Backstrom is an American crime comedy-drama television series developed by Hart Hanson based on the Swedish book series by Leif G. W. Persson. Set in Portland, Oregon, the series premiered on January 22, 2015. The season’s finale will air on April 30 of this year.
The series follows Everett Backstrom, a Portland Police Bureau detective lieutenant played by Rainn Wilson. He’s described as “overweight, offensive and irascible” in the show, and constantly struggles with his self-destructive tendencies. He’s part of a team of eccentric criminologists.
Despite The Show‘s impressive cast, Backstrom has received generally mixed reviews that teeter on negative. Metacritic has given the show a score of 51 out of 100 based on 30 critics, indicating mixed to average reviews overall. Similarly, Backstrom holds a rating of 36% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on an average critic review of 4.9 out of 10 on the site. The site’s consensus was that “Backstrom’s stale cop humor is a cop-out, availed little by the talented cast’s attempt to make good of sloppy schtick.”
Some critics have pointed out that audiences may be unable to remove themselves from the idea of Dwight Schrute, Wilson’s previous character on The Office. Unlike Schrute, Backstrom is a slovenly detective of sorts, more like the irritable, genius aspects of Sherlock Holms than anything else, and as far away from his previous character as Pluto is from the sun.
The fact of the matter, Backstrom isn’t someone most audiences will like. Even the most charitable audiences will find him irritating at best. But that’s his entire appeal, in so many words. He’s unbearable, self-absorbed and self-destructive, much the same as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. House were, but in this case, he’s police detective. Like his predecessors, he’s trying to do some good in the world, begrudgingly so, but only because it’s something he wants to do at that moment.
Drawing comparison again to House, Backstrom serves as the voice in the back of everyone’s head that says things inside that would be wholly inappropriate to say aloud. But Backstrom doesn’t have a filter, or he doesn’t care enough to, and lets free whatever thoughts may be inside of his head at that moment, and you can guarantee there’s at least a dozen.
Robert Lloyd, a journalist for the Lost Angeles Times and frequent Metacritic reviewer, also compared Backstrom to Dr. House, stating, “s with the pill-popping Dr. House, a fellow Fox television character Backstrom favors a bit, we are meant to be something less than actually concerned by his behavior. When he chugs two boilermakers in rapid succession, it is played mostly for laughs — nervous laughs, but laughs.”
Similar to the creator’s previous show, Bones, which held a host of interesting and vibrant characters, Backstrom’s supporting cast is a whacky collection of the most varied human beings under one roof. From church owner to mixed martial artist, this Oregon Police Department team is just as interesting as their leading grouch.
To catch the latest episodes of Backstrom, tune in to FOX on Thursdays at 8 p.m. Central. Click here to find other television and web entertainment opportunities.