Saturday, February 7, 2015

Backstrom - Takes One to Know One

One of the hardest needles to thread for a TV-show with a persnickety lead characters is how much of an asshole you allow he/she to become before they go from gruff to unlikable. Last week's episode of Backstrom edged over that line but "Takes One to Know One" attempts to reign in Detective-Lieutenant Backstrom (Rainn Wilson) in a little this week with the introduction of Sarah Chalke as an old girlfriend, now in a position of power in the department to enforce changes she wanted him to make when they were together, and the reveal of the guilt the man feels for some of his more underhanded antics.

The murder of the week takes place in a church when a youth pastor is found murdered. Despite the notice that the Civilian Oversight Committee (now headed by his ex) is looking into his questionable methods, Backstrom continues to color far outside the boundaries while referring to the religious organization as a cult, procuring evidence without a warrant, and eventually having to think far outside the box to arrest the killer and the person ultimately behind the murder.

Chalke's addition to the cast gives the show a much-needed boost by adding a character who doesn't just like Backstrom or respect his ability but at one point loved the gruff detective. Our protagonist's insomnia also allows for another appearance by Dr. Chaman (Rizwan Manji) and a running gag of the detective being forced to keep track of all the lies he tells over the course of a single investigation. Much like its lead character the show is still very rough around the edges struggling to make use of its entire supporting cast but there are certainly glimmers of the show Backstrom could become given enough time and patience (which given its murder's row time-slot it may not earn).

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