Episode 5: Firearms of Fury
There’s a 911 call about a disturbance with a gun, so the Squad is called in and get the suspect out of his car. Seagal keeps asking where the gun is and eventually the guy admits that it’s in the back of the car – a .44 with the hammer pulled back so it could’ve easily gone off and hit somebody. Seagal instructs another officer on how to pick it up safely.
It’s unclear what happened exactly – apparently an argument between cousins, the guy claimed he’d never point a gun at his cousin, but then why did his cousin call the cops? Seagal says afterwards, “I’m not happy that this happened, but at least we got one more gun off the street.” Sometimes LAWMAN gives me an impression of police work like it’s an old school video game. You gotta keep going around a maze grabbing all the guns you can find but they keep piling up faster and faster until you can’t keep up and then the game is over.
Next call is a guy shot in the back at close range with a shotgun. He’s still conscious and laying on the ground. He claims he doesn’t know who shot him, but Seagal and the Squad seem to think he’s following that stupid “Stop Snitchin” ethos. Trying to change his mind Seagal says, “That’s a dirty motherfucker to shoot you in the back.” He takes a look at the bullet casing and determines that it was birdshot – “this is bird” he keeps saying – and that’s why the guy’s alive. Seagal knows his shot sizes. It really seems like he knows more about guns than the other guys, but when he explains to his fellow officers that the victim was shot in the spine and “that’s why I kept asking him if he could feel his feet” it seems like he’s showing off.
The guys go practice gun confrontations with a computer simulation Seagal calls the “quintessential exercise.” Seagal gets the highest score and brags that he’s “#1.”
Next is an erratic driver. Not an erotic driver, unfortunately, but an erratic one. They see this guy doing donuts right in front of them so they run up and try to get him out of the car. Somebody yells “Stop the car, get off the phone!” (Man, people doing donuts while talking on the phone? I feel that society has left me behind.) Seagal says, “You git out the fuckin car!”
This stop is one big clusterfuck of miscommunication. The guy says “I got a pistol in the car,” and they think he’s reaching for it so they freak out. In reality he’s scared because he’s getting pulled over and he doesn’t want them to think he’s hiding the pistol. But you can see why it scares the shit out of them. Luckily nobody shoots him, so he’s alive for them to lecture about how what he did could’ve got him shot. Seagal says that if it was “officers less experienced than me and my team” then the guy might’ve been dead.
But there are two great occurrences during this stop. One is after Colonel Fortunato falls down in all the excitement. His vest slammed against his kidney, so Seagal says “I’ll give you some good medicine tonight.” It’s not followed up on in this episode, but it’s intriguing. We know from HARD TO KILL, THE GLIMMER MAN and THE PATRIOT that Seagal is interested in herbal medicine. In fact, in THE PATRIOT he plays a naturopathic doctor who stops a man-made virus by dumping flower petals on a town via helicopter. So it’s exciting to think this might come up on the show. The next episode is gonna be called “Medicine Man,” so I got my fingers crossed.
The other great occurrence is something I’ve been waiting for: a suspect suddenly becoming confused when he realizes that Steven Seagal is one of the cops who stopped him. He keeps saying, “Man, that’s Steven Seagal!” and wanting to shake his hand. The officers try to stick to business and he says, “But that’s Steven Seagal!” And the man is right, he is absolutely correct. But that’s Steven Seagal. Don’t they understand?
I’m glad that finally happened. Next I want to see one where somebody is convinced it’s part of some practical joke show, maybe called SEAGAL’D or OUT FOR JOKESTICE.
The episode ends with the team practicing at the shooting range, which I believe Seagal refers to as “The Shoot House.” They go there to “exchange ideas and comments,” and Seagal concludes that “All in all it was a good learning experience.” He says, “I feel pretty pectacular.”
* * *
terms of endearment: cuz, mama, brother, bra. Also he calls the other guys “3 Stooges.”
Episode 6: The Student Becomes the Master
The episode opens with a daytime patrol through a “bad area.” The Squad responds to a gun complaint and Seagal says that when there might be a gun “all my senses are on high alert.” I was thankful for this because it makes me think maybe I was correct to call it Seagal Sense instead of the more commonly used Seagal Vision.
The guy sees them and runs, ditches his gun. Turns out he’s a felon so he gets charged with possession and the screen tells us he got ten years. That’s a long time. I guess at least he got to meet Steven Seagal. But I bet that’s not much consolation. I can see why he ran but in retrospect maybe he should’ve played it cool and hope the Seagal Sense zeroes in on some other guy long enough that he could casually stroll away. Stupid move having a gun fresh out of the joint, but I felt bad for the guy.
Next Seagal talks about missing Harry Lee, the sheriff who befriended him and made him Lawman before succumbing to leukemia 9 months ago. Suddenly some little kids see him in the car and yell “Steven Seagal!” He and the team stop in a neighborhood where Seagal laughs and talks to people and signs autographs. One guy says, “I’ve been watching those pictures for years and years.” A woman says, “Come to the Olive Garden baby, I’m a waitress, I’ll take care of you!” Seagal asks one guy, “Everything cool?” and the guy says yeah. Would’ve been interesting if he said no and then told Seagal about how his niece had run off with some drug dealer and then Seagal has to go track the boyfriend down in a hotel and scare the shit out of him like he did in ABOVE THE LAW.
This mission is titled “Connecting with the community.” Seagal says this type of outreach deal is what Harry Lee was all about, and that they’re trying to make him proud. After watching so much hassling of the black community in this show it’s nice to see the Squad hanging out and being nice to citizens and demonstrating that police are just regular people like your or me who hang out with Steven Seagal.
As Seagal leaves he smiles and says, “Stay out of trouble, be happy.”
The next call is an alleged assault – some couple was asleep and their roommate’s drunk friend attacked the husband because the wife turned off his radio. The interesting part is that the woman only speaks Spanish, so they keep saying they have to wait for the interpreter to get there to know what’s going on, but Seagal is speaking to her in fluent Spanish and explaining to the others what she’s saying. Maybe they don’t trust his translation, they think he’s making shit up.
Seagal and friends bring flowers to Harry Lee’s grave. They visit with Lee’s wife and daughter, who talk very sincerely about what a good friend Seagal was to him. They show photos of Seagal and Lee together, including one where he’s at Nico or Mason Storm age and some at various other ages.
On a night patrol they get some “intel” about an area where drug dealing and prostitution is taking place, so they go there for some “pro-active police work.” When they drive by once again a dude starts running, and once again they chase after him. Like everybody who ever runs from the Squad he says that he didn’t do anything and just got scared. But for the first time Seagal actually believes him. The guy admits he just smoked crack, but he’s got none left. Fortunato is convinced he hid a gun or drugs or something around there, but they don’t find anything, so they let him go. There’s also a weird moment where they hear someone inside a trailer and think something nefarious is going on in there, but then they happen know the guy and tell him just to go back inside.
So this is more of that connecting with the community. I mean that sincerely. It’s nice to see them being nice to people. Like when it was too bad Seagal couldn’t fight disease, it’s too bad he can’t fight addiction. But crackheads are people too. Might as well be nice to them if they’re not doing anything.
If you read the episode guide and know this episode is called “The Student Becomes the Master,” you might think that Seagal is taking over for Harry Lee, becoming the master. He has learned to truly connect with the community instead of just pull them over and have dogs sniff their trunks and swear at them and take their joints and guns away. But the title actually refers to Newell Normand, an associate of Harry Lee now being officially inducted as sheriff. At the swearing in ceremony he talks about how to “carry on the flame” for Sheriff Lee, and Seagal wipes away tears.
* * *
words of wisdom: “You got the good days and the bad days, it’s best to stay busy.”
holes: unfortunately this is the third episode in a row where they don’t mention looking for holes. So in six episodes there’s a 50/50 hole-searching ratio.
VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.