Cobie Smulders Doesn't Expect 'Stumptown' to Feature a Love Triangle

Ileane Rudolph
Q&A ABC/Jessica Brooks

Cobie Smulders made us laugh as supercool TV journalist Robin on How I Met Your Mother and kicked butt as Maria Hill in six Marvel films and the series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Now she combines those gifts as fledgling Portland, Oregon, PI Dex Parios, a Marine veteran with issues, in ABC's noir crime drama Stumptown, based on a graphic novel series.

On Wednesday's episode, Dex, a determined loner, tries out a new partner — grizzled detective Artie Banks (Donal Logue) — she hopes will become a mentor.

Smulders fills us in.

Dex and Artie join forces to dig up dirt on a husband in a custody case. Just another day at the office?

Cobie Smulders: The great thing about our show is that there's not going to be a dead body in the beginning of every episode. The cases you get are very human.

What makes Dex herself such a complex character?

Let's start with the fact that her parents named her Dexedrine, after [a medical stimulant]. She was in military intelligence and isn't dealing with her PTSD. She's a big drinker and gambler. She is fluid in her employment, her sexuality, and her personality. She's also a good person — the guardian of her younger brother Ansel [Cole Sibus], who has Down syndrome. It's a wonderful relationship, the only time my character gets to be vulnerable.

(ABC/Mitch Haaseth)

Who else matters to her?

She has a long history with bar owner Grey McConnell [Jake Johnson]. It was a romantic entanglement, but now they're a family unit caring for Ansel. [With] Detective Miles Hoffman [Michael Ealy], there's certainly chemistry, but I can't imagine there's a triangle coming. She's up for whatever the night has to offer, but in the morning she's always alone because she chooses to be.

Does Dex's tough-gal wardrobe help you get inside this woman?

Her priority is not maintaining a certain look for people; she wears what's comfortable and probably clean. To get into her character is about letting go.

Stumptown, Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC