In the pilot episode of SYFY’s Deadly Class, a teen drama about a high school for assassins set in the 1980s, the lead character not only blames Ronald Reagan for the death of his parents, but tells his fellow murderous classmates that he plans to “assassinate” the President who “ruined my life.”
The show, which premiered on January 16, is based on a comic book series of the same name. As the NBCUniversal-owned cable channel describes it, the story is “set against the backdrop of late ’80s counter culture” in San Francisco. It follows Marcus Lopez (played by Benjamin Wadsworth) as he is recruited into the school for killers after years of living on the streets following his parents dying in a hideous accident.
“Reagan cut funds to the local nuthouses and released hundreds of schizos on the street,” Lopez can be heard narrating as the episode begins. He continues on his left-wing tirade: “But I’m sure that money went to a better place, a cruise missile, a tax cut for some fat prick in a penthouse. Hey, why not, if you’re rich, it’s because you deserve it.”
Minutes later, a reason is given for his rage as he reveals how his parents died:
After years of turmoil, Mom and Dad were finally happy. I tried to be as well, but I didn’t trust it. Reagan cut funds to the mental health facilities, released hundreds of mentally ill into the streets, including Barbara Salinger, suicidal schizophrenic. Barbara Salinger, who made every fear I ever had come true.
The childhood memory, shown as an animated short, depicts the mentally-ill Salinger leaping from the top of a building and actually landing on Lopez’s parents, killing them instantly.
About halfway through the episode, Lopez is seen sitting in class listening to a lecture from the school’s deranged headmaster. Master Lin, as he is referred to, urges the students to think of who they would like to kill:
Who would be the recipient of your rage? A thief? A child molester? A world leader? This one decision betrays all secrets and unveils true motive. Ask yourself, on that dark ledge, poised to strike with clean opportunity, who would you kill?
Later, while hanging out on the roof with his classmates, Lopez is asked who he would murder. As Billy (played by Liam James) puts it: “You can even use this place to do some good, change the world with a bullet, as Lin loves to say.” After Lex (played by Jack Gillet), fantasizes about killing “heads of state,” “bankers,” and “oil executives,” Petra (played by Taylor Hickson) wonders: “What about it new friend? What barbaric ambition inspires you?” Lopez reveals his target: “I’m gonna kill the guy who ruined my life, I’m going to assassinate Ronald Reagan.”
His fellow students laugh in response, with Lex proclaiming: “He said he’s gonna kill the bloody Gipper!”
The second episode of the SYFY show airs Wednesday night, which conservative political figure will characters want to murder next?