Fox has seen its fair share of success and growth over the past few years, the most prominent one being House, followed by less successful series such as Lie to Me and Rake. Now the creators of Bones have added another intriguing entry to Fox’s lineup: Backstrom.
The plot revolves around detective Everett Backstrom (Rainn Wilson), a cynical, misanthropic, selfish, judgmental, and misogynistic law enforcer who uses his intellect and intuition to solve cases with his crack team at the Special Crimes Unit in Portland. The series kicks off with Backstrom’s health being assessed by a doctor to bring him back into the unit to solve a case involving the death of a senator’s son. The unit includes fellow detectives Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson), who sees good in both victims and suspects, forensics liaison Peter Niedermayer (Kristoffer Polaha), a spiritual man, John Almond (Dennis Haysbert), Frank Moto (Page Kennedy), Backstrom’s handyman, and Nadia Paquet (Beatrice Rosen), a civilian assisting the unit.
The case is nothing extraordinary, but Backstrom’s methods give the show an edge. He demonstrates how offensive he can get when he blatantly insults Hindus, all of India, and Native Americans all in the first few minutes. But there are important moments where Backstrom’s backstory is hinted at, leaving room for an explanation of his mannerisms. That, and the development of the secondary characters, will you leave you wanting to know more.
Wilson’s comedic timing is also put to good use in several scenes, especially those with the doctor (Rizwan Manji). For the most part, though, Backstrom reminds me a lot of House in the way he bases his judgment on lies told by everyone around him and tries to keep the skeletons in his closet a secret.
If you’re getting tired of watching reruns of House or are too impatient to wait for the next season of True Detective, Backstrom is worth a try.