A&E has become the place for series built around brooding and troubled souls, whether that soul resides in Norman and Norma on “Bates Motel” (which begins a new season on Monday) or conscience-ridden lawman Walt on “Longmire” (which returns sometime this summer). But the latest addition to this group, “Those Who Kill,” raises questions about how much trouble we should see.
Premiering Monday night, after the season premiere of “Bates Motel,” “Those Who Kill” stars Chloë Sevigny as Catherine Jensen, a Pittsburgh homicide detective specializing in serial killers.
That’s her specialty in part because her father may have been one; she also has a brother who has gone missing and enough resulting emotional baggage to fill a freight car. This can affect her approach to cases, and to criminals, which can go down paths outside what’s usually accepted. And we are talking about far more than bending a few constitutional guarantees.
She has a partner of sorts, forensic psychologist Thomas Schaeffer (James D’Arcy), although he’s not the mellow sort, either. Indeed, the series — adapted from a Danish program — has a grim tone and look in the premiere.
- Designed in Seattle, this $1 cup could save millions of babies
- Trump, Clinton win Washington state primary
- Reed brother led detectives to bodies believed to be Arlington couple
- Boeing plans hundreds of layoffs in local IT unit
- Your vote counts so little in Tuesday’s primary election, John Oliver joked about it on ‘Last Week Tonight’
Most Read Stories
It is reminiscent of shows like “The Killing” and “The Bridge,” both of which also had somber women in key roles. It is also in keeping with some of the nasty business executive producer Glen Morgan concocted on “The X-Files” and “Millennium.”
Only the uneasiness generated in “Those Who Kill” is not only intense but also concentrated on women in a way that should bother anyone already worried about how much violence is committed against women in prime-time TV.
“Those Who Kill” may think it has shielded itself from criticism by having a woman as its hero, but that’s not really the case. Instead, having a woman in the middle of these cases just creates another target for violence.
At the same time, Sevigny is excellent. And “Those Who Kill” does grip the viewer, as has the best of Morgan’s previous work, even if that very work is laden with horror. Only sometimes the horror is too much. The grip pushes your face toward the screen, while all the rest of you is begging to turn away.