Wicked City Premiere: Will You Take a Second Stab At ABC's Killer Drama?

Kent Grainger (Ed WestwickGossip Girl) is a man of many alleged trades: a record label executive, a talent agent to the stars, and most importantly, a secret admirer.

In ABC’s Wicked City, the CW alum plays a copycat serial killer in the drug-fueled murder capital of the world — 1982 Los Angeles — where, much like Billy Idol’s then-eventual hit, he’s got nothing but flesh for fantasy.

Set on making a name for himself as more than just the second coming of the “Hillside Strangler,” Kent spends his nights talking women into following him back to his car for a little, umm, meat and greet, before stabbing at their skulls as a song he dedicates to them plays on the radio.

His devilish routine is quickly challenged, however, when he meets his match in the insecure Betty (Erika Christensen, Parenthood). After discovering that the seemingly run-of-the-mill nurse — who he clearly hasn’t seen gleefully ripping stitches out of an elderly patient — is a single mother of two, he opts not to kill her, but instead, to see where things go. And though he’s got a thing for her, he soon realizes they can’t be intimate unless she’s playing dead. (Don’t worry: she’s totally into it, and by the end, willing to tag along with him and a second female conquest, still unaware that he’s capable of murder.)

While that toxic relationship brews, Detective Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto, Law & Order) is working overtime as he attempts to find the copycat, all the while cheating on his wife with a coke-addled undercover cop (Karolina Wydra, True Blood) and reluctantly mulling over clues with his newly-promoted partner (Gabriel Luna, Matador).

Though his initial plan to lure the killer out of hiding by claiming he had already been found goes belly-up, he soon finds the link he needs in aspiring journalist Karen McClaren (Taissa Farmiga, American Horror Story), who earlier met and has plans to meet with the supposed record exec at a concert on the Sunset Strip. Unfortunately, Kent catches on to Karen’s new tie to the po-po when he sees her talking with Jack at their meeting place, and calls in a dedication to distract Jack while he and Betty exit the venue. Meanwhile, Karen goes missing, and it’s unclear if Kent got to her before plotting his escape.

Did Wicked City leave you hungry (like the wolf) for more? Grade the premiere in our poll, then drop a line in the comments.

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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39 Comments
  1. laurelnev says:

    I’m really not sure about this one. Usually Jeremy Sisto is enough to keep my attention, but I found myself checking FB, Twitter, etc. way too often during this episode. It may stay on the DVR another week or two, but I’m back to watching Limitless live.

  2. donholley77 says:

    Don’t get the negative reviews! ‘Wicked City’ had excellent characters, soundtrack! Felt like an 80’s cop show, with a contemporary feel!

  3. Jen says:

    I thought the cop story was kind of dull but I enjoyed the weird Kent and Betty thing. Very intriguing. The soundtrack was great too. I liked it I have a feeling it would be better binged though. I’m so used to fast paced TV now.

  4. Isa says:

    I really liked the episode. Out of the norm. Great cast!

  5. Barb Martin says:

    We only saw 15 minutes of it because. Agent of Shields ran late. That is just not fair. We would have liked to have see it.

  6. Shazz says:

    I think there is a lot of potential with this show. It always takes a couple of episodes for a show to get its groove.

  7. N says:

    Kinda liked it……

  8. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give Wicked City a C. Though I like Aquarius better, I’m not interested in watching it again and it really scares me to death just because of the dark performance by Ed Westwick.

  9. Ram510 says:

    I like it! It was different and good performances from the cast, I don’t know why this wasn’t one of the critically praised pilots or more talked about shows cause it has slot of potential. Eventhough it has boring cop elements it’s out of the box premise between Ed and Erika keeps the show interesting. I’ll be tuning in next week. Especially since I have nothing else to watch Tuesday’s at 10 cause I’m done with Limitless

  10. Moe says:

    Enjoyed the blast from the past, and a love a psycho thriller. I’ll keep watching it develope.

  11. Nancy says:

    Love it! Keeps you asking for more. Can’t wait until next week. Good choice of actors!!!

  12. Audrey WB says:

    Great cast! Great directing and soundtrack. Great period, I enjoyed it a lot. Maybe it’s not everyone’s genre but I loved it. Very intriguing relationship between Kent and Betty. Kent is so layered and cannot wait to see more. Ed KILLED as Kent! Amazing performance. Kinda scared me but I am all in!! Can’t wait for cops SLs and Kent&Betty SLs to develop more! I loved it!!

  13. Cheyenne says:

    I think it’s got a lot of potential. Not a great pilot, but pretty good overall. I’ll keep watching to see where it goes.

  14. danoregon says:

    My biggest problem with the clunky uninspired pilot was it makes me think the ending will be equally uninspired. (Spoiler alert – at least one of the the lead detective’s family members or loved ones will die, I don’t know this for a fact, but they all but telegraphed it in the pilot) And anybody buying an LAPD homicide detective with scruff in 1982? When Daryl Gates was still running things? I don’t even think they’d allow that now.

  15. Jane says:

    I started watching it but got bored quickly. It looked just like several other shows that have aired lately. I didn’t delete it though so maybe I’ll try and catch it later.

  16. Imzadi says:

    Love Ed Westwick. He plays a charming psycho as well as anyone since Mark Harmon played Ted Bundy!

  17. Tennisnsun says:

    I was born in Los Angeles, so this series serves as a nostalgic flashback for me. I’ve been to several of the hot spots including Whiskey A Go Go and it was fun to see them again. I think the story has a great cast and much potential. The 50 shades dark relationship couple is scary and exciting at the same time. I remember well the Hillside Strangler and Night Stalker serial killers of the time. I will definitely watch.

  18. Win says:

    I’m intrigued by the characters (and feel the actors are appropriate), and I loved the music. I wasn’t blown away, though, so I gave it a B.

  19. Dave says:

    TO be honest, I thought the firsrt 15 min or so was ok, then it got completely boring. I will return for week 2, but hope it gets better fast

  20. Sam says:

    I loved it! I thought it was something really different and intriguing. I love seeing everything from different sides, and I am definitely looking forward to next week. Awesome seeing Jeremy Sisto and Erika Christensen back on TV.

  21. Loved it! Can’t wait for the next episode. Soundtrack, setting, costumes, actors, love it all!

  22. I like it so far. I like the actors portrayal of the characters, and the realistic ‘feel’ of it all. I absolutely loved the 80’s when I was growing up in my teen years. But…I think they need to hire me (or someone like me) to make sure the music they play is accurate for the time period. When they show Kent and Betty at the bar, Billy Idol’s ‘Eyes Without a Face’ is playing and that song didn’t come out until 1983. But other than that, I thought the show was pretty near perfect. :)

    • donholley77 says:

      A kindred spirit from the ’80’s!;) I thought the same thing about ‘Eyes without a face’! But I believe it was performed during Billy’s ‘live performance, and since artists often perform unreleased material live, I’ll let it slide! :D I too would love to be a consultant/writer on the show!;)

      • Well, the song playing in the bar scene (with Kent and Betty) was clearly the studio version. And since ‘Eyes Without a Face’ came out on Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell album a year after that scene supposedly took place…I think they should’ve played another song off of his first album. But all of that aside, I am pleased to meet you, ‘kindred spirit from the 80’s’.

        • Yep! says:

          Ditto to all of you, I’m a music accuracy fanatic and teen of the 80s, can remember when stuff was released/popular without even having to look it up, and I was disappointed that the show flubbed this detail. It is so easy to fact-check music now that I find it almost inexcusable, except that the music was probably intended to convey a particular message about the Ed Westwick character or episode theme, so the music director probably went with it regardless.

          Speaking of 80s nods, did anyone notice that Stephen Pearcy of Ratt (formerly Mickey Ratt) was the groupie herder when the band Mickey Ratt was cited as playing? That was a hoot! This detail, showing Mickey Ratt on the marquee instead of Ratt, which is what the band’s actual name still was in 1982, leads me to believe that the Billy Idol music choices were deliberate and not just errors.

          That said, it will be interesting to see how accurate and timely future music choices will be.

          • Janie says:

            I loved that they had Stephen Pearcy as the bouncer!! I also love when they show the bands on stage.. the silhouette looks exactly like the band it is supposed to look like ( Ratt and Billy Idol) Also i just looked up Eyes without a Face and it was recorded in 1982. So i could see Billy Idol playing it for the crowd ahead of thealbum. Obviously they *really* used the recorded version because that’s not really Billy Idol on stage.
            i love all the actors in this show too and cannot wait to see more!

          • Wow! No kiddin? That wasn’t really Billy Idol on stage? Gee…thanks for cluein me in on that one. I surely do appreciate it. So that must’ve been the ONLY reason they played the recorded versions of the songs, eh? I would’ve lived the rest of my life not knowing that, if you hadn’t pointed that out. **disclaimer** My sarcasm might be a little bit more obvious than yours, but I know sarcasm when I ‘see’ it.

    • donholley77 says:

      All of the ‘live’ songs sounded like the studio versions! :D Other than that, it captured 1982 perfectly!

      • So he sung the song ‘live’ a year before he released it on his 2nd album? Please post a link. I would like to hear the live version of ‘Eyes Without a Face’ that sounds just like the studio version.

        • Never mind. I get what you’re saying. They just decided to lump his 82 and 83 albums together with his ‘studio version’ ‘live’ concert in the pilot episode, I guess.

        • donholley77 says:

          I’d like to hear that version too! LOL Springsteen performed ‘Born to Run’ live a year before he recorded the song, But I doubt Billy did the same!:D The ‘Live’ concert played more like a Greatest Hits melody. I’m just glad I’m not the only one to notice the discrepancy. Like I said, kindred spirits of the’80’s!;)

          • Me too. It makes me wonder if they knew what they were doing was not quite accurate with the time period, but were hoping no one would notice. All that aside, wouldn’t you agree that since they were playing his songs from his 2nd album, that they should have at LEAST played ‘Flesh for Fantasy’? lol

  23. Bgds says:

    I like this show. Hopefully they people give it a shot

  24. Bgds says:

    I like this show. Hopefully people give it a shot

  25. Mellisa says:

    This show needs to be given a chance!!!! 3 episodes isn’t enough to just pull the plug! The actors are great and I haven’t seen a show this exciting in a long time:( and Ed westwick is so talented he needs his own show and we need to see more of him! Don’t cancel the show please!!! 10pm is pretty late maybe if it was on earlier there would be more ratings! There giving up way to easy…no abc! Don’t do it !

    • Nancy says:

      Give it a chance it has a good story line and good actors. I can think of other shows that should be off the air before this one. Thanks!