'The Killing' Clue Tracker: We've solved the Rosie Larsen murder mystery! (We think.)


Image Credit: Carole Segal/AMC

HBO’s new fantasy saga Games of Thrones has been praised for being a grim and gritty politically charged allegory about power-mongering scoundrels living in a verdant if climatically dreary land. It’s a good show – but I prefer to spend my Sunday evenings watching AMC’s The Killing, which tackles similar themes, but in a more real-world if similarly weather-challenged setting… a setting that just happens to be my hometown of Seattle, where wintry (rain) is always coming. I am also a sucker for murky murder mysteries about pale, haggard-looking people with guns and umbrellas – at least, more so than frisky, frothy fantasies about pale, haggard-looking people with broadswords and fur coats. But that’s just me. Beginning this week, I’ll be making like Gil Grissom and sifting through the clues of The Killing in hopes of solving the TV season’s most riveting mystery: Who killed Rosie Larsen? (Yes, I’m playing fair: I have only seen the episodes you’ve seen.)



OLD LEADS: Was the “El Diablo” video a mucho red herring? While interrogating skater junkies Jasper and Kris, Seattle detectives Linden and Holder learned that the girl in the boys’ Halloween rape-porn wasn’t Rosie, but a drunk Sterling rocking Rosie’s witch wig and posing as Rosie. Seems the two girls had a falling out, and Sterling made the video to embarrass her now-distant friend. “She changed so much” after breaking up with Jasper, Sterling said of Rosie. “She wouldn’t hang out. She’d disappear during fourth period. Tell her mom she was spending the night when she wasn’t.” Sterling also admitted that she grooved on the boys’ attention, however perverse – attention that Rosie usually got. I was unclear on this point. I’m going to say that the “sex” in the video was staged. The blood? Sterling’s nose. Prone to gushers, the girl had an attack during the lurid prank.

NEW LEADS: Sterling had some genuinely useful info for the detectives. She noticed that Rosie began going… well, somewhere after school via a city bus. Holder hopped aboard the 108 and learned from one of the drivers that Rosie used to ride it to the end of the line, to a rough-and-tough inner city section of Seattle. Trusting his street gut, Holder checked out a community center – a pro-Darren Richmond enclave, judging from the campaign signs on the wall. He learned that the people who worked there knew Rosie – and one of Rosie’s Fort Washington teachers, the devoted Bennet Ahmed, who coached an after-school basketball team.

THIS WEEK’S COOL NEW CLUE: Just how close were Rosie and Bennet? While searching Rosie’s room anew, Linden found letters from the teacher hidden inside an illuminated globe. One of them began: “Dear Rosie: You’re an old soul trapped in a young body. Go beyond the limits of what you know even if you’re afraid. Try everything. Feel everything, if only once.” The letter included a quote about “the silence of a sleeping city” that read, in part: “There are all kinds of silences … Whatever the mood or the circumstances the essence of its quality may linger in the silence that follows. It is a soundless echo.” The passage comes from British aviator Beryl Markham’s 1942 memoir West With The Night.


LINDEN: We’ve been encouraged to believe that our gum-smacking gumshoe heroine tends to get somewhat obsessed when it comes to cases involving murdered girls. We got confirmation of this via a loaded comment from fiancé Rick – but we didn’t get much more in the way of elaboration. But what did you make of that kid’s drawing in Linden’s box of packed-up work stuff, showing a coffin in a forest?

HOLDER: He’s got “the itch,” too. This can’t be good.

STANLEY LARSEN: Rosie’s father secretly bought a house before Rosie’s death for his family. Also, Stan seems to hail from a mob family and may have done some dirty work for them in his younger days. Ditto his buddy and employee Belko. When he suggested whacking Darren Richmond, Stan made it clear: He didn’t do that anymore.

GWEN EATON: Needing an infusion of cash to fund a media blitz for Darren’s floundering campaign, the candidate’s chief political advisor and lover quietly sought help from her father, a senator (Alan Dale, a.k.a. Charles Widmore from Lost). Her goal: Scoring a meeting with an insufferable, sports-loving fat cat with a grudge against the mayor. The senator agreed – though he revealed that he was aware of his daughter’s hush-hush romance with Richmond and did not approve.

DARREN RICHMOND: The desperate mayoral candidate accused true believing campaign manager Jamie of being the leaky mole in his campaign and fired him. But in a twist, we learned that Jamie’s termination was a ruse – a set-up designed to get Jamie working for Mayor Adams and subverting his campaign. Darren told Jamie that he didn’t suspect his savvy if tactless operative of being the one who tipped the media to union organizer-turned-politico Ruth Yitanes’ endorsement: “If you wanted to screw me, you would have found a smarter way to do it.”

I’m thinking Gwen was the one who leaked the endorsement — but for good reasons, at least in her mind. The fact that we got a scene where we saw her go behind Richmond’s back to broker a donor meeting told us that she’s not above playing risky games and pursuing reckless tactics to get her man elected, and my guess is that leaking the endorsement to the local paper was one of those maneuvers. Her goal: To earn a favor from the reporter to whom she whispered the scoop. I’m guessing she’ll use that credit in the next episode or two.

HAVE YOU NOTICED… The recurring basketball motif? Darren loves playing roundball – and played it during a photo-op for his education program. The deep pocketed sports nut now funding Darren’s ad blitz had a hoop in his apartment and jokingly challenged Richmond and Adams to settle the race with a game of one-on-one. Bennet Ahmed coaches that rec league b-ball team. All of this is rather ironic, given that not long ago, Seattle’s longtime NBA franchise, the SuperSonics, relocated to — of all places — Oklahoma freakin’ City. (If Richmond really wants to get elected, maybe he should make landing a new SuperSonics franchise for the Emerald City a top priority.) What does all this mean? Following the bouncing ball…


Right now, my money is on Jamie as Rosie’s murderer. Remember what Richmond said: “If you wanted to screw me, you would have found a smarter way to do it.” Translation: Jamie is a brilliant tactician, and I think he used those Machiavellian smarts to help his candidate secure the election. Here’s how I imagine that it all adds up:

+The mayor’s waterfront mall project has some secret, criminal connection to the mob – specifically, Stan’s mobster relatives.

+Stan tried to keep his mob past a secret from his family, or at least his kids. But I’m thinking that…

+Somehow, someway, Rosie learned about her father’s mob roots, and more, discovered the family’s current connection to the waterfront mall project. She told Bennet about it, because she probably told Bennet everything. Perhaps they were lovers. Ick. But it’s possible.

+Bennet did something foolish: He tried leverage Rosie’s family secret by sharing the info with Jamie during a Richmond campaign event at the community center. Bennet’s pitch to Jamie: Ruin the Mayor Adam’s re-election chances by using the info to expose his mob ties. Bennet hoped that in exchange, Richmond would keep the community center funded when he became mayor — and/or perhaps give him a post in his administration.

+But bleeding heart Bennet isn’t so slimeball-ish at heart. Soon after making this proposal, I’m thinking Bennet’s guilty conscience got the best of him and he expressed his regret to Jamie.

+However, Jamie — as ruthless as he is idealistic — had no intention of not exploiting the information that Bennet had given him. So Jamie killed Rosie. (I know, I know: HUH? My theory needs more work. How did he know Rosie? Why so homicidal? But this feels right to me. So roll with me, at least for a week.)

Now, Jamie intends to do two things:

1. Frame one of Stan’s mob-linked truck drivers for Rosie’s murder

2. Use his new position with the mayor to plant evidence establishing a link between the mayor’s campaign and Rosie’s murder

What Jamie wants Seattle to think is:

1. That Rosie was a brave girl who intended to expose her mob family’s link to Mayor Adams

2. That the Adams campaign conspired with the mob to neutralize her

3. That the mayor-mob conspiracy tried to smear Richmond by linking the campaign to the death via the car

ESTIMATED CHANCE THAT MY THEORY IS CORRECT: 100 percent… this week. Obviously, my theory is contingent on a lot of missing pieces of clue stuff and testimony not yet in evidence. We must have many more twists and turns to go before we get to The Right Answer. I look forward to the journey. But what do you think, my fellow detectives? Who do you think killed Rosie Larsen? Post your theories below – or share them with me at @EWDocJensen

Read more:
‘The Killing’ star Mireille Enos on re-inventing the procedural, the ‘big clue’ in tonight’s episode. Plus, will there be a second season?

Comments (225 total) Add your comment
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  • TicklePig

    Sounds good so far

    • Samantha

      Good Lord, EW.
      Fire this pathetic effeminite juvenile clown, Jeff Jensen.
      He’s a whiny blowhard who belittles his readers as if they are all 8 year old girls.

      • A

        They asked for theories. Unless you have something substantial to contribute, no one cares what you have to say.

      • DUH

        who’s forcing you to read?

      • bennettdidit

        Instead of being a useless troll, post something that is of value. Contribute a theory. Otherwise, we may have to induce Social Darwinism on your sorry ass.

      • Jeff Jensen

        Samantha! What did I ever do to you?

      • NotInTheTrunk

        Samantha did it!

      • Theresa

        Jeff as a new reader your theories are great, I love this show and are so glad you are covering it! Thank you!

        @ Samantha, it is really sad that you have nothing better to do but sit behind your computer and be rude to other people. Your life is obviously so pathetic that you have to be rude. Try saying that to people face to face instead of behind a computer screen. I feel so sorry for you. You are so smart Samantha and are so quick to judge, what is your theory again?

    • frankyknuckles

      I like the Jamie call. However, hindsight being what it is, I’m thinking Mayor Adams or one of his cronies arranged it. Beau Soliel, planting the body in his opponents trunk, harping so hard on the Bennett angle. He has the most to gain. Supposing he doesn’t get caught.

  • Katie

    So glad you are covering this show!!

  • Dana

    not sure on motive yet but I think its either Belko or Holder maybe Holder set the whole thing up to further his career?

    • Jeff Jensen

      Your Holder theory has crossed my mind, too. My guess, though, is that unless the actor made it clear he didn’t want to do more than one season, AMC wants to keep him because he’s really great and the Linden/Holder combo is a winning one.

      • Dana

        I think he is great as well and it is great to have you back with your theories. Missed those Lost columns and Walking Dead recaps.Guess we like the same kind of shows

      • Samantha

        Look at the pathetic tard pretending to be the author.

        Dana = pathetic for falling for it.

      • Jeff Jensen

        Nope. That ‘tard’ really be the author. Look at the pathetic cynic being wrong. And pathetic.

        Samantha, please, feel free to slag me all you want. But just me. Okay?

      • katrina

        I have s \ome reason to believe its holden boyfriend rick… just the way the show is makingit happen.. jamie i dont believe so the teacher too believeable they need to quit dragging it on..

    • Mike

      According to the Scandinavian version of the show, Belko would be the right pick, but the writer has said they did not keep to that storyline.

      • Joanne

        Did you watch the Scandinavian version? If so, how was it?

      • Owen

        Odd, Belko seems, without any reasons why, to be the killer to me. I’m guess I’m picking that up from the original, I’m glad they’ve changed it. Incidentally, when and why did Scandinavia become the land of opaque and exciting murder mysteries?

      • Mike

        @Joanne: I have not watched it yet, but it really sounds worth a look!

      • berta

        what is the scandinavian show called. Is it available here? I love the amercian one, bet the other is even better. I’m in the dark as to who the killer is.

    • Juneau

      If Holder is the murderer, then why would he go out and do so much investigating on his own? I think he’d have better things to do (or at least pretend to do) during the investigation.

      • Juneau

        Also there is no way a nose bleed creates that much blood. Sterling is still lying.

    • Bhakti

      First of all…I’m glad American Television has made a cop show on par with PRIME SUSPECT, my favorite detective show of all time (‘started watching them in ’94–if you like The Killing, you will love Prime Suspect, although PS is more graphic).

      The Killing: my first thought was Aholder, but then I thought that at least SOME of the students at the high school may have seen him with Rosie before, etc.; but I’m still not counting him out.

      I mostly lean towards Belko, though. The way he asks Stan if he wants him to “take care of the councilman” or “find out who the cops are looking at”, I don’t know, something seems fishy to me. ‘Seems like Belko is going out of his way to “kill”, probably to make himself appear more innocent with regard to Rosie’s death.

      I don’t think Jamie killed her.

    • Bhakti

      SEE ABOVE: I meant to write “Holder”…not Aholder.

    • beverly

      Jeff, I think your theory has some strong possibilities of being correct. Dana, your points are valid as well. After last nights episode, 6/19, Gwen might need to be on the potential suspect list. She seemed to be providing evidence against Darren. We now know that the photo of Darren on the bridge was bogus, so it is possible Gwen lied about Darren’s whereabouts and the returning home “soaking wet.” Jamie remans a strong possibility but Gwen has come up on the list. Does Belko fatally shoot Darren? Maybe not, since there is a season 2. However, Holder is working for someone planting the bogus photo evidence,and jumping into the car with the conspirator saying “he’s going down.” If not Jamie or Gwen as the co conspirator, who? The Mayor?

  • Finn

    It’s that kid Warren from Empire Records… I mean Belko. He’s got a criminal past and can’t be trusted. And Go Sonics!

  • Ed

    I suspected Jamie from the first episode, but I didn’t have any plot theories–I just felt like he had that weaselly quality about him. Love the show, though, and I don’t care if I’m wrong.

  • sandie75

    Good theory, Doc. For some reason, my money is still on the mother. Thrilled you are going to cover this though! I have no interested in Game of Thrones and The Killing isn’t , well, Lost or anything, but it’s going to have to do for Sunday nights.

    • Bhakti

      The mother was on a camping trip with the rest of the family, so your theory is not probable. However, it IS possible, and if the mother DID do it, that would be something I didn’t see coming.

      • christy

        i only recently, as of yday March 22, 2012, heard abt the show and watched the whole 1st season in one day! I think its the mom!. its always the one you least expect, they dont follow her much wantin you to forget about her, mom was jealous of rosie n aunt terrys relationship! right there is motive! im stickin to my theory of mom being the killer! idc how many of you think im crazy! its MOM MOM MOM!

  • Ryan


    FYI, you can’t call this your yet-to-be-delivered last LOST post just because you mention Widmore. The island isn’t done with you yet. Keep writing.

    Loving this show.

    • ihatescreennames

      That was funny–thanks for the laugh for today! I’m still waiting on his last Lost column, too…..

    • Steve

      Seriously. Just where is that last “Lost” column, Jeff? Can’t you at least let people know if you’re eventually going to write it, or whether you’ve dumped the idea completely?

  • Melissa

    As I posted on another website, I think the killer is Linden’s boyfriend, Rick, if only because you don’t hire Callum Keith Rennie to play a lovesick fiance on a murder mystery. I think he’s going to be significant down the road and I think it has to do with the previous murdered girl case Rick mentioned to Linden. Maybe they met through that investigation? Maybe he’s a serial killer! Pretty lame theory, I know. But, most of the time, pick out the person in the cast that it is least likely to be and that will be the murderer. Ruling out Reggie and Jack because we’ve barely met Reggie and Jack is a kid, that leaves Rick.

    • Heidi

      I agree Rick isn’t quite right. There is something that links him – if not to this murder, than to the last girl murdered.

    • titianterror

      i’m so glad i’m not the only one who suspects rick. something about his mannerisms.

      i’m also open to the concept that rosie’s death was an accident that has been disguised to look like a murder. yes, she had defensive wounds, but i’m curious to see how everything plays out.

      • wabina

        the mother is not the murderer….there has been no reason at all for her to murder her daughter…..

    • jane

      I never thought of him. That would be exciting if it was him, but kind of ridiculous.

  • April

    Don’t you mean Gil Grissom (CSI)?

    • ErinSF

      Yeah, I was wondering why an astronaut was going to look at clues!

    • Thanks April

      I was thinking the exact same thing…

  • MW

    I bet Bennett’s letters are just encouragement to a gifted student and not love letters. She hid them so he wouldn’t get fired for them.

    • CanuckJen

      Agreed…his character seems to be very interested in all of his students and their successes etc. At least I hope it isn’t him. Interesting theory about Linden’s boyfriend though…wouldn’t that be completely from left field!

  • Mike

    Awesome to have you back Doc theorizing Doc. Very interesting theory on Jamie… I did not even think about it.

  • Erin

    I don’t think it’s Jamie. If only because I don’t think he’d be stupid enough to put her in a campaign car to drown, thus creating an obvious connection between the murder and the campaign.

    • Heidi

      or its perfect because no one would think he would do that if he is truly loyal to Richmond winning the campaign.

  • Aaron

    One of things I missed the most since Lost ended was reading Doc Jensen’s loopy theories. Thankfully, he’s found a new obsession. This was perfect. Obscure literary reference? Check. Random plot point that might mean something but probably doesn’t (basketball)? Check. Answer to Everything That Presents Five More Questions? Check. Welcome back, Doc.

    • a

      haha perfect summary of why I always enjoyed the Lost recaps.

      I think Rosie might have been a witness to something she shouldn’t have seen, not sure what, but I think that leads us to the killer.

    • Katie

      So True!

  • Lindsay

    Ummm….Gus Grisson was an astronaut. GIL Grissom is the CSI.

  • scandibaby

    It’s crossed my mind that someone suspects Richmond killed his wife and made it look like someone else did it. Whoever knows it was him might be “framing” him or at least ruining his chances to become mayor. Right now I vote for Gwen. And I suspect Holder’s “itch” is drug-related.

    • hannah

      I vote for Gwen, too–especially because of the expensive shoes in the car (which they keep saying are Rosie’s) and because the detectives keep calling the killer a “he,” making me think they are trying to throw viewers off

    • Briana

      I don’t think Richmond killed his wife. In the scene with Stan and Belko this week talking about how Stan “doesn’t do that any more”, I’m wondering if Stan had something to do with Richmond’s wife’s death as a mob hit

      • BTGS

        Is the only connection to Stan/Richmond the campaign car that Rosie died in the reason for the statement from Belko “to take care of Richmond”??? Briana may have something…

      • Tammie S

        I think Jamie killed Rosie too, but I think Rosie and Jamie were lovers and Bennet’s letters to her, once they’re all read to us, will show that he was trying to discourage her from the icky relationship with Jamie.

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