Episode 2.7: “The Innocents”
This episode opens in the SUV with Colonel Fortunato getting a phone call. “Is that the narc call we’ve been expecting?” Seagal asks/expositions. They go to back up narcotics in stopping a vehicle they suspect of transporting large quantities of the wicked substances. As they watch the stop go down Seagal observes, “That’s strange, man. They got two women in the vehicle.”
It gets stranger, Chief. As the dope dog sniffs around you notice they got a baby in the car too. “Just ain’t right” Seagal says. This theme goes back to the previous episode, Seagal’s indignation at people putting children at risk by having them around criminal activity.
It turns out it’s just weed, but it’s huge bricks with the weight already Sharpied on them. They use Fortunato’s phone to add it up and if the measurements are correct (which I bet they are, if you’re responsible enough to label each package I’m sure you’re gonna get it right) it’s just under 100 pounds.
There’s a young dude who takes responsibility for the whole thing. The girl is his sister and he claims she didn’t know the drugs were in the car. “I fucked up, man,” he says. But his admission doesn’t warm Seagal to him, he’s fuckin pissed that this guy got his sister and baby niece involved in a major crime. He actually tells him “I don’t give a fuck about you,” a rare abandonment of the I Need Time To Change principles.
At the end of the scene we found out that the sister was not charged, but their mother was, which I didn’t understand.
Back at Steven’s house we see him living an idealized New Orleans life, playing guitar on the porch, and the magic of editing (I think) implies that he’s looking out on a lake with an alligator in it. He tells Elle that he was invited to be grand marshal in the Krewe of Alla Mardis Gras parade. Don’t worry, it’s not one of those titties and Russian sex slaves kind of deals, this is the one in Jefferson Parish that’s for families and bead-haters. There’s a flashback to the first season children’s hospital episode as Seagal says he wants to bring some of the sick children to enjoy the parade with him. (They’re gonna be bummed when they find out which one it is, though.)
Friday night the Squad gets briefed for a “Narc Raid,” where once again we find a crying baby. There’s also a mom in the house who’s “very ill” and the daughter doesn’t want her to have a heart attack from all this commotion. The suspect is the man of the house, and the Squad lecture him about having all this weed around a baby. He says he locks it up, I guess believing that they’re worried his baby is gonna eat the weed or something. But they point out having that around could cause a break-in or something where the baby could get hurt. (I’d be more worried about Nic Cage’s BAD LIEUTENANT character busting in and shooting the baby.)
The dude says he has no choice, he has to sell weed because he lost his job and he has to support his family. Larry Dyess says, “You ain’t gettin no father of the year award for this, all right?”
Man, Larry gets all the best lines. That’s not as good as that one about the coconut, but it’s good. Seagal gets to lecture the guy though. He says “Well, if you got kids, what the fuck is wrong with you, man?” and “Get a new life, bro” and “To me it’s unconscionable.” Good word, could’ve been the episode title too. Or a movie where he plays the bad guy: STEVEN SEAGAL IS… UNCONSCIONABLE.
Besides addressing the children-in-danger theme this case is also notable for having a part where Seagal pulls out a big knife to flip over a bag of weed.
Their next call involves a “suspicious character slingin drugs in this area.” Seagal seems to kind of respect the operation around here, complimenting their “very, very good lookout system.” They find a bunch of young black men hanging around smoking in a parking lot and as they frisk and condescendingly question them one of the dudes says, “Steven Seagal, huh? When all this is over y’all don’t mind if I get his autograph, right?”
The sad thing about this scene is that it does turn out that these guys are totally innocent, and they’re completely blase about it. I mean, lately I been reading alot of people whine about having to get a pat down and (for god’s sake) having to briefly turn off their silly electronical doodads just for the mere right of being protected from terrorism and plane crashes when they fly on an airplane. Like, “This is America, I am white, and have never attended a rap concert before, how dare you give me a light pat down just because it is your job and responsibility to protect me and my fellow travellers!” Meanwhile here are some black youths not asking to be involved in air transport who have to get a much more invasive search and interrogation because they were in a parking lot. And they don’t seem offended at all.
But this leads to a historic LAWMAN moment, the first time when the starstruck individual demonstrates legitimate Seagalogical knowledge. Usually it’s “my auntie loves your movies!” or “my wife loves you!” or a sense that they sort of remember seeing his movies years ago. This guy not only starts listing which ones he owns, but he goes straight to the DTV Era. “I got BELLY OF THE BEAST, I got TICKER, uh, INTO THE SUN…”
Larry (only familiar with the Golden through Silver eras, I’ve noticed) says, “What about the classics? What about UNDER SIEGE?”
The guy says, “UNDER SIEGE, I got ABOVE THE LAW…”
“OUT FOR JUSTICE?”
“HARD TO KILL… I got alla that, man.”
Did you see that, though? He started with obscurities. One of the best and craziest of the DTV Era, then one of the shoddiest ones. And he ends with all the best of the filmography. He’s well-rounded.
There also turns out to be a mom with a young girl there, a toddler. She holds the girl up to see Seagal and says it’s the man from that movie EXIT WOUNDS. On one hand I’m kinda concerned if this little girl really is familiar with EXIT WOUNDS, on the other hand it’s only a movie. We know letting her watch Seagal have a blade fight with MJW is better than having her in the car during drug runs.
(And by the way if you’re thinking Seagal should do a TSA reality show in order to make the pat downs go over better with the public I’m sure they’ve considered it, but figured the autographs would cause too much flight delay)
Anyway, Seagal hugs the little EXIT WOUNDS fan, ’cause he loves the children. At the parade (which is not too heavily attended, looks like a typical small town parade) Seagal wears a big cowboy hat, and people in the crowd drink from plastic cups with his picture on them. Some guy in the crowd yells “I was arrested by Steve!” And the kids talk about Seagal and Elle being a cute couple.
Don’t you get it, man? The children are the innocents. Keep them away from the drugs, and in the parades and movie theaters.
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Episode 2.8: “Under the Influence”
The final aired episode of Season 2 begins with Fortunato sneezing from a “nasty bug” that’s going around. But a case of the sniffles can’t keep him away from yet another narcotics briefing and raid. Finally we move away from the weed dealers and get to the hard drugs, a gal suspected of dealing coke out of her home.
At the briefing Seagal asks “How we gonna make entry?”
“We have the ram,” one officer says.
So you get to see a door get busted, but I guess they’re not fast enough. She apparently flushes her crack down the toilet. They figure that out because there’s a bunch of money floating in the toilet. She claims she dropped it. You know how that is.
Somebody has to pull all the money out as evidence, so you get to see how much it was. I don’t know if it’s the economy or what but it’s not as much as you might expect a crack dealer to have. There’s just one $100 bill, four twenties, one ten and two fives. (Not enough people use tens, by the way. I like tens, it’s a good denomination in my opinion.)
Despite her apparently lax business the lady is kinda lucky because all they find is some weed and one tiny crack rock. Coulda been much worse. Way to flush, lady.
I noticed the suspect was wearing a sweatshirt for a school called John McDonogh. I looked up the name and it turns out John McDonogh was an interesting figure in New Orleans history. He failed at a senate bid and at wooing some well known public figure lady, but he succeeded in business. Unfortunately he was a slave owner, and even though he did eventually free them he made them pay for it, so even then they had to keep working for years. On the other hand he did contribute to an organization that helped former slaves go to Liberia. I mean, maybe he did it for the wrong reasons, I don’t know. Most significantly for our purposes here he was very reclusive and miserly but when he died he willed his money to public schools for freed slaves and poor whites. And his family were pissed off like the family in GRAN TORINO. So there were 20 high schools in New Orleans named after him. Eventually they changed the names of most of them as part of a movement to stop having shit named after slave owners. But there are a couple left and I guess one of them must be real proud to have one of their alumni on the A&E Network claiming she accidentally dropped $200 in a toilet.
The next case involves a vacant lot that has caused numerous complaints of drug dealing and/or shady shit. I guess the guys were tired of being shown running around at their age so they brought a new team member named Marcus. He’s young and in shape so he hops a fence and a guy that sees him runs for it. When they all corner the suspect and pin him down he uses the ol’ “I ran because I didn’t know you were police” line. They’re annoyed by that so they end up being kind of degrading to him, they make him sit on a bucket.
To his credit though Seagal feels bad for the guy when they find out he’s had 12 felonies and 52 misdemeanors, making him a “big time code 6,” or habitual offender. “How you feelin? All right?” Seagal asks, and says he hopes they can get him help. (It looks bad at this point, though.)
To lighten the mood Seagal teases Lawrence about how he should’ve hopped the fence to come help.
Now poor Marcus is regretting going with the Squad because he picked up Fortunato’s nasty bug. Not only does he have to be sick but he has to have Seagal rub oils on his back to stimulate his lungs. I forget if it was Lawrence or Larry but somebody says “Put the witch doctor on him” and somebody else, “Here come the voodoo doctor, y’all.” Anyway Marcus claims it’s making him feel better after three and a half minutes of oiliness.
The next case is another sad one, some old dude in a straw hat driving drunk with no tire at all on the right rear wheel. He’s all confused about “Why my truck runnin so rough?” and can’t follow a pen for the field sobriety test because he’s got a glass eye. Seagal calls him “buddy” three times and one of his charges is for “improper equipment.”
The episode ends at the Accupuncture and Herbal Center, where Seagal helps choose some herbs to make into tea for the team to drink for soothing the effects of the nasty bug. There’s a dramatic musical buildup to Lawrence drinking his tea from a Hello Kitty cup. He doesn’t gag or anything, he’s fine, but afterwards they joke about having a bad reaction and having to go to an actual hospital.
This is an enjoyable episode, but sort of a poor choice for a series finale if that turns out to be what it is. (The A&E websight lists the swordsmanship episode “Blade Master” as the final episode numerically, which makes more sense although they aired it at the beginning of the season.)
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SEASON 2 CONCLUSIONS
Season 2 of LAWMAN was enjoyable. It introduced a little more of Seagal’s home life and brought in his love of and skill with swords, which I always approve of. It put him in the action a little more, including numerous drug raids, and had more laughing and teasing between him and the other officers.
I can’t find any information about whether or not another season of LAWMAN is planned. He’s already filmed a new non-reality series and is still making movies, so it might be hard for him to get back to. On the other hand, he seems to enjoy it.
People often ask me if I’ll ever do an updated edition of my book Seagalogy. I don’t think it’s the time yet, but I do hope to do it some day down the line when Titan Books asks me to, or if that never happens then when the rights revert to me years from now. Whenever that is I don’t look forward to the challenge of figuring out how to cover his TV shows. I did a whole chapter on TICKER (where he’s not even the main character) so how much do I need for 8 hours of reality television?
More importantly, what am I gonna do with the Eras? He’s gonna keep doing direct-to-video movies for the foreseeable future, so should I just consider the DTV Era to go on forever?
Well, I have a new theory about that. Only time will tell if this pans out, but I think we’re in a new era that might be called the Experimental Era or the Dabbling Era or something like that. After an entire books-worth of movies built around a fairly consistent persona, in recent years Seagal has broken that pattern, he’s been messing around and trying new things. When the book ended he had just done URBAN JUSTICE and PISTOL WHIPPED, and I was convinced he was starting a comeback, at least quality-wise. Unfortunately since then I don’t think his movies have lived up to the promise of those two, and one of them (AGAINST THE DARK) is my current pick for his worst movie to date. So it doesn’t seem like his heart is in at as much as it was for a minute there.
But that’s just the DTV movies. On the other hand we have his really funny appearance in MACHETE, which was his first time on the big screen since HALF PAST DEAD in ’02 and his first time ever playing a villain. We have his sudden reinvention as a supposed-real-life cop, turned into two seasons of reality television, something that’s completely new for him. Next we’ll have at least one season of TRUE JUSTICE, his first non-reality show, also something new for him, especially if he’s more of a team leader character than the central character, which is the impression I get from the trailer that’s online somewhere. These new projects where he mixes it up seem to be where he puts his energy and enthusiasm, so that’s why I think testing new flavors may end up being the defining quality of this stage in his career. But we’ll see.
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.