Cobie Smulders finds plenty of action in ‘Stumptown’

ABC crime drama casts actress as Portland private eye

Cobie Smulders stars in “Stumptown,” premiering Wednesday on ABC.

If you know Cobie Smulders mainly as “How I Met Your Mother’s” Robin, you might not envision her as a private eye who often gets down and dirty.

However, that’s much easier to do if you also know her as action-ready Maria Hill in a number of Marvel adventures.

The actress takes a different turn television-wise in ABC’s “Stumptown,” premiering Wednesday, Sept. 25. Adapted from a graphic-novel series, the drama casts Smulders as Dex Parios, an ex-Marine now trying to make ends meet – and to keep herself in one piece – while tackling cases in Portland, Ore. She also keeps an eye on her younger brother (Cole Sibus) while trying to juggle love interests; Jake Johnson (“New Girl”), Michael Ealy (”The Good Wife”), Tantoo Cardinal and Camryn Manheim (“The Practice”) also star.

“When you go into something that could potentially go for multiple seasons, you want to choose something that you’re never going to be bored with,” Smulders reasons, “that’s going to be challenging, and I just fell in love with this character. There are certainly aspects of (‘HIMYM’s’ Robin) Scherbatsky in there, but it is a departure. Certainly going from a multicam back to a single (camera), that’s a very different process, but it was more about finding something that I think would always be interesting and fun to play. I just want to be her for a while.”

Cobie Smulders stars in “Stumptown,” premiering Wednesday on ABC.

An ovarian-cancer survivor, Smulders says she has factored elements of that experience into her portrayal of the complex Dex: “I’ve leaned on things that have happened in my life, and I’ve talked to women in the military. I just think that these women are so brave, and continue to be so brave, men and women after being out of the service. It is one of the reasons I’m excited about this project, to shed some light on people dealing with (PTSD), and on the fact that there aren’t enough services assisting people who are dealing with this.”

Being on ABC surely won’t leave Smulders alone at network events, since husband (and “Saturday Night Live” alum) Taran Killam is a star of the show that immediately precedes hers, the sitcom “Single Parents.” The couple has two children who are very much on Smulders’ mind as she starts “Stumptown.”

“There are going to be really long hours,” she anticipates, “and it’s going to be physically draining, but I get to go and sleep in my own bed. There are certainly sacrifices, but I have two girls, and it’s exciting for them to see their mother having a career and having dreams and fulfilling goals. That’s what I tell myself, anyway, to sleep at night. You know, you do your best.”

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin

Jay Bobbin has decades of experience covering the television and movie businesses, winning Tribune Media Services’ Crown Jewel Award in 2008 for his performance in the company. Over those many years of interviewing and writing, he has spoken with everyone from Robert De Niro and John Travolta to Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett … from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

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