TV Review: Backstrom 1.1 “Dragon Slayer”
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Season 1 Episode 1: “Dragon Slayer”
Directed by Mark Mylod
Written by Hart Hanson and Leif G.W. Persson (author)
Starring Rainn Wilson, Beatrice Rosen, Page Kennedy, Genevieve Angelson, Dennis Haysbert, Mamie Gummer, and Kristoffer Polaha
Air Date: Thursday, January 22, 2015, 9pm

Rainn Wilson stars in this procedural that follows no procedure as Backstrom, a cranky detective trying to get himself back into the homicide division, after being put on traffic duty. He just needs to pass his physical, but his Hindu doctor Deb thinks he will drop dead at any moment.

The case he needs to solve to prove himself is the homicide of a college student, the wealthy son of a prominent senator. He manages to offend everyone and everything, while also pretty much modeling what NOT to do during an investigation. His team consists of Detective John Almond (Dennis Haysbert from 24), a levelheaded guy that looks out for Backstrom); Sgt. Niedermayer (Kristoffer Polana), poetic forensics expert who idolizes Backstrom; Detective Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson, House of Lies), Nadia Paquet (Beatrice Rosen), a sexy tech who fills a Backstrom prescription; and Moto (Page Kennedy, Weeds), a beat cop who is Backstrom’s designated runner.

Backstrom 1.1 “Dragon Slayer” was a good first episode, as good as one can be while trying to mix backstory and action, as in any pilot. The episode was entertaining and moved at a fast pace. It did have the same “a-ha!” discovery that most crime procedurals have, the difference being that Backstrom does everything so wrong and so politically incorrect. The team of characters is believable in their reactions and interactions, with Backstrom at the core. One interesting aspect of the insightful lead character is his way of stepping into other people’s shoes with:

“I’m a…”
“I’m a stripper…”
“I’m a whiz-banging uniform…”

The series is based on the Leif G.W. Persson‘s “Backstrom” novel series. The character in the novels is portrayed as way less likeable that Wilson will be in the series. Hart Hanson, the creator and executive producer, said of Wilson:

“We’re counting a lot on Rainn’s likeability. We hope that that will have viewers watching long enough to realize”¦ to have some compassion and understanding that what he is saying does not come from a bad human being they come from a bad place in a human being.”

[Source: FOX 411]

Although an argument can be made when comparing characters, I maintain that Everett Backstrom is no Dwight Schrute, Wilson’s character from The Office. I will be watching next week.

From FOX’s press release:

BACKSTROM, the offbeat crime procedural starring three-time Emmy Award nominee Rainn Wilson (“The Office,” “Six Feet Under”), premieres Thursday, Jan. 22 (9:00-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Created and executive-produced by Hart Hanson (BONES), the series follows Detective EVERETT BACKSTROM, an unhealthy, offensive, irascible – albeit brilliant – detective who sees the worst in everyone, and he’s usually right.


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