Ed Westwick Cruises the Sunset Strip as a Serial Killer in ‘Wicked City’

Ed Westwick in Wicked City

Ed Westwick’s character on the new crime drama Wicked City has little in common with Chuck Bass, his spoiled bad boy from Gossip Girl. Kent Grainger is a modest classic-car restorer living a simple life in the Los Angeles suburbs. He dedicates love songs to his dates over the radio (it’s 1982, after all). He collects old movie posters and wears nerdy shirts. And he babysits his neighbor’s daughter for free. Kent also happens to be the worst serial murderer to hit the Sunset Strip since the Hillside Strangler—and he’s about to find a partner in twisted nurse Betty (Erika Christensen). Westwick gives us a glimpse into his killer character’s psyche.

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What is Kent’s deal?
He just has a need to kill. And, like most psychopaths, he does so by manipulating the environment around him. He takes on different personas in order to protect and sustain this lifestyle as he meanders through the streets of Los Angeles murdering people.

Is the fact that he lives in L.A. significant?
Oh, man, it’s 1982 on the Sunset Strip! It was the center of sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll. The show encapsulates all of that. And Kent has a sense of vanity that makes him crave attention, which he gets from the police and the press.

Does he have any good qualities?
It’s in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? To me, he’s one hell of a charming guy. And he genuinely does take good care of the little girl he babysits.

How do you rationalize his soft spot for kids with his being a slasher?
[Laughs] By creating this image of the perfect babysitter, he hides what he really is: a monster. But as the episodes go on, you learn there’s much more going on there.

Was it kismet that he and Betty met?
He sees something in her that’s similar to him. And she fulfills a need he wasn’t entirely aware he had. They’re relatable. In that sense, it’s a traditional romance. But then you remember what they are. [Laughs]

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Wicked City, Series premiere, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 10/9c, ABC