First Impressions

The Unusuals

Aired on: ABC

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

            There is a plethora of new midseason television replacements to choose from this year – dramas, comedies, mysteries, etc.  The Unusuals, a new series on Wednesdays at 10PM EST on the ABC network is a mixture of all three.  The Unusuals is a part of the new breed of cop shows – the quirky, funny cop show as opposed to the seriously dramatic cop shows of old.  Can this show offer anything new to this genre or are we just being asked to watch yet another clone of Bones?

            The Unusuals stars Amber Tamblyn as Detective Casey Shraeger, a Vice cop mostly working undercover as a prostitute before she is pulled in to the Homicide Division of the 2nd Pct. in New York City by Sergeant Harvey Brown (Terry Kinney) after one of their members is murdered.  Detective Shraeger has a secret – she actually comes from a very affluent household with parents who simply don’t understand her chosen profession or her desire to keep their existence hidden from those she works with.  As she struggles to keep her wealth hidden from her coworkers in an effort to fit in, she discovers that each of the quirky members of the 2nd Pct. have their own secrets to uncover.  For instance, Detective Delahoy (Adam Goldberg) seems to be harboring a death wish which is attached to a secret about his health that he has been keeping from the rest of the squad.  His partner, Detective Banks (Harold Perrineau) has been wearing his bulletproof vest nonstop, including while safely seated at his desk, in an effort to put off what he believes is a family curse.  Detective Cole (Joshua Close), a seemingly devout Christian, has a secret past which would threaten his career as a police detective were it ever to be revealed.  Even the dead member of the 2nd Pct. Homicide Division, Detective Kowalski, had a secret life unbeknownst to even his partner, Detective James Walsh (Jeremy Renner).  The big question is, other than being a former member of the New York Yankees, what is Detective Walsh’s secret…and why is it so important to Sergeant Harvey Brown?

            I had two reasons for watching this show.  First reason: Amber Tamblyn – I loved her in Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and its sequel and I also enjoyed her acting in The Russell Girl, a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie.  Having seen her perform in both the comedic and dramatic genres, I had faith that she would have no problem performing well on this series.  My second reason: the promos – they were funny enough to pique my interest.

            After watching the premiere episode of The Unusuals, I have mixed emotions.  There were moments in the show that were very funny.  I absolutely loved the radio dispatches that we overhear at the opening of every scene – each one was funnier than the next.  I also enjoyed the funny moments inserted into every scene, such as Shraeger’s mother calling while she is in the midst of performing her duties as an undercover prostitute, the various items Walsh retrieves from Kowalski’s locker in an effort to keep these things from falling into the hands of his wife, the scene in which the cat killer confesses, etc.  The mystery surrounding certain members of the 2nd Pct. Homicide Division are certainly intriguing.  However, is this show interesting and funny enough to keep me watching?  Now that’s the million dollar question.

            I will say this – The Unusuals peaked my interest enough to make me want to check out another episode.  That’s enough to give the show some hope for me.  Who knows, maybe this show will be so enjoyable next week that I’ll want to see another episode and another…until then, I’ll say that The Unusuals is an enjoyable quirky little cop show with an underlying mystery yet to be revealed.  That makes it intriguing enough to want to see more…and Amber Tamblyn’s acting seals the deal.


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