I vaguely remember watching The Good Guys when it was on in 2010, so that’s a win even if I didn’t get a chance to finish it until much more recently. The Good Guys stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks and lasted only a season which is both sad and something I’m okay with at the same time. It’s a complicated… emotion.
The show follows Dan Stark and Jack Bailey (Whitford and Hanks) as property crimes detectives whose investigations tend to end up bigger than they started. This of course runs them into some trouble with their Lieutenant, Ana Ruiz, and the Assistant DA, Liz Traynor (who is also Jack ex-girlfriend, naturally). Later in the season they bring in Samantha Evans, a lab tech who helps out on cases, usually illegally.
I have very mixed feelings on this show. On the one hand, what’s not to love? The show is filled with busting punks, driving fast cars, and all sorts of buddy cop antics. There’s the will-they-wont-they of Jack and Liz, Dan’s constant womanizing (it’s surprisingly endearing), and at least one car chase in every episode.
The relationships on this show are fantastic. Dan and Jack are partners and later friends, Jack and Liz’s relationship is one of my all time favorite pairings, Dan and the Lt. have a sort of thing which is hysterical, and then there’s the ‘ship between Dan and his trailer. And Dan and booze. And Dan and the punks he busts. And Dan and his Trans-Am. And Dan and his gun. And did I mention that Bradley Whitford is fantastic in this show*?
I’m also a huge fan of the fact that the show is set and was filmed in Dallas. They use lots of footage of the Dallas skyline an I think it really grounds the series with a sense of place. Paired with Dan’s love of Foghat and 80’s fashion, alongside the cars and dive bars, the feel of the show is completely unique. It transports you to the world of the show in a way that I’ve never experienced before, and it’s absolutely fantastic.
But on the other hand… when it was bad it was horrid. Liz’s boyfriend, an unseen entity up to this point, is suddenly a suspect in an investigation. In one episode he goes from boyfriend to suspect to dirty lying cheat, all as an effort to break them up and allow for Liz and Jack to get back together.
Around the same time they bring in Samantha. I love the character and I see her uses in later episodes, there was no immediate need for another character in the show. It seems to me that they were told to bring in more characters (Julius a sometimes informant also starts to play a bigger role around this time), and I didn’t see the need for it. I loved the show from the beginning, but the complications made it tedious to me.
Thankfully they managed to finish on a strong note with Dan and Jack bringing down a dirty cop and Dan’s old partner Frank coming in to help out for one final showdown. But overall, what executives did with the show left a sour taste in my mouth (yeah, I’m blaming the network on this one).
Bottom line: If you’re looking for a fun, episodic buddy cop show, The Good Guys is going to be your jam. The vast majority of The Good Guys is just good clean fun. If you’re looking for more intellectualism and a continuous story, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Have you seen The Good Guys? What did you like or dislike about it?
*If you’re noticing a Bradley Whitford theme between this and Cabin in the Woods, you should know that it’s entirely unintentional. Though I may do a West Wing re-watch. Than would be intentional.