BACKSTROM Recap: 'Takes One to Know One' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

BACKSTROM Recap: ‘Takes One to Know One’

February 5, 2015 by  

Hello BACKSTROM fans! What did you think of this episode, “Takes One to Know One”? There were three plots interwoven throughout the hour: a case involving the death of a Portland youth pastor, Backstrom’s battle with both nightmares and insomnia, and the introduction of Backstrom’s ex-fiancée, Amy Gazanian, played by Sarah Chalke. There’s a lot to discuss, so let’s get to it!


The team gets tagged to solve the case of a local 21 year old woman, Emma Germain, who was found dead at a local “church” known in the neighborhood for cultish and exclusive behaviors in their “Church of Edification.” They are known in town as Eddys for their obsession with self-actualization and edification. Additionally, they:

  • Insist they are not a cult.
  • Are led by Leon Mundy, who preaches that death is not an end, but simply moving through another door.
  • Believe that the human mind/spirit does not reach full adult capabilities until age 21, so members/students are restricted from certain things, including sex, until that age.
  • Are constantly reiterating their worth as internally focused beings. “I am the center!” is their rallying cry.
  • Are placed in groups, or “semesters” for the purpose of confessing sins/struggles and receiving absolution through amends and penance.

Suspects include:

  •  Louise Hanley, a fire and brimstone protester outside of the Edification Centre. She stands outside, day and night, screaming for the retribution and justice of God to fall on the CoE. Lucky for the team, she video records herself doing this, and inadvertently provides some security footage.
  • Vince Cropper, an Eddy and private investigator. He was in the building around the time Emma was killed, and he also received $10,000 from a private account.
  • Leon Mundy. When his wife Darlene comes forward and admits she paid Vince the $10,000 to see if Leon was having an affair, Backstrom and the team try to pin Emma’s murder on him.
  • Emma’s semester group, specifically a young man Ryan Durst, whose self-righteous attitude about his quick-rising Eddy stock rubs the team the wrong way.

Niedermeyer analyzes two mugs of tea (and subsequent tea bags) left at the crime scene, while Backstrom and Gravely question suspects. Backstrom & Gravely talk to Emma’s semester group and quickly realize there are several possible suspects. Backstrom calls out Craig, a young man who was sleeping with Emma, and another woman, Marissa, runs off upset when they both insult her. Gravely goes after her and learns that Marissa and Craig had sex in Emma’s office — there was a couch, a lock, and a secret way in to the building.

Moto, Valentine, and Backstrom get Craig, and he leads Valentine through a vent system into Emma’s office. Valentine chides him for all of that effort just to have sex…with a girl (and provides a hilarious list of alternate locations), and also swipes a gold framed photo of Emma and her mother. He also tells Craig that with this information, he is the most likely suspect — unless he can come up with some other person who might know about the secret passageway. Craig admits that Ryan is who told him about it; the other young man liked to break in and practice preaching sermons.

Backstrom interrogates Ryan at the precinct, and after stating he was counseling Emma through a conflict, Backstrom realizes Emma was considering leaving the organization after her 21st birthday. He figures Ryan wanted to stop her and did so by killing her. Ryan admits that Emma’s betrayal would have been bad; he calls himself a savior.

It looks like the case is locked up, but Backstrom still has a nagging feeling about it. He realizes that in such a self-centric society, Ryan wouldn’t confess unless he was somehow persuaded to. After considering the evidence again, he figures Mundy planted the seed in Ryan’s ear to get rid of Emma. He accuses Mundy, who only laughs and welcomes the team to his next sermon.

Backstrom spends the evening at the precinct looking over Nadia’s case-facts and web of collected data. He and Gravely realize that Mundy’s original affair with Emma began when she was only 15 years old, allowing them to arrest him for statutory rape.

Throughout the episode, we also see Backstrom suffer with insomnia and nightmares. He is also somewhat plagued (but also somewhat happy) by the knowledge that his ex-fiancée Amy is in town because she is heading up a Civilian Oversight Committee formed to investigate suspicious facts in the case proceedings regarding Toby Percival and Visser. The rest of the team seems to like Amy a lot, especially Gravely, who can’t quite believe that someone like Backstrom could ever be with someone like Amy.


  • Every Backstrom/Almond scene is great. I especially liked how they handled Louise Hanley.
  • I really like Amy (and it’s great to see Sarah Chalke in a role like this!), and I can’t wait to see more about her relationship with Backstrom.
  • For some reason, Niedermeyer’s line about a “second equally moist tea bag” cracked me up. Likewise, it was funny to see how pumped up he was about Backstrom using that forensic information (even if forced) in the interrogation room.


  • The show has prided itself (for better or worse) on the idea that Backstrom hates men as much as women, as if this makes it okay. I thought in this episode it went a little too far toward women — Backstrom was cruel toward Louise, toward Marissa, toward the idea of mother’s intuition, and it was also distasteful the way he treated Nadia and Gravely. It was gross to see him proposition Nadia for sex in that food truck/undercover truck or whatever (and good for her to turn him down) and likewise, at the end of the episode, he calls Gravely in to the office to analyze “Paquet’s hot mess”…which is rude, and when she asks him why he didn’t call Nadia at 2 AM, he brushes her off, as if they are interchangeable (and with Amy) for sex, or crime solving, or whatever. Gross!
  • Even more horrible is the part where Backstrom asks Amy why she’s not in Salem, protecting battered women from “the men they annoy,” presuming that women are being abused/battered because they are annoying. Shame on the writers for that one — very lazy, and completely unnecessary to establishing his character in any way.


  • Backstrom’s relationship with Dr. Deb is interesting. I’m glad to see more of it after the pilot, especially for the added wrinkle of doctor/patient confidentiality. I’m not sure how Valentine gets to be in the room as well, but it pushes the plot forward in terms of him telling Deb what is really bothering Backstrom. The “lie” book was a fun thread, and I can’t help but wonder if he wrote “I am not John Lennon” after declaring he was the walrus at the Church of Edification.
  • I really liked seeing most of his interactions with Amy. It was interesting to see the affection they still had for one another and the glimmer of possibility of more between the two of them. He wants to impress her, and he also recognizes that she doesn’t take a lot of his crap, which was very refreshing. For more from Rainn Wilson on that relationship, you can check out this article here.

Enough from me! What did you think of this episode? Were you surprised by the killer? And what are your thoughts about Amy — do you want to see more of her character? The comments are open — speak your mind!

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One Response to “BACKSTROM Recap: ‘Takes One to Know One’”

  1. SueK on February 6th, 2015 12:39 pm

    Some what surprised but I like this show.