Although we have a veritable plethora of cop shows on television these days, there’s always room for one more if it’s good enough, and A&E’s new police series titled “Those Who Kill” definitely is worth watching. Pay no attention to some of the negative reviews this show has received because the first episode (It aired last Monday.) was absolutely riveting.
Chloe Sevigny stars as Catherine Jensen, a new homicide detective in Pittsburgh, which makes the series particularly interesting for area residents. Catherine’s first case turns out to be a dandy because the shocking discovery of a female skeleton with its arms crossed over its chest leads Catherine to enlist aid of forensic psychologist Thomas Schaeffer (James D’Arcy).
Catherine manages to thwart Schaeffer’s incipient reluctance to become involved in the case by piquing his interest so much that he can’t refuse to help her. They soon discover more skeletons buried in the same crossed-arms posed, and Schaeffer immediately concludes that a serial killer is on the loose.
As the program continues, we have the opportunity to see the killer at work, and he is one mean and sick bastard. I don’t want to go into much detail at the risk of spoiling things for you, and so I’ll just say that this guy preys on young women, and he subjects them to a particularly horrifying and sadistic type of torture before ultimately killing them.
In their attempt bring this wacko to justice, both Catherine and Schaeffer find themselves in grave danger, and at one point Schaeffer does something that seriously jeopardizes their relationship. They are two very complex characters, and this makes their alliance all the more fascinating.
“Those Who Kill” is based upon a Danish television series titled “Den som draeber,” and it was created by Glen Morgan (“The X-Files”). The first season comprises 10 episodes, and although the first one deals with an open and shut case, in an interview with Nancy Dillon of the New York Daily News, Sevigny explained that the series will not always follow this formula and how it is more than just another cop show.
“They said they weren’t going to dwell on the violence. The pilot had an open and closed case, but other crimes play out over several episodes, so it’s less procedural — less poppy and dismissive. It’s more about the character, why she’s so driven to help these people.”
And just why is Catherine so interested in aiding crime victims? Well the answer is that we don’t quite know yet, but we do get some hints in the first episode. Because of what occurs in the opening scene, we realize that Catherine has some severe baggage. In fact, she’s a tortured soul as the result of something that happened in her past. We also learn by bits and pieces that all is not well between her and her family and that something mysterious is going on with her missing brother. In an online interview with Valerie Parker of With an Accent, Sevigny offered an interesting analysis of Catherine.
“It was more between the lines where she came from and the kind of girl that she was. I think she grew up a loner and not really fitting in within her community. She lost her father when she was really young, and she’s just trying to find a sense of self, so she’s wrapped her whole identity up in the loss of her brother. I think a lot of people who are victims of crime do that, and they just become consumed by the crime and what happened to their loved one, and I just thought that was such an interesting thing to explore.”
Sevigny is absolutely wonderful as Catherine because she succeeds in making us feel and share in her character’s emotional upheaval. And often she accomplishes this merely by her facial expressions and the look in her eyes. Her performance alone makes the series worth watching, but it has other things to recommend it.
Among these is D’Arcy, whose portrayal of the enigmatic Schaeffer is outstanding. Although he has a wife and son, we sense that there may be some tension in the marriage because his wife is rarely around, and when she is, she makes a sarcastic remark and then disappears. D’Arcy also has somewhat of a shaky history with Frank Bisgaard (James Morrison), who is the head of the police department and Sevnigy’s supervisor. By the way, you may remember Morrison better as Bill Buchanan from the great “24” series.
In addition to the excellent acting and the creepy story in the first episode, the aerial shots of Pittsburgh are spectacular, and the show also has several bona fide OMG moments that may just knock you out of your easy chair.
I was really drawn into “Those Who Kill,” which gets an impressive score of eight, because of Catherine. What she does in the opening scene really hooked me, and I can’t wait to see how her character develops as the series progresses. Some critics really ripped the show, and I have no idea why. I think it ranks right up there with “Criminal Minds,” and that’s saying something because I’ve seen only one episode.
“Those Who Kill” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on A&E, and you can watch the first episode online. Give it a try. I think you won’t be disappointed.