Evan Slead ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Primetime television has always been the breeding ground for stories focused around crime. Law & Order and Twin Peaks being the original powerhouses, created several spin off series tackling different aspects of legal cases. Of course with success comes copy cats and attempts to approach the goldmine from a different entry. Those looking for a new police procedural TV show this fall can rejoice in knowing CBS has their fix.
Stalker is the newest iteration of crime drama created to teach viewers about the sub sect of law enforcement focused on stalker cases. Unlike the recent attempts of Motive and Those Who Kill to give a fresh take to the crime drama, Stalker bypasses all of the gimmicks and succeeds in creating a strong, compelling story.
Maggie Q plays Beth Davis, a Los Angeles police lieutenant specializing in stalker cases. Davis clearly puts her complete being into her job by taking on any case that comes her way. Late nights and a lack of social life give her the focus she needs to track down those who torment through stalking and killing.
Viewers are told visually that Davis has a history with stalkers of her own as she checks her locks and window shades every night before falling asleep. Q gives a beautiful strength and vulnerability in her performance that can be difficult to portray without coming off cheesy. She gives a sense that she can handle what comes her way, but has fears and mental barriers that will need to be overcome at some point. Overall, Davis is an intriguing character and one that will be interesting to see unfold as the series progresses.
Riding shotgun is newbie to the Los Angeles department, Detective Jack Larsen, played by Dylan McDermott. Larsen is introduced as a mysterious character, almost as one to not be trusted. He is new to the stalker cases but he seems to know more than Davis was expecting. His reasons for transferring to Los Angeles become more clouded and mysterious as shots of his own stalker tendencies slowly become illuminated.
McDermott seems to be a good choice to portray Larsen’s sarcastic yet intriguing persona. He gives a charisma and trustworthy air to a character written to be somewhat slimy and lecherous which is needed to not make Larsen completely unlikable. The character clearly has a closet full of secrets and a mind brimming with intrigue which will create a nice contrast to the more stoic Davis as the season plays on.
The truly phenomenal and promising aspect of Stalker comes in its creator and writer, Kevin Williamson. Williamson began his career as the out of nowhere screenwriter of the mega successful film Scream. He has been working steadily since with shows like Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries, and The Following. Williamson is a fan of the horror genre which is very apparent in his newest project. The stalker cases shown don’t give much back story to the stalkers themselves and instead focus on getting the viewer hooked through the attacks. One stalker attacks his victims while wearing a demented smiley face mask which is a creative nod to the characters during the golden age of slashers. Many shows of late have tried to give us the complete background history and mental state of each killer in a case. This is a compelling approach of course, but it is nice to have a show where viewers want to see the detectives just take the stalker out. Most notably, the scenes of attacks are actually scary, which is what Williamson is great at setting up as a writer.
Overall, Stalker is going to be an interesting ride. Williamson is known for creating twists in his stories which will make this a must watch for those who like to stay current. Well defined narrative, strong acting, compelling visuals and set ups gives this series a great jumping off point.
Stalker airs Wednesdays at 10pm on CBS.