If you have not gotten over The Killing's controversial season finale, you're not alone. At AMC's fall TV preview session Thursday, reporters continued to demand answers about the show's arguably frustrating cliff-hanger.
The Killing postmortem: Showrunner Veena Sud on the finale's big twists and Season 2
Asked whether network executives were concerned about ending the season on such a polarizing note, AMC Senior Vice President of Original Programming Joel Stillerman said, "The major takeaway for us starts with the headline: For everyone who was frustrated, we hear you."
At the same time, "it was never intentionally meant to mislead anyone," he said. "Our goal was to create a brilliant, if I can be so humble, piece of character-based storytelling mixed with a genre we all love, which is the murder mystery... We think we got there, but we didn't manage expectations the way we should have."
AMC responds to The Killing finale backlash
AMC's decision to renew the show for a second season, in fact, came before they committed to "the highly controversial episode" — but no one at AMC is second-guessing it. Says Stillerman: "It would have been a shame to leave it at that... [But also] we're incredibly proud of the show as a whole... I think the feedback was largely positive leading up to the finale, but we always hear feedback of all kinds..."
"I think it would have been a very different scenario had people not been so convinced they were going to find out who did it by the end," he says.
The series writers go back to work in August, and Stillerman promises, "You will find out who killed Rosie Larsen, definitively, in Season 2."
First look: AMC's post-Civil War drama Hell on Wheels
Elsewhere at the session, AMC introduced the new series Hell on Wheels, which tells the story of the building of the Transcontinental Railroad in post-Civil War America. Anson Mount stars as a former Confederate soldier looking for revenge for the wartime death of his wife. The action will be set on several fronts, one of which is the itinerant tent city at the construction site. "It's just so American, the idea of a tent city that packs up and moves with this railroad," executive producer Tony Gayton said. "It's violent and there's gambling, but there are churches..."
Inevitably, the dark Western drew comparisons to HBO's Deadwood, but the producers say that's not what they're going for. "I think we wanted to find our own way and separate ourselves," executive producer Joe Gayton said. "We've called this an 'Eastern' as opposed to a Western." (Hell on Wheels focuses on the Union Pacific Railroad, as opposed to the geographically more literally Western Central Pacific line.) Added director David von Ancken: "It's not a stylized version of a Western. That separates us from Deadwood, too, I'd say."
Hell on Wheels premieres Sunday, Nov. 6 at 10/9c on AMC.