Stop! In the Name of the Flaw

Cliché, inspirational platitudes are as plentiful in Deputy as inmates are at the LA County jail. The show is halfway through its first season (9PM ET Thursdays on FOX) and seems to have reached the cruising altitude of a police helicopter: you can see what it is from the ground and know there is no chance of it soaring to 35,000 feet.

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

But, sadly, they don’t. Much of the dialogue is as extraneous as it is predictable.

The show stars Stephen Dorff as Bill Hollister, a veteran deputy in Los Angeles county who, through a heretofore unknown codicil in the county’s charter, becomes Sheriff when his boss dies. Dorff is a fun actor to watch. Unfortunately, Hollister’s character is not and is drawn as shallow as a kiddie pool during a drought. Tough but loving. Dedicated to law but not afraid to cross the line if the situation demands it. A rough around the edges lawman forced into a political role.

OMG. Seen it. Seen it done better.

When we’re given a break from cliche dialogue, we get cliche shootings. Like, A LOT. Deputy makes Pulp Fiction look like a manual for pacifism.

And shootings happen everywhere. The streets. In homes. Convenience stores. The infirmary of the jail.

Family Time

Deputy is at its best when looking at the relationships away from the mean streets and political drama. Hollister’s relationship with his wife and daughter is sweet, and gives real insight into who he is and how he became that way. Similarly, Det. Cade Ward (Brian Van Holt) and his wife are trying to start a family any way possible. They’re doing IVF and getting qualified to be foster parents. The first two kids they take in? A brother and sister who are suddenly orphaned when Ward shoots them. Didn’t need the Hubble telescope to see that one coming.

And the kicker to that: the boy vows to kill Ward to avenge the death of his dad. I can feel the Greek tragedy building. No, wait, that’s just the jalapeño fries I had earlier.

Cliché Roundup

There is also conflict with Hollister’s bureaucratic subordinate who is running for the job.

A deputy has been shot and killed in the line of duty.

Hollister’s daughter is 15 and rebelling against the scrutiny that comes with her dad’s new job.

A woman with professional and personal ties to Hollister’s past comes back into his life (and stays in the guest room!)

An officer telling her sober trainee that he needs to learn to drink to do the job well.

You assume that Hollister will be elected to the job (a job he doesn’t want) and the series will continue. But at the rate this show is running through cop clichés, it may only be conceived as a 13 episode series.

Of course, with this many cop clichés, audiences/FOX Execs may decide it’s only a 13 episode series anyway.

The Critics Cocktail Recommendation

This show drove me to drink. I had a tequila with a splash of sprite. And it’s so sour, I garnish it with double lemon.

Cheers!

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