by Merrill Barr, Forbes
For as much as ABC loves a good Lost successor, the other thing the network loves as equally as strong is a female starring procedural drama - this is the network that released ALIAS and was, at one point, going to release Jessica Jones after all. So, it’s no surprise the alphabet is at it again, this time with Cobie Smulders in the form of Stumptown.
Based on the comic book drama of the same name, Stumptown follows the adventures of Marine veteran Dex Parios, a woman with a serious drinking and gambling problem that turns to a life of P.I. work to make ends meet.
Stumptown is just the kind of action-centric P.I. procedural one would expect from ABC, and it shines on all marks under that classification. The set-pieces are compelling, the procedural elements flow with ease, the supporting characters are compelling and the lead performance given by Smulders is exceptional. Everything one could want Stumptown to be, it is.
Additionally, the series does a masterful job at setting up its machine by the end of the first episode. Dex is a woman in financial trouble, thus making her need to work odd-ball P.I. jobs a thing that needs to continually exist for at least the foreseeable future. The point of which being, there is a very visible five to seven years of material to be mined from a series like this with a character this much fun.
Is Smulders’ Dex a character that can carry and sell a show all her own like, say, James Spaders’ Red Reddington in The Blacklist? No. But, Dex’s bad girl charm combined with the dynamics of those around her has a real shot at making for a series that many are going to want to tune into.
But, an equal many will poke fun at the idea of this being yet another cop consultant series, and it’s to those people that a reminder must be sent out that it’s been a good few years since we had a really great one of these.
Overall, Stumptown is a series to be enjoyed. It’s pure prime-time entertainment that has a shot at being the next beloved network procedural. For all the Game of Thrones and Successions and Stranger Things and Mayans M.C.s, there are few things that beat the reliability of a good, prime-time, network procedural. With the right, tender care, Stumptown can be something we need from television right now. Perhaps more than ever.
You can watch Stumptown on ABC, Wednesdays at 10/9c.
Director of Photography: Clark Mathis
Production Designer: Corey Kaplan