Wicked City is not a parody of a serial-killer show, though it sure does play like one. This week, on (groan) “Running With the Devil,” three different types of couples solidified their relationships, but it’s a toss-up as to which duo stretched believability the farthest, or embraced the most ridiculous cliches.
Spoilers, if anyone actually cares, as we break it down:
Karen and Diver She’s the perilously young reporter who spends more time hunting stories than actually writing or publishing them. But as soon as she stumbles onto a career-making scoop—she’s actually met, and been targeted by, the Sunset Strip Killer!—she decides it’s time to ditch LA and move back home. Diver owns the sleazy rag she’s been toiling at; he encourages her “Don’t stop writing ... you got something real!” But he also tells her he’s been trying to sleep with her all this time, so his opinion is rather unreliable. Still, wooing Karen with compliments gets him into her pants, and they Do It ... on the floor of the LA
Confidential Notorious office ... where the killer slips a threatening note addressed with Karen’s name (scrawled in “REDRUM” font) through the mailbox. If Karen gets killed, does that mean this laughably superficial exploration of tabloid journalism will end? Fingers crossed!
Detectives Roth and Contreras It’s starting to become apparent that even though Contreras is the noob, he’s way better at his job than the guy who supposedly nabbed the Hillside Strangler. Since he’s had experience working vice and other departments, he’s up-to-date on all the latest technology; when Killer Kent telephones a potential target, Contreras is able to pinpoint the payphone where the call was made. He basically does all the actual police work in this episode, though both partners get to crash the set of a Def Leppard video—in maybe the most ludicrous scene in an overall ludicrous episode—looking for a certain “dancer for MTV” who has intel on a missing person.
Roth’s main contribution this episode is to stomp all over the efforts of Dianne, his on-again/off-again mistress, an undercover cop who’s been working undercover as a stripper for over a year to bust some drug lord, and makes the very good point that the drugs her guy is distributing will ruin way more lives than the Sunset Strip Killer ever will. IDEA: Contreras and Dianne—with help from that other lady cop who apparently has no life outside of work—team up to hunt down Kent, while Roth gets a nice long leave of absence to hang out with his family and practice using his inside voice.
Kent and Betty Where to even begin? Last week, Kent got pouty when Betty—a single mom raising young two kids—told him she couldn’t make it to the club because she had nursing shifts scheduled. But, apparently, she was able to ditch work in time to meet him ... just when he was grooming his next victim, Mallory. Having been so turned on by Betty’s willingness to pretend to be dead during sex, or for other reasons unknown, Kent swiftly changes gears, and Wicked City blunders forth with its first “kinky” threesome (very chastely filmed; this is ABC, after all). But he’s still got an urge to kill, and spends the rest of the episode trying to scratch that itch after snoozing through his earlier opportunity. Tsk.
He goes after Mallory because he knows the cops are looking for her—might be time to re-think that idiotic thing where you dedicate a song on the radio to the girl you’re about to kill, thus identifying her to the world. But it’s Betty’s turn to get pouty when she misinterprets Kent’s interest in the younger girl. He’s a complete jackass to her when she shows up at his house unannounced, and she thinks he’s hiding something when he won’t let her inside (he is, duh, but it’s not what she thinks). And why was there a cop (Roth) at the hospital where she works, looking for Mallory and handing out police sketches of Kent’s face (created with Karen’s help; guess that explains the threat-o-gram)? Betty wants answers, and Kent’s just acting like a brick wall with great hair. She flounces off. THEY ARE THROUGH.
But Kent’s got unfinished business with both women. He finally tracks down poor gullible Mallory, easily outsmarting the cops yet again, and apologizes to Betty, who actually believes his song-and-dance about them being soulmates. Eagerly, she agrees when he offers to show her “all of me.” Is he being sincere, or is he just looking out for himself? Probably the latter, but he’s still going to have to clear up a few things for Betty in the meantime if he wants to keep her around, specifically the nature of his interest in Mallory. Betty’s bad, but she doesn’t seem to be completely evil, and she’s apparently horrified when Kent kills Mallory right in front of her. Will she flee to the cops at her first opportunity ... or will she be Kent’s ride-or-die? Her previous behavior, combined with Wicked City’s fondness for creating characters whose actions defy all logic, point to the latter.
Ain’t love grand?
Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless