From creator/executive producer Hart Hanson (BONES), BACKSTROM is a subversive and comic crime procedural about an unhealthy, offensive, irascible – albeit brilliant – detective who is brought back from exile to run the Portland Police Bureau's Special Crimes Unit (S.C.U.).
Detective Lieutenant EVERETT BACKSTROM (Emmy Award nominee Rainn Wilson), is a man with no filter. After a five-year banishment to the traffic division for offensive behavior, he has returned from disgrace to lead Portland's newly minted S.C.U. Tasked with navigating the city's most sensitive and serious cases, he must solve each crime as he tries, and fails, to change his own self-destructive behavior.
Backstrom's return from exile is orchestrated by his former partner, newly installed Police Chief ANNA CERVANTES (guest star Inga Cadranel). Cervantes is one of the very few people who know first-hand that, despite his failings, Backstrom is a first-rate investigator. Charged with the near-impossible job of ensuring that Backstrom's investigations stay within bounds is Backstrom's ambitious and optimistic second-in-command at S.C.U., Detective NICOLE GRAVELY (Genevieve Angelson). She is aided in this, sometimes reluctantly, by veteran Detective Sergeant JOHN ALMOND (Dennis Haysbert), whose faith in humanity and core decency stands in stark contrast to Backstrom's cynicism and self-loathing.
The group's forensics liaison is Sergeant PETER NIEDERMAYER (Kristoffer Polaha), a handsome, free-spirited, philosophical man whose open approach to the universe pushes all of Backstrom's buttons. Managing the chain of evidence, office administration, research and records at S.C.U. headquarters is civilian support NADIA PAQUET (Beatrice Rosen), a beautiful French immigrant with a profound ability to navigate both cyberspace and legal bureaucracy. She takes a liking to Backstrom and, at least technically, fills Backstrom's doctor's prescription to “make a friend.”
On the street, uniformed officer FRANK MOTO (Page Kennedy) proves his value by subduing the perpetrators and swiftly maneuvering around hostile conditions. Meanwhile, GREGORY VALENTINE (Thomas Dekker), who serves as Backstrom's tenant, decorator and underworld connection, has a genuine fondness for the abrasive cop. Working against this layered support system is Backstrom's ex-fiancee, AMY GAZANIAN (recurring guest star Sarah Chalke), who is newly returned to Portland, Chair of the Civilian Oversight Committee and seemingly determined to end Backstrom's law enforcement career.
Using his dark instincts and peculiar abilities, Backstrom always manages to outsmart his foes, manipulate his peers and, with the help of his eccentric team, solve the case, even as he less ably adjusts to the progressive sensibilities of 21st century Portland.