When the episode opens, we’re introduced to Det. Lt. Everett Backstrom (Rainn Wilson), who is having a checkup with his doctor, Deb Chaman (Rizwan Manji). Backstrom denies still drinking, before insulting the Indian doctor. Officer Frank Moto (Page Kennedy) enters and requests Backstrom to head to the college, where a dead body has been found. The son of Senator Tobias Percival (Kyle Secor) has been founded dead, by likely suicide. Backstrom discovers the boy’s body hanging from a bridge, as well as Detective Sgt. John Almond (Dennis Haysbert).
Sgt. Peter Niedermayer (Kristoffer Polaha) shares the forensics evidence with Backstrom. Backstrom continues to push his theory, which is the boy has manhood issues. Det. Nicole Gravely (Genevieve Angelson) seems to disagree with the assessment. Backstrom declares the suicide a homicide, since homicides come with benefits for the detectives. Of course, Niedermayer discover heroine has been shoved in the boy’s face, with great force, which points to a homicide. Backstrom sends Almond to interview a university cop.
Backstrom meets with the Senator, who is unable to answer, since his son wasn’t speaking to him. The Senator tells them his son recently fell in love, but is unable to tell them who with. Gravely and Backstrom attempt to gain access to the boy’s dorm room. After meeting with the school board members, they’re able to get inside the boy’s room, where nothing seems out of place. The pair discover the school has had a recent overdose, a computer seems to be missing and Backstrom discovers an envelope with the name Cass on it. They discover about a $1,000 and a pound of heroine.
Back at the state, the group discuss the laptop and Nadia Paquet (Beatrice Rosen) reveals a large amount has been withdrawn from the boy’s bank account over the past few years. The group bring up Charles Turner (Jarod Joseph), the university cop from before. Although the others are reluctant, Niedermayer believes him to be suspicious, as well. Backstrom returns home to his boat, where he chats with Gregory Valentine (Thomas Dekker), who he is took in when he started dating his mother. Backstrom requests information from Valentine. He says a dealer name Visser (Evan Jones) is now responsible for bringing the drugs into the school. He also says Visser is a psycho and requests Backstrom take a shooter with him.
Gravely wakes up Backstrom with a phone calls and he requests DEA help with Visser. Next, he meets with Niedermayer, who confirms the heroine overdose, but also reveals the boy had sex with a woman an hour before his death. The pair discuss Backstrom’s father, who was a Sheriff and abusive. The group interview Toby’s last girlfriend, Alyson, who has Toby’s computer, which is filled with naughty pictures. Alyson set the lesbian photos to Toby’s computer, before stealing it.
Backstrom and Gravely meet with Eugene Visser, who runs a bar in Hawthorne. Gravely breaks Visser’s finger, which ruins their interview. Gravely informs Backstrom Visser filed a brutality complaint against her, before they begin to discuss their member’s personal lives. Paquet enters and provides them with information about a threatening email sent to Toby from Archie and Cass. Backstrom and Almond meets with Archie (Brett Dier), who was hazed by the rugby team, which forced him to drop out of school. He mentions a stripper named Cassandra (Tiffany Hines), who once slapped Toby.
Gravely and Backstrom meet with Cassandra, who says Toby left her money for junior college. She insists she doesn’t use and Toby doesn’t sell drugs. Cass requests going to Toby’s funeral, but Backstrom doesn’t think it is a good idea. Paquet calls and tells Gravely that Cassandra is Charles Turner’s sister. Backstrom hangs out with Paquet, who attempts to seduce Backstrom, but he refuses. He only needs a friend, which is what Dr. Deb requested.
Charles Turner is brought in and interviewed by Backstrom. He says Cass owned Visser for helping get her stripper career started and Toby was going to help pay off her debts. Backstrom puts the pieces together and discovers Charles was there, when Toby was killed, by Visser for pulling a gun. Charles walks him through the murder, which is exactly, as Backstrom described. The police rush in and a shootout happens with Visser. Backstrom is shot in the arm, but holds Visser at gunpoint, before shooting him dead.
Backstrom and Gravely return to the murder scene. Niedermayer emerges from the water, with Toby’s gun. The gun was sabotaged to ensure it wouldn’t be able to fire. Charles is arrested, while Cass is sent free. Backstrom takes Cassandra to the rooftop and belittles her. He discovers Cass was responsible for giving him the gun. Cass gives herself up, when she insists she didn’t know the gun was broken. Gravely arrives and arrests Cassandra.
Backstrom returns to the doctor, who can tell he hasn’t stopped drinking. The Doctor is glad to hear about Backstrom’s new friend. Valentine enters and attempts to help Backstrom begrudgingly. Backstrom insults the doctor and his religion, before leaving.
Backstrom’s pilot episode, Dragon Slayer, took a bit to get into. The pacing seemed a little off, but started to put up in the middle. Most of the acting was decent and the investigation wasn’t too bad. However, the episode fails, when it attempts to pass itself off as a comedy. Although the episode was crammed with jokes, all of them fell flat. It isn’t the political incorrectness that hurts the jokes. The problem is the jokes never hit the spot.
If the politically incorrect jokes would’ve worked, Backstrom might’ve been something original and special. Unfortunately, they did not and we’re left with unoriginal cliches and a poor exploration of satire. Therefore, the pilot episode deserves a 6 out of 10.