“It’s mainly just a kick to the balls — I think that’s what we’re really just going to be honing in on,” said Cobie Smulders during a recent stop by the HFPA Comic-Con lounge. “Or using things that I find laying around — like a baseball bat or a rake or whatever.”
No, the sweet-natured and erstwhile costar of How I Met Your Mother hasn’t gone rogue. Rather, Smulders is describing her latest project, based on a series of graphic novels of the same name steeped in the literary influences of Dennis Lehane and Raymond Chandler, as well as older TV shows like The Rockford Files and Simon and Simon, but delivered with a modern twist. The new crime drama series Stumptown, set to premiere September 25, finds the 37-year-old Canadian-born actress tackling the role of Dex Parios, a sharp-witted but self-destructive army veteran who lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as a private investigator.
For Smulders, that’s perhaps most difficult part of her character. “I don’t think I have that type of brain, as a puzzle solver,” she says. “I’m certainly interested in people and psyches, but in terms of the clues and putting pieces together, my brain doesn’t function in that way.”
More in Smulders’ comfort zone is Stumpdown’s focus on her flawed character’s post-traumatic stress disorder and struggles with various addictions, as well as its action. “Dex is not a spy, she’s not a superhero. But she’s really good at bar fights, and she’s a woman who will just come at an opponent who’s probably got 100 pounds on her,” Smulders continues. “So it’s a really fun thing to try to choreograph these sequences where you have to be really intelligent in terms of the fighting skills.”