Wicked City is an ABC anthology series that, in its first season, follow the pursuit of a serial killer terrorizing the cocaine-infused music scene of 1982’s Los Angeles Sunset Strip. In the trailer shown today at TCA, a women is seen performing oral sex and then being stabbed to death as a song is being dedicated to her on the radio. TV critics at were not happy about this, What’s Up With All The Crimes Against Women On TV being the leitmotif of this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour.
“We talk about that a lot in the writers room, the majority of us are women in the writers room,” showrunner Amy Harris told journalists attending the confab this afternoon. She said there would not be excessive graphic violence in the series because “that’ a very uncomfortable thing for me to watch.” But, she said, there’s no getting around the fact that, at the end of the day this season of the anthology series will follow the love story of serial killers Kent (Ed Westwick) and Betty (Erika Christensen), which, Harris acknowledged, is “sort of warped” as relationships go. “I want to keep it to a minimum,” she said of the violence against women, “but I want to acknowledge” it’s a season about serial killers, she explained.
And, in truth, compared to, say, Game Of Thrones, the violence shown in the trailer (the pilot episode is being re-shot with new cop-lead Jeremy Sisto) was pretty tame stuff.
Show creator Steven Baigelman said it was important to him that he mention the series’ Karen, played by Taissa Farmiga, is a young journalist whose “stories keep these young women alive” as she works to “try to bring Kent down.”
“It’s very important for us to not do violence porn,” Baigelman continued. “All of the women in this show are strong women, and they’re empowered women, and they find empowerment,” Baigelman added. One TV critic conceded that the trailer may have given a bad impression.
Another critic advised that if the show’s violence against women is used to “advance the story” rather than gratuitously, it will pass his smell test. Otherwise, not so much. Baigelman and Harris told the journalists to “stay tuned” when the reporters asked them, hopefully, if any of Kent and Betty’s victims would be male. But, Harris said, “I don’t think we can totally avoid the criticism” in re the women victims thing when doing this season of the series.
They explained to the journalists, some of whom were not born until after the ’80s, that Sunset Strip Los Angeles cannot be depicted without looking at the “degradation a lot of women went through in the ’80s to get ahead or get close to the bands” because it was the “truth of the time.”