×

‘Deputy’: TV Review

With:
Stephen Dorff, Brian Van Holt, Bex Taylor-Klaus
Release Date:
Jan 2, 2020

Surely there has been a show more reliant on cliché than “Deputy,” Fox’s new cop drama. But none springs to mind.

What’s worse, those clichés tend to move only in one direction — towards an argument in favor of cops as uniquely insightful, and on any restraint on police power, from departmental strictures to coverage by the media, as inherently noxious and naive about the way the world ought to work. “You didn’t come here for the truth,” newly-appointed Sheriff Bill Hollister tells reporters after an incident. “You thought you smelled blood, the same way coyotes sniff out a wounded animal.” Earlier, Hollister’s wife (Yara Martinez), while pinning stars to her husband’s collar, said she thought his surprise elevation to sheriff was a great thing: “You don’t hand the job over to a judge or a lawyer. You send a lawman, someone who’s actually done the work.” 

A show set in the present day that refers to urban cops as “lawmen” has a very elevated sense of itself as existing in a sort of Wild West tradition, one that coexists uneasily with the present day. For one thing, it seems that in the show’s universe, lawyers or judges being involved in the legal process is… bad; all justice should be meted out by cops whom Hollister exhorts to be “ass-kickers.”

There is an audience for a show like this — in a sense, it’s review-proof, because a negative review will only cement the sense among the intended viewership that a certain segment of the country just doesn’t get it. But there is something about watching Stephen Dorff relentlessly gas up rooms full of police officers to be more aggressive, less inhibited, coming as it does after years of disturbing examples of police officers using excessive force and worse against people of color, that left me uneasy. (Dorff’s casting here is hardly the headline, but exists balefully in the shadow of his excellent performance in “True Detective’s” third season, a set of episodes with much to say about justice as meted out by police.)

Perhaps what will deter even partisans inclined to like “Deputy” is the fundamentally lazy writing. When Hollister’s deputy (Bex Taylor-Klaus) shows up, his wife and daughter exchange, somehow, both “This is going to be fun!” and “I like her!,” two non-responses meant to indicate conflict ahead without doing the work. And when that deputy tells Hollister that their early days together have been “quite a ride,” he replies, “Buckle up. We’re just getting started.” In short, “Deputy’s” politics may come from a past decade, but its writing seems to come from another century.

'Deputy': TV Review

Crew: Executive producers: David Ayer, Chris Long, John Coveny, Kimberly Harrison.

Cast: Stephen Dorff, Brian Van Holt, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Shane Paul McGhie, Yara Martinez.

More TV

  • Lil Nas X and BTSVariety Hitmakers

    Lil Nas X and BTS to Team Up for Grammy Performance

    Was Lil Nas X the pop culture phenomenon of 2019, or was it BTS? Either way, the Grammys have it covered — and within a single number. The Recording Academy and CBS officially confirmed Thursday that the rapper and the K-pop group will perform together on the awards telecast Jan. 26. It’s not the first [...]

  • Tubi-and-TV-Azteca

    Intl. TV Newswire: NATPE Miami Sales Special and the AVoD Revolution

    In this week’s special NATPE: Miami International TV Newswire, Variety looks at the AVoD revolution through a new deal between Tubi and Mexico’s Azteca, ITV and Kew Media sell big across the Americas and two high-profile HBO Latin America series join Hulu Japan’s Latin American showcase. Tubi and Azteca Presage AVoD Revolution Tubi, the world’s largest AVoD [...]

  • CHICAGO MED -- "Leave the Choice

    TV Ratings: NBC's 'Chicago' Dramas Tick Down, Still Top Wednesday

    NBC’s trio of “Chicago” dramas ticked down in the TV ratings last night, but there’s no need to call the police, the fire brigade or an ambulance quite yet. “Chicago Med,” “Fire” and “P.D.” were still the top three shows on the night, scoring a 1.1, a 1.1 and a 1.0 rating respectively among adults [...]

  • Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com 22/01/2020 -

    NATPE 2020: TV Biz Looks Back and Forward as Streaming Wars Ensue

    MIAMI — The atmosphere at the annual NATPE conference this year was a bit of old school and a lot of new school. In keeping with NATPE’s remit as a content market, hopeful stars of new fall talk show prospects pressed the flesh in a flurry of meetings and receptions with station buyers. MGM TV’s [...]

  • NBC News Launches Documentary Studio for

    NBC News Launches Documentary Studio for Streaming-Video Era (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC News hopes to be among those vying to make the next “Civil War,” “Capturing the Friedmans” or “Blackfish.” After closing down its long-running Peacock Productions non-fiction unit, NBC News is quickly getting back into the documentary business with NBC News Studios. The new division, led by Liz Cole, will produce premium documentaries, docu-series, select [...]

  • BETRAYED

    Baston, Symon, Martinez Unveil Elefantec Global (EXCLUSIVE)

    MIAMI  — Three of Latin America’s best known TV execs – José ‘Pepe’ Bastón, Jeff Symon, Carlos Martínez – have unveiled Elefantec Global, a content production-distribution house which adds a  new and significant player to Latin America’s – and Turkey’s – content creation scene. Based out of Los Angeles, Miami and Mexico City, Elefantec Global [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content