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Backstrom - (S01E08)

Comedy . Drama . Crime

Backstrom and the S.C.U. investigate a hit-and-run that leaves a wealthy woman dead. When the evidence points to vehicular homicide, the S.C.U. looks into controversy involving her charitable endeavors and finds that perhaps not everyone was pleased with her philanthropy. Meanwhile, Backstrom's unhealthy habits stand in the way of him pleasing both his doctor and his ex-fiancée.

Episode Title: Give 'Til It Hurts
Airs: 2015-03-26 at 09:00 pm
  • Ed Bark

    What you’ll see is the best broadcast TV cop drama of the season, with a dirty-to-the-touch sleuth played to the hilt by an actor who’s very much up for this.

    Uncle Barky Full Review
  • Jeff Korbelik

    Wilson’s Backstrom is just downright rude and in-your-face belligerent, and, at times, it can be tough to swallow. That’s where the supporting cast comes in. Polaha and Rosen are particularly winsome characters, providing additional touches of humor and helping to soften Wilson’s hard edges. A little more of them and little less of Wilson will go a long way.

    The Lincoln Journal Star Full Review
  • David Hiltbrand

    This series is notably dependent on its writing, specifically the crafting of its mystery plots. Because of that, Backstrom will probably turn out to be variably enjoyable from week to week. But at least it has the potential to be excellent.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Robert Lloyd

    The mechanics of the cases (again, par for the genre) might squeak or grind here or there, but Backstrom really stumbles only when it strains too hard for seriousness--and it is not a fatal fall, in any case.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Jeff Jensen

    There are some interesting ideas, like calling out Gen-Xers for romanticizing pessimism, and several well-cast, offbeat supporting characters, but Backstrom needs to find a more cohesive voice and stronger case-of-the-week plots if it wants to keep walking the prime-time beat.

    Entertainment Weekly Full Review
  • Gail Pennington

    Viewers may be attracted to Backstrom because of its charming supporting players as much as its abrasive hero. The whole thing grew on me in the course of three episodes provided for preview.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Ellen Gray

    It's annoying to be told that a show whose pilot isn't terrific gets better in subsequent episodes, but like Backstrom, I have a job to do.

    Philadelphia Daily News Full Review
  • Kristi Turnquist

    Unfortunately, in the first episode, the show overdoes Backstrom's unlikability to the point where it's an open question whether viewers will return to see subsequent episodes, where he becomes less hard to take, and we learn more about why he is the way he is.... The more encouraging news is that judging from two additional episodes made available for preview, Backstrom--which is based on a series of novels written by Swedish criminologist Leif G.W. Persson--calms down and gets better as it goes along.

    The Oregonian Full Review
  • Sara Smith

    Unlike "The Office," Backstrom hasn't yet fleshed out the supporting characters to water down Wilson's well-oiled obnoxiousness generator. Once it stops explaining everyone's backstory--why is he so bitter? why is she so naive? why are the firefighters evil?--Backstrom might turn into a decent chase for the bad guy of the week.

    Kansas City Star Full Review
  • Nancy DeWolf Smith

    As beloved as Mr. Wilson is from “The Office,” as it is written the character of the curmudgeon Backstrom doesn’t seem trenchant enough to be memorably offensive or socially tart. Yet if enough viewers pray long enough for his evolution, they may be rewarded by taking other pleasures from the show.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Mark A. Perigard

    The climax is predictable, but the epilogue is not anything you’d find on a CBS procedural and suggests how good this show and Wilson could be.

    Boston Herald Full Review
  • Verne Gay

    After a rough start, Backstrom settles into an obvious, and comfortable, procedural rhythm.

    Newsday Full Review
  • Rob Owen

    Mr. Wilson does his best to make the character unapologetically snarly, and Backstrom does benefit from a lighter tone thanks to the unpredictable nature of the lead character. But in form and style, Backstrom is exactly what viewers have come to expect from "House" wannabes.

    Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Full Review
  • Alan Sepinwall

    There are times when Backstrom comes very close to feeling like a functional light-hearted mystery series. But then Backstrom wanders into frame, puffing on his cigar and tossing around some creaky insult, and the fun goes away in a hurry.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Robert Bianco

    Unfortunately, rather than draw us in to the character, Wilson pushes us farther away. The performance isn't just charmless; it's overly defined and emphatic. There are too many moments when you feel that you're watching an actor make choices rather than watching a character simply be.

    USA Today Full Review
  • David Wiegand

    Rainn Wilson can carry a series, just not this one, as written. That doesn’t mean it’s a complete mess, but there are significant credibility problems on several levels that need to be addressed to build effectively on Wilson’s likability.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Brian Lowry

    Shepherded along by “Bones’” Hart Hanson, this is the sort of meat-and-potatoes drama that doesn’t feel distinctive enough to do much more than tread water on Fox, even with “American Idol’s” kick-start.

    Variety Full Review
  • Maureen Ryan

    It's hard to find much in Backstrom that feels fresh or original.

    The Huffington Post Full Review
  • Mark Dawidziak

    The wildly uneven series that bears his name also is a mess, a murky mixed bag of dreary and delightful moments.

    Cleveland Plain Dealer Full Review
  • Hank Stuever

    The exteriors overplay Portland’s constant gloomy rain (it’s the wettest crime show since “The Killing”), but a couple more episodes might offer a ray of hope as the writers start to find ways to turn Backstrom into a person you’d want to spend an hour with each week.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Vicki Hyman

    Backstrom isn't edgy; he's a formulaic anti-hero with too much emphasis on the anti- and very little evidence of the hero.

    Newark Star-Ledger Full Review
  • Tom Long

    Backstrom is dicey indeed. Every time he makes a move, it's got to be part of an intricate puzzle that will be solved. More often, it's just an obnoxious guy staggering off in a direction that turns out to be conveniently right.

    The Detroit News Full Review
  • Joshua Alston

    The world needs neither more by-the-book cop procedurals nor more cynicism, but Backstrom seems to think its fresh because it combines the two. Instead, Backstrom is a generic crime drama with its humanity stripped out.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Matt Zoller Seitz

    There's a deeper, more original series hiding inside the predictable melange that is Backstrom, and John Almond might be the way into it.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • James Poniewozik

    It’s Backstrom, with Rainn Wilson as a cranky, insult-spewing cop imitating the House formula with diminishing results.

    Time Full Review
  • David Hinckley

    Wilson plays the disenchanted slob well. But it’s not long before the politically incorrect insults and Backstrom’s general misanthropy start to lose their impact, and the cop stuff feels formulaic enough that there seems little reason to hop aboard his train.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Alessandra Stanley

    The show is so underwhelming that not many people will want to stick around to puzzle it out.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Tim Goodman

    Backstrom is pretty bad on a number of levels and can't ultimately be forgiven for wasting Dennis Haysbert.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Willa Paskin

    Backstrom, Fox’s allegedly new, but heavily recycled cop procedural, pushes the definition of “charm” to its outer limits, and then past them.

    Slate Full Review
  • Matthew Gilbert

    Not only is Backstrom hackneyed for giving us another TV misanthrope who’s forgiven for his sociopathic impulses, but it’s a bad example of that genre. The tone jumps all over the place, from slapstick to black comedy to drama to dramedy, in a way that often seems accidental and usually is awkward. The cases of the week are flat-out lame. And none of the nasty lines that Backstrom mutters fly; they just lie there.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Brian Tallerico

    This is one of those shows where one starts to feel bad for the ensemble, as they trudge through bad scripts, doing all they can to elevate it but sinking into the generic quicksand as Wilson over-acts his way into cancellation. Full Review

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