“Wicked City” premiered Tuesday (Oct. 27), the latest show to put forth a fictionalized tale of a real-life serial killer.
On the show, Ed Westwick is Kent Grainger and Erika Christensen is Betty Beaumontaine, who become the Sunset Strip Killers on the ABC drama. Their names may be made up, but they are based on the real Sunset Strip Killers, Doug Clark and Carol M. Brady.
In the early 1980s, Doug Clark and Carol M. Bundy were convicted of killing a total of seven women in two months. Mostly targeting prostitutes and young runaways, Clark would bring girls from the Sunset Strip home to his apartment for him and Bundy to have sex with, and then using guns that Bundy had bought, he’d shoot them in the head, rape their dead bodies in the garage and then dump the bodies for police to find on the Ventura Freeway.
At first, Bundy was wary of Clark’s murderous ways, but Clark reassured her that if they ever got caught, that he would take all the blame. Clark liked to cut off his victims heads and keep them as trophies in his refrigerator. Bundy would put make-up on the corpse’s face before Clark lived out his necrophilia dreams and afterward they’d drop off the head in some alleyway.
After confiding to one of he ex-lovers, Jack Murray, about what she and Clark had been up to, Bundy became nervous that he would rat them out, and in Clark killing fashion, lured him back to her van one night. After having sex, she shot and decapitated Murray. The whole plan was executed in such a rush of paranoia that Bundy failed to cover her tracks. Cracking under the pressure, she turned herself in to police, and confessed to everything in exchange for a plea deal. Clark was sentenced to death and Bundy got off with a life sentence.
One of the murders that Bundy confessed to closely mirrors the opening in “Wicked City.” She admitted to being present while Clark lured the prostitute that she had hired for his birthday into his car, watched him park behind a gas station in East Hollywood. While the victim was performing oral sex on Clark, Bundy saw him shoot and kill the young woman.
Clark remains waiting on death row, and Bundy passed away in prison from heart failure back in 2003. Clark insists that it was Bundy who actually committed all the murders.
An entire documentary devoted to the “Sunset Trip Killers” and their abusive relationship can be viewed online here. It remains to be seen how closely “Wicked City” sticks to the real story — the premiere episode certainly did.