Actress Cobie Smulders has enjoyed success on the small screen and the big. For the former, she was part of the ensemble of the long-running comedy How I Met Your Mother and, for the latter, she has played Agent Maria Hill in various Marvel superhero films. Now she’s returning to television in the series Stumptown, based on Greg Rucka‘s graphic novels.

“Not to jinx anything,” Cobie muses, “but I think when you go into something that could potentially go for multiple seasons, you want to choose something that you’re never going to be bored with, that’s going to be challenging, that it’s a character that you want to live with for a while — and I just fell in love with this character. There are certainly aspects of [How I Met Your Mother’s Robin] Scherbatsky in there, but it is a departure. Certainly going from a multi-cam back to now a single-cam, that’s a very different process. It’s a different beast. But it was more about finding something that I think would always be challenging and always interesting and fun to play rather than finding something a polar opposite or a genre that I really loved. I just want to be her for a while.”


The “her” in question is Dex Parios, a strong, assertive and sharp-witted army veteran with a complicated love life, gambling debt and a brother to take care of in Portland Oregon. Working as a P.I. — and helped immensely in doing so by her military intelligence skills — she often finds herself stuck between criminals and the police.

For executive producer Jason Richman, the Stumptown graphic novel felt like a natural for a TV series, particularly in the modern age of storytelling. “There was a spirit of this character that came through and of the world that came through that I just fell in love with immediately,” he says. “And such a complex character in this genre, given the history of this genre on television, was completely unique to me. So the challenge and the trick was just how do you create a show around this character involving this tapestry of characters in that world? And if you put all that together, it just created a completely unique picture. I don’t think there’s a show, not just on TV, but in this genre, that has this sort of range of cast of characters.”

Cobie agreed, noting, “I think the exciting thing is we’re living in a time where we can see all those colors on television of each person, and that’s really exciting to me, specifically with Dex. It’s actually quite difficult to do press, because it’s hard to categorize her, to sum her up in a one-liner. That’s what makes me the most excited to play her, because she’s tough and smart, but she’s broken, and she’s just trying to get through the day. So she’s a combination of all things, and that’s really what I’m excited to have her as in series form, so we can sort of see what this is going to play out to be. For me, personally, it’s a wonderful challenge.”

Stumptown premieres Wednesday, September 25, on ABC.