Welcome to the thirteenth installment of our 2020 Pride Month Series! Each day in the month of June, we will be highlighting a different member of the LGBTQ+ community who we think is a great example of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike – the positive voices within the LGBTQ+ community and in mainstream media.
Cobie Smulders has a knack for playing characters that quickly become fan favorites. They are all unique in their own way, not always completely perfect, and quite badass. When Stumptown premiered, it did not take long to see that Dex Parios would fit that bill.
There is a lot to unfold with Dex, and we uncover a lot of who she is as the first season progresses. Dex’s life can be, well … kind of messy. She drives a car that has seen better days, its broken sound system somehow always playing the perfect song for the moment. Her career begins pretty shaky. Her love life is all over the place. And she’s got quite a bit of a gambling problem to top it all off. But she is human, and does her best to make it work
A Marine veteran, Dex suffers from PTSD. Her struggles of the past often seep into her current situations, like the fact the man she loved was killed overseas (there was a lot more to that story). She quickly finds herself helping others, and those close to her, as a private investigator. Her sharp wits and bravery as a Marine make her a perfect PI, helping out the police with many cases.
Dex is a loving and caring sister, looking after her brother Ansel (Cole Sibus) after their parents disappear from their lives. Ansel is a brilliant and independent guy, who just happens to have Down syndrome. Throughout the season, she struggles with being protective of her brother and letting him grow and have his independence. In all honesty, Dex is the one who truly needs Ansel.
Then you have Dex’s best friend Grey (Jake Johnson). Their friendship started with a brief fling, but turned into something special regardless. Grey owns his own bar, called Bad Alibi, and has a troubled and criminal past of his own. He nudges Dex towards what’s good for her. He is even a good friend to Ansel, hiring him at the bar and becoming his roommate when Ansel moves out. Of course, feelings seem to still linger between the two.
Dex also falls into a relationship with Detective Miles Hoffman (Michael Ealy). Even though the two like each other very much, something always seems to become complicated. Or, a lot of overthinking is involved.
While these two relationships often find a place in her life, Dex does not shy away from her sexuality, having many other partners throughout season one – both male and female. Much like the comic of the same name, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by Matthew Southworth, Dex Parios is bisexual.
This becomes apparent during episode six when Dex’s ex, Fiona X, is in town to perform. Due to being stalked, Fiona becomes a client of Dex. Their relationship rekindles while Dex is protecting her late one night, leading them to sleep together. The episode proves to be an interesting look into her past, her relationships, and her sexuality.
Towards the midseason, Grey’s girlfriend, Liz, tricks Dex into thinking they got drunk and hooked up. It puts a rift between Grey and Dex (though the truth would eventually come to light.) As if things weren’t complicated enough, Hoffman also asks that they keep their relationship strictly professional.
If you think that proves how complicated her relationships can be, wait until later in the season when she meets Violet. Violet and Dex meet and instantly connect. Except, Dex soon finds out Violet is a hit-woman set to kill Grey.
The first season continues to showcase her relationships with both men and women. It was refreshing to see her bisexuality not stereotyped or romanticized. It was realistic. Whether her partner was female or male, we got to see the ups and downs of each relationship. As a bisexual myself, I’m so happy to see more and more representation like this on screen and to see a character like me.
You can currently watch season 1 of Stumptown on Hulu. You can also check out the comic on ComiXology or your local comic shop. Stumptown will return with season 2 on ABC.
Be sure to check back tomorrow for another Pride Spotlight!