Where Mutant City Blues nerdtropes the police procedural by mashing it up with the superhero genre, the new NBC series Grimm does the same thing with a dose of urban fantasy. In the premise-establishing first episode, police detective Nick Burckhardt discovers that he’s a hereditary fighter of evil creatures obliquely referenced in fairy tales. With his partner Hank Griffin and acerbic new wolfman pal Eddie Monroe, he investigates mysteries involving his ancestral foes.
In GUMSHOE terms, Nick clearly has a bespoke investigative ability called Grimm Sight, a sort of supernatural version of Bullshit Detector that allows him to detect people who are disguised supernatural beings, but only when they’re under stress.
Over the course of the first two episodes, we’ve also seen the following abilities provide additional insight, or act as core clues bringing on new scenes:
Nick: Cop Talk, Forensic Psychology, Inspiration, Reassurance
Hank: Anthropology, Data Retrieval, Evidence Collection, Research
Eddie: Occult Studies
In the case of Hank’s Anthropology, we see the classic justification for a needed ability that seems outside the character conception. Down-to-earth cop Hank, after identifying an exotic tribal artifact, explains to his partner that his second wife was an anthropologist.
After two episodes, it’s hard to guess if the series will make good on its early potential as a fun blend of recognizable formulas. I am however looking forward to seeing what else is on these guys’ character sheets.