'Those Who Kill': Quirky cop drama has dark overtones

Omid Abtahi and Chloë Sevigny in the new drama "Those Who Kill."
Omid Abtahi and Chloë Sevigny in the new drama "Those Who Kill." (A&E)
Posted: March 02, 2014

Chloë Sevigny, who had a memorable turn as a transsexual contract killer in British TV writer Paul Abbott's Hit & Miss, continues to court the quirky with Those Who Kill, a reimagining of the Danish crime drama from X-Files and Millennium writer Glen Morgan. It's potable, for sure, though not exactly vintage stuff.

Premiering Monday on A&E, Those Who Kill pretty much lifts its story lines from the Danish hit, but it has a much more perverse take on its main characters.

Like Hannibal, this is a psychoactive drama (it'll rearrange your brain chemicals, man), so willfully and forcefully dark in theme, tone, and performance that it will likely scare off viewers with good mental hygiene.

Sevigny stars as Catherine Jensen, a brooding Pittsburgh homicide detective so serious, so darned determined, and so chock-full of empathy for the victims, she seems perpetually on the verge of weeping. It's a bad acting choice by Sevigny, who puts too much stress, too much weight on every glance, every gesture, every word.

When she discovers a serial killer may be stalking the city, Catherine enlists the help of forensic psychologist Thomas Schaeffer (James D'Arcy).

"Their minds are dark, monstrous forests to explore. You can get lost and never return," Thomas pontificates on the art of profiling serial killers.

Sheesh! Chill out!

The drama really piles it on: Catherine's only hobbies seem to be cutting herself on her tummy and hips with a razor and collecting paintings of famous serial killers' childhood homes.

Midway through, the pilot improves considerably - and gets even stranger. As Catherine and Thomas' relationship deepens, they begin to emit a strange vibe, a rhythm of sorts that suggests their fascination with serial killers isn't exactly objective. The topic overstimulates them, turns them on - though on a deeply, perversely spiritual level.

If the creators of Those Who Kill avoid the temptation of making it into a Hannibal rip-off or Dexter retread, the series could develop into a solid character-driven thriller.


TV REVIEW

Those Who Kill

10 p.m. Monday on A&E.


tirdad@phillynews.com

215-854-2736

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