There’s plenty of sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll to go along with the ’80s flair of ABC’s new procedural drama, Wicked City.

Taking place during 1982, a serial killer stalks women on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles, California. Kent Grainger (played by Ed Westwick) is the Sunset Strip Killer who loves notoriety, may be a copycat killer and doubles as a babysitter for a local neighbor. To say his character is complicated is an understatement. Hunting Grainger is Jack Roth (Jeremy Sisto), a grizzled cop who doesn’t trust his corner-cutting new partner, Paco Contreras (Gabriel Luna). Together, they investigate the case while plenty of ’80s songs, fashion, vehicles and technology surround them.

This review would be useless if I didn’t mention the element of sex, which is prevalent throughout the pilot episode. There’s oral sex, bondage, sex in a car, sex in a shower and strippers craftily worked into the script in order to gain ratings (or is it notoriety?), and that’s just the first episode! While this series is being shown on network television, the majority of the action is implied, but this is definitely not your average ’80s cop show.

Music also plays a large role in the show. In the series premiere episode, there’s a whole lot of time-specific pop music that’s played, with Billy Idol making an appearance at the episode’s central location, Whiskey A Go Go. All bets are off on who will be the next ’80s superstar to be featured in the next episode, but MTV will definitely be featured in an upcoming episode. You’ve been totally warned.

From the looks of the pilot, this is a very expensive TV series. Season 1 will include 10 episodes but I don’t know if the ratings will justify another expensive abbreviated season. Somehow, this period-piece crime drama feels eerily similar to Aquarius, only set two decades later. Remove the nostalgia and the controversial elements and Wicked City really is quite tame.

Strength: Plenty of taboos in this California crime story
Weakness: The characters feel somewhat one dimensional
WTF Moment: In a touching (and creepy) moment, the killer dedicates a song to his sweetheart, who then becomes just another victim.

Notable Quotes:
– “Another day, another corpse, in the murder capital of the country.”

Review: 3/5