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Shot in ABQ, ‘Killer Women’ debuts

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Marc Blucas, Tricia Helfer and Jeffrey Nordling in a scene from ABC's new crime drama, "Killer Women." Albuquerque is doubling for San Antonio, Texas, in the series. Crews shot at locations such as Hotel Andaluz, shown here. (Courtesy of ABC/Ursula Coyote)

Marc Blucas, Tricia Helfer and Jeffrey Nordling in a scene from ABC’s new crime drama, “Killer Women.” Albuquerque is doubling for San Antonio, Texas, in the series. Crews shot at locations such as Hotel Andaluz, shown here. (Courtesy of ABC/Ursula Coyote)

“Killer Women” has taken over the Duke City and is ready to go national.

The ABC series filmed in Albuquerque will debut at 9 tonight on ABC. The show is a crime drama based on the Argentine series “Mujeres Asesinas.”

The series follows Molly Parker – played by Tricia Helfer – who is recently divorced and the daughter of a sheriff. Parker uses her wit – she was also a former beauty queen – to rise to the top of the Texas Rangers. The show focuses on Parker as she searches for wanted female serial killers.

“From the first time I read the script, I knew I wanted to be a part of the show,” Helfer said. “Molly is the type of person that people on the right side of the law want to be around. She’s smart, tough and has a quirky side.”

Albuquerque doubles for San Antonio, Texas, in the series, which began filming in September 2013 and wrapped up production in late December after shooting at locations all around the metro area. It will have an eight-episode run on Tuesdays beginning today.

Ann Lerner, the city of Albuquerque’s film liaison, said the show mostly was shot on location around the city and Corrales, adding that the location permits that were issued for the show were above the usual number.

“It’s typical for TV shows starting out to shoot on location,” Lerner said. “It really depends on the show.”

Helfer says the second episode had more than 25 locations that had to be shot over eight days.

“I was in all of the shots, so I was shuttled across town throughout the eight days,” she says. “That was a rough week of work.”

Lerner said although “Killer Women” shot only eight episodes, there was a direct impact to the city’s economy.

“Like ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘In Plain Sight,’ ‘Killer Women’ is backed by a network,” she said. “There is a lot of money that was spent during the eight days it takes to shoot an episode.”

Tricia Helfer plays Molly Parker in the ABC series, “Killer Women.” Helfer shoots a scene at Robinson Park near Downtown Albuquerque. (Courtesy of ABC/Ursula Coyote)

Tricia Helfer plays Molly Parker in the ABC series, “Killer Women.” Helfer shoots a scene at Robinson Park near Downtown Albuquerque. (Courtesy of ABC/Ursula Coyote)

The pilot to “Killer Women” was shot in Austin but production was moved to New Mexico when the show was picked up during the spring. The production employed more than 150 New Mexico crew members and more than 250 New Mexico actors and extras. One day before the show’s premiere, Helfer said she’s feeling a “good nervous.”

“We’ve worked so hard on the show, and we’re releasing it to the masses,” she said. “It’s going to be great to have this body of work out to the nation.”

Life in New Mexico

For nearly four months, Helfer has been living in Albuquerque while shooting the series. Yet, during that period, she hasn’t had a chance to check out the city very much.

“Let’s just say I’m not going to be a tourism spokesman for Albuquerque, yet,” she quips. “We will wait until season two and beyond for that.”

Helfer said her shooting schedule consisted of 10-or-more-hour days of work and she had call times at different hours of the day. But when she did have time to go out, she enjoyed it.

“I did get the chance to go to Ten Thousand Waves in Santa Fe and I also ate at Jennifer James 101 and really enjoyed both,” she said. “It’s funny because I’ve worked so hard to get a lead role in a series and now that I have the role, I can’t see anything other than what I see when I’m being shuttled from location to location.”

Lots of similarities

Helfer said there are many similarities between herself and Parker. Both of the women are country girls.

“She grew up on a ranch, and I grew up on a farm,” she said. “We were both involved in beauty pageants, though I think Molly is a lot smarter than me.”

Helfer said the show has a different twist and is much more stylized than other shows. She said viewers may compare it to FX’s drama “The Bridge,” which is set in El Paso, because it deals with law enforcement.

“The two shows are extremely different,” she said. “There is a lot of cheekiness to this show. Really it’s about Molly, who is a strong woman searching for female serial killers.”

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