Dog-in-jail TV would be a hit
THE IDEA of Duane "Dog" Chapman languishing in a Mexican jail for illegal bounty hunting no doubt has program executives at the A&E television channel in a moral quandary. Yes, you don't want Chapman -- a family man and all around great guy -- extradited to Mexico and thrown in the slammer but, man, what great TV that would be! Shoot an entire season of Dog and his boys coping with life in a Guadalajara prison -- the food, the fights, the fiestas -- must see TV! It would be a Mexican version of "Oz," "Prison Break" and "Everybody Loves Chapman" rolled into one. I'm not saying this. I'm just saying A&E execs must be thinking about it.
Dog and his team, including his wife, Beth, have enjoyed an amazing lightening bolt of success since his TV show, "Dog the Bounty Hunter" was launched just a few years ago. I was the first writer to predict his success, in this very space, when the show was just a puppy on the A&E lineup. But like a shooting star in danger of burning out, Dog is suddenly facing the downside of stardom: lawsuits, criticism of his sometimes heavy-handed tactics when apprehending people he let out on bail in the first place and, of course, that pesky "Mexico thing."
Ever since Dog hit the big time with his capture of fugitive rapist and Max Factor heir Andrew Luster in 2003, Mexican authorities have been slobbering like Pavlov's dog to get Dog back. Dog allegedly broke Mexico's bounty-hunting laws when he nabbed Luster. A federal judge recently said Chapman must return to face charges.
THE IRONY here is absurd to the extreme. There are something like 20 million Mexican citizens breaking United States laws every day by being in this country illegally. While U.S. politicians try to figure out a way that these millions of illegals can become legals and continue to work here so our entire apple and lettuce harvesting industry does not collapse, Mexican officials are hell-bent on prosecuting a solitary American who actually did their country a favor. Dog Chapman removed a dangerous American criminal out of their country. They should be erecting a statue to Dog in the Plaza de Heroes.
Things aren't exactly rosy back home in Hawaii for Dog either. He's been accused in a lawsuit of throwing a woman down a flight of stairs while filming the capture of a man whose bond had been revoked. I've watched a lot of Dog in action I've never seen him throw anyone down stairs, although there were a few arrestees who probably deserved it. Dog and Beth say the suit is frivolous. I don't know if it is. But success breeds fame and fame breeds lawsuits. Poor TV nobodies don't get sued that much, like Paulie Shore and the tiny actor who said "Whatchu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" on "Diff'rent Strokes."
A while back I asked if I could ride around with Dog while he picked up bad guys and write a funny column about it, but Beth told me no because she thought I would make them look bad. In retrospect, that would be the least of their problems.
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