I was going to write a positive post, but I am crampy and nauseous and I feel altogether miserable.
I have been watching Luther, a BBC crime drama. Despite some problems with deus ex machina and fridge-stuffing, I enjoy it. My favorite part of the show is Alice.
A genius who earned a PhD at 18, Alice goes after what she wants without concern for the law or other people’s interests. She is strong, smart, manipulative. A great, strong female character.
And she’s a murdering psychopath.
It’s so rare we get to see a clever female killer, much less a psychopath. Unlike many “evil” female characters, Alice is not motivated by romance or revenge on an ex-lover. She cares for Luther and does what she needs to protect him, but she would turn on him in a second if push came to shove.
Women on TV tend to be moralizing forces. It’s great when women get to be bad. It’s better when women get to be worse, or even the worst. Alice is a murder, but she is always humanized. She is always presented as motivated and interesting. She is never sexualized or treated as a love interest–she never seems jealous of Luther’s ex-wife.
I hope we can see more interesting, nuanced female characters–not all good, not all bad, but somewhere in between. So what if Alice is mostly bad? She’s fun as hell to watch.