Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Backstrom (2015) Brilliant Detective or Hopeless Case?

Rainn Wilson makes an incredible performance as Lt. Everette Backstrom, an unhealthy, unhappy detective who leads a specialized crime unit in Portland, OR.
The show only survived thirteen episodes, but it was a very entertaining one season.
Backstrom is a genius. He solves every case put before him mostly with his sheer instincts and a unique empathy for the suspects. However, the has many serious demons ranging from an abusive father to a broken heart.
He breaks the rules.
He is rude and offensive.
He has a multitude of diseases. 
He is a drunk.
He partakes in unhealthy foods.
All in all, he is man on death's door.
However, there is still something that makes us route for him. I think deep down, we envy his shameless directness.
To address the ever present question:
Does his drive to bring justice to murder victims justify his outrageous behavior?
I think the real question is what could his doctor, staff, and loved ones do to save him from himself?
Throughout the season, they do a great job in looking out for him. They challenge him and don't let him bully them. Most importantly, they are loyal to him. Despite how hopelessly he acts, they never leave his side.
Surprisingly, their efforts win out in the finale where he finally admits his faults and seeks the help he needs. The finale's ending scene could not have been more moving. I cannot watch it without crying. Somehow, I am left with the feeling that Backstrom will be all right as long as his colleagues remain by his side.
There is no such thing as a hopeless case. We are all subject to change due to our experiences and the people we keep close. We all evolve over time whether it be for better or for worse.
Backstrom was able to change for the better. Can you?

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