Dex Parios tries to stay out of trouble while working as a private investigator in Portland, Oregon. Stumptown is based on the comic series by Greg Rucka, Matt Southworth, and Justin Greenwood. Rucka is given writing credits and al three have producing credits.
Starring Cobie Smulders as Dex Parios, Stumptown establishes the character as flawed in so many ways. The series gives us a likable character who’s at the same time an asshole. But, what the series intelligently does is adds to the character’s depth slowly as the first episode unfolds.
We learn about Dex’s PTSD, her caring side when it comes to her brother, and her loyalty in many ways. The series allows the viewer to connect the dots and only verbalize it when another character might.
The episode also delivers a solid whodunnit. There’s some twists and turns that some may easily figure out but it reveals itself well. Then there’s the humor of it all. Small jokes like a broken cassette or the car not starting adds depth and laughs. Smulders delivers laughs with a deadpan delivery.
The comic focus on a crime story with each arc with some great characterization. The show does what it needs to as far as giving us hour-long crime stories. So far so good with that.
The supporting cast is fantastic with Jake Johnson as her friend and sounding board Grey McConnell. Michael Ealy is a welcome addition as Detective Miles Hoffman, and Camryn Manheim is a welcome surprise as Lieutenant Cosgrove. Then there’s Cole Sibus as Ansel Parios, Dex’s brother with Down Syndrome who helps add a heart to the cold Dex.
The show too does a solid job of spotlighting indigenous characters in the first episode and hopefully beyond. Tantoo Cardinal as Sue Lynn Blackbird stands out as the head of a casino and mother of Dex’s former love interest. In the comic, Dex is bisexual and while that’s not apparent in the first episode, Smulders has said it’s something in the show. So, that’s a nervous wait and see.
The first episode of Stumptown is a solid start that captures the feel of the comic and shows what having the original creative team involved can lead to. In some ways, it’s a by the book detective show but it has a lot of personality to it and delivers an entertaining hour. It stands out as one of the best new shows of the television season.
Overall Rating: 8.5