The Killing Kind
The Killing Kind is a mind-bending thriller that not only tests the limits of its main character but also the audience’s understanding of morals and ethics, especially in the world of law and crime. The new Paramount+ series follows lawyer Ingrid Lewis (Emma Appleton), as mysterious and awful things start to happen around her – from someone breaking in and vandalising her apartment, explicit videos of her being released, to the death of a dear friend and mentor. As she investigates the ongoings, an old stalker, John Webster (Colin Morgan), comes back to her life in the guise of trying to help. But Ingrid questions his motives, especially considering the deep and dark history between them. The series twists through lots of retrospective narrative and flashbacks that contrast the initial professional relationship and then playful-affair-turned-obsession that the two shared, to their current state of being.
Law and the discourse surrounding how it’s delivered and enforced are themes here, with a heavy focus on survivors of stalking and assault and how the system favours abusers over victims. There’s a lot of debate in the piece itself about law over ethics, truth versus evidence, and emotional attachment over duty. This is especially prominent when it comes to Ingrid’s experience with John, who was once a former client she defended against abuse accusations. Now in the shoes of her opposition in the courtroom, there are questions to be had about the morals of defense attorneys and their personal beliefs in regards to the cases they handle.
Beyond explorations of heavy subject matter, The Killing Kind is entertaining and intriguing. Morgan’s portrayal of Webster is chilling; he’s shrouded in mystery and exudes the essence of danger. The anti-chemistry between him and Appleton creates a very uncomfortable dynamic in their romantic tryst, which affirms her later doubts about him.
But the series goes a step further than Webster’s enigmatic presence: the cinematography creates an unnerving atmosphere that could make any woman feel suspicious of every male character within range – which makes the twist at the end all the more effective. Most scenes are framed through crevices, peeking through slips and spaces in between, from architectural structures to seats in restaurants, and shadows behind obscuring walls. This, paired with tracking shots from behind, creates a sense of being followed and uncanny voyeurism. Meanwhile, the constant off-centre camerawork is unsettling, evoking anxiety.
Overall, The Killing Kind is interesting, keeps viewers on their toes, and encourages thought through the irony of Ingrid’s situation. It touches on weighty subjects but doesn’t over-indulge in them, knowing full well its purpose is to entice, create tension, thrill and entertain. Still, there’s a lot to take away, the main thing being that abuse and violence create a neverending cycle that breeds its own kind.
The Killing Kind is released on 7th September 2023.
Watch the trailer for The Killing Kind here: