G is for Grimm
Written by Kerry E.B. Black
In October, 2011, NBC aired the pilot of “Grimm,” a supernatural police drama set in Portland, Oregon. Homicide detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giutoli) experienced troubling visions while investigating “the red hoodie murders.” For example, the face of a pretty blonde who smiled at him transformed into something from a nightmare. His eccentric Aunt Marie stopped by to share some startling news. Nick descended from a line of hunters of the supernatural called “Grimms.” There was truth in the fairytales, but not everyone could see the true nature of the “Wesen” world. Although sick with cancer, Aunt Marie (Kate Burton) put up an impressive fight when attacked by a scythe-wielding assailant which left her hospitalized and in a coma. With her passing, Nick’s full “Grimm” abilities fall upon him. He had much to learn about the “Wesen” world, the complicated relationship between himself and their hierarchy, and his own abilities.
Through the course of his investigation, Nick met Monroe (Silas Weir Mitchell), the witty wolf-being (Blutbad) who became his unwitting guide through the confusing and complicated world of dual lives. They developed such a strong friendship, Nick stayed at Monroe’s darling, clock-filled home for a time and served as Monroe’s best man at his wedding.
Before she died, Aunt Marie recommended Nick break ties with his girlfriend, veterinarian Juliette Silverton (Bitsie Tulloch), worried that his associations would expose her to extreme risk. Instead, Nick confided in his live-in by the end of the first season.
Aunt Marie had a point, as Juliette suffered a magical amnesia which made her forget Nick. She survived attacks, endured magically-inspired infidelity, and watched death and destruction happen in her home. She used her fluency in Spanish to help Nick on one case in particular. After Nick lost his Grimm abilities, Juliette endured a magic spell that altered her appearance into her betrayer’s likeness. As a result, she developed trust issues and a transformation into a hexenbeist with anger issues.
Nick’s partner, Hank Griffin (Russell Hornsby) learned of Nick’s “Grimm-ness” in the second season after being misused by a hexenbeist. Sergeant Drew Wu (Reggie Lee) entered an insane asylum because of his interactions with Wesen, believing he’d gone insane until Nick let him in on the secret. Captain Sean Renard (Sasha Roiz) did not need Nick to tell him of the Wesen, since he was a bastard son of Wesen Royalty. His half-brother, Eric, ruled from Austria. Political intrigue and ambition followed Sean Renard.
Monroe’s wife, Rosalee (Bree Turner), a fox-being (fuxbow) ran a Spice Shop and assisted Nick with potions and research. She also had contacts on the Wesen Council and interpreted events with wisdom. The Wesen Council examined, interpreted, and enforced Wesen laws. The Laufer was an organization resistant to royal rule, which at times make them unwitting allies with the Grimm.
Adalind Schade (Claire Coffee) began as a hexenbeist bent on revenge after Nick’s Grimm mother killed her mother. She lost her powers, became pregnant with Sean Renard’s daughter, and underwent a painful ceremony to have her powers restored with the help of a group of European gypsy Wesen. The Royals attempted to kidnap her child. She escaped with help from a member of the Laufer, tricked Nick into impregnating her with a son, lost her powers again, and as she settled into life as a homemaker, regained her hexenbeist muscles.
The show mixes humor with horror in a successful blend of moody settings, intriguing fx makeup, and engaging characters. Heavier subject matter is covered with metaphor and interpretation. A group called the Wesenrein believe in purity of blood and object when the species mix, acting with K.K.K.-like aggression and intimidation. The Black Claw seemed intent on subjugating the non-Wesen. Child abandonment and neglect, culpability and the gray areas of existence are examined.
To have the fairy tales and legends of many nations walk among common people, their true nature disguised to all but a Grimm or for but a moment when their guard is let down lends interesting interpretations of tradition. Stephen Carpenter, David Greenwalt, and Jim Kouf created the show. It earned Emmy Nominations in 2012 and 2014, and it won a People’s Choice in 2012. NBC recently announced Grimm has been renewed for a 6th season. The show’s air time and day were bounced around. Presently, it airs at 9PM EST on Fridays on NBC.