Did you realize that ‘The Good Guys’ is still on? I’ll admit that the show took quite a while to warm up. When I recapped the early episodes over the summer, I felt that it had a great premise and ideas, but just didn’t click like it was supposed to. However, even if I haven’t been writing about it here, I stuck with the show and watched it steadily settle into a comfortable groove. It may not be Day One appointment television (I frequently let a few episodes get backlogged on the DVR), but it’s a solidly entertaining hour of television. Last week’s episode, ‘Dan on the Run’, was a good showcase of what makes the series work.
We’ve long heard stories about Dan Stark’s ex-partner, the legendary Frank Savage. Now we finally get to meet him. The two ’80s supercops reteam to revisit their most famous case – their rescue of the governor’s kidnapped son.
That young boy, Andy Davis, has grown up and turned into kind of a burnout nitwit, played by Ethan Suplee from ‘My Name Is Earl’. He’s fallen in with a couple of nogoodnik drug dealers (including Jake Busey!), who decide to stage a second kidnapping of Andy that they can blame on none other than his former savior, Dan Stark. If they can make Dan look like a psycho rogue cop (shouldn’t be too difficult), they expect to get some of his arrests against their drug-dealing buddies overturned.
Dan of course falls right into their trap. When Jack tips him off that the rest of the department is coming to arrest him, Dan goes on the run, and even contemplates shaving off his ‘stache! (He can’t bring himself to follow through on that, fortunately.) Eventually, he winds up seeking help from the only man on Earth (other than Jack) he knows he can trust.
Of course, that would be Frank Savage (Gary Cole, sporting his own glorious ‘stache – sadly fake). Frank is retired, and has been forced to leave behind his life of crimefighting by his nagging shrew wife (Rachel Harris, who played much the same role in ‘The Hangover‘). It takes some coaxing, but Dan eventually lures Frank back into action. The two of them join forces to bust some punks, rescue little Andy once again, and clear Dan’s good name. Oh, and Jack might get to help too.
The episode is a lot of fun. As listed above, it has a bunch of guest roles from semi-famous actors. Gary Cole especially is a perfect foil for Bradley Whitford. He fits right into this universe like it was meant for him. The action is pleasantly goofy, and the humor fires on all cylinders. Dan gets in a ton of great lines. Some of my favorites:
“What the hell kind of a jukebox doesn’t have Foghat?”
About his mustache: “If facial hair could talk, I know you’d sing an opera.”
About Frank’s reluctance to help: “Who gave you the wuss bath?”
About a copy of the ‘Savage & Stark’ TV movie in Frank’s closet: “VHS – the way it was meant to be seen!”
I’ll be honest, I was surprised when Fox picked up ‘The Good Guys’ for a fall season after its run in the summer ended. Knowing the network’s history, I fully expected the series to get yanked after so-so ratings, perhaps without even all of its episodes aired. I’m glad to see it survive this long.