January 21, 2015 3:26 PM

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LOS ANGELES (Variety.com) - "Backstrom," it turns out, is just 2015-ese for "House," with Rainn Wilson's Dwight Schrute elevated to the leading-man role the character always thought he deserved in "The Office." A mildly defective detective (sorry, Monk) with a bad attitude, Wilson's title player is prone to offensive and outlandish utterances, while going about the business of deciphering quirky yet banal crimes in the tree-lined, rainy environs of Portland (actually Vancouver). Shepherded along by "Bones'" Hart Hanson, this is the sort of meat-and-potatoes drama that doesn't feel distinctive enough to do much more than tread water on Fox, even with "American Idol's" kick-start.

Granted, there's symmetry in putting this series (adapted from a Swedish book series, with almost nothing except the name to suggest those literary origins) in "The Office's" old timeslot; and something very specific about the gloomy Northwest setting, where Backstrom is introduced at a crime scene,...

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