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TV Review: Steven Seagal Lawman – “The Student Becomes the Master”

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We are four episodes into Seagal’s Lawman and a pattern is starting to emerge — each week the show appears to have a theme. So far the television series has covered firearms, hand-to-hand combat, and youthful criminal offenders.

This week’s episode starts off with Seagal’s team apprehending a suspect who is carrying a firearm. It’s soon discovered that this individual is a convicted felon who is out on parole. Naturally, the firearm is a parole violation and the suspect is promptly charged and arrested. This segment ends with Seagal saying that being a police officer is "not about getting the bad guy as much as being a friend to the good guy." Ergo, our theme for this week emerges: law enforcement as the proverbial good guy.

Now to be honest with you I’d have been perfectly content spending the rest of the series poking fun at our B-movie action hero. However, I find myself faced with a small problem. This week’s episode was low on Seagal cheese and high on respect for law enforcement officers. In fact, a good portion of the show was a tribute to the late Sheriff Harry Lee who recently passed away due to an illness.

Here is my dilemma — I used to work with criminals so I have a pretty good idea of what a lousy job law enforcement and correctional officers have. Therefore I cannot bring myself to make fun of this particular episode. So the producers of Lawman leave me with one alternative — meet seriousness with seriousness.

In the December 2 issue of the Los Angeles Times, law enforcement reporter Scott Glover authored a lengthy piece about Steven Seagal’s Lawman. Mr. Glover’s research reveals that, among other things, Seagal is probably not a certified law enforcement officer and his rank for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office is nothing more than honorary.

With that information fresh in your mind let’s revisit the above quote. Here we have one of many examples where this show has Steven Seagal speaking as if he were an actual police officer with actual police officer experience. In fact, all four episodes clearly have Seagal presenting himself as some sort of seasoned street cop. The problem is that nothing probably could be further from the truth.

Call me crazy but am I the only person who is bothered by the shamelessness of this tactic? It’s one thing to play the part of a befuddled Ozzy Osbourne-type "pretend cop." Heck, if A&E had stuck with that idea I probably would have gone along with the gag. But it’s quite another thing to base the entire series on the very questionable premise that Steven Seagal is really a certified police officer with street experience! In my opinion, making Seagal out to be something that he really is not only does a disservice to the officers that this week’s episode was supposed to honor. Incidentally, it also makes a fool out of you, the viewer.

Whatever the case, I really hope that the series gets back to portraying Seagal as the cheesy, over-the-top "pretend cop" that we all love. At least that guy did not leave such a bad taste in my mouth.

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About Bob Patterson

  • NOLA guy

    As it has been stated by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) Mr. Seagal IS a real live law enforcement officer who has undergone all of the training required. More so, Mr. Seagal also provides martial arts training and other forms of training to the Jefferson Parish Police Department.

    This is as much sad as it is a little bit “kick ass”.

  • http://strikingthoughts.wordpress.com/ Bob Patterson

    Perhaps JPSO should contact Mr. Glover and set him straight. I’m sure they have documentation which proves Seagal is a certified law enforcement officer.

    -Bob