Fall TV Preview
Wicked City ABC

ABC's Wicked City, Best It Can, Will Be Mindful of Violence Against Women

In the wake of a TV season that left many shows criticized for depicting violence against women, ABC’s fall drama Wicked City had something to prove Tuesday at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

Set against the backdrop of the Sunset Strip circa 1982, Wicked City focuses on two Los Angeles cops in search of a Bonnie & Clyde-esque team of serial killers — master manipulator Kent (played by Gossip Girl‘s Ed Westwick) and sociopathic nurse Betty (Parenthood‘s Erika Christensen) — whose victims are primarily female.

“A majority of us are women in the writers’ room, so it was very important to us that we not depict graphic violence. For me, that’s a very uncomfortable thing to watch,” executive producer Amy B. Harris said when asked how explicit the murder scenes will be. “We want to keep the graphic violence to a minimum, but we also want to acknowledge that they’re killing people. There’s no way we can say that they aren’t.”

Still, Harris and series creator Steven Baigelman received heat from reporters with regard to Wicked City‘s opening sequence, in which — spoiler alert! — Kent murders a young girl while receiving oral sex from her. Baigelman maintained he and his team are not interested in depicting “violence porn” on the series.

“All the women on this show are strong women, from whatever angle they’re coming from,” he said. “They find empowerment, and that’s very important to us.”

When asked how Wicked City will avoid similar criticism to that of Game of Thrones‘ Season 5 rape scene, Harris insisted it would be impossible not to become part of that dialogue.

“That is part of the conversation when you’re doing a show about a ‘Bonnie & Clyde’ serial killer couple,” she said. “When the story is about violence and it tells you something about the time and place, I understand it. When it’s used to titillate, I’m not particularly interested.

“The dialogue is a good one to have,” Harris acknowledged, “and we can’t avoid that conversation on our show.”

Wicked City premieres Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 10/9c on ABC. Hit the comments and tell us if you’ll be tuning in.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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34 Comments
  1. No sacred cows in fiction.

  2. Mr. Tran K says:

    Hope people are going to refuse to watch Wicked City because it really scares the BLEEP out of me just by watching the trailer.

    • Maria says:

      I know I won’t watch it because I would prefer they kept Forever in that time spot. And because this show doesn’t sound the least bit interesting anyway.

  3. GeoDiva says:

    So it is okay to murder women as long as you have other “Strong Women” on your show? WTF! I will not be watching this crap.

  4. B says:

    I’m curious about the creation process for this show. “Hey, let’s not just have a man killing women; let’s make it a couple killing women!” — I’d already want to avoid that premise, but the description of the opening sequence seals it. There’s no way I’ll watch.

    If you’re not interested in violence porn, why are you opening your series with that? You say all the women are strong women finding empowerment? Not the victims. And now we have women writers writing a woman killing women. Great. Is that supposed to make it all right? “Oh, but we don’t want to make it graphic!” Neither was the controversial GoT scene with Sansa graphic. That’s not an excuse.

    I don’t understand the fetish with murder in so many shows, and not only murder, but making it as sick as possible. Both of these show creators come off as entirely disingenuous, saying one thing but obviously depicting another. Maybe they got caught with something already in the works when the backlash of the last season began, but trying to cover their backsides isn’t working. Who genuinely thought that opening sequence was a good idea? Are you kidding me? Backlash or not… please take a look at what you’re defining as *entertainment* and rethink it. This article made me literally feel sick.

    • Bartimeus says:

      GoT kills and tortures equally so im not what your problem is. Women should not be any safer than men when it comes to violence in entertainment. You imply that should be the case by pointing out violence against women. Yet having women suddenly become safe while only men are fair game is also very sexist and if the violence is the issue change your decisions for entertainment. Don’t expect writers to write to cater to your sensibilities, if they want to kill a bunch of people in their show its THEIR show, vote with your remote. But it’s still their show it should be exactly as violent as they want it to be.

      • Anon says:

        When was the last time a man was Raped on Game of thrones? Sure there was one unfortunate incident with Theon in season 2. i mostly enjoy GoT but its not equal opportunity in its violence.

        • Gern Blanston says:

          Well, if realism is what the writers are going for then women would be the primary targets of rape and sexual violence. Depending on the study, 5-25% of all women are the victims of some kind of sexual assault while only 0.014-0.1% of men are the victims of sexual violence. Its not a pretty statistic, but to ignore it in order to cater to a group of people that seem to have their head in the sand about reality is ridiculous. What are the writers supposed to do? Episode one: man gets assaulted. Episode two: woman gets assaulted. Episode three: man again. Episode four: woman again.

          • Anon says:

            I will take you at your word that those statistics are accurate. However there are a few flaws with your position.

            1. Dragons, ice zombies ect Don’t exist in the real world. Game of thrones exists in a stylized fantasy world and every act of violence and especially sexual violence is there by the choice of its creators.

            2. most if not almost all of the major female characters in GoT have been Sexually Assaulted or physically Abused. Multiple times. Sansa’s incident in season 5 was the 3rd time she had almost been Raped, Not to mention Joffery’s constant abuse all through season’s 2-4. Dany Cersi, and Gilly off the top of my head have also all had non consentual sexual experiences and there is probably more

          • Lizo says:

            And by “cater to a group of people” you mean women & victims of sexual violence. I don’t need to see more rape on tv to know I’m at risk or to be reminded of assault. The people speaking out against the violence against women on tv *are* women, I think we should get a say in how we’re represented, and how a crime that is disproportionately done against us is represented.

        • Lucifer says:

          When was the last time thousands of women, including two main characters, have had their genitals cut off?

          When was the last time a female character had her head cracked open like and egg?

          When was the last time many little girls were slaughtered on-screen?

          When was the last time women were beheaded?

          The majority of main characters that have been killed off have been men. But you’re going to sit here and claim the majority of violent sequences on GoT have been towards women which is rubbish. Sure, the only rape sequences shown so far have been women, but there’s only been about 3 and one of them was not even shown. Let’s not forget Sophie Turner actually said she enjoyed the sequence because of how twisted it was and how it will change Sansa.

          At Comic Con, some gender ideologues like yourself harassed the cast and writers about “violence against women” and a female writer along with Maisie Williams both basically said: “Men and women both face violence on the show, next.”

          It’s a gritty, medieval series and if you didn’t get that after the first episode, then that’s hilarious. If you did, then you clearly like watching things just to complain.

      • Olivia says:

        Oh come on, what they said obviously went way over your head. Don’t act all preachy like you understand what you’re replying to… you only look stupid jumping on the opportunity to parrot MRA nonsense without even trying to understand what is actually being said (not whatever fantasy/interpretation of it that is going on in your head).

        • Lucifer says:

          5/10, not enough buzzwords.

          • Olivia says:

            Someone saying “but there’s only been about 3” about rape and using “gender ideologues” repeatedly is neither qualified to lecture people nor judge others’ use of words. Let alone have a say in women’s issues.

          • Lucifer says:

            Olivia, it’s nice to know the only thing you took from the long comment above was “only about 3 rapes.” And last time I checked, violence in entertainment (which is an art form) is not a “woman’s issue,” you all just get upset when 1 out of 10 victims of violence on a show are women and it’s laughable to say the least.

    • Lizo says:

      Well said!

  5. Cory says:

    Wow, people and critics sure can be astoundingly idiotic at times. Women die all the time. Men die all the time. How is men dying any less sexist than women? Serial killers generally target women do they not?! It’s HIGHLY unlikely *only* women will die in the show. People are simply desperate to find things to get offended over and it’s just pathetic.

  6. Josh says:

    Nothing says empowering will on your knees, giving head and getting killed! And love those “master manipulator” and “sociopathic nurse”….Yes this sounds SUPER female friendly.

  7. James says:

    I guess the description alternative universe applies here as TV producers look at making unreality TV with trendy politically correct gestures instead of entertainment. Life experience shows us that the truly bad amongst us will not be watching or learning because for them and their victims nothing will change, so maybe the ability to recognise your predator and protect yourself is a better message.

    • Lizo says:

      Or we can start teaching men not to rape and have an actual conversation about what masculinity is to free men from the suffering narrow-borders of the idea. Once we stop putting the onus of sexual violence on the victim, we’ll start to have change.

      • Lucifer says:

        “I have never been weak towards men, that’s why I don’t blame men” – Camille Paglia

      • Liz says:

        This is a stupid comment. With some truly twisted exceptions, no man is “taught” that it’s okay to rape. most shows that are heavy on violence portray the acts as something to be horrified at, if not a crime. Even where you do slip into that grey area, I can’t think of a time where rape was portrayed as an excusable act. You might have shows push the boundary of asking what defines rape, but that should be a conversation you should be willing to take up. It does no one any good pretending that violence against women doesn’t exist. And I personally don’t think a victim of violence is any less of a strong person than the kickass female character. Strength comes in many shades. Violence occurs against all types of people. If it isn’t something you can handle, change the channel.

  8. mike says:

    might catch it when it eventually comes to Netflix, but doesn’t seem like something that would last more than one season. Unless of course they employ the same FBI agents that were chasing bad guys on Following

  9. Sarah j says:

    I am female and I actually am looking forward to the show I think it will be a good thriller to watch and entertaining .

  10. Smart TV viewer says:

    I just saw a tv ad for Wicked City and was disgusted by the way it glamourized and sexualized violence. These writers are kidding themselves if they think they are being responsible. I’m disgusted, just disgusted, and I have never written an Internet comment before.

    • Responsible Parenting says:

      I agree 100%. ABC should be held accountable for propagating this poison. It’s a very sad sign of the time when even the commercials for a show scar our children. I’d rather see them bring back cigarette commercials.