Not only does the show focus on a female lead, but the crimes are also about female killers (hence the title), which is a big part of what drew Helfer to the role.
“I loved Molly from the moment I read the script,” Helfer tells Zap2it. “I thought the script was fun. I thought it was an interesting take on the female killer angle, but it also had the strong female lead.
“When I was reading the script, I kept thinking how fun it’d be to play. [Molly is] smart, she’s bad-a**, she’s tough, but she also has a quirky side and she’s also got a vulnerable side. More of a multi-faceted personality that you sometimes don’t get with tough-cop female roles.”
Part of Molly’s multi-faceted personality is that while she is a strong woman working in a field dominated by men, she has a secret regarding her soon-to-be ex-husband Jake (Jeffrey Nordling) that not even her family or her love interest, DEA Agent Dan Winston (Marc Blucas), know about: Her ex was abusive.
“As her relationship gets stronger with Dan, she’s working on trying to get divorced and she’s learning to trust again,” says Helfer. “Dan knows that she’s getting divorced, but she hasn’t even told her family about the abuse. He knows that there’s something underlying, but he doesn’t want to push.”
Helfer tells us that she’s heard reactions from some people wondering why a strong woman like Molly Parker, a Texas Ranger, would have let anyone abuse her, but Helfer says it just creates another layer to her character and that it’s not as easy as simply saying a strong woman wouldn’t let herself be abused.
“I like the strong female that also dealt with an issue like this,” she says. “In reading up on [abuse], especially emotional abuse, by the time it elevates to the level of physical abuse, oftentimes the people are so beaten down that they don’t really realize it’s happening until it gets to a point where she’s like, ‘No, this has got to stop’ and she moved out. It was just another element that I found interesting to play. She’s tough, but she can also be vulnerable. …
“We deal with her realizing she needs to move forward, she needs to face this herself,” Helfer adds. “We can always use strong female characters, right? Especially if they’re multi-dimensional. It’s fun to see one-dimensional strong characters, but it’s much more fun if they’re multi-dimensional.”
“Killer Women” premieres Tuesday (Jan. 7) at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.