Who Are The Hillside Stranglers? 'Wicked City' Has A Serial Killer With A Serious Obsession


Though the main character Kent (Ed Westwick) from Wicked City may be a fictional serial killer, another set of murderers are mentioned throughout the premiere — and they're very real. Wicked City is a bit obsessed with the Hillside Stranglers (Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono) — or at least Kent is. In the first episode of the ABC series, we learn pretty quickly that Kent is following in the footsteps of the murderous duo who terrorized Los Angeles in the late '70s.

In the premiere, we see Kent leave his victim at the scene of the Hillside Stranglers' first crime (Forest Lawn Cemetery), and later we learn that he goes by "A. Buono" on VIP lists in an homage to one of the killers. Whether he's a very stupid serial killer, or he's intentionally leading the police right to him because he's bored, we've yet to find out. He is definitely antagonizing Jeremy Sisto's character, the police officer who brought the stranglers to justice and is now working Kent's murder victim case. And, one thing is for sure, the Hillside Stranglers are pretty terrifying people to use as muses, so it's no surprise that Kent is a dark character.

The Hillside Stranglers that Kent pays tribute to, were two cousins who killed 10 women in 1977 and '78. As you can guess from their name, their preferred method of murder was death by strangulation and they often dumped the bodies in wooded hilly areas. The cousins got more and more twisted as they continued their murder spree, moving from prostitutes, like their first victim, to children as young as 12. According to the Los Angeles Times, they would often rape and torture their victims before killing them.

It's no wonder Los Angeles grew to fear these men over their four-month killing spree. When, after an intensive investigation, Bianchi and Buono were eventually caught, it was a huge victory for the LAPD, who were severely understaffed and dealing with an ever-growing "murder mecca" of a city. According to the History Channel's website, they were caught when, after an apparent disagreement, Bianchi moved to Washington state. Their murders in L.A. stopped, but Bianchi killed two women in Washington and was captured after a witness remembered seeing the deceased girls with him earlier.

The History Channel reports that Bianchi plead guilty to the murder charges and agreed to testify against his cousin to avoid the death penalty. Buono was convicted after a lengthy trial with over 400 witnesses and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He died in jail of a heart attack in 2002. Bianchi still resides in the Washington State Penitentiary.

Wicked City is mixing fact with fiction, and if they're leading the series with Hillside Stranglers mentions, I can only imagine how dark the show could get from here. I love me some Ed Westwick, but this is definitely not a character to adore.

Image: Eric McCandless/ABC (2)