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Those Who Kill: The Complete First Season
A&E is a channel I honestly loathe, it's filled with trashy reality shows that are in all sincerity the bane of television. Though I started to have a change of heart toward the program when it started to produce scripted dramas, like one of my absolute favorite shows currently on the air, Bates Motel, or the grounded counterpart of F/X's Justified, Longmire (which the channel criminally cancelled.) A&E's newest effort is Those Who Kill, a remake of a Danish series of the same name, stars the talented Chloe Sevigny (Big Love), and is adapted by Glen Morgan, who is best known for creating the Final Destination franchise, and writing/producing many episodes of hit show like The X-Files and The Commish. Unfortunately, after only one 10 episode season, much like it's Danish predecessor, A&E axed Those Who Kill. The series has a fantastic lead actress and solid source material to adapt from, so did Those Who Kill deserve a second chance?
Watch Chloe Sevigny take on every she-cop cliché in the lead role of Catherine Jensen, a recently promoted homicide detective that works in the Pittsburgh police department. Catherine got into her line of work simply because she is enthralled and obsessive about serial killers (to the point she has paintings of famed serial killers homes on her wall) because of the disappearance of her brother years ago, and relentlessly seeks the truth behind the disappearance. Jensen has garnered a reputation for overstepping her boundaries in her unrelenting pursuit to solve Pittsburgh's most gruesome murders, and due to complications of her past, she often finds herself emotionally connected to the victims she's investigating, resulting in her typically being closely watched and on the outs at the precinct.
After a mummified corpse is found, Jensen has a sneaking suspicion that it's the work of a serial killer, she decides to enlist the help of Thomas Schaeffer (James D'Arcy), a forensic psychologist, to provide insight into the case. Much like the Will Graham character from NBC's Hannibal (but executed much less effectively), Schaeffer is unsurprisingly able to directly empathize with killers, able to get into their minds, who builds a connection with Catherine due to the fact that much like her, he's obsessive about serial killers and is also on the outs with Jensen's precinct as a result of his own rogue methods of bringing killers to justice.
Together throughout the span of these 10 episodes, Catherine and Thomas get various murder assignments, and of course because there is no one better at the job, they solve them pretty instantaneously, eventually sparking a pattern that eventually leads them to the trail of a serial killer. There are various subplots as well throughout the series... we have the murder of the week format that I'm overly sick of where our characters following a new case each episode, there is a small arc that introduces a copycat killer (what a surprise!), and one of the better storylines of the season (which sadly stays in the background for the majority of the season) involves Catherine's stepfather, Judge Howard Burgess (played by Bruce Davison), who Catherine has her suspicions of being a serial killer, due to the fact that he was abusive and seems to be entirely disinterested in finding her brother. Knowing full well she can't investigate him herself without running the risk of getting caught, enlists Schaffer to look into him instead.
+ Central performance from Sevigny is excellent. + Solid guest stars like Desmond Harrington (Dexter) and Vinessa Shaw (Ray Donovan)
+ The arc of the season is solid when the writers actually focus on it.
- Feel like a rip off mix and mash of The Bridge and Hannibal, and a poor one at that.
- Lack of chemistry between the core cast.
- Predictable plot.
- Procedural series with a thin plot.
- Hits every single clichéd trope in the genre.
Video and Audio:
Those Who Kill: The Complete First Season is presented in it's original widescreen 1.78:1 aspect ratio that is quite solid overall. There's no real signs of any noise, and the images on screen are sharp and clear.
The audio for Those Who Kill is presented with a 5.1 DTS English Dolby Digital track that is a solid mix throughout, where i didn't experience any sort of dropouts or distortions while watching the set.
If you're salivating for the stereotypical run of the mill murder mystery show, then Those Who Kill will probably satiate your craving for the time being, it's not a terrible show, it has a solid murder mystery and a terrific, but criminally wasted Chloe Sevigny, who despite the series being clichéd every step of the way, nails the lead role. Those Who Kill is at least worth a rental, but my advice is to skip this and go watch Hannibal instead. Rent It.