TVWise continues our Upfronts coverage with a first look at Fox’s new drama series Backstrom.
From Bones creator Hart Hanson, Backstrom is a subversive and comic crime procedural about an unhealthy, offensive, irascible – albeit brilliant – detective who is brought back from exile to run the Portland Police Bureau’s Special Crimes Unit (SCU). Detective Lieutenant Everett Backstrom (Rainn Wilson) is a man with no filter. After a five-year banishment to the traffic division for offensive behavior, he has returned from disgrace to lead Portland’s newly minted SCU. Tasked with navigating the city’s most sensitive and serious cases, he must solve each crime as he tries, and fails, to change his own self-destructive behavior. To no one’s surprise, Backstrom’s return is far from well-received, especially by his commanding officer, Police Chief Anna Cervantes (Inga Cadranel). Backstrom’s second-in-command and the person who actually supervises the day-to-day operations of the SCU is Detective Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson). The ambitious and optimistic yin to Backstrom’s yang, she extends herself to the limit to counterbalance his erratic and controversial behavior. By her side is Detective Sergeant John Almond (Dennis Haysbert), a tested veteran of the Bureau who doesn’t approve of Backstrom’s xenophobic antics; although he tries to find the light in people, when it comes to Backstrom, he sees only darkness.
The group’s forensics liaison is Sergeant Peter Niedermayer (Kristoffer Polaha), a handsome, free-spirited, philosophical man whose open approach to the universe pushes all of Backstrom’s buttons. Managing the chain of evidence at SCU headquarters is civilian support Nadia Paquet (Beatrice Rosen), a beautiful French immigrant with a profound ability to navigate both cyberspace and legal bureaucracy. She also takes a liking to Backstrom and, at least technically, fills Backstrom’s doctor’s prescription to “make a friend.” On the street, uniformed officer Frank Moro (Page Kennedy) proves his value by suppressing the perpetrators and swiftly maneuvering around hostile conditions. Meanwhile, Gregory Valentine (Thomas Dekker), who serves as Backstrom’s tenant, decorator and underworld connection, has a genuine fondness for the abrasive cop. Using his dark instincts and peculiar abilities, Backstrom always manages to outsmart his foes, manipulate his peers and, with the help of his eccentric team, solve the case, even as he less ably adjusts to the progressive sensibilities of 21st century Portland.