For those of us grown weary of the tortured white male detectives/criminals who occupy so much prime television real estate, "Those Who Kill," which premieres Monday on
Here, she's Catherine Jensen, a new but fiercely brilliant homicide detective in the great city of Pittsburgh. Adapted by
Also like so many others before her, she seeks aid from an "unlikely" source. In this case, it's academic forensic psychologist Thomas Schaeffer (
In the premiere episode, the two come together too quickly, as in with near-miraculous speed, discover and then solve a series of serial murders Before the Killer Strikes Again. Not surprisingly, they are often working at cross-purposes with Jensen's actual, and senior, partner (played by Christopher Michael Holley) and her boss (
So, to repeat, some comfort, small in nature.
Still, when a brush with the killer prompts Jensen to admit: "I've been put in a box before," it's difficult not to take the metaphorical leap. Sevigny, and D'Arcy for the matter, may be able to turn "Those Who Kill" into something more than it appears to be in the premiere, but they will have to struggle and strain against the Troubled Detective box in which they find themselves.
A box that Sevigny now shares with several of her former
That three women would go from a truly ground-breaking show like "Big Love" to broody procedurals (
Crime drama, long a television staple, has all but taken over prime time. This year's new hits — NBC's
That potentially prestige dramas like "Those Who Kill" offer women equal opportunity to the tortured crime-fighter role is both encouraging and disheartening. Crime dramas are popular for many good reasons. They are a familiar, and therefore reassuring, format; they allow writers, and actors, to explore primal human emotions in high-definition circumstances.
They also provide a "natural" showcase for the graphic violence, random sex and personal anguish that has become prerequisites for serious drama.
But familiarity can breed contempt, and the genre is in danger of overexpansion. More and more, shows like "Those Who Kill" serve mostly to reinvigorate our appreciation for series that don't just think outside the box but ignore the box entirely.
Sevigny, like "True Detective's"
'Those Who Kill'
When: 10:01 p.m. Monday
Rating: TV-14-DLSV (may be unsuitable for children under the age of 14, with advisories for suggestive dialogue, coarse language, sex and violence)