Since ABC couldn’t find enough takers for the offbeat squad in “Life on Mars,” the network now launches another oddball group of cops in the same time period with the debut of “The Unusuals” at 10 tonight.
“The Unusuals,” which fits into the category that used to be called dramedy, is all about the secrets people keep.
At the center of the series is Casey Shraeger (played by Amber Tamblyn, “Joan of Arcadia”), who gets transferred into a homicide unit after working in vice. Casey comes from another world, one she doesn’t want her fellow detectives to know about.
She replaces a cop killed in the line of duty, and her new partner, Detective Jason Walsh (Jeremy Renner), is more concerned with solving his murder than in making Casey feel welcome.
There are quite a few characters in the squad room. A detective with a death wish (Adam Goldberg) is paired with an overly cautious one (Harold Perrineau, “Lost”). A religious zealot (Josh Close) is partnered with the streetwise other woman in the unit (Monique Gabriela Curnan). Then there’s the camera-chaser (Kai Lennox) who seeks to steal hot cases from other detectives.
Ruling over this madhouse is Sgt. Harvey Brown (Terry Kinney), who has brought in Casey to uncover some of the secrets within the squad.
“The Unusuals,” created by “Bones” writer-producer Noah Hawley, is intriguing but very uneven in tone. Up against the predictable “CSI:NY” and “Law & Order,” it’s definitely something different, but what kind of different has still to be determined.