Backstrom (TV series)

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GenreCrime drama
Based onThe Bäckström Series
by Leif G. W. Persson
Developed byHart Hanson
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)
  • Hart Hanson
  • Leif G.W. Persson
  • Mark Mylod
  • Niclas Salomonsson
Producer(s)Rainn Wilson
Production location(s)Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Running time43 minutes
Production company(s)Far Field Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Original networkFox
Original releaseJanuary 22 (2015-01-22) –
April 30, 2015 (2015-04-30)
External links

Backstrom is an American crime comedy-drama television series that aired from January 22 through April 30, 2015. It was developed by Hart Hanson based on the Swedish book series by Leif G. W. Persson.[1] The series is set in Portland, Oregon, and filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. On May 8, 2015, Fox cancelled the series after one season.[2]


Backstrom centers on Everett Backstrom (Rainn Wilson), an "overweight, offensive, irascible" police officer who is engaged in a constant struggle with his "self-destructive" tendencies,[3] and is part of a team of eccentric criminologists.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Rainn Wilson[4] as Detective Lieutenant Everett Backstrom, head of the Special Crimes Unit. Prior to the beginning of the series Backstrom was demoted to Traffic following his racially insensitive outburst after he caught the murderer of six Native Americans.
  • Genevieve Angelson as Detective Sergeant Nicole Gravely, Backstrom's second in command. Gravely is a young, idealistic detective who works with Backstrom even though she finds him to be lazy and cynical.[5] Originally played by Mamie Gummer in the CBS pilot.[6]
  • Page Kennedy as Officer Frank Moto, member of the Special Crimes Unit, and a former MMA fighter.
  • Kristoffer Polaha as Sgt. Peter Niedermayer, the unit's Forensics Liaison. Backstrom frequently mocks him for his New Age beliefs.
  • Dennis Haysbert as Detective John Almond, a nondenominational minister who has been married for 30 years. In an offhand remark, Gravely mentions to Backstrom that Almond has the highest conviction rate out of any detective in the history of the Portland Police Bureau.
  • Beatrice Rosen as Nadia Paquet, a foreign-born civilian who supports the detectives in the Special Crimes Group as a cyberspace expert.
  • Thomas Dekker as Gregory Valentine, a former male prostitute who is Backstrom's tenant, decorator and "underworld connection" due to his being a fence for stolen merchandise. Backstrom had previously met Valentine's mother, a prostitute. It is later revealed that Valentine is Backstrom's half-brother.


  • Ben Hollingsworth as ADA Steve Kines, who previously allowed Gravely to be blamed for a failed undercover operation
  • Sarah Chalke as Amy Gazanian, Chair of the Civilian Oversight Committee and Backstrom's ex-fiancée
  • Inga Cadranel as Police Chief Anna Cervantes, Backstrom's former (police) partner
  • Rizwan Manji as Doctor Deb, a doctor working for the Portland Police Bureau who provisionally clears Backstrom for duty on the caveat that he changes his self-destructive lifestyle
  • Robert Forster as Sheriff Blue Backstrom, Everett Backstrom's estranged father, who pistol-whipped Everett at a young age. He is Sheriff of Cooch County
  • Adam Beach as Tribal Police Captain Jesse Rocha, one of Backstrom's rivals who begins dating Amy Gazanian


No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
US viewers
1"Dragon Slayer"Mark MylodHart HansonJanuary 22, 2015 (2015-01-22)1AWM797.98[7]
The Special Crimes Unit (SCU) investigate the staged-suicide of a senator's son on a college campus. After scoffing at health risks, Backstrom shoots himself during a raid on a heroin-dealer's club.
2"Bella"Alex ChappleJoe HortuaJanuary 29, 2015 (2015-01-29)1AWM045.32[8]
While the SCU pursue a serial arsonist, Backstrom investigates thefts from the scenes of the fires, targeting corrupt firefighters who were his childhood bullies.
3"Takes One to Know One"Randy ZiskHart HansonFebruary 5, 2015 (2015-02-05)1AWM013.64[9]
The SCU work a high-profile murder at the cultish Church of Edification. Backstrom's ex-fiancée, new head of the civilian oversight committee, begins looking into the shooting; Backstrom tells his doctor the truth of it to get sleeping pills.
4"I Am a Bird Now"David BoydKaryn UsherFebruary 12, 2015 (2015-02-12)1AWM024.39[10]
The SCU investigate the murder of a transvestite; Valentine is one of the suspects. Backstrom is called to testify to the civilian oversight committee, and Moto considers perjuring himself to corroborate Backstrom's story.
5"Bogeyman"Jeff WoolnoughEli Attie & Hart HansonFebruary 19, 2015 (2015-02-19)1AWM073.54[11]
The SCU race to find a missing girl, Backstrom suspecting a predator from seven years earlier. Valentine offers insight from his own abduction. Almond's church faces eviction.
6"Ancient, Chinese, Secret"Sarah Pia AndersonThomas WongFebruary 26, 2015 (2015-02-26)1AWM103.81[12]
The SCU pursue the killer of a Chinatown fortune-teller who was involved in a gambling den. Niedermayer grows closer to Paquet, who is in a witness protection program.
7"Enemy of My Enemies"Jace AlexanderAndrew MillerMarch 5, 2015 (2015-03-05)1AWM033.90[13]
The SCU hunt for an activist linked to a deadly pipeline bombing. Sheriff Blue Backstrom is also working the case, and Backstrom is determined to beat him to the arrest.
8"Give 'Til It Hurts"Rob HardyKarine RosenthalMarch 26, 2015 (2015-03-26)1AWM063.58[14]
While investigating the murder of a wealthy woman, the SCU go undercover at a black-tie charity gala. Backstrom's ex tries to inspire him with a 30-day AA chip, which he uses to fool Dr Deb.
9"The Inescapable Truth"Michael OfferEli AttieApril 2, 2015 (2015-04-02)1AWM053.16[15]
The SCU investigate the death of a drug-addict musician by one of his bandmates. He was a material witness for Kines, who previously let Gravely take the blame for a failed undercover operation. Backstrom feels a familial connection to Valentine.
10"Love Is a Rose and You Better Not Pick It"Kevin HooksJoe HortuaApril 9, 2015 (2015-04-09)1AWM083.29[16]
The SCU investigate the murder of a sex surrogate in a city rose garden. Backstrom is confronted with his own intimacy issues, and the circumstances of his mother's death.
11"I Like to Watch"Adam ArkinKarine RosenthalApril 16, 2015 (2015-04-16)1AWM093.39[17]
A transgressive artist is killed, having planned to fake his death in a performance. Backstrom connects with another artist who is living in a bubble.
12"Corkscrewed"Jeffrey WalkerAndrew MillerApril 23, 2015 (2015-04-23)1AWM123.00[18]
A criminal is killed outside the barge, throwing suspicion on both Backstrom and Valentine. The SCU investigate a wine-smuggling operation which takes them from river rats to the Governors Club. Backstrom learns his ex is dating his rival.
13"Rock Bottom"Kevin HooksHart HansonApril 30, 2015 (2015-04-30)1AWM112.80[19]
Backstrom works with Captain Rocha (Adam Beach) in pursuit of a murderous meth dealer, to get his father on corruption charges, and save his career in light of Dr Deb's medical report. Coming to certain resolutions, the series concludes with Backstrom attending a 12-step program.


In July 2012, CBS greenlit a pilot episode to be produced for Backstrom.[20] The pilot for the series was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[21]

When CBS passed on the pilot, 20th Century Fox Television shopped it around to other networks before landing a 13-episode series order with their own network, Fox.[1] For the pilot episode, the producers contacted Minor League Baseball team Portland Sea Dogs to use their hat with their logo for the family fishing boat business.[22]


Backstrom has been met with mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show holds a rating of 37%, based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 4.78/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Backstrom's humor is a cop-out, availed little by the talented cast's attempt to make good of sloppy schtick."[23] On Metacritic, the show has a score of 51 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "Mixed or average reviews".[24]


  1. ^ a b "FOX Cracks the Case with Hart Hanson's New Crime Drama "Backstrom"". The Futon Critic. January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  2. ^ Bricker, Tierney (May 8, 2015). "Fox Cancels The Following: Find Out Which Other Shows Are Dead". E! Online. Retrieved May 8, 2015.
  3. ^ Rice, Lynette (March 17, 2013). "Rainn Wilson to play irascible cop for CBS". AV News. Retrieved October 4, 2018.
  4. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (March 17, 2013). "Rainn Wilson to Star in Hart Hanson's 'Backstrom' Adaptation for CBS". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  5. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 14, 2014). "Genevieve Angelson Set As Female Lead In Fox Series 'Backstrom'; Christopher Denham Joins WGN America's 'Manhattan'". Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  6. ^ "Mamie Gummer to Co-Star Opposite Rainn Wilson in CBS' 'Backstrom'", The Hollywood Reporter, March 21, 2013.
  7. ^ Bibel, Sara (January 23, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Vampire Diaries' & 'American Idol' Adjusted Up; 'Mom', 'Backstrom', 'Two and a Half Men' & 'Bad Judge' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  8. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (January 30, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Grey's Anatomy', 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'How to Get Away With Murder' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved January 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Bibel, Sara (February 6, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Blacklist', 'Scandal', 'Grey's Anatomy' & 'The Big Bang Theory' Adjusted Up; 'The Vampire Diaries' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  10. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (February 13, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'Backstrom' Adjusted Down, No Adjustment to 'The Blacklist', 'Scandal' or 'The Vampire Diaries'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 13, 2015.
  11. ^ Bibel, Sara (February 20, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory,' 'Scandal', 'Two and a Half Men' & 'How To Get Away With Murder' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  12. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (February 27, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Blacklist' & 'American Idol' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved February 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Bibel, Sara (March 6, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory', 'American Idol' & 'The Blacklist' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (March 27, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'American Crime' Adjusted Up + Final Basketball Ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  15. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 3, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'Grey's Anatomy' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  16. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (April 10, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' and 'Bones' Adjusted Up; 'Dateline' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  17. ^ Bibel, Sara (April 17, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'Backstrom' Adjusted Up; 'The Odd Couple' & 'Reign' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  18. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (April 24, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'The Blacklist' Adjusted Up". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  19. ^ Bibel, Sara (May 1, 2015). "Thursday Final Ratings: 'The Big Bang Theory' & 'Bones' Adjusted Up; 'American Crime' Adjusted Down". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  20. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (July 30, 2012). "'Backstrom' Crime Drama From 'Bones' Creator Hart Hanson And 20th TV Gets Pilot Production Commitment At CBS". Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  21. ^ "SHOOT: Rainn Wilson & Dennis Haysbert Film CBS Pilot BACKSTROM in Downtown Vancouver Alley". March 28, 2013. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  22. ^ "TV Show Set in the Other Portland Tips it's Hat to Sea Dog". Portland Press Herald. January 22, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  23. ^ "Backstrom: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  24. ^ "Backstrom: Season 1". CBS, Metacritic. Retrieved February 3, 2014.

External links[edit]