'Killer Women' premiere puts a strong female lead into a modern, male western

killer-women-case-one-jan-7.jpgABC's new crime drama "Killer Women" debuted Tuesday (Jan. 7), featuring "Battlestar Galactica" alum Tricia Helfer as Molly Parker, one of the only female members the Texas Rangers, the Austin-based law enforcement body.

Showrunner Hannah Shakespeare tells Zap2it that what she hopes to do in the series is take a traditional procedural and stylize it with the feel of a modern western.

"I read tons of true crime, so that's what excited me when I read 'Killer Women,'" says Shakespeare. "The second element is I'm really drawn to westerns. Molly Parker is named after the unsinkable Molly Brown and Leroy Parker, who is Butch Cassidy. I wanted to combine the two. I wanted to do a modern western that would also appeal to my interests in true crime, and why women kill and the psychology of it.

"It's also cool with a woman, it's like I'm going to take the tough boys club and do it with a woman," Shakespeare continues. "You don't think of that style as necessarily geared toward a female lead. Take a female lead and drop her into a classic, color-saturated, modern, male western."

tricia-helfer-killer-women-abc.jpgIn the course of the show, there is a case of the week: A woman who has killed, hence the title, and the case will investigate exactly why each woman did what they did. But in addition to that, Molly is battling a personal demon in the form of her abusive soon-to-be ex-husband Jake ( Jeffrey Nordling).

"That's her demon, that's what she feels internally is her greatest hypocrisy and she's held back by it," says Shakespeare. "We really play into that story; it arcs out over the entire season."

The abuse starts touching other aspects of Molly's life, including her brother Billy ( Michael Trucco), who up until now has not been privy Molly's private struggles.

"Billy does not know. He is probably the most difficult person to tell, but it comes out over the course of the season," says Shakespeare. "Also, Billy gets into some real problems. Basically, what we did -- we do a case a week and then by the season finale, the case of the week is actually [Molly's] family.

"You will learn a lot more about her father and it connects to why -- he was not the guy Molly thought he was, so that plays very much into why Billy gets into trouble."

The program is airing its eight episodes over the next eight weeks, but it is meant to be a self-contained series. Shakespeare hopes the viewers respond to Helfer and the show so that they can explore more of Molly Parker and her time as Ranger in Season 2.

"Killer Women" airs Tuesday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC. Will you be tuning in for more?
Photo/Video credit: ABC
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