I'm not trying to be a hero! I'M FIGHTING THE DRAGON!!

Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episode 7

tn_lawman3To Live or Die

This episode begins with the Squad responding to a call about two men shot in an armed robbery. They go to a Hispanic neighborhood where two Latino men are laying on the ground bleeding from gunshot wounds. Seagal and friends ask the wounded men and witnesses about who shot them (two black men with dreads who robbed them and then shot them anyway) but otherwise all they can do is assure them an ambulance is coming. This is the biggest incident we’ve seen in this series so far, but it’s not exciting, it’s just upsetting to see these poor guys moaning in pain.

“Believe me,” Seagal says. “That really pisses me off bad.” After all the people Seagal has left behind in movies, screaming about which body parts of theirs he injured, and after seeing him abandon the body of a colleague and love interest in a wrecked car in EXIT WOUNDS, it’s weird to see him standing around frustrated that two people are hurt and he can’t do anything. Later we learn that one of the men died.

mp_lawmanThey spend the night looking for a vehicle that fits the description of what the shooters were driving, but when they find one it’s a white dude driving, so no luck.

During the day Seagal and Fortunato go to St. Bernard to help some white people still rebuilding their house after Katrina. Our boys don’t seem to actually do much work, but the family seem extremely excited and touched to have Steven god damn Seagal come over to their house and hear about their troubles. He does a little painting, but cautions, “I’m not very good at this, y’all.” Admitting even an insignificant weakness like that is another thing we’re not used to from his movie persona. The man of the house is impressed by Seagal’s reach, though. “He doesn’t even need a ladder, that’s not fair!”

At roll call the next day (or what passes for the next day in this episode, anyway) they discuss that they’re still looking for the suspects who shot those two guys. Is this episode gonna have a semi-happy ending? Are they actually gonna catch those assholes?

Not right now. Instead they end up pulling over a 20 year old kid. I think you can guess what race he is. If you guessed white you are incorrect, I will give you two more guesses. The kid has a gun in the car that belongs to his uncle. Damn, everybody in the South has a fuckin gun, it turns out – everybody and their uncle. While they’re questioning him he recognizes the Deputy Chief and says, “You know, you my grandma’s favorite actor.” If his Grandma is reading this please contact me for a free copy of Seagalogy.

I have to admit this is kind of a moving scene, because they could take this kid in for having the gun and ruin his life, but they obviously feel bad for him so they just confiscate the gun and let him go. Seagal is back in the car and they tell him the kid wants an autograph, and he says sure. So this kid is about to make his grandma real happy both by not going to jail and by giving her Steven Seagal’s autograph. His uncle might be less happy though, unless he considers it an honor to give his gun to Steven Seagal.

Next they get a call that the shooting suspect has been spotted back near the crime scene, but when they investigate it seems like maybe one of the neighbors just saw some black guy and got scared. Which is understandable I guess, since their friends just got shot. A title tells us that the case remains unsolved.

But the house doesn’t! One month later there’s a housewarming. Seagal brings some roses to plant, and again the family seems really touched that he’s there and they beg him to stop by any time he wants.

More and more this show is painting a portrait of helplessness in the face of violence and misfortune. Reality Seagal doesn’t happen to be there when the bad guys take over the boat or the train, he just has to show up afterwards and look around with a flashlight until he’s sure he’s too late to do anything. He can tell a guy to stay calm in Spanish, but the guy’s already been shot. He can plant something in someone’s garden, but their house has already been destroyed. Best case scenario he can just not do anything, and sign an autograph, some days that’s the best thing he can do to help somebody out. But he still keeps trying.

So in a way that’s kind of inspiring, but the racial component of the show is also getting more and more disturbing. I mean they were compassionate toward the kid with the gun who was black, and you can’t fault them for their symbolic help of the Katrina family. But still man, it’s kind of fishy. As a viewer you get the impression that Jefferson Parish is 95% black, 4% Hispanic and one percent white cops. So it’s kind of weird that the family they pick out to help is white. I believe these are the only non-cop whites we’ve seen besides “the white boys” who started the fight at that club that one time. I mean good for them getting help but you’d think the sheriff’s department would want to have more interaction with the black community than that one autograph signing session and those many traffic stops.

Oh well, I’m holding out hope they’ll find a meth lab somewhere and get to hassle some white people for once.

languages: Spanish
terms of endearment: brotha, baby
colloquialisms: “Dere day is, righ day-uh.”

[ratings]

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.
This entry was posted on Sunday, December 27th, 2009 at 11:34 pm and is filed under Crime, Documentary, Reviews, Seagal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

27 Responses to “Steven Seagal: Lawman – Episode 7”

  1. I wonder what would have happened if they actually ran into the suspects and what Seagal would actually do in that type of situation.

  2. I just wonder if Seagal really stops black people only, or if they simply cut the white people out of the episodes. Either way it’s a very disturbing thought.

  3. I wish you would stop implying that us white people are lawless heathens.

  4. Whoa whoa, now wait a second Vern.’ I’m totally into most of your reviews and your Seagalogy (even own a copy), but I gotta get involved on your being disturbed at the demographic in which Seagal and his merry band of cops pull over and explain what is likely going on from an actual officer’s point of view…

    The Jefferson Parish County Sheriffs Department has authority over a large area. I mean a really large area. Not a city or town but a county and Southern Counties are huge! Some the size of Rhode Island. The Jefferson County Sheriffs Department has various districts/sub stations/sectors that cover this massive region which frankly speaking is not only lower class but lives in the shadow of the great New Orleans. Tourists do not “hang” in this region. It’s the South that has little cache. Seagal and his merry men are on a TV show that needs drama beyond a celebrity in uniform so therefore they place him in the more high risk district which demographically is full of gangs and is the projects. Yeah, in my eyes it would be funny if Seagal was patroling a more upscale section of the county (and they have ’em) and lecturing soccer moms on rolling thru stop signs, but the fans want gritty and Seagal wants gritty. The projects it is then. After all Seagal doesn’t want to be associated with Beverly Hills. He wants to be arresting gang bangers in the South in an area most of the country is clueless about aside from when Katrina hit.

    Don’t let you point of view distort what is actually happening and that is for ratings and drama they are placing there “reserve” cops in places where the action is so they will find something for the show. If this was an upscale area would Seagal likely be spotting guns in cars and yanking a sawed off shotgun from a guy’s pants like he did a few episodes ago. Yes, white people commit crimes and yeah, there’s crimes in “good” areas, but for Seagal and this show to work they gotta place him in neighborhoods where most people would drive around rather than through. They want him to look badass not driving balls out in response to an ashtma attack.

    If you want Seagal and his crew can sit at a corner and grab every white kid that comes through the project to buy drugs… that would only take about 2 minutes of surveilance, but believe me the sheriffs department has a real narcotics team and real officers that deal with this stuff. No one wants to have a “reserve” cop celebrity shot and when Seagal rolls onto a scene with his merry men, there are plenty of the real deal guys around to make sure he’s safe.

    Hope this helps. I didn’t mean to jump in and lecture but the show is okay (hey, I might have issues with it but doesn’t mean you have to) and the district he patrols is what it is. No idea why he helped white people construct a house unless they were related to a cop. But don’t forget a few episodes ago he drove slowly through a predominately black neighborhood to talk to the residents and what we, the viewer, got was one of the best scenes no one talks about… a child hears Seagal is in the police car (which he is) and looks in saying “where’s Steven Seagal?” Our Steven breaks the fourth wall and looks directly at the camera with a smile showing a sense of humor that this kid doesn’t recognize him.

  5. Well don’t get too attached since the ratings for the show continue it’s steep downhill decent.

  6. I’ve kinda given up on the show, to be honest.

    The racial shit is really bumming me the fuck out.

  7. I forgot, there was also a white lady who called 911 and then hung up because her friend was drunk and threatened her.

  8. Man I hate to say it but every time I read one of your reviews for this show and the things about it that you pick out to talk about I have to fight the urge to recommend (again) that you watch The Wire. But I know you have a duty to the field of Seagalogy to watch this instead so I’ll just mention it once and then shut up.

    I’m really waiting for more “shoot the head off the match” kind of real life badass moments from Lawman. There’s too much cop show here and not enough Seagal. We at least need some environmentalism or corruption.

  9. Everyone needs to watch THE WIRE. Best TV show ever made.

  10. It really is. I’d love to see Vern try a review of each season. I think it’d be possible, they’re each like 12 hour films anyway.

  11. Yeah and since even in a show like Lawman, Vern always picks up on the kind of mundane sociological aspects of the interaction between the police, the public, and the “criminals,” it just makes me want to see how he’d interpret a show that’s basically devoted to examining all that.

    But I really don’t want to threadjack in here, so I’ll leave it at that (seriously this time.)

  12. Ya vern, I think your criticism is unfair. They’re driving to the most dangerous neighborhoods because its a tv-show and they want some drama and action. And yes, the most dangerous neighborhoods will be the projects where the majority of people will be blacks or latinos. What, you want them to sugar-coat it and have a quota, where they have to seek out white people to make the show more balanced? Its not like they’re purposefully cutting out footage of whites being stopped or something, its just the nature of the neighborhood they’re patrolling.
    And when they do stop people, they’re usually pretty nice about it, and let a lot of the people go.

  13. If they were catching murderers every week that would be one thing, but they’re not. In just about every episode so far they stop a black man for doing nothing. I know it’s a reality and the more of this reality you see the more you get a funny feeling about it. Honestly as a show I think it’s good, it’s depicting something important whether or not it’s intentional.

    But I mean come on man, you don’t think it was poor judgment to have 6 episodes of hassling innocent black people and then on episode 7, when they go to help a family paint their house, it’s the one white family we’ve seen so far? I’m not calling them racist I’m just saying it’s funny that they didn’t think how that looks.

  14. Maybe with your observed popularity of segal with urban audiences, he’s stopping black people more than whites to show he’s not guilty of favouritism? Yeah, that must be it…
    Anyway, shouldn’t Seagal’s DIY efforts be put more towards boarding up/rebuilding walls since he’s all about finding holes?

  15. It sounds more like an accident then anything else. Remember how Vern was commenting that all of the episodes are cut to have a certain through-line which the rest of the episodes content revolve around? Seems like they just put all of the thought process into cutting together a coherent story and the rest is just them trying to fill up time.

  16. I don’t think it’s really sociology or profiling as it is Seagal “working” the projects to show he’s a gritty badass. I think it would be funny if he worked an upscale section but that’s me and Seagal’s ego wants to show that he’s a regular Shaft hence patroling the projects and the reason why certain people are pulled over. But then again as someone mentioned this show is about to be canceled so hopefully the real deputies down there will survive when he jumps into the next aspect of his career.

  17. Vern’ observations are just that, observations. I don’t always necessarily agree with all his political conclusions, but he’s from the Heart. Not some wanker (either ideology) that has his head up his ass.

    Trust me, he’s on planet Earth. Not like some Glenn Beck who argued that liberals today were the slaveowners of the 19th century.

  18. Seagal is patrolling bad crime neighborhoods that happen to be prominitely black. This is true. Could they have helped paint a black families house? Yes. Did they visit a black neighborhood a couple episodes back to talk with all of them to show their support? Yes. Here’s where I can’t relate though – every person they stop nine times out of ten HAS A GUN. I believe two times that they’ve shown that the guns were registered. If I lived in the area I’d rather those guns be off the street instead of Seagal or the other officers looking even remotely racist because they pull mostly black people over. I think that’s doing their job and I’m glad those guns are taken. That’s what’s more important to me.

  19. Hey Vern, you might have already seen this but Seagal gave an interview about the show to some site I swear I never usually go on and a friend linked me there and that’s all I know:

    http://uk.askmen.com/celebs/interview_300/372_steven-seagal-interview.html

    Ahem.

  20. nice link O Goncho. I think on particular part of the interview which is very relavent to this thread is Seagal’s reflection on his role in MACHETE —

    “It’s another one of those pulp movies that Robert [Rodriguez] has created. I play a bad guy in the movie and Danny Trejo plays a good guy. And even though it’s larger than life and kind of crazy and wacky, in a way it also addresses sensitive issues such as racial profiling and prejudice and how people can and do work together in different situations”

    I definitely agree with Vern that it’s hard to watch “Lawman” without coming away with the impression that Seagal Sense looks a heck of a lot like racial profiling, so its interesting to hear that this is an issue he identifies with his role as a bad guy. Although a lot of his movies go out of their way to show how down he is with other races and cultures, I don’t know that we’ve ever really gotten a clear sense of his view on race and how it affects life and culture, so it’s interesting to hear him mention this problem and sound like it’s something he’s thought about.

  21. Ya, even I’ll admit, after tonight’s episode, it is starting to get ridiculous. More “suspicious persons” stops, and still not a single white non-cop on the show.

  22. what did you guys want? the show to hire some white actors for them to pull over?

    want them to stop showing black people being pulled over? that would be a nice show – patrolling without pulling anybody over.

    if they filmed the show on the bad neighbour here they would be stopping black people over and over, too.

    i bet the family reconstructing their house was chosen because it was the one family that fit seagal’s schedule. he’s doing his cop thing 3 months out of the year. you think they had dozens of families rebuilding their houses in such a specific schedule that they would be able to film them on two different stages of reconstruction while Seagal was still around?

    be serious.

  23. BM – did you see the one where they stopped the two young guys *getting into* their car and kept yelling for them to shut up as they tried to explain themselves, then eventually apologized and let them go after making them stand around for what must’ve been at least half an hour while they verified that yes, everything they said was true and there was no reason to have bothered them in the first place?

    If so, how did you feel about that scene?

  24. Look Seagal and his crew are “reserve” or “volunteer” cops. Seagal is also an unofficial “high ranking” volunteer. We’re quibbling over a white cop/black suspect thing here way too much when it’s supposed to be entertainment of some kind. Here’s what I suspect is going on…
    1) Seagal is looking for street cred.’ He’s patroling the projects with other “high ranking” volunteers. I mean is anyone just a cop in that crew? They all have crazy rank and seem a little old and inept.
    2) I imagine most of who they stop or react to are filtered through REAL COPS and their gang intelligence unit ( the guys on the edge of the camera who are in their 30’s, workout and do it for a living). Frankly speaking someone snitched out some of these guys to real cops and real cops determined it’s not likely to be a major threat so Seagal and his guys are on the scene. Seagal is using his “Seagal Sense” when I bet real cops have passed on the information that such and such has a gun in such and such place. So we are supposed to be surprised when Seagal passing a person knows there’s a gun, but from my personal point of view that information has probably been passed to him to make him look good.
    3) In reading Seagalogy and in watching his movies and noticing his “accent” and his infinity for blues music I’d say Seagal himself is trying to not only show street cred’ like I mentioned in #1 but he’s trying to say he belongs in the projects (obviously he has money and can live anywhere). Seagal is trying to come across as an urban southern boy when it’s not the case. Why else would we be watching a show with him driving through bad neighborhoods outside of New Orleans? I mean his concept could be executed anywhere he wanted. He could be Greenwich PD. He could be London PD ( and believe me Seagal would suddenly go all Madonna and have an accent). He could be an Alaska Trooper.

    I think way to much credence on who Seagal pulls over and who he doesn’t is a bit much when it’s a television show who we’ve read the article that Seagal is as much a deputy chief in the Jefferson Sheriffs Department as Brad Pitt is. And secondly if the cameras go in the projects of any major city especially a southern one then it’s going to be predominately black. As the above poster mentioned, the painting of a white person’s home was probably a production schedule thing but we’ll never know unless we ask the producer or Seagal. Realistically speaking if you think Seagal is ever going to pull over a serious, assaultive criminal then you truly are a believer because you gotta understand everything they do on that show is filtered by real cops and edited by a production team.

  25. I’d disagree with you, some of the early stuff where they show up after a bunch of cops are already there I might agree with you, but there’s been too many random stops/occurences that I don’t believe were staged. Like when the spanish woman runs out into the street and flags them down after her husband gets beat up, or the guy doing donuts in the parking lot who has a handgun, or seagal pulling a sawed off shotgun off of one of those neighborhood kids. Call me naive or whatever, but the show feels pretty real to me on the whole (aside from fortunato, the departments pr officer rolling with seagal to handle any possible pr problems).

  26. Yo Vern! Did you not pick up on the fact that the black kid wanting an autograph was wearing… A friggin Mountain Dew jacket!? And we all know who starred in some o’them commercials patnah. Curious coincidence…

  27. At least Seagal doesn’t opt for the Optimus Prime aproach of endorsing death for the crime of driving while being a giant wheel (DWBAGW). That’s the kind of negative profiling that I think we can all safely unite against, except maybe Glen Beck.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>