In the wake of A&E's "Dog the Bounty Hunter" and HBO's "Family Bonds," bounty hunting appears poised to supplant poker as cable's next me-too phenomenon. So along comes women's channel WE with the title-says-it-all "Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter," featuring blond and zaftig ex-wrestler Sandra Scott, who conveniently lives near Phoenix, where the heat makes it's OK to wear tank tops at all times. Yet even with those assets -- and Arizona's status as a "right to carry" state, increasing the chances her targets will be armed -- the first three episodes manage to be a rollicking bore.

In the wake of A&E’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and HBO’s “Family Bonds,” bounty hunting appears poised to supplant poker as cable’s next me-too phenomenon. So along comes women’s channel WE with the title-says-it-all “Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter,” featuring blond and zaftig ex-wrestler Sandra Scott, who conveniently lives near Phoenix, where the heat makes it OK to wear tank tops at all times. Yet even with those assets — and Arizona’s status as a “right to carry” state, increasing the chances her targets will be armed — the first three episodes manage to be a rollicking bore.

The hourlong premiere has all the subtlety of a nightstick over the noggin, as Scott wrestles with two of her three designated duties — organizing a birthday party for her daughter while trying to apprehend a woman guilty of “failure to appear.” Later, a tragedy befalls the family Chihuahua while Scott’s preparing to bring in some shirtless dude who seems resigned to being hauled off to the joint.

The net effect not only lacks suspense but actually engenders sympathy for the people Scott and her posse (which occasionally includes her barely verbal husband) pursue. Even attempts to build tension with interview dialogue like “In retrospect, I should have been terrified” are undermined when Scott acknowledges that the woman brought into custody is “too sick and too frail to fight us.”

Subsequent episodes feature Scott seeking a young woman — thus evoking “mom” feelings about her own teenager, 15-year-old cheerleader Sabree — and nabbing a guy with gang ties who, in another big-time bummer, turns out to be deathly ill. Ultimately, any series in which the production notes describe the heroine as “saucy” and a “bombshell” — exaggerations on both counts — is trying a bit too hard.

At every turn, the producers labor to play up the dichotomy between Scott’s personal life and professional duties, but both feel mildly depressing — despite the 1970s-style score, vaguely reminiscent of the “SWAT” theme, vainly employed to heighten the excitement quotient.

Then again, there’s something decidedly retro about the entire concept, which implies shock that a woman can fry up the bacon and then use the pan to crack a perp over the head. If nothing else, it’s at least a new kind of crimeshow — one that unwittingly inspires the audience to half root for petty criminals. From that perspective, maybe “Wife, Mom, Chihuahua Owner” would have been a more emotional hook.

Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter

WE, Fri. April 20, 9 p.m.

Production

Produced by World of Wonder. Executive producers, Annabelle McDonald, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato; supervising producer, Kevin Leadingham. 60 MIN.

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