Finding a dead body on his family’s woodpile is not what by-the-book game warden Joe Pickett (Michael Dorman) expected when he took a new job near the tiny Wyoming cowboy town of Saddlestring. But only days after settling in with his lawyer wife Marybeth (Julianna Guill) and their two daughters (Skywalker Hughes and Kamryn Pliva), he’s embroiled in a murder mystery.
“Together you can tackle any problem, and that’s what I love about Joe and Marybeth,” says Dorman, who adds that the couple “look for clues together,” in Joe Pickett, the Spectrum whodunnit drama based on the bestselling novel series by A.J. Box.
Little do the Picketts know, there is a larger conspiracy at work, and they soon become targets. Too bad Joe’s predecessor, the now-retired — and holding court in the local bar — Vern Dunnegan (David Alan Grier) isn’t much help.
“He wasn’t a by-the-book guy. He shaves the edges,” Grier says of Dunnegan. “He knows that to survive you need to be flexible.”
But the lax standards of local law enforcement mean that the blame for the killing falls on an innocent man: local off-the-grid master falconer and former military special operator Nate Romanowski (Mustafa Speaks). It gets, “extremely dangerous. At that point, it’s life or death,” Speaks says of Romanowski’s time in custody for the crime. But Pickett is smart enough to know the real perp is still out there. He and a small crew undertake a perilous wilderness mission to investigate further.
Adding to Joe’s woes: Marybeth’s glamorous mom, Missy (Sharon Lawrence), moves in with the Picketts after a breakup, and there’s tension. “Missy has high standards because she came from a low place in life. Joe does not meet Missy’s standards,” Lawrence says. “But the audience [will know] the truth about Joe Pickett is: being underestimated is his superpower.”
Joe Pickett, New Episodes Mondays, Spectrum (The series will stream on Paramount+ at a later date.)