‘Battle Creek’ a quirky cop show

Dean Winters, left, and Kal Penn, middle, star in “Battle Creek.”
Dean Winters, left, and Kal Penn, middle, star in “Battle Creek.” CBS

If “Battle Creek” is a solidly entertaining new cop show, why will some viewers and critics find it disappointing? Because it was created by Vince Gilligan and David Shore. The first guy created “Breaking Bad” and the second created “House.”

Even if “Battle Creek” isn’t as great as the signature series of its co-creators, it has its own charms, as evidenced in the full 13-episode season sent to critics before Sunday’s premiere (10 p.m. CBS).

“Battle Creek” is meant to upend the concept of buddy-cop shows. Detective Russ Agnew (Dean Winters) is a battle-weary cop in Battle Creek, Mich. Nothing works at the underfunded, ill-equipped police department, and in spite of his obvious interest in office manager Holly Dale (Aubrey Dollar), he’s too afraid of rejection to ask her out.

The squad gets along as best as it can with outmoded equipment, mostly because nothing much ever happens in Battle Creek. Then one day, there’s a new occupant in the office across the hall: handsome, perfectly tailored Milt Chamberlain (Josh Duhamel), the FBI’s agent in charge of the Battle Creek office. Russ hates him on sight, while his co-workers collectively develop a huge agent-crush on him. Of course, Russ and Milt end up having to work together solving a continuing crime wave in Battle Creek as the series becomes an episodic cop show set against a broader context of what makes Chamberlain tick and why someone so seemingly perfect at his job would be dispatched to this backwater.

The series is fun and only slightly flawed.