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Stephen Dorff's Deputy isn't exactly what you expect it to be ideologically

  • "Fox has been selling Deputy as a near-fascistic law-and-order nightmare, with a classic Western gunslinger reclaiming Los Angeles from hippy-dippy ideas like due process and victims' rights," says Daniel Fienberg. "Instead, the opening scene finds (Stephen Dorff's) Bill (Hollister) being specifically sanctioned for interfering with an ICE raid, and while his objection may be more about chafing at federal interference in his jurisdiction, he also declares, 'I don't give a pinch of dried turd how those folks got here. We're all immigrants. I gave my word I'd protect them.' Yes, that's how he talks throughout, and it's a sentiment more likely to appeal to bleeding hearts than the meat-and-potatoes audience Fox has been targeting. Those viewers should be confident that, more often than not, Bill's gruff, take-no-sh*t attitude doesn't sound nearly this liberal, but there are just enough hints at nuance to keep you guessing. Whatever he does, Bill is still the hero, mind you. This isn't The Shield. If you need villains, there's no ambiguity when the show wants you to cheer for Bill against the onslaught of primarily (but not exclusively) minority gang members and the primarily (but not exclusively) white bureaucrats."


    • Deputy relies on worrying pro-cop clichés that favor abuse of power: "A show set in the present day that refers to urban cops as 'lawmen' has a very elevated sense of itself as existing in a sort of Wild West tradition, one that coexists uneasily with the present day," says Daniel D'Addario. "For one thing, it seems that in the show’s universe, lawyers or judges being involved in the legal process is… bad; all justice should be meted out by cops whom Hollister exhorts to be 'a**-kickers.' There is an audience for a show like this — in a sense, it’s review-proof, because a negative review will only cement the sense among the intended viewership that a certain segment of the country just doesn’t get it. But there is something about watching Stephen Dorff relentlessly gas up rooms full of police officers to be more aggressive, less inhibited, coming as it does after years of disturbing examples of police officers using excessive force and worse against people of color, that left me uneasy."
    • Deputy is a natural continuation of Stephen Dorff's excellent performance on True Detective: "When Deputy leans into its star’s rebellious charms, it clicks," says Ben Travers. "Even better is when Dorff’s country-bred sheriff usurps expectations, whether it’s by skipping an offensive joke or taking a progressive political stance. But for as often as Bill Hollister’s attitudes buck convention, the show around him embraces them. Deputy is a very conventional police procedural, bolstered by its rambunctious lead and hampered by a disinterest in embodying his renegade spirit."
    • Why Dorff agreed to do Deputy despite hating network TV: “I hate network TV and I would never want to be on a CSI-type show,” Dorff tells The Wrap. “This show has got a lot more grit… If anything, I think it’s a more cable show, but it’s made for network television with the rules that we have to follow. But we’re pushing it and they’re letting us push it.”
    • Did Dorff have any hesitation on doing another cop show?: "There are only so many things that you can play," he tells EW with a laugh. "It’s always a cop or it’s a doctor; we’ve kind of seen every different kind of character. It’s all really in the execution and vision of each specific thing. As far as cop to cop, I think it’s weird that there’s a cowboy quality to both characters, but that’s very different."

    TOPICS: Deputy, FOX, Stephen Dorff