Written By: David Greenwalt and Jim Kouf
Draft Date: January 27, 2011
Is it weird that the thing I remember most clearly about this script isn't the mythological elements (which loyal readers know is a passion of mine... I love me some genre storytelling), but the fact that the police work was really, really, really crappy? I mean, pointedly so. Which I wouldn't mind if the "crime procedural with a supernatural element" was being conducted by someone who wasn't a police officer. But... Nick Burckhardt is a detective. Yeah, he's dealing with a lot in the pilot, but that doesn't give him the excuse to entirely forget how to be a cop or conduct an investigation.
Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
Grimm is about Nick Burckhardt, a detective who starts seeing some really strange things. A beautiful blonde momentarily morphs into a hideous hag (the script says it's a witch, but how the hell does he know that... fantasy-creature profiling much?), a thug whose face turns into an owl's, etc. He thinks he's going crazy, but it turns out his family, going back generations, are known in the very real world of fairy tale creatures as "Grimms." People who can recognize the creatures as what they are as the creatures attempt to fit into society (some with benign intent, others malicious). Nick, and his family, are the bogeymen. So, being Nick now that he's starting to see these things is going to be dangerous, and lonely. Should he tell his girlfriend, Juliette? Will she think he's crazy? What about his partner, older detective Hank Green (who seems to be a far better cop with things like evidence, warrants, and putting pieces of a puzzle together)?
Nick is supposedly the last Grimm left (his parents died in a car crash... or was it?), or at least the next to last as the life of his aunt, Marie Brannigan, who was basically a surrogate mother to him, hangs in the balance both because of an attack by a troll name Hulda and because of a terminal illness that gives her days, weeks, maybe months left. She comes to Nick to tell him about his heritage and is surprised that the change is already taking effect. We don't get the full mythology about the Grimms... it may be, like the Slayer in Buffy, that there's only supposed to be one. So with Marie on the verge of passing on, Nick is starting to see things.
Marie is a talented fighter, but in her illness-weakened condition, she isn't able to fend off Hulda and Nick winds up killing the troll by firing his gun. Several times. There's an investigation, of course, since Hulda transforms back into a human being after Nick kills him (which is weird, I think, wouldn't he remain in his natural troll-state?) and it turns out Hulda was wanted in several states for rape, murder, assault... which makes it totally okay that Nick killed him? He's (thankfully) told to see the police psychologist because it's his first kill, but we don't see that and while others comment on the fact that Nick is spinning a bit out of control since the attack and the kill, Nick never really does anything to try and assuage the problem.
The major case of the pilot involves a Red Riding Hood story and "Blutbads" aka Big Band Wolves. First a college student wearing a red hoodie is killed in the woods, and next a little little girl is kidnapped. I wish I could say, on a procedural level, this all worked, but it doesn't. As above, it felt like pretty shoddy police work and I only hope that in revisions, that's corrected... because there's nothing I dislike more than poorly executed versions of this kind of story. There's a rich, dark world and a lot of fun and horror to be had in a series about detectives tracking down fairy tale monsters. This just didn't do it for me.