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Pittsburgh-filmed 'Those Who Kill' all set to premiere on A&E
James D'Arcy conceals his British accent well in the new Pittsburgh-based television series “Those Who Kill,” but his character's lines throw in the occasional Pittsburghese.
“I call someone a ‘jagoff' at some point,” jokes D'Arcy, who lives in London.
D'Arcy plays Thomas Schaeffer, a forensic psychologist and professor, in the new crime thriller on A&E, which debuts March 3. The show doesn't just happen to be set in Pittsburgh: The producers gave it a local feel that will have Pittsburghers nodding in recognition throughout episodes.
In the pilot episode, the actors mentioned landmarks such as Consol Energy Center and Robinson Town Center, and talk about Allegheny, Westmoreland and surrounding counties. Viewers see many recognizable Pittsburgh sights, such as the nighttime view of the city from Mt. Washington, where the protagonist — Pittsburgh police homicide Detective Catherine Jensen, played by Chloe Sevigny — lives in an apartment.
“There's a lot of ‘Go Steelers' and ‘Let's go Pens,'” D'Arcy says. “Pittsburgh is one of the characters of the show.
“We definitely have placed it in that city, the beautiful city of Pittsburgh,” D'Arcy says.
What makes “Those Who Kill,” which is based on a Danish series of the same name, different from other crime shows is the ongoing development and drama of the lead characters, who struggle with psychological issues. Some episodes — like the pilot, featuring a sadistic serial killer who locks his victims in boxlike structures — offer a storyline that doesn't carry over into the next episode. Other killers' stories last for a few episodes. But in each episode, viewers will learn more about Jensen's and Schaeffer's struggles and pasts, which play a key part in the plot rather than a background supplement.
“Although the pilot might suggest it because it wraps up very nicely in one episode, this show is really much more about the characters, the damaged human beings and the victims,” D'Arcy says. “The characters don't solve the case every week, but they form an umbrella story that continues episode to episode. The real story is about Catherine Jensen and Thomas, as well.
“They are two very damaged human beings who are drawn into this very extreme world for their own reasons,” he says. “It's about who's manipulating who, and why they are where they are. That, to me, is really the heart of the show — it's the mystery of Catherine Jensen.”
Producers have filmed 10 episodes — all in the Pittsburgh area — beginning with the pilot in 2012, then the remaining nine episodes from September to December 2013. D'Arcy says he loves Pittsburgh and hopes to have many more filming sessions here after a successful first season.
“I hope that people enjoy it and are entertained by it and would want to ... watch the week after,” he says. “I would be very happy if we got to come back there.”
Pittsburgh police Officer Keith Stover of Zone 3 says he likes the idea of a television show portraying his department, although fictionally.
“I think it's good. We have a great department,” Stover says. “Those Who Kill” shows “a hardworking police officer trying to do good. That's the way 99.9 percent of us are anyhow.”