Why I LOVE Dog The Bounty Hunter

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In case you’ve never seen Dog The Bounty Hunter – and if not, get on it, you are missing a huge treat – here’s what it’s all about…

The show is based around the activities of Duane ‘Dog’ Chapman and his business, which is operating as a bounty hunter; that is, he and his associates – most of whom are his family members – go after people who, for whatever reason, have skipped bail and therefore broken the provisions of their bail, or caused the bondsmen who paid their bail to lose their money.

The show came about as a spin-off from Dog’s appearance on a show entitled, Take This Job, which was about people with “unusual occupations”. Dog and his family of bounty hunters are based in Hawaii but they also have offices in Denver.

Beth Chapman

Dog’s main business partner is his very ‘buxom’ wife Beth but his sons Leland and Duane Lee also work for the company. Dog’s daughter Lyssa – who’s often referred to as Baby Lyssa in the show – also sometimes work’s with the ‘team’, as does Tim Chapman who, despite sharing Dog’s surname, is actually no relation. Tim is often referred to as ‘Youngblood’ in the show.

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Just as an aside, Leland is a total babe, which may be inappropriate for me to say, given I’m old enough to be his… big sister, but he is, it can’t be avoided. He’s “eye candy” as they say over the pond.

Anywho, Beth has four children the first of which was Dominic who she had when she was just 17 years old. Dominic was put up for adoption but, nearly 20 years later, Dog found Dominic and he now lives with his mother and the rest of the Chapman family which includes the two children Dog and Beth have between them.

Duane also has an amazing ten other children from previous relationships but one of those children, Barbara Katie Chapman, was killed in a car accident in Alaska, on May 19th 2006 which was the day before Dog and Beth’s wedding. Barbara Katie was only 23 years old when she died and had a son, Travis Drake-Lee Chapman who was just 4 years old at the time.

The family is – as you can tell – a very extended one, and many members of the families of both Duane and Beth have made appearances on the show. The Chapman family are deeply religious and often try to ‘turn’ fugitives to God and always pray together before going out on a job.

Both Duane and Beth have, in their younger years, been criminals and have been in prison themselves as well as being ex-drug addicts, but both freely admit this and claim that turning to God was their ‘salvation’. For this reason, they often openly discuss their own pasts with fugitives to try to get them to “change their ways.” Here’s a clip of Dog talking about his criminal past…

When the show first aired, there was a great deal of speculation/rumour that the apprehension of the criminals shown was in fact dramatisation but it’s since been proven that all the criminals featured do in fact genuinely have warrants for their arrest outstanding.

As a result of the success of the show, Dog also wrote an autobiography entitled, ‘You Can Run But You Can’t Hide’ in which he describes his life before becoming a bounty hunter as well as after.

It also details some of his more ‘infamous’ manhunts, including arguably the most controversial one which saw Dog and his team travel to Mexico in order to capture serial rapist Andrew Luster. Events surrounding the capture of Luster – the heir to the Max Factor cosmetics empire – saw Dog, Tim and Leland arrested on charges of “deprivation of liberty”. The team captured Luster in 2003 and later, the Mexican government issued the charges and US Marshalls instigated the arrests.

Charges are believed to have been “pending” against Dog, Tim and Leland ever since the three posted bail but apparently, they never returned to Puerto Vallarta for their scheduled court hearing on July 15th 2003 though the validity of those claims is disputed, depending upon who/what you ask or read. One definite fact to emerge from it all though is that the evil Luster got sentenced to 124 years in prison for his crimes.

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That’s what I love about the American justice system… for recidivist criminals such as Luster, you either get executed – depending on which state you’re tried in – or you get proper sentences; none of this namby-pamby five-years-out-in-two cr*p that our system seems to issue!

Anyway, to carry on with the story about the Chapmans, all three were allegedly electronically ‘tagged’ and ordered to submit their passports to local authorities and not leave Hawaii. If they’re ever convicted, the three could be sentenced for up to four years imprisonment each. However, in 2007 during an episode of ‘Larry King Live’, Duane said that the charges against all three of them regarding the Andrew Luster case had been dropped by the Mexican government.

However, another ‘scandal’ was soon to follow when Dog was recorded allegedly making “racial slurs”, which caused the A&E network that airs the show to halt its production after a public outcry. But, Duane publically apologised for what he’d said and “repented” so following a huge amount of support from the show’s fans, in February 2008, A&E announced that the show would air again for a fifth series which it did as of July that year.

Season six began airing in America in February of this year but yet again, the show and the team were to be rocked by another shocking event when Dog was allegedly shot at, just last month on 21st April. He and the team – along with bondsman Bobby Brown – were apparently in Colorado on a manhunt when their suspect, Hoang Nguyen, allegedly produced a handgun and shot at Duane. Nguyen then escaped on a motorbike however, according to Dog’s website, he captured Nguyen later that day and the ‘fugitive’ has since been arrested and charged with attempted homicide. There is some controversy surrounding the alleged shooting though because some media outlets claim there was no ‘evidence’ of the shooting in that neither bullet holes nor bullet casings were found at the scene.

Apparently though, footage from the incident will be shown in a future episode and some footage has already been shown on a local TV station. Here’s a clip that features real police radio ‘traffic’ regarding the incident…

It’s just an awesome show and I love it! Here are a few clips which, if you’ve never seen the show before, I hope might convince you to watch it… you’re really missing out if you don’t! One of my sons made me a ‘Dog’ watcher and I’m very glad he did! I nearly wrote “one of my sons made me a Dogger” then thought better of it given the connotations and other meanings of that word… anywho, here are the clips!

Epic stuff! You can see Dog The Bounty Hunter today at 4pm and 4:30pm on Bravo or on Friday from 9am onwards… actually, Dog is on a really lot, so at some point in the day, you’re sure to find him and the team doing their thang somewhere!

Lynn is an editor and writer here at Unreality TV and is trained psychotherapist and the author of two books. She's addicted to soaps, period drama and reality TV shows such as X Factor, I'm A Celeb and Big Brother.