Over the last 11 weeks, viewers of AMC's The Killing have been endlessly theorizing about the identity of Rosie Larsen's murderer. But one of the season's most intriguing mysteries has been the true intentions of new homicide detective Stephen Holder, the breakout performance for 31-year-old Swedish actor Joel Kinnaman. TV Guide Magazine spoke to Kinnaman about the success of the first season, working in all that rain and what he hopes to explore in Season 2.
TV Guide Magazine: Holder was so mysterious throughout the whole season, with different layers being slowly revealed. How much did you know about him when you started this role, and how did that affect how you portrayed him?
Kinnaman: Preparing for this part was very much about describing Holder's back-story that we found out in episode 8, and I had that with me during the whole period. When we shot the pilot, it hadn't really been decided how long he had been clean so I was preparing both physically and emotionally. I think originally he had been clean for two weeks and then they made the decision that he'd been clean for six months, which I think was a good choice. I also thought that that reveal was going to come a little bit earlier. And I think for the audience that kept the suspense and the feeling that they don't really know if this guy is a good guy or a bad guy. But for me, playing it was a bit frustrating because that also meant that I couldn't use all colors while playing it. They wanted to keep it minimal, more one directional having that suspicion grow about him so the reveal has a bigger effect. So after that, it was very relaxing for me because I could sort of be Holder 100 percent and it let me play with different kinds of colors. I did a lot of ride-alongs with the county sheriffs, with the narcotics units. They're really tough. They don't always act that nicely to people. They deal with so many people that are lying every day, so they don't really give people the benefit of the doubt. I had a lot of that coming into this, and that came from the undercover narcotics where there's not really any room for niceties.
TV Guide Magazine: How much did you know about the other characters when you started?
Kinnaman: I didn't know that much. I had watched the Danish originals so I had my perception of them from there, but otherwise I didn't really need to know anything about the other characters because it played out in the script.
TV Guide Magazine: How happy were you to get out of the rain after wrapping the season?
Kinnaman: I was very happy! I was about to drop kick one of those rain tower operators at several occasions. I was like, 'Really, I'm trying to be emotional here and you're spraying a hose in my face? I have no respect for that and here you are putting yourself in harms way, my friend.' [Laughs] But the city of Vancouver provides a lot of real rain — they do that really well. A lot of the times when the rain towers were up, it was actually raining. But when we're shooting, a drizzle doesn't always show up on film so they added the towers to really get that.
TV Guide Magazine: Going back through the season as a whole, do you have a favorite moment or scene that you're really proud of?
Kinnaman: I have a couple. Definitely playing the NA scene where Holder reveals him being an addict, that was one of the high points for me, personally, shooting the show. But then also shooting episode 11 with Mireille [Enos]. It was one of my better weeks of my career. It was very, very satisfying. And then in the end of the scene in between Linden and Holder when we're sitting at the hamburger joint and she reveals kind of where she comes from. Right at the end of that scene, we had a moment where it felt like I saw deep inside of her and that really scared her and she ran off. And that was one of my more satisfying moments as an actor.
TV Guide Magazine: With the announcement of a second season, what are you most excited to explore about Holder next year?
Kinnaman: I want to be made lieutenant. [Laughs] I have no idea where it's going to go, but if I could just fantasize: He's now six months sober and that's a very delicate time. He's under a lot of pressure. I wouldn't be surprised if sobriety is going to be difficult. So we might see a little falling off the wagon.
TV Guide Magazine: So just spill it, who killed Rosie Larsen? Did you guys have any betting or pools on set?
Kinnaman: We did, there is a pool. I'm not going to tell you who I've got my money on, but I've got my money on somebody.
The Killing season finale airs Sunday at 10/9c on AMC.