Stumptown s1 ep 3

I’m still not planning to give Stumptown the week-by-week treatment. But I feel compelled to keep evangelising on its behalf. In this episode, which opens with a smart parody of the credits of a 70s detective show, Dex work-shadows legendary Portland PI Artie Banks (a magnificent turn from Donal Logue) as he investigates real estate magnate Randall Tapper, who is in the middle of a rancorous divorce from his wife, and Artie’s client, Candace. Hoffman, meantime, is looking into the murder of one of Grey’s old prison buddies, but he and Dex still spare enough time for a quick hookup. I’m on Team Grey, but I could imagine someone putting together a reasonably convincing case for Team Hoffman. Anyway, this episode is as smart, funny, and empathetic as the first two. Also, Cobie Smulders is really good. It’s available on Alibi‘s catch-up in the UK, and you should give it a try.

Stumptown s1 ep 2

I’m not planning to give Stumptown the week-by-week treatment. I just wanted to say that this episode – in which Jay Duplass plays a wealthy but naive widower, with Zosia Mamet as a femme fatale, and we get more of the Dex-and-Grey backstory – was, if anything, even better than the first one. Also, the votes have been counted, and I am now 100% shipping Dex and Grey. I love this show.

Stumptown s1 ep 1

I liked this a lot. Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) is an out-of-work ex-soldier living in with PTSD who, to clear gambling debts, tries to find a missing teenage girl who may have run off with her boyfriend. She’s successful pretty quickly but, in turn, the girl is kidnapped. She’s hardly up against a sophisticated international crime ring, but nonetheless guts and perseverance, together with the usual willingness to bend the law, are required; and by the end the police are sufficiently impressed to suggest that she might be able to assist them in the future with similar situations that require a non-standard intervention.

There’s a lot to like about Stumptown. The Portland setting is grimy rather than glamorous, and the characters are too busy surviving to be hipsters. But the details are spot on: I loved, for example, downmarket gangster Baxter Hall; the local hoodlums trying to identify, by taste, the origin of the coffee they were drinking; and the running gag with Dex’s car stereo. The plotting was just complex enough to keep me hooked, and the script was witty and on-point.

As for the cast: Smulders is great, of course, and she’s handsomely supported by a motley group of characters. There’s Ansel (Cole Sibus), Dex’s brother, who has Down syndrome, and with whom she lives; Grey (Jake Johnson), her best friend, who owns a bar, and who (I think) has a romantic interest in her; Sue Lynn (Tantoo Cardinal), the native American owner of a casino, and mother of Dex’s deceased boyfriend; and police officers Hoffman (Michael Ealy), with whom she has a desultory hookup, and Cosgrove (Camryn Manheim, who was Control in Person of Interest). I have no idea whether this level of quality can be maintained, but on the basis of this first episode Stumptown has leapt straight onto my must-watch list: it’s a low-key marvel. (It’s on Alibi in the UK, if you want to give it a go.)