TV Review: “Wicked City” – Disgusting and Stupid

Written by Michelle Young November 30, 2015

wicked city

When a show gets cancelled early on in its run, it’s usually a pretty clear marker of its overall quality. But this is not always the case. Just look at shows like “Firefly” and “Freaks and Geeks”. These were fantastic, critically acclaimed shows that only lasted one season. Unfortunately for “Wicked City”, which was cancelled and pulled from air after three episodes, it does not fall under the category of shows that were “gone to soon”. In fact, its timely removal from our television screens was just about the only good thing about it.

“Wicked City” follows the various people involved in the nefarious activities taking place on the bustling 1982 Sunset Strip. The story-line follows the basic “cat and mouse” narrative, focusing mainly on both the serial killer, Kent Grainger (Ed Westwick), as he preys upon young women, and the detective in search of him, Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto). Along with them are other characters that find themselves wrapped up in the middle of the chase, like aspiring journalist Karen McClaren (Taissa Farmiga) and budding sociopathic nurse Betty Beaumontaine (Erika Christensen).

“No rest for the wicked.”

On the whole, “Wicked City” is a pretty lazy and, frankly, stupid show. It features an overdone misshapen plot that relies so heavily on common tropes that it would be hard to even distinguish it from an episode of “CSI”. The dialogue is also pretty bad, boasting lines like: “You’re asking us to find a needle in a haystack. So maybe we make the needle come to us”. The spouted lines about psychoanalysis sound as if the writers watched a couple episodes of “Criminal Minds” or read a Wikipedia page on Freud then considered themselves experts.

wicked city

While there may be a lot of mechanical issues with “Wicked City”, the aspect of the show that I really didn’t like, and actually upset me was its treatment and portrayal of women. It is safe to say that a show that opens on a man brutally stabbing a woman, whom he has lured into his car and received oral sex from, is a little tone deaf. The worst example the show puts forward, though, is Betty. Her character is so poorly drawn and acted that she just comes off as weak and pathetic, driven solely by the prospect of pleasing her new boyfriend, Kent. The show seems as if it’s trying to humanize Kent which feels not only confusing but also offensive. What is purpose of tying to humanize a character that thrives from preying on young women? All this seems especially shameful considering the fact that now more than ever, women have a growing, powerful voice on television. It just seems like a giant step back.

“If you don’t like it after all you’ve seen, I’ll disappear.”

If I were forced to find one aspect of “Wicked City” that I did like, I would have to say that it does a good job at making it look like the 80s. But even that just feels like lipstick on a pig; they can try to make it look as good as possible, but at its core, it’s just a big sloppy, mess that I’m glad we don’t have to endure any more of.

My Rating: 3/10

wicked city

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  1. Wicked City shot for 80 days in California, per the tax credit application. The show employed 3,006 extras and stand-ins, 117 cast members, and 185 crew members. It seems unlikely they ll be working any longer on the project.

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