Remember what I said about why I liked the Murdoch Mysteries? Because the main character is smart well beyond his peers yet he is polite and affable? Well Backstrom is the opposite of that. Among all the asshole super smart detectives, he might be the most assholish out of all of them. Yet, he is the one that is forced to work with an entire team of people and has several others that care about him.
So, who is Backstrom first of all? He is (possibly) the best murder detective in the Portland PD. He got demoted due to health reasons but was recently promoted to lead his own task force that solves the toughest cases. And he is an addict to pretty much everything but drugs.
Much of the show is about how much Backstrom can get away with his people-hating/alienating antics while his team work to keep the case on track. Now while Backstrom is a huge asshole, there is something that keeps him from being an unlikeable protagonist. I think it’s the small times when he’s completely wrong, or when he does allow his team to take credit when they do good work. That keeps all of Backstrom from being too out there.
As with most crime shows, you really should watch for the team interaction. There’s not many cases that will be so out there or surprising, so it’s all about the small twists thrown in by the characters. I do like Backstrom and the team.
The team are all pretty interesting. I know it doesn’t feel that way since I refer to them as ‘The Team’, but I do enjoy seeing just how exasperated Gravely can get with Backstrom. Or how Moto’s mind works.
As for the season finale, it has a great scene with Backstrom at the end and a nice callback to his catch phrase. But I’m not so sure about his vendetta against his father. Maybe I missed an episode, but Blue (Backstrom’s dad) doesn’t seem that bad from what we’ve seen of him. Sure, he’s far from perfect and is willing to break some laws to get things done, but that’s nothing that Backstrom doesn’t do. This has to do with the watcher not having Backstrom’s lifetime of experience dealing with his dad, but then they need to show it more rather than just having Backstrom tell the watchers about it.
Still, Backstrom is entertaining in just how far it’s main character will go to do his job and how it drags his entire team along with him. If you are tired of nice-guy cops (though that’s getting rarer on television) Backstrom is bad down to his tubby gut.