The year is 1949, and one stylish Californian garden club is about to generate a serious body count.
We’ve got your guide to who starts out above ground in the second season of Why Women Kill (coming to SBS On Demand on 15 January):
Alma Fillcot (Allison Tolman)
In her classy community, Alma’s an outsider – literally, as the first time we see her she’s standing outside in the cold watching a meeting of the impossibly glamorous garden club she desperately wants to join. “I’d be happy every day of my life if I had a group of elegant friends like that,” she says, and she’s not joking. She’s got a fantastic garden at home; what she doesn’t have is the stylish looks that seem central to becoming part of the in-crowd. The good news is, there’s a vacant slot in the membership, and she’s going all out to be the one who fills it. She might not be able to afford the fancy outfits, but she’s got drive and determination and that’ll take her far. Possibly a little too far.
Rita Castillo (Lana Parrilla)
The gorgeous president of the local garden club, she has the looks and style of a classic femme fatale (and the mysterious past to match). And like all good femme fatales, her marriage is largely one of convenience while her relationship with her boyfriend is heading towards some rocks. She’s not all bad news: when Alma turns up uninvited to a club lunch, Rita’s the one who invites her to a fundraiser. Rita’s got a soft spot for women who try to reinvent themselves, and for a while at least, it seems like she and Alma just might be on the same side.
Bertram Fillcot (Nick Frost)
Also on Alma’s side is her husband, a kindly local vet well known for the caring way he tends to animals – especially those on their way out. He loves her just the way she is, which is both sweet and in stark contrast to her desperate desire to change both herself and her circumstances. Then again, when nightclub singer Maisie (Rachel Bay Jones) comes in to have her dog put to sleep, she’s so impressed by his caring manner she invites him to come see her perform. Is Bertram a bit of a dog himself, or is his secret even more dark?
Carlo Castillo (Daniel Zacapa)
Rita’s wealthy 80-year-old husband really should be dead by now. She’s got at least one eye on the big inheritance that awaits just as soon as he shuffles off this mortal coil, and he’s no spring chicken for sure. He just refuses to make things simple and die: even after having a stroke brought on from hearing her cheating on him (and then falling down a flight of stairs), the doctors say he could – with loving care from Rita – live another 20 years. Here’s a safe bet: that’s not going to happen.
Catherine Castillo (Veronica Falcón)
As Carlo’s prim and proper daughter, Catherine turns up in episode two to throw yet another spanner in Rita’s works. She’s the one in charge of her father’s medical decisions, and she wants to take him back to Texas away from the stepmother she clearly dislikes. It’s hard to blame her for being a bit cold, considering how awful her father was, but if Rita’s an unstoppable force, Catherine’s the immovable object. Something’s got to give.
Scooter (Matthew Daddario)
This handsome stud is Rita’s barely secret boyfriend. He’s an actor who seems like a nice enough guy, even if he isn’t exactly the sharpest tool in the shed. It’s obvious what they see in each other – they’re both hot – which is why it’s a little surprising that she suspects him of cheating on her. This being LA in the 1940s, she hires a private eye to find out what’s going on. Enter…
Vern Loomis (Jordane Christie)
A battle-scarred war veteran turned private investigator. As someone not directly connected to the garden club or Rita, he’s someone who just might turn out to be a decent guy. Or not: he does spend most of the first episode following Scooter around and spying on him.
Dee Fillcot (B.K. Cannon)
Dee is a humble waitress at a diner, who is pretty much the opposite of Rita in every way. She’s kind, thoughtful, a distinctly different direction as far as looks go – and the daughter of Alma and Bertram. She’s in love with Scooter, which isn’t ideal as Scooter seems more like the “dress up as a maid and sneak over so we won’t get caught by my rich lover” type. She clearly deserves better, but in this story? The people who get what they deserve are usually the ones who end up dead.
So who’s dead?
Sorry, we don’t want to spoil the fun! You’ll have to start watching if you want to know who ends up as fertiliser.
The full 10-part season 2 of Why Women Kill is streaming now at SBS On Demand. Double episodes of the new series will also air on SBS VICELAND on Saturday nights from 15 January. Start with season 2's first episode:
You can also catch up with the first season starring Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste, now streaming at SBS On Demand: