TV Weekly Cover: Backstrom - good detective, bad person

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19 January 2015

FOX, Thursdays,  9:00 PM ET

By Kellie Freeze

Everything about FOX’s new crime drama Backstrom (premiering Thursday) is a few steps off-kilter. An unpleasant, unhealthy, offensive detective leads a ragtag group of misfits as they solve bizarre murders in Portland, America’s most offbeat city. When the guy solving the murder is almost as heinous as the act itself, you know you’ve entered the weird, wild and wonderful world of Everett Backstrom.

Backstrom’s star Rainn Wilson is best known for unusual roles on Six Feet Under and The Office, and he feels right at home playing an outcast.

“I’m a bit offbeat as a person, as if you couldn’t tell. I played bassoon and chess in high school, if that’s any indication,” he says. “I have always identified with the characters that just don’t fit in. I know what that’s like. Turns out my nerdy upbringing kind of paid off!”

The show, based on a Swedish book series by Leif G.W. Persson and brought to screen by Hart Hanson (the creator of Bones), is a fun yet dark look into the socially inept — but genius — criminalist. We’ve fallen in love with guys like Backstrom before, and so has Wilson.

“I grew up loving Columbo and The Rockford Files, and Backstrom is cut from the same cloth as those ’70s icons,” he suggests. “I think viewers identify with and root for characters that are struggling to get by in the world and don’t have it all figured out.”

This isn’t the first time that an antihero has become an obsess-worthy TV phenomenon, but Backstrom is a rare breed because he says whatever is on his mind, all the time, without filter or concern for whomever his barbs may sting.

“Political correctness is his mortal enemy,” says Wilson of TV’s most lovably unpleasant human being. “I think we all have an inner Backstrom at times, filled with wrath and disgust at the world around us. I get my inner Backstrom going a lot [while] driving in Los Angeles, and as soon as I get off the 101, I become a much more loving, caring, understanding person.”
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