Martial arts movie star Steven Seagal made his reality television debut this week on A&E’s Steven Seagal Lawman. Unbeknown to his fans, the paparazzi, and apparently a good portion of Louisiana, Mr. Seagal has been a secret deputy for 20 years. How did this happen, you ask? According to Seagal, the former sheriff of Jefferson Parish invited him to teach Jefferson Parish deputies some martial arts techniques.This sheriff was so pleased with what Seagal taught that he decided to have Seagal swear in as an official part-time (read: three months a year) deputy! That was 20 years ago, and, the rest is Hollywood history.
While Mr. Seagal narrates this incredible story we are also treated to a photo montage. In one image we see a younger Seagal — probably in his late 30s — teaching law enforcement some martial arts techniques. Next we see a photo of Deputy Seagal being sworn in as an official law enforcement officer. Funny thing — his swearing in photo shows what looks like a 57-year-old Seagal which is somewhat problematic for the 20-year deputy sheriff story. Now in fairness to the show’s producers, A&E, Mr. Seagal, and his legions of fans, I might also be mistaken. It could be that I got so excited seeing Seagal in something other than a direct-to-DVD movie that I hallucinated. Then again, that excuse is probably as believable as Seagal becoming an official law enforcement officer, without having had to go through any training at a law enforcement training academy.
But I digress.
Episode one, “The Way of the Gun,” was appropriately titled because, well, it had lots of guns. It also had lots of police cars, police, and “suspects.” In this episode we get to see Seagal in action. The episode starts with Seagal cracking wise at a police roll call. Later he hits the streets with his “team” in an effort to spread peace and harmony among the “suspects.” While spreading peace and offering sage advice, we see Seagal in a high-speed car chase… well, sort of. Thankfully the department’s insurance company must have made Colonel John Fortunato do all the driving. This left Seagal to play the role of backseat driver, and play it well he did. So well in fact that couch potatoes are treated to Colonel Fortunato crabbing Seagal out for telling him how to drive! Later we see Seagal help chase off some drunken guy who was harassing people at a local tavern. After that Seagal participates in capturing some “suspicious person” who fled from the police.
While on the street, we are treated to Seagal imparting knowledge like a Zen master. We learn that due to having studied the martial arts for so long, Mr. Seagal now has keen powers of human observation. So keen in fact that he can tell what a criminal is going to do before they do it! Too bad those same powers did not help our Zen master predict his direct-to-DVD movie career. But, again, I digress.
The highlight of the episode may also be the most believable part of the episode. Apparently Steven Seagal is a crack shot and we get to see him use his marksmanship skills to help prepare Captain Alex Norman for his annual shooting test. Who knew there was such a thing as Zen shooting? Steven Seagal did! We also get to see Seagal shoot two bullets in the same hole and also shoot the tip off of a match — all firearm feats that your typical police officer has to do while on duty [insert sarcasm]. You’ll have to watch the episode to find out if Seagal’s coaching helps Captain Norman pass his test, but I will give you a priceless Segal quote: “The Zen masters in Zen archery too, they don’t pull the arrow they push the arrow. It’s the same with that pistol.”
As good as that quote is, the Seagal cheesy quote of the week has to be this one: "Intelligence is golden. " Indeed it is, Mr. Seagal, indeed it is.
So does A&E have a hit on their hands? Only time will tell. I will say that this is Steven Seagal’s best performance since his role as “Cock Puncher” in 2008's The Onion Movie. I also will say that I plan to watch the next episode — if for no other reason than to see if Colonel John Fortunato finally gets fed up with Seagal’s back seat driving and decides to taser him!
Again, only time will tell.