Somewhere in the exurbs beyond Albuquerque, N.M., the cast and crew of ABC’s Tuesday crime drama “Killer Women” have set up camp for the day in a house. Actually, it’s one of two houses on the same property, sporting a sort of mullet theme – party house in front, house for family living and work in back.
Shooting is taking place inside the house and outside at the pool that lies between the two houses (next to another outdoor party space and a lawn beyond decked out for more child-sized play – plus a putting green).
Among those on hand are series creator Hannah Shakespeare; star Tricia Helfer, who plays trailblazing Texas Ranger Molly Parker; and Michael Trucco, who plays Molly’s rancher brother, Billy.
It’s a far cry from the interior sets and deep-forest locations in Vancouver, Canada, where Helfer and Trucco used to film “Battlestar Galactica.” And hey, the first episode for the show even featured a deadly woman in a red dress – similar to Number Six, the android character Helfer played on “Galactica.”
It would have all been very well planned, if it had been planned at all.
As for the dress, Shakespeare said, “I never made that connection. It didn’t dawn on me.”
“Me neither,” said Trucco, “but now that you said it, of course. Interesting.”
Having two “Battlestar” alums was also not a clever plan to woo the show’s fans.
“We went straight through regular casting (to find Trucco),” said Shakespeare. “We had a tough time casting Billy. I think Michael came in on the last day. Once he started reading, it was, ‘There you go. Done.’ ”
The 5-foot-11-inch, motorcycle-riding, farm-raised Helfer was chosen because there aren’t a lot of actresses who can pull off a sexy, tough, action-loving, gutsy Texas Ranger. Plus, there’s a hat.
“One of the concerns I had was, ‘Who can wear a Stetson?’ ” Shakespeare said. “All these girls come in, they’re tiny and very thin. It’s a big, huge Stetson – they’re not going to work. Tricia’s perfectly balanced.
“You put a whole gun belt on her, and her whole walk changes. She was a world-class model, and so, she can walk in stilettos for hours. Suddenly, we put this gun belt on her in the pilot, and her whole walk completely shifted. It just dropped into her waist, and she walks with authority.”
“I have a fairly deep voice,” Helfer said. “I have the height. Also, I’m athletic. It’s not to say that if Michael Trucco … tried to pin me down and arm-wrestle, that I’d have any luck. But at the same time, with Molly, she’s trained.
“That’s not to say she will never lose in a fight, but she’s also trained more than Tricia is trained, so she would have a better chance at it.”
Helfer has gotten to ride a motorbike on “Killer Women,” but she’s not impressed.
“So far,” she said, “we’ve just ridden it on gravel. It’s a track bike. I said, ‘You’re going to make me look like a dweeb.’ You’ve got to ride super-slow, because it’s a track bike; it’s not a highway bike.
“I’m going to see if they can write a scene out on the highway, so I can zip by.”
“I know she does (want that),” Shakespeare said. “She makes that point a lot. It will happen. The more I put Tricia in action scenes, the better. She’s an athlete, and it shows. We don’t have one of those actresses who can’t run.”
“I can do a lot of it,” said Helfer. “Use me. That’s what the show’s about.”