Dog: The Bounty Hunter
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Dog: The Bounty Hunter

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Television bounty hunter Duane "Dog" Chapman's show has been pulled from the air indefinitely by A&E, two days after a private phone conversation in which the reality star used a racial slur repeatedly was posted online.

"In evaluating the circumstances of the last few days, A&E has decided to take 'Dog The Bounty Hunter' off the network's schedule for the foreseeable future," the network said in a statement Friday. "We hope that Mr. Chapman continues the healing process that he has begun."

A&E officials said the series, one of the network's top-rated programs, has not been canceled.

Chapman, 54, has been under fire and accused of being a racist ever since the private conversation with his son, Tucker Chapman, was posted online Wednesday by The National Enquirer. Chapman used the N-word repeatedly about his son's black girlfriend.
At least two advertisers have pulled out from the show and civil rights groups have called for its cancellation.

Soon after the clip was posted, Chapman issued an apology and A&E suspended production of the series.

In the conversation, Chapman urges Tucker to break up with his girlfriend. He also expresses concern about the girlfriend trying to tape and go public about the TV star's use of the N-word. He used the slur six times in the first 45 seconds of the five-minute clip.

Chapman has said he was "disappointed in his choice of a friend, not due to her race, but her character. However, I should have never used that term." He also said he was ashamed of himself and pledged to make amends.

His attorney, Brook Hart said his client is not a racist and vowed never to use the word again. Hart said Tucker Chapman taped the call and sold it to the Enquirer for "a lot of money."

David Perel, the Enquirer's editor in chief, would not comment on how it obtained the tape.

Americans have always had a fascination with the bounty hunter. That rugged individual that can return a fugitive to justice using tactics that are beyond the reach of the police. A&E continues their commitment to novel and innovated television programming with Dog: The Bounty Hunter. The series chronicles the exploits of a family run bail bond business in Hawaii. When a ‘client’ decides to skip bail and run then Poppa Dog and his kin will hunt you down and bring you back in. While most television shows and movies depict the bounty hunter as mean, lawless and deadly this series gives a refreshingly different view. Most people think of the Star Wars bounty hunter, a man that will do anything and kill anyone. A&E turns this perception on its tail.

Dog Chapman is an imposing figure of a man. He is not the type you would like to meet in a dark alley; in fact, you would avoid him on Main Street at noon. With his blonde mullet, muscle shirt and scraggy beard he looks like trouble. While is certain to rise to any occasion he is actually a regular family man doing a job that he feels contributes to the community. Before his team goes out on a mission they form a prayer circle asking for guidance and protection. He goes to the beach with his wife and young daughters and almost seems like Ozzie Nelson on steroids. Instead of a gun he uses a super sized can of Chemical Mace. Now this is not the little purse size container, it is bigger than a can old fashion hair spray that shoots not a little trickle of the chemical but sprays a drowning quantity on the hapless runner.

Its not that Dog even has to use his mace often, usually he can lie, cajole and trick the fugitives. In one episode he even manages to make an appointment for the bail jumper to come into the office where he is returned to custody. I have to admit I wouldn’t have considered it by his looks alone but this is a smart and savvy man that knows what he is doing. He also lives by the sentiment of making a difference in the fugitive’s life. He tries to help out when he can and once the cuffs are on shows a sympathetic side to his character.

Chapman was once a sergeant at arms in a biker gang. He served a couple of years in prison on a manslaughter charger (he states he was innocent) and once released from prison decided to work for the law. If you are looking for shoot outs and violence this show will not appeal to you, Dog would rather talk a person into custody than hurt them. As he drives them to jail he dispenses advice with a calm, fatherly demeanor. One client even vowed to come and work for him when his sentence was completed. Dog does a lot of his investigation on the phone using every ploy possible including a bumbling, concerned friend of the fugitive. Here is brawn with a brain.

Now this is not a one man operation, it is a family business. Dog is joined not only in the office but in the field by his wife Beth. While she has the appearance of a ‘biker chick’ she demonstrates knowledge of every aspect of the business from the paperwork to bringing a man down. She literally always has her man’s back. With Dog in front of you and Beth behind, resistance is futile.

Tim Chapman, Dog’s partner, is listed in the bio as no relation but Dog calls him brother. They are obviously a great team together although there is no discussion, Dog is the boss. He shares with Dog the need to help the men and women they apprehend. There is also Dog’s number three son Leland. Although he started out as a troubled teen in a gang his father managed to set he straight and welcomed him into the family business. Leland runs his own office on the ‘big island’ but is always there to help pop out. Finally the posse is rounded out by Justin, Dog’s nephew and apprentice. A former basketball player he is often the but end of the many pranks that Dog loves to play.

As I watched the preview episodes supplied in the press kit I was amazed how quickly I was drawn into this very strange family. The show is more about them as a family then the job they do. There is a deep spiritual side to Dog and his crew that is refreshing on television today. It really shows that you don’t have to look like an angel to have faith. The lack of violence and reliance on brains is also something not often seen on so called main stream television. When I first heard about the show I thought it would be a glorified rip off of Cops or some other police faire. I gladly admit that I was wrong with this assessment. This show depicts strong family values, the need to stay in school, avoid the wrong crowd and how important it is to make something with your life. While most of the networks would pass on such a show A&E should be applauded for presenting a series that in interesting and provides a positive role model to the audience.

The Dog is coming back for more. Duane "Dog" Chapman has signed a $2.6 million contract for a third season of the reality television series "Dog, the Bounty Hunter," a newspaper reports. The show is A&E's highest-rated series ever.

Chapman will earn $100,000 per half-hour episode aired on the cable channel, believed to be about double what he made for each of the first two seasons, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported Friday.

"We haven't gotten to really celebrate yet because we're filming right out of the chute," said Beth Smith, Chapman's partner and companion. "But we got what we wanted." (December 17, 2005)

Posted 8/19/04

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