Conventions Television

Diversity is the New Normal in ABC’s Stumptown

At 3:25 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, the pre-screening of ABC’s coming series ‘Stumptown’ began at Rose City Comic Con to be followed by a panel featuring some cast and crew members from the show. As the series is set in Portland, Oregon, this premiere drew quite a crowd of Portlandians who, naturally, welcomed the series with cheers and applause. 

Stumptown Panel
left to right: Michael Ealy, Camryn Manheim, Tantoo Cardinal, Cole Sibus, Adrian Martinez. via Natalie Griffin, The Game of Nerds

‘Stumptown’ follows the life and tribulations of Dex Parios (Cobie Smulders) as she rides out the road to recovery from PTSD and a gambling addiction — all while trying to make a living as a private investigator to support herself and her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus). The television series is based on the graphic novel series written by Greg Rucka, who also wrote and co-produces the show. 

Stumptown Panel
left to right: Greg Rucka, Jason Richman, Matt Olmstead. via Natalie Griffin, The Game of Nerds

Cobie Smulders creates a multifaceted female lead who is not only powerful and quick-witted but also emotionally confused and struggling to carve out her own road to recovery. A gambling addiction drives this aspect of Dex’s story, but the mental health issues from her time in the army also get her into trouble with unhealthy coping mechanisms. Essentially, we see a strong female lead trying to overcome two major social issues while fighting off stereotypes associated with her gender. 

And speaking of stereotypes, the cast and crew had a lot to say during the panel about issues touched on in the first episode. With characters of color, bisexuality, a supporting character with Down Syndrome, a powerful Native woman and a self-proclaimed fat woman of authority, it’s easy to see how ‘Stumptown’ can be considered a diverse and inclusive show. 

However, when asked by an audience member if there are any struggles that come with this diversity, Michael Ealy (Detective Miles Hoffman) was quick to state that he doesn’t see these representations as a struggle but as a normalization. Cast and crew alike echoed this response, with Cole Sibus at the forefront stating that he hopes his role will help others with Down Syndrome feel empowered.

Camryn Manheim emphasized the importance diversity holds for her by signing out her thanks to the ASL interpreter at the panel.

‘Stumptown’ is quite possibly the most creatively captivating fall show this year due to its cohesive story line, abundant wit, and issues that will hopefully be considered new normals as the series progresses. Cobie Smulders no doubt brings Dex to life as an absolute badass, but make no mistake — each supporting character she associates with bring their own vibrant personalities to the table.

Dex’s character is brash and unapologetic for her personality or actions, making her a personality women everywhere can admire. You may think that the “edgy cop/private investigator” trope is worn out, but the speed and sincerity of Dex’s story truly breaks down that barrier.  ‘Stumptown’ is unlike any other drama you’ll see this fall and, quite frankly, anyone choosing to miss out on this series is making a huge mistake when it comes to fall television. 

‘Stumptown’ premieres Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 10/9c on ABC. 

A private press conference revealed more opinions and excitement from the cast and crew present at Rose City Comic Con. More to come here on The Game of Nerds.

Leave Your Comment Here!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: