Lt. Skinner (Elias Koteas) was revealed as the Pied Piper in the two-part season three finale of The Killing, “From Up Here” and “The Road to Hamelin.”

Of course, when the identity of the Pied Piper was finally made known to Holder (Joel Kinnaman) and Linden (Mireille Enos), Skinner had already set his evil, emotionally manipulative plans into motion.

But first, Linden is still reeling from Seward’s (Peter Sarsgaard) execution, pouring over old case files, wondering what she could have done differently. In a moment of weakness, she finds comfort in Skinner, who comes over to check in on his ex-partner. Linden clings onto Skinner and the hope of a better relationship, while Holder finds comfort in fixing his romantic relationship with Caroline. She accepts his apology for dumping her after finding Bullet’s dead body, and the two share a moment before they're interrupted by the ringing of Holder’s phone.

Holder and Linden are called to a new murder scene: a body of a young girl was found torched in the backseat of a car. After the body has been examined, the detectives find out that the victim was shot execution-style, and that the killer had removed her teeth postmortem. What’s more, her ring finger had been cut off around two weeks prior. Holder and Linden seem to agree that it’s Angie. All the facts seemed to point to the Pied Piper, and yet Mills (who had been arrested for the Pied Piper murders just a few episodes ago) was currently in prison . The Pied Piper case was, for all intents and purposes, closed.

Holder quickly realizes that a cop must have planted the Pied Piper rings in Mills’ storage unit, since nobody else was at the scene and only the police knew that Mills was a suspect in the murder investigations. Linden, however, is hesitant to accept the fact that the Pied Piper is, indeed, a cop she works with (and she also doesn’t want to do anything that could potentially ruin Skinner’s career). Still, she comes around, and the two head back to the police department to sneak as many Pied Piper case files as they can out of the office.

First stop on their new investigation is the home of the first victim, Brigitte Delahanty. In Delahanty’s former residence, Linden and Holder spot a picture of Reddick (Gregg Henry), who had never mentioned having a connection with Delahanty before. Turns out, he had been Brigitte’s neighbor until he moved away after she disappeared. Put this new information with the fact that it was Reddick who had taken Bullet’s calls on the night of her death, and Holder and Linden were ready to declare Reddick a strong contender for the title of Pied Piper.

On their way back to the police department, Linden recalls Seward mentioning that he had built a tree house for Adrian, but there were no trees surrounding their apartment building. Curious, Linden and Holder find the nearest trees to the old Seward apartment, locate Adrian’s tree house, and discover that it has a perfect view onto the lake where the Pied Piper dumped his victims’ bodies. The Pied Piper had not gone to the Seward apartment that night to kill Trisha; he had come for Adrian. This sudden realization sends Linden and Holder off to look for the boy, but he’s gone missing. With no other options, Linden and Holder are forced to share their theory about Reddick with Skinner.

Skinner insists that he be the one to confront Reddick and instructs the other two detectives to keep their conversation private. Suddenly, two investigators from Internal Affairs appear and insist on taking Holder in for questioning. They have been instructed to investigate Holder immediately, but they won't say why. While Holder is stuck in interrogation, Linden tries to reach Skinner, but gets no answer.

Desperate, Linden goes to Skinner’s house and tries to get him to get IA off of Holder’s back. The two would-be lovers are interrupted by Skinner’s estranged wife and daughter, Bethany. That’s when Linden sees it: the ring. On Bethany’s hand rests Kallie’s ring – the ring the Pied Piper would have, presumably, taken from her when he killed her. Linden and Skinner step outside, and Linden pulles her gun on him, tells him to disarm and is about to arrest him when he tells her that she needs him if she wants to get Adrian back alive.

Just as Linden makes a deal with the devil and allows Skinner to take her to his lake house (Adrian's supposed location), Holder realizes what's going on. Skinner had called IA on him, not Reddick, and he needs to get out to help Linden. Using his disruptive charms, Holder manages to threaten Reddick so that Reddick would go see him and help get him out from under IA. Once Holder filled his ex-partner in, he tells Reddick to find Adrian while he goes looking for Skinner.

Reddick found Adrian, and Holder made it to Skinner’s creepy lake house before Linden and Skinner even arrived, but it wasn’t enough. On the way to the lake house, Skinner confesses his sins to Linden – there are other bodies, he said, that will never be found. He blames her, tells her that if it weren’t for her, Adrian would have been safe. In the end, Holder assures Linden that Adrian is safe, Skinner gets to her and Linden shoots him dead as Holder watches, helpless.

And….that’s season 3 of The Killing! Skinner is the Pied Piper, Seward is proven innocent, and in the end, Linden pays the ultimate price. The Killing has not yet been renewed for a fourth season.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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