Dog the Bounty Hunter is like and unlike a lot of the reality shows we have seen. We follow the cast as they do their job and in this case it just happens to be capturing humans who have jumped bail. Featuring Duane "Dog" Chapman and his family on the hunt for fugitives in their home state of Hawaii, it is an interesting dichotomy to see the before and after of what Duane and Co. need to do to get their job done. When they are searching out their pray no lead is too small, no quest too big, and no job too tiny to get their attention. Once they set their sights on who they are going after, they shakedown their friends, their family, and anyone else who they might be able to give them information. The goal is to have the suspects surrender to Dog and his Posse otherwise, if they turn themselves in, all that time, energy and manpower has been wasted. However, once Dog gets his quarry, being a man of faith, he ministers to them about changing their lives and even gives them water and a cigarette before taking them in.
MovieWeb was sent two episodes to review. They are "The Mystery of Mona Lisa" and "Rusty Cuffs." While these things play like a lighter, much more human version of cops, I found the "Rusty Cuffs" episode to be the most fascinating. Opening with him and his crew being put in jail on an extradition warrant for their capturing of fugitive Andrew Luster (heir to the Max Factor cosmetics company) in Mexico in 2003, we get to see Dog and the gang try and come back after being badly shaken up. With such a full throttle, bounty hunting approach, seeing their work as a calling and as a way to keep others safe, it is apparent that the collective group is feeling a little shellshocked. How can one not second guess themselves when, in trying to keep people safe, they ended up in the same place that they usually send people? On top of all this the group is placed on house arrest which seriously limits their work. Seeing the group work through this, having faith that they will eventually get back on track is a very honest and open thing to acknowledge. It isn't like Dog and Co. are the only bounty hunters in Hawaii. To show them having a crisis of confidence is both humanizing and financially risky.
Seeing the actual business of being a Bounty Hunter in both episodes was fascinating. This is a very detailed and layered profession where there is a great deal of paperwork, jobs are worked out via white-boards, and there's very little margin for error. It is an imprecise science yet those like Duane Chapman and the people he practices it with have got to be very precise in how they take in their prey. I also loved seeing how they negotiated with the fugitive's family and friends, and especially how they tried to convince the fugitives that they could get lesser charges if they turned themselves in to them. Sure, there is a self serving aspect to it, but more importantly I believe that Chapman and the others really want to help these people as well help society. Lastly, seeing the family members of these fugitives work and not work with Dog is also something to behold. We see just how deep family ties run and, depending on your B.S. detector, we also see if we can tell if somebody is telling the truth or not.
Still going strong after 4 years, Dog the Bounty Hunter has stayed on as long as it has because it seems like people respond to these characters. They see a man, Duane Chapman, who is following a calling and leading a charge of redemption. It appears like people tune in because maybe in their own lives they feel helpless against the ill factors of society and this show helps them fight back a little bit? Or, maybe it's just because this show is simply entertaining that they tune in?
Dog the Bounty Hunter airs Tuesday's at 9pm/8C on A&E.
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