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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Good Guys is doing pretty good

Not in the ratings, sadly.  But creatively, summer's funnest show, FOX's The Good Guys, has gotten even better this fall.  Following the buddy cop formula, Bradley Whitford plays Dan Stark and Colin Hanks is Jack Bailey.  I've said it before, but I think Whitford, a fabulous actor, as proven by his long stint on The West Wing, is just plain having fun in this show.  That makes it enjoyable for the audience, when you see a guy clearly loving what he is doing.  Stark is obnoxious, backwards, sports a 70's 'stache, and goes on about the good old days.  Bailey is straight-laced, mostly by the book, though Stark has been rubbing off on him.  Hanks plays it wonderfully, too, finally a role that really suits him.

     The plot the last few weeks has gone a little further into character development.  Two weeks ago, we finally met Stark's old partner, Frank Savage (Gary Cole, Entourage, Office Space), who has long been retired, and given up his antics.  He lives a quiet life with wife, Cynthia (Rachael Harris, The Hangover, My Boys, Notes From the Underbelly), who does not approve of Dan coming back and upsetting their balance.  Also in that episode was Ethan Suplee (My Name is Earl, Chasing Amy) as Andy, the now-grown little boy that Stark and Savage saved back in the day, and a TV movie was made about it.  As the plot unfolded, one could see that Savage and Bailey are two quiet different partners for Stark.  Bailey tries to reign him in, while Savage lets the crazy fly.  They both clearly care about Dan though, with Bailey's affection grown into unwavering loyalty in just the short time they've worked together.  Do you blame him though?  Dan is nothing if not loyal, and while he can be a screwup, he is sincere and honest.  Obviously, while Stark and Savage have fun, with Bailey's influence, Stark can be a better cop than ever.

     This past week the guest talent kept coming, with Ed Begley Jr. (Gary Unmarried, Veronica Mars) as Jack's crooked but charming Uncle Nate, and Method Man (The Wire, How High) as an arson-happy villain.  Nate brought some needed background and depth to Jack, as usually the past we hear about it Dan's.  Dan also managed to drag his favorite snitch, Julius (RonReaco Lee, Worst Week, The Shield) into the fray, though Julius wasn't too happy about it.  It's always a pleasure to see Julius, and hopefully the series will keep him coming back.

     The show isn't all great guest casting, though the past two weeks have been among the best in the series.  It's about the characters that star every week.  There are two women in the opening credits, too, and though they don't often get much plot, they are wonderful actors.  Diana Maria Riva (Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip, The West Wing) plays the boss, Lt. Ruiz, while Jenny Wade (Reaper) is Jack's ex-girlfriend, whom he is still smitten with, A.D.A. Liz Traynor.  The two girls were featured a few weeks ago, as they attempted to bring down a Senator (Wade's former Reaper co-star Ray Wise) on their own.  It was nice to see the two out of an office, and while Bailey and Stark and definitely the heart of the show, hopefully the women will get more to play with, as they can certainly handle it.

     I highly recommend you check out The Good Guys, as they can really use a ratings boost.  The show is way better than many other shows with higher numbers, and one of the most laugh-out-loud cop dramas ever made.  It's not high quality television, but it's loads of fun.  The Good Guys airs Friday nights at 9pm on FOX.

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