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Keith Vlasak

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Backstrom Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Bogeyman

I liked this episode again. The show appeals to me -- the characters and relationships. I thought the case was emotional, especially for Backstrom and appreciated the thanking God for him too in the church at the end while he's in his own state. I liked how his team is loyal to him (except for Gravely who's playing politics and imagining herself in his office, replacing him -- and she's not evil about it, she'll help solve crimes and doesn't stab Backstrom in the back, but she firmly believes she's the better detective by embracing the rules and that she should do whatever she thinks to rein in Backstrom -- so she's an interesting team member). I really liked the father-daughter interrogation because it felt like a real reaction of a father discovering all about his daughter in the police station. And I still love the humor and the pathos. It would be so nice if this show makes it! **added later: initial ratings 3.51, which is approx. the same as last week ...

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The ratings this week rose slightly to 4.43 (from 3.63 last week). That is still 4th in the timeslot and the first 3 are approx. 9, 9, and 8. My hope is if it stays leveled off it will get the whole season. I didn't know this show is based on a set of 3 detective novels by a Swedish criminologist (Leif G.W. Persson).

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This was the best episode yet, once again (unfortunately, the ratings haven't been so good, so the reviewer's take is likely nailing the show for most). I don't find Backstrom deplorable. I find him interesting. Gravely says her job is to make sure the evidence holds up in court, but I took that as her own self-analysis of what she could contribute to what she early on viewed working with an old-school/old-fart detective who doesn't get new-fangled innovations like "Miranda rights" or warrants. Backstrom even came right out and said that solving the crime was what was important to him, not convicting anyone for it (which to me sets up some enjoyable conflicts and scrambling around by Gravely). I thought the European men comment fit right into the conversation, especially with the character who is so much from Europe she has an accent. Culturally, wouldn't she be constantly noticing the differences between where she came from and where she is, even, or most especially the psychological ones? I thought the cop-posing-as-a-minister (and yes I know he IS a minister) was the type of humor/conflict one finds in detective/mystery novels. Is it a great joke? Nah. And the relationship with Valentine is amusing and important to the character (it actually reminds me of Chen Lee and the cat in True Grit). I also like how Niedermeyer is holding true to his love for forensics, but still trying to fit in, to provide the information Backstrom finds useful while always trying to convince him (in Animal House the Neidermeyer character was "killed in Vietnam by his own troops" he was so rigid - not the way this Neidermeyer is turning out). The Moto perjury I can't completely jump on board with. For one it was too much of a thin blue line thing where cops are portrayed in movies and books as having each other's backs (due to the life and death difficulty of doing the job and the band of brothers mentality) to the point of covering up 'small' peccadillos which aren't when they're bribery and theft and surely a real conflict among cops. In this case, the TV show needed an out for a justified shooting that Backstrom screwed up and would have had to pay for with his job at the least. I like the doctor, his 10-years-ago fiance and the captain-his-old-partner too. I hope this show can hang in there!