The Following premieres on M-Net tonight (Wed 30 Jan), starring Kevin Bacon as an FBI agent on the trail of a diabolical serial killer who has built up a network of followers to carry out his heinous crimes.
Joe Carroll, played by James Purefoy, has the potential to become one of television's iconic killers. He’s certainly got all the skills. But how does he stack up against some other small-screen psychos?
Charisma is one of a serial killer’s most effective weapons. And perhaps the most charismatic killer of them all, Hannibal Lecter, will be making his small screen debut later this year. But Joe is certainly no slouch in this department.
After all, it takes some serious charm to establish a network of like-minded killers using just a computer in a prison library.
It remains to be seen if he’s as charming in person though.
Inventiveness Before he was caught, Joe was a college professor specializing in the works of Edgar Allan Poe. Not much of a stretch, then, to turn Poe’s grizzly works into real-life crime scenes. And, in terms of elaborate staging, he has some way to go if he’s going to compete with cracked crafters like CSI’s notorious Miniature Killer.
However, after he’s arrested Joe is forced to come up with some radical new ways to execute his victims by proxy.
Whereas Dexter is a master craftsman, Joe delights in the theatricality of it all. He may not be the neatest killer around, but he certainly knows how to put on a show.
Elusiveness True, Joe manages to escape from jail in the season premiere. But he quickly finds himself back in police custody, handcuffed to a table and sitting face-to-face with his nemesis.
He’s certainly no William Hinks, who, in The Practice, was able to admit to being a serial killer and still walk away scott-free. Then again, maybe being captured was all part of the plan…
If you’re convinced of Joe’s killer credentials, make sure you don’t miss the series premiere of The Following, tonight (Wed 30 Jan) at 21:30 on M-Net.