AMC has ordered a second season of "The Killing." 

The murder mystery series, adapted from the Danish drama "Forbrydelsen," debuted to strong reviews and AMC's biggest non-zombie premiere ratings ever. The ratings have stayed solid, hovering around 2 million viewers.

The reviews? Not so much. Though the series still has some supporters, most fans and critics (including me) grew frustrated with the pacing, the endless series of blind alleys the plot went down, and the show's struggles to humanize its characters.

So why did AMC - whose original series brand to date has largely been defined by quality (and/or zombies)  - renew it, and keep showrunner Veena Sud in charge? First, TV is a business, and even a snooty boutique channel like AMC can't just discard a show that pulls in good numbers. (Its ratings are higher, in general, than what "Breaking Bad" season 3 pulled, for instance.) 

Second, these last couple of episodes have been much better - albeit hamstrung by their placement and our memories of what came before - and AMC executives have seen the finale and likely heard Sud's pitch for what season 2 will be like. It's entirely possible that for all the early missteps, Sud sticks the landing next week, and/or that her season 2 pitch acknowledged some of those missteps and talked about how they'd be avoided in the future.

We'll see. But "The Killing" lives on, under the same management.

Alan Sepinwall has been reviewing television since the mid-'90s, first for Tony Soprano's hometown paper, The Star-Ledger, and now for HitFix. His new book, "TV (The Book)" about the 100 greatest shows of all time, is available now. He can be reached at