Hats off to the first cancelled new show of 2014! If you can still catch an episode of Killer Women before they stop airing it, you have to watch it to believe how unbelievably bad it is. Sophia Vergara is a brilliant comedienne, but I don’t know what she was thinking when she put her name on this soapy western/procedural drama.
In the show’s opening moments we meet Texas Ranger Molly Parker (Tricia Helfer of Battlestar Galactica), and she’ll be on screen pretty much from here on out. Don’t worry; she has enough costume changes to keep her interesting to look at if not listen to.
Here’s what we learn: She can wrangle cattle with the guys, rock a LBD, drive like a champ, and sling a shotgun… and that’s all in the first three minutes. Five more and we learn she’s also sensitive with a witness and skilled at reading non-verbal cues. Traits like this are hammered home by such subtle dialogue as this.
Cop: Do you believe [the witness]?
Molly: According to his micro-mannerisms and eye movements, yes.
Is there anything this woman can’t do? Even before watching any further I’d predict that she’s awkward with men; that despite being gorgeous and sexy, she sleeps alone. But see, those would be predictable traits, and this trope-defying heroine can do anything. I’m getting ahead of myself. Inter-cut with our introduction to Molly, we witness a murder.
A woman with a Sophia Vergara body, wearing a red dress and glossy, scarlet pumps, struts into a Gothic cathedral during a wedding and takes out the bride from a good 50 yards away. The shooter is framed in such a way that all we really see of her are legs, boobs and butt. After the shooting, she runs out of her platform shoes and into the ether. It’s been much observed that the opening scene looks like it’s meant to be Tarantino-style camp, and then disappoints. So let’s move past that.
Now, I’m going to spoil the hell out of the “twist,” but let’s break this down. Molly later reveals through her perseverance and expertise in micro-mannerisms, that the shooter was coerced. Mexican drug lords have kidnapped her mother and daughter to blackmail her into gunning down a D.A. Besides the question, why kidnap the mother and the daughter? No sitter? — here are the most glaring problems.
1. The shooter, Martina, sure as hell doesn’t walk into the church like someone who was scared, nervous, or inexperienced with a firearm. It only takes two shots to kill the bride.
2. Why bother trying to convince us that Martina’s gotten away? Molly gets to go on an exciting chase before the opening credits (there’s a decoy in the car), but plot-wise it’s meaningless. In the very next scene they have the real shooter in custody.
3. If she has to kill someone during a wedding, why wait until the “kiss the bride” portion of the proceedings? She almost misses it! That’s just poor planning.
4. The red dress ensemble serves no other purpose than to highlight Martina’s devilish curves. In a show that’s working really hard to be about girl power, why open by objectifying one?
Apparently the show is based on a telenovella about female killers. So, although this take switches the POV to that of the cops, it makes sense they would want us to sympathize with the killer. If only the actress had more than one note — snippy and cold — maybe we could do that.
There was room in this premise to say something meaningful about a woman in a man’s world. We’ve seen more than enough tough-as-nails female cops on TV, but according to the show there are only two women on the Rangers’ force. Molly has a brief conversation with a Texas good ol’ boy about the resistance women face in this field. Unfortunately, watching Molly hop into bed with a DEA agent in the next scene undermines the point they’re trying to make.
It’s like Killer Women is trying to be everything to everyone, to cram as much action as possible into its pilot. Ironically, it’s a good thing they did since that’s just about all anyone will ever see.
And, OMG, I almost forgot to mention… Molly also plays the freaking trumpet. Nothing this woman can’t do. Nothing.
Pingback: Law & Order | Anatomy of a Pilot