"Stumptown’s primary appeal isn’t as a crime drama. It’s as a Cobie Smulders vehicle—and in that respect, it’s everything it needs to be," says Allison Shoemaker of the graphic novel-based ABC P.I. drama. "Giving a great actor a great part isn’t enough to make a great story, but it sure helps things along, and in Smulders and Dex Parios, such a match has been made." Shoemaker adds: "Sideways seems to be Dex’s general direction, but Smulders, who’s very good at this whole acting thing, doesn’t play the distress and dysfunction. She plays the disguise, the coping mechanisms, the play-acting of a person who is normally very good about hiding how hurt, afraid, or filled with rage she might be. Like all great P.I.s in fiction, language does a lot of the work."
Stumptown immediately looks and feels different than a typically sterile network drama: "Giving the show its own restless and grim visual language that mirrors the graphic novel’s own is a quick and smart way to establish Stumptown as its own animal," says Caroline Framke, adding: "As seen on How I Met Your Mother and beyond, Smulders is an extremely sharp and capable performer who’s especially good at finding humor in characters who take themselves just a little too seriously. Watching her whale on petty crime jerks who never see it coming is genuinely satisfying."
Cobie Smulders was drawn to Stumptown because Dex Parios is hard to describe: "She’s a bit of a mash of everything: she’s very funny, she’s very closed off, she’s very determined, she’s very flighty, she comes from this tough military background, and she’s unable to hold down anything steady, yet she has this big responsibility of taking care of her younger brother," she says. "It’s this messy person who drinks and gambles too much and is not going to show up all the time, but at the same time, she’s inherently good and wants to help others and is quite righteous. It’s exciting to play a fully realized woman, and not just a couple shades of a character."