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Who Murdered Rosie Larsen? A Pajiba Investigation

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | May 12, 2011 |

By Dustin Rowles | Think Pieces | May 12, 2011 |

AMC’s brilliant but glacially paced “The Killing,” has just aired its 7th episode, which means it’s slightly past the halfway point of the season, and while the prime suspect in the murder of Rosie Larsen has shifted, it’s still way too early to identify the killer. But that won’t stop us from trying.

If you’re not watching “The Killing,” do so. It’s slow moving, grim, and immensely frustrating, but it’s also one of the better shows on television right now, a program that will hopefully reward our patience. It’s a nifty whoddunit, a murder-mystery stretched out into 13 episodes so that it’s more like a televised novel than “CSI.” It takes us not only into the murder investigation, but how it affects the family of the victim, a political campaign that’s wrapped up in the investigation, and the private life of Detective Sarah Linden. Each episode covers a day in the investigation, which presumably means that the murderer will be revealed in episode 13. If you’re not on board, and plan to be, then cut on out now. The rest of this post is spoiler laden.

The Suspects

Belko Royce (Brendan Sexton III): Belko is close friends and a co-worker with the victim’s father, Stan, and the family’s unofficial uncle. Like Stan, he has old ties with the mob, and he’s also been keeping tabs on the investigation for the family. Why is he the killer: I’ve had my suspicions about him since the very beginning, mostly because his character is being played by Brendan Sexton III (Welcome to the Dollhouse). That’s reason enough to suspect him. It’s also possible, though unlikely, that he was having a sexual relationship with Rosie. More likely, however, is that he was not acting alone; perhaps he was acting on behalf of the mob to avenge something that Stan did during his time with in organized crime. Odds: 4-1

Terry Marek: The aunt has taken up the slack around the house since the death of Rosie. She was a hard-partying type, and the flicker in her eyes at the sight of the millionaire at Rosie’s funeral suggests that she’s the type that eyes money and opportunity. Why is she the killer? The aunt is currently my dark-horse favorite, simply because there’s been no focus on her yet, she seems kind of sketchy, and she hasn’t seemed that moved by Rosie’s death. I also wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she was somehow in cahoots with Belko. Odds: 5-1

Sterling Fitch (Kacy Rohl): Sterling was Rosie’s best friend, although they seemed to have had a falling out before the murder. Why is she the killer? Rosie was investigated and dismissed early on, but it’s classic for procedurals to dismiss someone and circle back to them at the end. See, for instance, every single episode of “Castle.” Motive may have been jealousy. The problem, of course, is how such a tiny girl could’ve managed to commit such a brutal murder. Odds: 10-1

Gwen Eaton: Darren Richmond’s campaign advisor and lover. Why is she the killer: I have no idea why she might be, but she is suspicious looking, sneaky, shameless, and unethical. Plus, we don’t really know the details of the passing of Darren Richmond’s wife, and who is to say she wasn’t involved and that Rosie somehow sniffed that out, and that Gwen killed Rosie to shut her up? That seems a logical possibility, and it would better tie Richmond’s campaign into the overall show. Odds: 15-1.

Jamie Wright (Eric Laden): Darren Richmond’s campaign strategist. Why is he the killer? I see absolutely no reason that he might be, which makes him an ideal, left-field suspect. Odds: 18-1.

Darren Richmond (Bill Campbell): Richmond is running for mayor of Seattle and may have bigger aspirations. His campaign has been railroaded by the campaign’s potential connection to the murder of Rosie Larsen. Why is he the killer? He is way too dull to be the killer, which of course makes him a good suspect. His wife passed away under mysterious circumstances, and maybe Richmond has a history of covering up problems by murdering those that might reveal them? It’s unlikely that he was having an affair with Rosie, but not completely out of the question. Odds: 20-1.

Bennett Ahmed (Jay McClaren): The teacher clearly had a close relationship with Rosie and has a history of dating students. He also had connection with the Richmond campaign, making him a suitable suspect as the guy who stole the campaign’s rental car, in which Rosie was found. Why is he the killer: He was the lead suspect for the last two episodes, and there seems as though there was something sketchy going on between him and Rosie, but again, with the focus on him in episodes 6 and 7, it’s unlikely he’d be the killer in the end. Odds: 22-1

Imam Gelabi (Peter Bryant): The spiritual leader where Bennett Ahmed worships. He may have admitted Rosie into Ahmed’s apartment the night she disappeared. Why is he the killer: He’s probably not, but the focus has just shifted toward him. However, it’s way too early to pin the rap on him. I also don’t see a motive unless he was attempting to keep her away from Ahmed. Odds: 25-1

Janek Kovarsky (Don Thompson): Janek is the mob boss for the outfit Stan used to belong to, who gave Stan money for the funeral of Rosie. Why is he the killer? If he did it, he used Belko, and might have done so out of mob revenge. Seems too obvious, though. Odds: 30-1.

Lesley Adams (Tom Butler): The current mayor of Seattle. Why is he the killer: You could make the case that he, or someone in his campaign under his direction, stole the rental car from the Richmond campaign and murdered Rosie in order to smear Richmond and assure his own victory as mayor. He is an asshole, after all. And the waterfront project he has in the works is hugely important to him. That’s the sort of classic motive season long arcs are made of. Odds: 22-1

Benjamin Abain (Colin Lawrence): The campaign manager for Michael Aames re-election. Why is he the killer? If he did it, he’d do it under the direction of Michael Aames, which gives him the same motivation and odds as Aames. Odds: 22-1

Michael Aames (Barclay Hope): The ex-boyfriend’s father, who could’ve developed a relationship with Rosie during his son’s brief fling with Rosie. He has also displayed quite the temper. Why is he the killer? Potentially, he had his own liaison with Rosie or, more likely, he was trying to keep her away from Jasper. Considering his wealth, it’s also not out of the question that he has ties to the mob that Stan once belonged to, and there could be a potential connection. Odds: 30-1.

Senator Eaton (Alan Dale): Gwen Eaton’s father. Why is he the killer? Because Alan Dale always plays bad guys. And maybe he did it for Gwen. Odds: 40-1

Rick Felder: Sarah’s fiance. Why is he the killer? Only because it would come as a huge shock, and if he was the killer, it’d make a second season easier, as Sarah would have a ready-made excuse to get out of marrying Rick. Plus, he did leave the city right after the murder. Odds: 45-1

Jasper Aames (Richard Harmon): The ex-boyfriend. Why is he the killer? He was the first suspect, but he’s been ruled out. He’s way too obvious. Odds: 50-1

Stephen Holder: Sarah’s creepy partner, recently assigned to homicide. Why is he the killer? It’s very, very unlikely. He has no motive. He has displayed some creepiness toward teenage girls, but there’s nothing at all connecting him to Rosie. Odds: 95-1

Amber Ahmed (Ashley Johnson): Ahmed’s pregnant wife. Why is she the killer? It looked very promising that she might be, as she had motive (her husband may have had an inappropriate relationship with Rosie) and access to the types of chemicals found on Rosie during an autopsy. However, she was ruled out this week when it was discovered that, during her pregnancy, she doesn’t have the ability to pick up anything heavy, which would’ve been necessary to carry out the crime. Odds: 100-1

Lyndon the Janitor (Delos Reyes): The janitor of the school had a history of indecent exposure, and had a key to access The Cage. Why is he the killer? He’s not. He was alibi’d out after it was discovered he was in the drunk tank the night of the murder. Odds: 200-1

The odds are virtually nil for Sarah Linden (the lead investigator), Regi (Sarah’s mother), Ruth Yitanes (the union organizer), Stan (the father), Mitch (the mother), Rosie’s little brothers, Kris Echols (Jasper’s best friend), and the principal (why would she?).

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.