Review: ABC’s ‘Wicked City’ adds little fresh blood to serial-killer story
“Wicked City,” which premieres Tuesday on ABC, is an anthology crime series set in the nasty world of Los Angeles. First up: serial killers on the Sunset Strip!
Created by Steven Baigelman, who wrote Don Cheadle’s forthcoming Miles Davis biopic, it’s a broadcast-network, junior-grade take on “True Detective,” with certain resemblances to another rock-trimmed, death-filled, city-of-night Southland period piece, NBC’s Manson-themed “Aquarius.”
Set in 1982, the premiere season stars Ed Westwick as a smooth-talking nonentity named Kent Grainger who likes to stab women as they perform oral sex on him. (Westwick was Chuck Bass on “Gossip Girl” and creepier there than here.) Erika Christensen, from “Parenthood,” is Betty, the nurse with a taste for giving pain whom Grainger beckons to enter his web of sin.
I would be happy enough never to see another serial-killer story on television, but people do seem to like them and have for a long time: “Sweeney Todd” made his first appearance in print in 1846. Still, TV has done them to death.
Apart from some subtle work by Christensen, the series doesn’t have much of interest to offer or fresh to say. From the sexual performance issues of its central psycho; to the antagonistic relationship of Det. Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto) and his new, unasked-for partner (Gabriel Luna); to Roth’s inevitably compromised if not corrupted character; to the old game of cat and mouse.
“He’s taunting us,” it’s said of Grainger, and also, “He’s playing with us.” We have been here before and before and before.
When: 10 p.m. Tuesday
Rating: TV-14-DLSV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14 with advisories for suggestive dialogue, coarse language, sex and violence)
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