It all started so innocently . . . I was on Christmas vacation, bored at home, with nothing going on. I did it once, then one more time, and now I hate to admit that I am hooked. I never thought I’d be one of those people. I mean, I looked down on them for years. Now I am doing it every spare chance I get, over lunch, at night, on the weekend. Okay, okay, I’ll admit it here among my chix – I am a Dog: The Bounty Hunter addict!
I can’t explain why I am so into this show. I am usually the last one to like this sort of thing. There is even a prayer circle before each chase and even that doesn’t turn me off. I think it is because for all of the outward spectacle, these are the most “real” and genuine people I’ve seen portrayed.
At first I was just goofing on the idea of this caricature of a guy, running around with a bullet proof vest and a can of mace, making the streets safe from those that have missed their court date. Boy, was I wrong. Actually, the point of the show and why I have become so fascinated, is the recurring theme that no one is beyond redemption and an outstretched hand can literally save someone’s life.
A little background” Duane “Dog” Chapman is a real life bounty hunter. He was in prison years ago – served 18-months for murder for not reporting a gang killing after he heard the shots – and then turned his life around. He and his wife, Beth – a bail bondsman – own and operate a business in Hawaii. His whole family is involved: his grown sons and daughter, nephew and brother. There are 12 children from various relationships and quite a few of them work for him. It is a big, messy, loud-mouthed and foul-mouthed group.
The basic plot of each episode is that someone has jumped bail by failing to appear for a court date for some crime they committed and since Beth has a lot of money at stake if they skip, Dog and company must find them and bring them back. What I didn’t expect was that this would be the most loving, caring family on television. One minute they are screaming “Down on the ground!” and handcuffing people and the next they are literally giving their captive the shirt off their back or the shoes off their feet. They bring them back to their office first to let them call their family, give them a snack and a cigarette before bringing them back to jail with the promise of bailing them right back out again so they can help get their life together.
The fugitives – most of them involved in drugs in some way – always end up crying and thanking Dog and Beth for showing them kindness and helping them get back their dignity. 9 times out of 10 the handcuffed criminal hugs them goodbye before going through the back door of the police station and how considers them the best of friends even though they just tracked them down like an animal.
All I can say about this experience for me is that I judged Duane and his family before I really knew them and I’m so glad I gave myself a chance to get to know them. Each episode reminds me that a little kindness goes a long way and there is usually some good in everyone.
Let the binge-watching continue! I’m only halfway through the second season, and with season five starting in just a few days, I better hurry up and see who Dog saves next!