Created by Noah Hawley
Starring: Amber Tamblyn, Jeremy Renner, Harold Perrineau, Adam Goldberg, Terry Kinney, Joshua Close, Monique Curnen, Kai Lennox
The Unusuals was . . . unusual. It was both a comedy and a cop drama, switching from one genre to the next at the drop of a hat, with one of the most vivid casts of characters in recent years.
It’s set in the homicide squad of a New York City precinct, where the detectives are all a little bit strange. Newcomer Casey Shraeger (Amber Tamblyn) when Detective Jason Walsh’s (Jeremy Renner) partner is murdered and Shraeger quickly learns that this isn’t an ordinary precinct. Everyone has secrets and odd quirks. Shraeger, for instance, is the daughter of an extremely wealthy family, who can’t understand why she wants to be a cop when she could be living a life of luxury. Walsh has secrets of his own, and run a restaurant in his spare time without caring whether he gets a customer or not.
Other detectives included Eric Delahoy (Adam Goldberg), who has a brain tumor but is afraid to tell anyone about it or to have it treated. Leo Banks always wears a bulletproof vest because he’s convinced he will die at his current age of 42. Henry Cole (Joshua Close) is devoutly Christian, but is hiding some dangerous secrets in his past. And Eddie
Alverez (Kai Lennox) is a swaggering jerk, who refers to himself in the third person, but can be an excellent cop when his ego doesn’t get in the way. Also quite funny was the unseen dispatcher, a voice that talks about the strange crimes in the precinct, much like the PA announcer in the movie version of M*A*S*H,
The show was a cross between NYPD Blue and Barney Miller – serious issues and crimes, and funny dialog and characters. The crimes also range from serious to weird, often changing tone from moment to moment to keep you off balance. Creator Noah Hawley was involved with Bones for a few years before starting this and it seems to take some of the elements that were successful there.*
But the show never really caught on. Evidently, the audience wasn’t intrigued by the mix of humor and crime. The title probably didn’t help much, either – it’s not particularly memorable. After ten episodes, it was canceled.
The show is still available on Hulu.
*Though no romance element.