There have only been two female Texas Rangers in history, but now we’re about add a third – well, on TV.
ABC’s Killer Women stars Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as Molly Parker, a feisty, determined Texas Ranger with a knack for figuring out why women kill. In the pilot episode, when a woman is murdered right in the middle of her wedding, Molly’s assigned to catch the culprit. Trouble is, it isn’t just about putting this high-heeled killer behind bars; Molly’s got to pinpoint her motives and those aren’t as cut and dry as the San Antonio Police Department would like to think. Hit the jump for all the details on our trip to the set.
Back in October, Collider got the opportunity to fly out to Killer Women’s Albuquerque set to discuss the show with Helfer as well as creator Hannah Shakespeare and stars Alex Fernandez, Marta Milans and Michael Trucco. You can catch the cast in action in the show’s trailer below:
While the crew set up for shots on the first floor of the stunning desert mansion, we got the opportunity to sit down to talk with the talent upstairs. All five interviews will be posted in full, but to give you a preliminary sense of what the show is all about, how the series came together and the components that could make it a standout, check out these 13 things you need to know about Killer Women below.
- Tricia Helfer is Molly Parker. Molly can be impulsive and hardheaded, but she’s also a hardworking and strong-willed Texas Ranger. In her personal life, she’s struggling to get passed an unfortunate situation with her ex-husband, but she still strives to stay dedicated to her job, close with her family, and even let loose and play the trumpet every once in a while.
- Marta Milans is Becca Parker. Becca is married to Molly’s brother, Billy. Becca’s father passed when she was young, so after moving to the US, she saw Billy as someone who could fill that void as a companion and protector. She had hopes of becoming a professional singer, but when Becca and Billy had their first child, she repurposed that passion into a career of managing local bands and setting up concerts.
- Michael Trucco is Billy Parker. Billy is Molly’s older brother and lives on a ranch with his wife, Becca, and their two daughters. His mother passed away when he was young, which brought him and Molly closer together. Billy is very protective of Molly, but he knows she can take care of herself at work. When it comes to Molly’s divorce, however, he chooses to remain uninvolved and even unaware of the details.
- Alex Fernandez is Company Commander Luis Zea. Luis Zea is Molly’s superior. He recognizes that Molly is particularly impulsive, but he tries to steer clear of making his Texas Rangers behave the way he wants them to behave and rather encourages them to follow their own strengths. Molly is well aware of this and does tend to push the boundaries, so when necessary, Zea does put his foot down. He’s a laconic leader who aims to listen and pay attention so that before you know it, his decision has already been made.
- How to become a Texas Ranger. You need to go through particular channels in order to become a Texas Ranger. Most Rangers are ex-military or worked in the Department of Public Safety. Some Rangers, like Molly, were former state troopers. You can either request to join the Texas Rangers after which you undergo a vigorous interview process, or you could be selected by your superiors for possessing qualities that suggest you could make a good Ranger.
- Texas Rangers often go solo. Unlike the SAPD (the San Antonio Police Department), the Texas Rangers don’t work in a department and they often don’t go out with partners. On top of that, whereas SAPD officers are only responsible for San Antonio, Texas Rangers have to assist in multiple counties, requiring them to be both spirited and independent.
- Texas Rangers are highly trained in a variety of specialties. In the show, Molly is trained in forensics, female studies, micro-mannerisms and eye movement. You don’t see Texas Rangers get up in a suspect’s face to play good cop, bad cop. They’re the ones sitting back and watching.
- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid helped make Killer Women happen. Considering Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is her favorite movie, when Shakespeare was pitched the idea of Killer Women during development season, she was immediately in. Shakespeare also got a Quentin Tarantino vibe from the material, which let her tap into the Wild West, a setting she’d been eager to explore.
- There is no connection between this Killer Women and the original, Mujeres Asesinas. Once the name Killer Women came to Shakespeare during development season and she met with the executive producers who owned the property, that was it; she went off on her own and her take on the concept blossomed in its own way. In fact, she deliberately chose not to watch the Argentinian original because she didn’t want it to cloud her own vision.
- The fades to red. When they were shooting, the cinematographer, Patrick Cady, had a color contrast monitor on set and the visual reminded Shakespeare of Sergio Leone’s work so she was inspired to incorporate fades to red as act breaks.
- The importance of family. After the show was picked up, the key creatives decided that it needed a strong family presence so the team reshot portions of the pilot to develop that element of the show further, and also to change the location of Billy’s ranch.
- Becca Parker was originally Nessa Hernandez. When Milans first auditioned for Killer Women, Becca Parker was Nessa Hernandez, a woman who owned a beauty salon in San Antonio, Texas. Turns out, there really is a beauty salon owner named Nessa Hernandez in San Antonio, Texas so they had to change the name of the character and opted for Becca.
- Food brings Molly and Zea closer together. Keep an eye out for a very special burrito in the pilot episode. There’s a moment when Zea brings Molly a burrito because she’s been on the job all day and when the writers tried to cut that moment out, Fernandez insisted they stick with it because it sets the tone for the way Molly and Zea relate to each other. Food will be a running theme for the pair throughout the show, adding pies, spicy hot ribs and more to the mix.
After conducting interviews, we didn’t have much time left on set before heading back to the airport, but we did get the chance to catch the team filming a brief interaction between Molly, another woman and, dare I say best of all, an adorable little dog.
The scene took place right in the middle of the first floor of the home, a partially enclosed area with a pool. On action, the shot was empty save for our furry star. His (or her) trainer stood off camera, motioning for him to stay put until a woman donning a blue dress, presumably a one-off character involved in one of Molly’s investigations, rushes outside and calls for him to come to her. However, rather than run into the woman’s arms as planned, the pup’s got his own agenda and prances the other way. Without calling cut, the trainer steps in and repositions the dog and everyone resets to give the shot another go. The woman in blue comes out again, but the dog just isn’t having it and takes off.
The cameras stop rolling and the trainer takes some time to rehearse the moment with her dog and the woman. They get it right a few times over and declare they’re ready for another take. Everyone resets and the pressure is on, but the dog nails it! The woman in the blue dress comes calling and he runs right into her arms, letting the scene carry on. Helfer walks out and has a brief discussion with our woman in blue.
There were no headsets so we can’t tell you much about their conversation, but they were covering the moment from two angles – a head-on wide shot that captured all the movement from across the pool and then a medium shot that got in for a closer look from the side. When the woman in the blue dress walks back inside the house, that second camera angle moves in for a tighter single on Helfer.
The Killer Women season premiere will air on ABC on Tuesday, January 7th at 10/9c. Look for more from our set visit soon.