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First Impressions: ABC’s “Killer Women”

By on July 4, 2013
Tricia Helfer as Molly Parker in Killer Women. Image © ABC

Tricia Helfer as Molly Parker in Killer Women. Image © ABC

Guns, explosions, and beautiful women in tight clothing, Killer Women is all flash and very little substance. Early in the pilot, one man comments about the female suspect: “She won’t get far – not with that face and ass.” I’m not sure if the show is trying to appeal to an audience that wouldn’t mind that kind of line, or if it is entirely in on its own joke. Either way, it’s wearisome, and sounds like something out of a cheesy CSI parody.

Despite being titled Killer Women, the show is focused on just one woman – Molly Parker. She is played by Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica), who does a great job with what she is given. If the pilot is any good indication, she will be carrying the majority of the scenes. Considering the role, it would be easy for Helfer to annoyingly overdo it by overemphasizing certain lines and poses. Instead, Helfer maintains a likable, classy presence the whole time.

And being Molly Parker is no picnic. She is the sole, stetson-sporting woman in the Texas Rangers. Parker is an expert interrogator, an ex-beauty queen, a best friend to her little daughter, and she plays the trombone in her spare time. While trying to convince her manipulative husband (Jeffrey Nordling) to sign divorce papers, she strikes up a spicy romance with DEA agent Dan Winston (Marc Blucas). Somewhere in there she finds time to get her hair done. What did you do today?

Molly finds support from her brother, Billy (Michael Trucco), and his wife Nessa (Marta Milans). We won’t get into any spoilers, but if she can ever get her husband to sign the divorce papers, her romantic life shows some promise. We learn little of the supporting characters in the pilot, as most of it focuses on a difficult case Molly is struggling with.

She alone is suspicious of the story coming from one suspect, and all of the men surrounding the case think she should butt out. Of course, Molly is the kind of ranger that sticks to her guns. You could even call her a “lone ranger”. Seriously, you can – she does it.

The promotional materials for the show suggest a bold female lead in a unique setting. The Texas scenery is certainly very picturesque, but the story itself needs a lot of work. One of the things that tips off Molly about her suspect is that the woman has chipped nails. Is this supposed to illustrate how women bring something special to law enforcement? If so, it’s cringe-worthy. The way that Molly physically seizes up at the mention of her father being proud of her screams “daddy issues,” naturally, and so does her choice in men. It’s all delivered so pointedly that we don’t have a choice but to notice it.

Based on the pilot, I’d have to suggest your time would be better (and more enjoyably) spent elsewhere. If car chases and tenacious women from Texas are up your alley, you may have the patience to see if the show turns itself around.

If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the Killer Women trailer: