skinner asks Linden to stop picking apart a “solve” and to focus on the street girl killings, but that’s not her style. Seward’s world in prison is deeply interior in contrast to the vibrant, messy world of “The Jungle”. Filmed in the Burnaby Youth Detention Centre, Riverview in Coquitlam and studio, the prison world is dark, cold, cement and metal bars. But even while incarcerated, Seward is good at manipulating people,with the exception of Hugh Dillon of Flashpoint as his nemesis, the veteran death row C.O. Francis Becker. Aaron Douglas is one of the prison guards and Nicholas Lea one of his death row cell mates.

Ray Seward’s weakness is his love for his son Adrian, played by Rowan Longworth, who stayed with his mother’s corpse for six days and drew the “Picasso drawing” of a grove of trees which haunted Sarah Linden after the case. When Linden visited him at his foster home, she spied a new sketch on his wall of the trees but with buildings added — one of which was season three’s opening crime scene at an abandoned factory. When Linden takes Adrian’s new drawing to the factory and walks to the grove of trees she finds the pond of rotting corpse. How did Adrian know of this killing place?

The third narrative is the rough, honest and dangerous street kid world of  “The Jungle”. How does the death-row Seward case connect to this one? Breakout star Bex Taylor-Klaus who plays Bullet, the 16-year-old butch lesbian protector of all the street girls, says that it’s important to shine a light on what people don’t want to see. Holder (Kinnaman) first meets Bullet in the Jungle, filmed on New Westminster’s Columbia Street, where he mistakes her for a boy. “What’s up little man? Hey you hear about a missing girl from around here?” he asks Bullet and her friend Kallie (Cate Sproule). “You’re pretty slow-five-o. I ain’t a boy,” Bullet retorts and continues to banter with “Mr. Police” until she goes too far mouthing off to him and Holder snaps, “You want to act like a man. I will treat you like a man.”  But when Kallie is the next street girl to go missing, Bullet needs help from “Popo” which leads to an unlikely alliance and friendship between them. “Man, you look like a rabbit…a big hairless albino Bugs Bunny,”  she teased him last Sunday as Holder chomped on raw carrots. Holder takes it stride. “Bugs Bunny’s the bomb” he declares. The other members of the street kid tribe: Bullet’s unrequited crush Lyric (Julia Sarah Stone), who’s in love with Twitch (Max Fowler),  an addict who dreams of moving to L.A. and becoming an actor/model to get away from his horrible life.

Each season of The Killing brings a whole new set of Vancouver actor suspects: Brendan Fletcher as Goldie the pimp and kiddie porn distributor ; Ryan Robbins as Joe Mills the cab driver, a “John”, the voice on the kiddie porn tapes and boyfriend of missing Kallie’s mother; and Ben Cotton as the possibly too good to be true Pastor Mike of the Beacon Home for Teens, a shelter for homeless youth.

These three worlds — the detectives, death-row prison and “The Jungle” — are separate but somehow will keep intersecting and all come together in the end in ways we can’t see yet.

The Killing, which wraps filming of season three in Vancouver this coming week, airs tonight on AMC.

AMC, Ben Cotton, Bex Taylor Klaus, Downtown Eastside, Joel Kinnaman, Julia Sarah Stone, Main Street, Mireille Enos, Netflix, New Westminster, Peter Sarsgaard, Ryan Robbins, The Killing

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