‘Those Who Kill’ Cast talk about their new crime drama

Those Who Kill, a new crime drama from A&E premiering March 3rd is the latest in a series of adaptations of Scandinavian programs (in this case, specifically a Danish original based on the best selling work for Elsebeth Egholm) that’s hit US screens in recent years.

The series centers on Catherine Jensen (Chloë Sevigny), a freshly minted and incredibly smart police detective who tracks down serial killers.  Jensen enlists the help of Thomas Schaffer (James D’Arcy), a forensic psychiatrist, to help her get into the minds of serial killers, all the while luring Schaeffer into her own personal investigation of her missing brother. Both characters possess a deep psychological understanding that connects them to the killers’ victims and to the killers themselves.

Dark? Dark doesn’t begin to cover it. As you can expect from a series about serial killers, there’s some very disturbing themes addressed in the series. But the most fascinating, and perhaps even the darkest, part of the series seems to be the story of the lead characters.

You get a hint from it in the premiere. Catherine has become obsessed with the mystery of her brothers loss, and an apparent belief (though the audience is not yet privy as to why) that her stepfather, Judge Howard Burgess (Bruce Davison) is somehow to blame for the disappearance. She enlists the help of Schaeffer, a man who is clearly obsessed by what it is that drives a serial killer to commit their crimes, but has taken a step back from actually actively trying to solve those kinds of cases for the sake of his wife and son.

“The relationship between Thomas and Catherine is of one of manipulation and fascination,” says D’Arcy, adding that Thomas has “simultaneously a protective feeling towards Catherine, but also as someone who studies people who are damaged he finds Catherine interesting in that way.” It’s that darkness and that relationship between the two leads that drew him to the role, and there’s one scene in particular in the pilot that pretty much clinched it for him (Believe us, you’ll know it when you see it).

Those Who Kill PremiereAs for Sevigny herself, she confesses there wasn’t a moment that grabbed her. “It was more between the lines where she came from and the kind of girl that she was. I think she grew up a loner and not really fitting in in her community. She lost her father when she was really young and she’s just trying to find a sense of self, so she’s wrapped her whole identity up in the lost of her brother. I think a lot of people who are victims of crime do that and they just become consumed by the crime and what happened to their loved one, and I just thought that was such an interesting thing to explore.” She sums up that her character is trying to “avenge her brother to find some peace for herself.”

Behind the mystery of the loss of Catherine’s brother is the character of Judge Howard Burgess, played by Bruce Davison. Davison couldn’t give much away about his character, but what drew him to the role was the knowledge that Burgess was “a really intriguing character whom the sand shifts under all the time. He may or may not be everything he claims to be,” says Davison. “He’s a character of presence and one that a lot of people would fear, and other people would love.”

Rounding out the cast are Omid Abtabi (playing Detective Jerry Molbeck) and Kerry O’Malley (who plays Catherine’s best friend, and forensic pathologist, Mia Vogel). Both actors comments regarding their primary reasons for taking the parts are interesting in an industry that is only really beginning to address issues of discrimination in casting. For Abtabi, it was “to have the opportunity to play a police officer.” He confesses that “usually people of my skin color, we play a lot of terrorists and bad guys. So just to be one of the good guys and be a cop and to solve crimes, that was great.” He adds that his character can be seen as a sort of brother figure for her. “I would take a bullet for her, no problem, but if she asked me to get her coffee it’s a no go,” he quips.

For O’Malley, the draw was in the opportunity to “play a smart character, which is so rare for a woman [in this industry].  She’s a doctor, and a lot of that work is solitary, and who chooses to spend their days with dead people?” To prepare for the role O’Malley spent time in the coroners office, and was impressed with the work being done by the people there. “They really care about the job they’re doing,” she says, adding that it’s unfortunately a job that not a lot of people are doing in the country at present, and citing a recent Frontline piece on the topic.

The series promises to take it’s audience into some very dark places, and to deliver plenty of surprises, even for those familiar with the original Danish program. “The pilot is a lift from the Danish show,” clarifies D’Arcy, “And then we kind of did our own thing.”

When asked what he thought of this latest trend of taking European originals and created new series for the American market, D’Arcy had a great answer to those who might critique the practice. “Good stories are good stories, and the truth is a show in Danish is probably going to have a reasonably limited audience [in America]. So if you can, why wouldn’t you want to translate it into your own language?” Adding that “Even Shakespeare has probably been translated into every single language.

Those Who Kill premieres March 3rd on A&E.