Rainn Wilson stars in this strange comedy about a misanthropic detective whose life is in shambles
By Sonia Saraiya
Undeterred, Backstrom—and “Backstrom”—keeps going. “I arrested a white supremacist for killing six Indians,” he emphasizes to the doctor, broadly calling attention to how he’s not a racist. “Not tandoori Indians, like you, but you know, the [wah-wah-wah] Geronimo kind.” And then he finishes with a flourish: “At the press conference, I sang ‘one little, two little, three little Indians…’” Backstrom is only in the doctor’s office for two minutes. He drops another “Hindu,” grabs a prescription to “make a friend,” and in a parting shot, tells his doctor that “Dev is a girl’s name.” And then 90 seconds later, he shows up to his crime scene, griping about his unconventional prescription: “My doctor’s a Hindu. I’m lucky he didn’t make me be friends with a cow.”
It does not abate. Backstrom’s angle changes—sometimes he’s sexist, sometimes he’s slut-shaming, sometimes he’s complaining about Chinese immigrants taking over America. (In one particularly shocking moment, he investigates an illegal gambling outfit, and when he spots a beautiful woman working there, he blusters that the warrant authorizes them to conduct strip-searches.) But this is both Backstrom and “Backstrom”—mean-spirited, offensive and weirdly proud of it.
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