Female Texas Rangers are few and far between and who better to join their ranks than beloved badass Tricia Helfer — at least on TV.
Killer Women (premieres Tuesday, 10/9c, ABC) stars Helfer as Molly Parker, a Texas Ranger whose gender certainly influences her work but never defines her. "She's tough, but she's not one-note," Helfer tells TVGuide.com. "She's got her work, she's got her funny side and her vulnerable side." She's even got a bit of a quirky side, playing trumpet every week at a local bar.
Both raised on a ranch and growing up quite tomboyish, Helfer found it easy to relate to Molly right off the bat. And though she doesn't play the trumpet, Helfer did play clarinet in marching band. "I felt very close to her right when I read her for the first time," the actress explains.
While Helfer has no experience in law enforcement, she rose to fame in the similarly chauvinistic world of sci-fi and geek culture, staring on the hit series Battlestar Galactica. But though Molly faces her fair share of misogyny while out in the field, Killer Women isn't a weekly anti-sexism PSA. "Molly knows that she needs to pick and choose her battles and she's smart enough to know she's going to be around that to an extent, so why get your hair up on the back of your neck every single time?" Helfer says. Instead, Molly brushes off the haters and focuses on her job: figuring out why particular women kill.
When it comes to her career, Molly has a strong moral compass, but she's willing to bend the rules now and then to solve a case. This do-whatever-is-necessary outlook comes in handy in the series premiere, when she's the only one suspicious of what everyone else writes off as an affair gone wrong. After an alleged mistress storms into a wedding shooting the bride on site, Molly insists that there's more to the murder that meets the eye. Unfortunately for her, most of her male peers have no interest in her theory that a mistress wouldn't shoot her lover's new bride with chipped nails.
Molly does have one person on her side: DEA agent and new boyfriend Dan Winston, played by Buffy vet Marc Blucas. But before Molly and Dan can pursue any semblance of a normal relationship, she'll have to contend with her abusive ex-husband who refuses to sign off on the divorce. "I like the fact that she was dealing with that because I think it's interesting to show the dynamic of a strong woman that can still find herself in that situation," Helfer says. "Her father was a state trooper and he passed away and she fell in love with this charismatic man, and slowly and subtly the emotional abuse starts and by the time she really realizes, she's already kind of beat down emotionally."
Ashamed of her past, Molly keeps the abuse to herself, a secret that causes tension with Dan, who can't always understand why she's so guarded. But Molly isn't the only one in her family keeping a big secret. Her brother Billy, played by Helfer's BSG co-star and good friend Michael Trucco, is hiding something of his own that threatens to put even more distance between Molly and Dan.
While the series follows a case-of-the-week format, as Killer Wome nprogresses it will also delve deeper into Molly's personal life, as well as into the lives of those around her. Helfer teases that fans should keep a particularly close eye on Billy. "By the finale, it's definitely a lot about the brother," she hints.
Killer Women premieres Tuesday at 10/9c on ABC.