‘Backstrom’ Review: A Promising New Crime-Solving Dramedy
Backstrom, based on the Swedish book series by Leif G. W. Persson, is a dark comedy-drama set in the criminally infested underbelly of Portland, Org. The show follows a fearless detective and his quirky team as they solve some of the most complicated investigations in the city.
Backstrom Pilot Review
Backstrom stars Rainn Wilson as the unhealthy, pessimistic Lieutenant Everett Backstrom, who is gifted in solving cases by being able to think like a criminal. Unfortunately,0. that is his only redeeming quality. Backstrom is the head of a special crime unit for the Portland Police Bureau but they’re more of a band of misfits. The team includes Dennis Haysbert as the level headed senior Detective Sergeant John Almond, happy-go-lucky genius and forensic expert Detective Peter Niedermayer (Kristoffer Polaha), French computer specialist Nadia Paquet (Beatrice Rosen), young and eager Detective Nicole Gravely played by Genevieve Angelson and Page Kennedy as Moto, the “braun” of the team. Wilson, meanwhile, plays the quintessential bitter cop who knows every criminal is guilty and he is there to find the evidence to prove it. Not to mention, his late father was the Chief of Police and abusive toward him as a child, and as a result, Backstrom has a methodical persistence to separate himself from his father’s late image. The inaugural episode, “Dragon Slayer,” focuses on the murder of a state senator’s son Tobias Percival III. The investigative team brings together their individual talents to solve the case.
Wilson is clearly the standout so far, using his ability to play eccentric characters like Dwight Shrute on The Office to the new series. Wilson does well as the anti-hero Backstrom, letting the audience find him likeable but intense at the same time. He is surprising good at being an apathetic and sardonically sarcastic cop, he is almost unrecognizable in this new role. He delivers his lines with confidence and comedic timing that makes his character relatable but also a bit humorous. Backstrom is the character people will love to hate, but also come to respect. His teenage son, Gregory Valentine played by Thomas Dekker, the result of a short-lived relationship with a prostitute, is the only one who seems to truly appreciate Backstrom for his genuine personality and lack of belief in humanity.
The other stand out is Angelson as the young female detective, Gravely. She does well opposite of Wilson, balancing his wit with manners and a friendly disposition. She is the strong female lead to Wilson’s tormented hero. Det. Gravely is a slightly naïve character with a passion for following the rules. When presented with a problem she finds the most logical and practical solution.
The writing has a good pace, keeping the story line interesting while still realistic. Creator Hart Hanson – from such successful shows as Bones and Judging Amy – does a good job of not making the show so technical that it’s impossible to follow, and keeps it entertaining. He definitely knows his crime “dramedy” genre.
Backstrom is a combination of wit and intelligence worthy of a watch. Looks like the season is going to involve very complicated plots as we delve more into the psyche of Backstrom to find out why he has become such a person. Also the episode ended with Backstrom dealing with a moral dilemma, which is sure to play out over the season.
Catch Backstrom on FOX Thursday nights at 9 p.m.
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