SDCC 2019: ABC’s Stumptown Panel Recap

A much-loved comic series is coming to life this fall with Stumptown starring Cobie Smulders as Dex Parios.

The indigo ballroom was filled with excited fans anxious to learn more about the new series. The panel was moderated by comic writer Marc Andreyko who dove straight into conversations with creator Greg Rucka, executive producers David Bernad and Ruben Fleischer, Smulders, Jake Johnson (Grey McConnel), Michael Ealy, (Detective Miles Hoffman), Camryn Mannheim (Lt. Bobbie Cosgrove), Tantoo Cardinal Cardinal (Sue Lynn Blackbird), Cole Sibus (Ansel Parios), and Adrian Martinez (Tookie).

For those unfamiliar with the comic, the series won’t be your typical procedural show. The show takes place in Portland following army veteran, Parios, as she transitions into becoming a private investigator. It’s already been picked up for a full season!

Before bringing in the primary cast members, Andreyko took some time to chat with the creator and executive producers to set the scene. Apparently, Rucka has always wanted to write PI novels but naturally wrote suspense novels instead. It eventually caught the attention of series producer Elias Gertler. Bernard goes on to explain how they were taken by the simplicity of it and how Stumptown was such a character-driven piece. “ABC wasn’t looking for this but recognized what we’re all passionate about. [Dex] is a flawed human, no superpowers,” says Bernad.

Soon after, the rest of the panel made their way to the stage and the audience got a sneak peek at the pilot’s cold open which took approximately two days to shoot. Bits of it can be seen in the official trailer (see below) which easily caught the attention of everyone in the room. Smulders even thought to herself while filming, “this is never going to work” but alas, it did and looked so seamless.

Smulders character will be an Afghanistan vet, the first-ever female vet on-screen, with PTSD whom she spoke with an expert about in order to get into character while also putting her own spin on it. “It’s always fun to do a job where you get to learn new skills,” says Smulders. While she takes on her new role as a PI, we’ll also see her relationship with her brother, Ansel, and learn how they got to where they are today.

Johnson, undoubtedly known for his iconic role as Nick Miller on New Girl, will continue his role as playing a bartender on Stumptown. “Truth is. The bartender thing… It’s the main reason I took the role,” Johnson jokes. He has yet to shoot any scenes but so far we know Jake will work closely with Cole and there may (or may not) be a love triangle involved with Ealy’s character. “There are things I can do that he can’t,” says Ealy.

Mannheim was ready to take on her new role but not before she changed the character’s original name. After going by “Ellenor Frutt” for years on The Practice, she did not want to live with a name like that again. So she took matters into her own hands by going through her son’s directory for her name where she landed on “Roberta (Bobby) Cosgrove.”

For Tantoo, Cole, and Adrian, their characters will be closely interacting with Dex in many different ways. Tantoo described her role as “Dex’s challenge” due to the fact Dex dated her son in the past and caused tension as a ripple effect. As for Cole, this will be his first leading role and he’ll be playing Dex’s younger brother she looks after. Lastly, Adrian’s character will be “Dex’s guardian angel… who gives her tacos.”

We must say, Adrian stole the show with his responses such as the one he said when reading the script for the first time: “I died and went to heaven when I read the script. Then, I walked in the clouds looking for the men’s bathroom and Cobie was there holding a sign. I walked to the sign.”

The panel wrapped up with an audience Q&A where we got a bit more insight on Cobie’s character and how she is sexually fluid. “Dex is incapable [of having] a long term relationship and floats to whoever is available,” Smulders shares.

We even found out whether or not Cobie still has a bit of Robin Sparkles in her (a beloved callback to her character on How I Met Your Mother). Her response? “She’s right there,” she remarks as she points to her heart, “Just below the surface. There’s a mall tour.”

Stumptown premieres Wednesday, September 25 on ABC. Will you be watching? Tweet us to let us know @CelebMix!

Written by Ashley Bulayo

I reference anything and everything to Lizzie McGuire. Follow me on Twitter + Instagram: @ashleeeybash. I respond 99.9% of the time.