Friday, January 23, 2015

Backstrom - Dragon Slayer

The quirky detective drama doesn't appear to be in any danger of dying out. The genre's latest stars Rainn Wilson as an unhealthy, politically incorrect, police detective with self-destructive tendencies and a gift for closing cases. Reinstated to his previous position after serving time as a traffic cop, Backstrom now heads the Special Crimes Unit. The pilot episode centers around Backstrom pissing off nearly everyone he meets while working the murder of a senator's son which was staged to look like a suicide.

"Dragon Slayer" introduces us to not only the ireascible detective but also his co-workers including his plucky partner Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson), a specialist in forensics (Kristoffer Polaha), the even-keeled Detective Almond (Dennis Haysbert), the young, but not bright, Officer Moto (Page Kennedy), and a foreign civilian named Nadia (Beatrice Rosen) who supports the cops from headquarters with her odd take on colloquial English. We're also introduced to Backstrom's Hindu doctor (Rizwan Manji) who provisionally clears him for duty if the detective can curb his bad habits and addictions as well as prove he's capable of making a new friend in a week.

With the help of his underworld connection and tenant (Thomas Dekker), Backstrom finds the dealer (Evan Jones) supplying the heroin to the campus that was found both in the victim's dorm room and jammed down his throat before being thrown off a bridge with a rope tied around his neck. To unravel the series of events and make his collar... or shoot the guy and dump his body in the river, Backstrom will have to make sense of the honest victim's relationship to a stripper (Tiffany Hines) and her campus cop brother (Jarod Joseph) as well as the drug dealer who killed him.

The first episode of Backstrom is entertaining even if the amount of behavior capable of getting the detective suspended stretches credulity (and this is only one episode). Not all of Rainn Wilson's antics are as funny as they should be but the show sets up the detective's world with some nice quirky touches including Backstrom's method of seeing the world through the eyes of those around him be they suspect or ally. The supporting cast is a bit large, giving several characters little or nothing to do for much of the episode, and I wouldn't mind seeing it pared down over the course of the season.

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