'Those Who Kill': Episode 2

Tuesday, 11 March 2014 12:15 PM Written by 

Those Who Kill 1After last week's poorly-rated and poorly-reviewed series premiere of A&E's "Those Who Kill" (10 p.m. Monday), episode two, written by Glen Morgan and directed by David Petrarca, was certainly clearer about the characters and their relationships.

The show got down to business about Pittsburgh homicide detective Catherine Jensen (Chloe Sevigny) and her belief that her stepfather, Judge Howard Burgess (Bruce Davison), is a serial killer resposible for the death of her long-missing brother.

Catherine is trying to get Dr. Schaeffer (James D'Arcy) to investigate the judge and he even sits in Burgess' courtroom long enough to hear the judge begin the day, saying, "Morning everyone. Go Steelers!"

One has to wonder if reactions to the series might have been a smidge better if the show had aired as a two-hour premiere that offered more explanation. (Morgan told me the original Danish show ran as a series of two-hour episodes and he tried to sell A&E on that approach but it was rejected early on.)

But the big problem remains: "Those Who Kill" comes off as dime-a-dozen series about serial killers and the damaged cop who goes after them. It has none of the wit or panache of "Hannibal." And it's not a lot of fun to watch (except for looking for Pittsburgh landmarks).

Read more after the jump. ...

The episode also follows up on Catherine's unjustified shooting of the pilot's serial killer with Schaeffer lying on her behalf despite mounting a defense of "the truth" earlier in the episode. But he's now beginning to fall under her spell with regards to the possibility that her stepfather is a serial killer, so presumably that's why he changed his mind. Oh, and Schaeffer's long-suffering wife (Anne Dudek) revealed she's pregnant.

This week's serial killer story carries over to next week.

Performances: Sometimes Sevigny seems well-cast as a crazy-obsessive detective; other times she just sounds like a petulant brat (and too much like her "Big Love" character), especially when interacting with her co-worker (Omid Abtahi).

Notable guest star: Comedy series mainstay Kyle Bornheimer ("Family Tools," "Perfect Couples," "Worst Week") appeared as "cheese dad," a married guy Catherine meets at a kids arcade and offers to have a one-night stand with. She orders him to her Mt. Washington condo and though there are a lot of warning signs that she's crazy -- she stalks him from the hallway, her mail is all over the floor, she gets obsessed by a bouncy ball that falls out of his pocket -- he stays long enough to have sex with her. It's Bornheimer's third stint in a Pittsburgh-set show following "Romantically Challenged" and the movie "She's Out of My League." (If "cheese dad" turns out to be a serial killer, I'm done with this show, Pittsburgh angle or not.)

Recognizable locations: Definitely saw the inside of the Allegheny County Courthouse. 31st Street Bridge (fantastic shot under the bridge looking toward Downtown). An opening scene may have been the 31st Street Pub. A murder victim was found in an alley Downtown, possibly the one between Liberty and Penn.

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