Battle Creek is an American drama television show that premiered in March of 2015. CBS green lighted the show from the creator of Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan. After the series finale of Breaking Bad, Gilligan began immediately working on his next television drama. The show’s namesake is a city in Michigan, where the show’s story is based. The story follows an unlikely pair of partners; a police detective named Russ Agnew, played by Dean Winters, and an FBI Special Agent named Milton Chamberlain, played by Josh Duhamel.
The show’s interesting dynamic focuses around the underdog police detective, coming from an under-budgeted police department, and a too-perfect-to-be-real golden boy FBI Agent. The two are an unlikely pair, but they need one another in order to survive the wave of crime that has flooded the streets of Battle Creek. But their differences are what make their partnership all the more entertaining.
Agnew and Chamberlain have two different—if not polar opposite—views on the world, crime solving, law enforcement and life in general. Special Agent Chamberlain is all sunshine and rainbows, adamantly believing in the goodness of humanity, while Detective Agnew is the aged cynic disgusted with the world and people in general. This dynamic is purposeful and deliberate, aimed at challenging the idea of buddy cop shows and the effortlessness of the friendship that sprouts between them. In Battle Creek, no such warm feelings come from these agents, who are stubborn and stuck in their ways, each for the own personal reasons. This dynamic makes for a show that constantly puts these two officers at odds with one another, very unlike buddy cop shows in the past.
Seeming to have a sort of “identity crisis,” it’s unclear if Battle Creek is meant to be a comedy about two mismatched cops, or is a linear story about the daily lives of law enforcement agencies and their agents? While the series seems to go back forth a bit, mixing in both comedy and drama, the show seems rather stable, forcing the audience to be just as engaged in the nonsense episodes as they are in the more serious episodes.
This mixing of light humor and dark humor is what makes Battle Creek an interesting show. Stemming from the show’s producers, Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) and David Shore (House) this delightful mixture is what their previous shows as entertaining and interesting as they were during their airings. The characters presented in Battle Creek are more than what they present themselves as, having deeper, real-life struggles that are unique to their situation and their lives. That said, there’s also this feeling of brotherhood between these two agents, despite their obvious disliking of one another. They’re not buddy cops in the traditional sense, but their constant challenging of one another is what constantly pushes them forward to clean up the messy streets of their city.
To some, Battle Creek may not seem to be breaking any new ground in the realm of television, but it’s a challengingly fresh look at buddy cop shows, one that’s both convincing and genuine in its storytelling and characters. It’s witty and funny, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, finding time to parody Breaking Bad in the second episode. In that regard, it’s well worth the watch. You can find more TV & web entertainment options over here