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CBS’ loss is Fox’s gain, apparently. Fox has given a series order to Hart Hanson’s drama Backstrom, which stars Rainn Wilson as an offensive, insensitive but probably capable detective. This project had a pilot order at CBS last year, but it didn’t go to series. It was waiting in limbo after that and now Fox has breathed new life into it.
Variety posted the news, stating that Backstrom has been given a 13-episode order at Fox. The series is based on a book series by Swedish author Leif G.W. Persson. Wilson — known for his role as Dwight on The Office — will play Detective Everett Backstrom, “an offensive, irascible detective who tries and fails to change his self-destructive behavior.” The series has him leading the Serious Crimes Unit through some of Portland’s most sensitive cases.
Along with the pick-up order, Variety shared a tweet Wilson posted last fall, linking to this sizzle reel, which probably would have been released last Spring, had CBS picked up the show. Just note that this is a preview and gives away a lot about the pilot episode, which may or may-not actually air (no word on whether they’re reshooting the pilot). (And obviously, the show's not coming to CBS this Fall, as mentioned in the video).
CBS seems to be thriving on detective series involving quirky partnerships these days, but this one looks like it was made for Fox. Then again, Fox also has a thing for series centering on characters with personality quirks and sensitivity issues. See also Bones, House and probably the upcoming dramedy Rake. And the show was produced by 20th Century Fox TV by the guy who created Bones, so there’s that.
As a fan of Wilson from The Office, Six Feet Under, Juno and anywhere else he might pop up, this is great news. Factoring in the above video, and I have even more hope that Wilson’s Backstrom will be another great character at Fox.
There’s no word on whether Fox plans on changing anything up about the series, including the casting. There’s always the chance that one or more actors from the pilot have moved on to other projects. Wilson’s name is the only actor mentioned in the pick-up news. In addition to Wilson, the pilot starred Mamie Gummer (Emily Owens, MD, daughter to Meryl Streep), Page Kennedy, Kristoffer Polaha, Beatrice Rosen and the great Dennis Haysbert. Hopefully he’s still on board, as this would be a return to Fox for the actor, who’s known for playing the President in the early seasons of 24. You may also recognize him from Major League, Waiting to Exhale, The Unit or those All-State commercials, among a host of other projects. Hopefully we’ll have some more details soon on what Fox has planned for this new series, which is presumably slated for the 2014-2015 season.