First Impressions

Wicked City

Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                Ever since shows like Dexter and The Following became hits, serial killer television series have been a much sought after genre.  And while we have seen heroes solve serial killer plots on series like Criminal Minds and other television dramas, most television series on major network channels tend to focus on the cops and not the killers.  The promos of ABC's new drama Wicked City promised something new.

                Set in the 1980s, Wicked City's nightlife is centered on the Sunset Strip.  It is here that Kent Grainger (Ed Westwick) encounters his victims, often coming to the Whisky A Go Go nightclub to hunt.  To the outside world, Kent is an all around great guy - good looking with a love for kids, Kent is every woman's dream.  But Kent has a secret life, searching for women he can manipulate to be his next victim.  Finding them in bars and nightclubs, Kent tells these women just what they want to hear.  His favorite line as he portrays himself as a concert promoter, real estate agent or some other high powered job, is that he got help when he was just coming up and wants to return the favor.  Just prior to killing each victim, he calls in a special dedication to the local radio station.

                Hot on his heels are LAPD's detectives.  Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) is a flawed but focused homicide detective with an excellent insight on what makes a serial killer tick.  Fresh off of dealing with The Strangler, Jack is intent on finding this new serial killer who seems to be taunting him by leaving his victims in similar areas as his last nemesis.  Jack sees his new partner, Paco Contreras (Gabriel Luna), as a climber, taking on this case not because he really wants to find the killer, but because he wants to use it as a way to get higher in the ranks of the LAPD.  A family man, Jack is nonetheless involved in an affair with a fellow cop, undercover vice detective Dianne Kubek (Karolina Wydra) who gives him unique insights on the nightclub scene on the Sunset Strip.

                Kent is usually a go it alone type of guy who enjoys taunting Jack Roth for some as yet unrevealed reason.  But something changes when his latest intended victim Nurse Betty Beaumontaine (Erika Chrsitensen) reveals that she has children.  His love for children causes him to spare her life.  He begins to feel an uncanny connection with Betty, who allows him to reveal his strange fetishes to her.  Betty, in fact, has her own little secret - she enjoys inflicting pain upon the weak.  They bond in a mysterious way and Kent decides to bring her in on his most protected secret - they become serial killing partners.

                Can Jack Roth and the LAPD, with the help of reporter and almost victim Karen McClaren (Taissa Farmiga), stop this new serial killer team before the victims begin to pile up?

                I have to say that I was drawn in by the pilot episode of Wicked City, which premiered on Tuesday, October 27, 2015.  Too often we see serial killers in the eyes of the police officers who are hunting them.  We never really get to view them through the eyes of the killers themselves.  Offering up this perspective, we get to see a bit about what makes this monster tick and, in the case of Betty, we get to see what makes them become effective serial killers in the first place.  I loved the idea that the serial killers are not the only flawed characters in the series.  One usually thinks of the villains as being the only flawed characters, but in Wicked City, the cops are also flawed, just not to such a depraved degree.  I found myself mesmerized by the first episode and not just because of the storyline or the interesting characters.  I loved that the creators of the series were able to recreate 1980s Los Angeles and the Sunset Strip.  No attention to detail was missed down to the vehicles, the clothing and those damned beepers we used to carry.  And the music!  If the powers that be don't release a Wicked City Soundtrack featuring those terrific 80s songs found on the show, they are missing an incredible opportunity.

                I find myself intrigued by the characters and storyline of ABC's latest crime drama, Wicked City, and can't wait to see what happens next!  I will definitely be checking out the next episode of Wicked City, airing on ABC each Tuesday at 10pm EST.


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