Stumptown introduced the world to Dex Parios and the premiere episode provided details into the character's tragic past. The hardened Marine veteran, played by How I Met Your Mother star Cobie Smulders, is at the center of the new ABC crime drama. The series, as well as the lead character, is based on Greg Rucka's graphic novel series of the same name.
Stumptown opens with Dex breaking out from the trunk of a car to attack her assailants in a wild fight scene. The scene sets the tone for the ruthless leading lady before traveling back three days earlier to explain how she got in that dangerous situation. Dex is not yet a private investigator when the character is initially introduced. She clearly struggles financially which she tries to correct by gambling. Besides looking out for herself, she is revealed to be the only caregiver to her brother, Ansel (Cole Sibus). But a local kidnapping goes on to open new doors while also throwing salt on some of Dex's unhealed wounds.
While gambling at the Whispering Winds Casino, Dex is summoned by the owner, Sue Lynn Blackbird (Tantoo Cardinal). Dex clearly has a complicated past with Sue Lynn, but the casino owner needs help locating her missing granddaughter, Nina (Blu Hunt). Dex instantly declines but is reminded about how she needs money after losing her military disability. As the episode continues, viewers learn that Dex served five tours in Afghanistan. She suffers from PTSD, including flashbacks of the harrowing ordeal she faced while overseas. Dex also carries around a tremendous amount of guilt, which filled in the blank with her rocky relationship with Sue Lynn.
Dex was in a serious relationship with Sue Lynn's son, Benny, while serving in the military. Sue Lynn obviously wasn't too keen with the romance considering how she tried to stop her son from proposing. Benny was granted leave but he agreed to another tour to be close to Dex before he was killed by an IED. Following his death, an engagement ring was found in his pocket, so much of the Blackbird family put the blame on Dex. It's clear that Dex still carries around that guilt. She also has trouble with relationships which she tries to fill with one-night stands, including one with Detective Hoffman (Michael Ealy). In the comic series, Dex is bisexual and the showrunners have promised to incorporate that into the series down the road.
Dex's guilt is what convinces her to take the job of finding Nina, who happens to be Benny's teenage daughter. She wants to make up for some of the pain she caused the Blackbird family. Dex also has her own brother to look out for and the successful case gives Dex the opportunity to pursue a career as a private investigator. She will surely get herself involved in some pretty crazy situations during her newfound profession, but it looks like Dex has the chance at becoming TV's favorite new heroine thanks to Stumptown.