“Stumptown” is Mildly Entertaining but Nothing Special

ABC’s new detective series “Stumptown ” starring Cobie Smulders as Army veteran Dex Parios who becomes a private investigator in Portland Oregon. She is sort of a down on her luck, hard drinking, gambling PI in the tradition of classic PI stories. Whenever she gets in trouble, she has flashbacks to dramatic events when she was in Afghanistan. The other gimmick is that she has a grown brother who has Down Syndrome that she cares for.

Smulders is most known for her role as Robin Scherbatsky in ” How I Met Your Mother” but also has appeared in the Marvel Comic Universe as SHIELD agent Maria Hill. So she has some background in action series.

She hangs out in a bar owned by her friend Greg McConnell played by Jake Johnson who is most known for his role as Nick in “New Girl“. Camryn Manheim and Michael Ealy play Portland police detectives whom she encounters on a regular basis. Her special needs brother Ansel is played by newcomer Cole Sibus who either is a phenomenal actor or actually has Down Syndrome.

The opening plot was that she owes large sums of money to the local Indian casino and in order to pay off her debt she agrees to track down the casino owner’s runaway granddaughter. It turns out that the runaway is actually a kidnapping and everything goes sideways from there.

Some of the fight scenes and action sequences are almost played for comedy. While the character is believable and has a certain charm about her, there really isn’t anything special about this show. It’s just your ordinary down on her luck detective story. She drives around in a junk Mustang that fails to start most of the time she turns the key. The automobile stunts are a bit ridiculously impossible. Not quite as bad as Fast & Furious films but almost.

I’m a little bit disappointed that she calls her brother “Buddy” in a bit of a condescending tone. That term applied to intellectually disabled people sometimes comes across the same way the word “boy” would be perceived when applied to an African-American. The subplot of the brother really doesn’t add anything to the show.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the show. It’s mildly entertaining and has a few laughs along the way. If this was the 70s which was the heyday of PI shows with “Magnum PI“, “Mannix“, and ” The Rockford Files” it would fit right in to that genre. But these days you need to have a better gimmick to hold people’s interest.

I’m giving it a mild rating of “Could Be Watchable” but I’m not sticking with it.

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