Television review

Sevigny at the top of her game in ‘Those Who Kill’

 

San Francisco Chronicle

The surprise-filled plot of A&E’s Those Who Kill will put you on the edge of your seat, and Chloë Sevigny’s disturbing performance will keep you there.

There’s always room for one more cop show if it’s well-crafted and graced with winning – and, in this case, disturbing – performances. That’s what you'll find when Those Who Kill premieres Monday night.

Sevigny stars as Catherine Jensen, a new homicide detective with the Pittsburgh police department. We immediately note that there’s something a little off-center about Jensen, and it’s not just the paintings of serial killers’ homes on her living room walls. When police realize that a mummified body discovered at a demolition site is the victim of a serial killer, she tucks into the case almost ravenously.

Writer Glen Morgan ( The X-Files) takes care to avoid standard crime-story templates. The “who” in whodunit is revealed relatively early, but that doesn’t mean the suspense is over. Far from it.

Like The Killing, Those Who Kill is an Americanized re-do of a Danish series, in this case Den Som Draeber, created by Nordic noir author Elsebeth Egholm. And like The Killing, it’s moody.

Sevigny is unlike any other actress working in film or TV. Her face is all but immobile, her half-lidded eyes moving furtively, seeming to take in every detail. She reacts to other people with barely perceptible changes in expression – the slight upturn of one side of her mouth. She all but floats through scenes, seeming to register little, and then explodes with rage or fear.

As has been the case in so many films and TV shows, Sevigny is the most compelling reason to watch Those Who Kill, but if the scripts remain as carefully crafted as that of Monday’s pilot, she will have found a vehicle worthy of her singular skills.

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