The 10 Wildest Moments From Fox's LA County Sheriff Show 'Deputy'
The new Fox drama Deputy follows in the tradition of modern Westerns like Justified and Longmire -- but in a bigger, brasher network TV style, and set in the big city. The show was produced with the cooperation of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, according to Fox, though there was no formal agreement in place.
Given the stiff competition from streaming services in this Peak TV era, pilots have to work hard to capture the audience's attention from the jump, and Deputy's writers clearly know this -- the show is bonkers.
Here is a small selection of the wildest things to happen in this episode, which takes place over about a week.
HOLLISTER TIPS OFF IMMIGRANTS ABOUT SHERIFF'S RAID
The show opens with our lead, Deputy Bill Hollister, having to answer for tipping off immigrants about a forthcoming raid by the Sheriff's Department in cooperation with ICE. Hollister gives a dramatic speech right out of a Western, complete with opening up with "I'm a lawman," explaining his choice to defend those immigrants instead of following orders.
The tense meeting ends with Hollister saying that if they want to take away his deputy's star, the sheriff knows where he can get it.
TOW ROPE USED TO SEND CRIMINALS CRASHING OFF BRIDGE
Hollister quickly ends up in a car chase going after gang members, while he's wearing a jean jacket, cowboy hat and boots. He parks his truck on a bridge, pulls out a tow rope and ties it to a cement lamppost. When the criminals come toward him, they try avoiding the rope and go crashing off the edge of the bridge -- but still manage to crawl out of the wreckage.
Can sheriffs do that? I mean, we've heard of PIT maneuvers and spike strips, but this seems a little off-the-book, no? He follows this up by firing his gun at one of the gang members who's running away.
SHERIFF DIES, CHARTER MAKES REBEL DEPUTY THE NEW SHERIFF
After all that, the county attorney and more sheriffs arrive. Hollister defends himself, saying he isn't saying anything without his union rep present -- but it turns out that the real reason they're there is that Sheriff Bradford just died of a heart attack.
And -- here's where the show's central conceit kicks in -- the county charter says that "in the event that a duly-elected sheriff dies in office, then the longest serving member of his mounted posse shall serve as acting sheriff until a new sheriff can be elected."
The show knows this is a bit silly, making fun of the obscure law throughout the episode -- but in any case Hollister is sworn in as the new sheriff. His first act: firing one of the deputies who criticized his decisions earlier.
GANGS TEAM UP TO FORM "THE RECKONING"
We learn that members of three different gangs appear to be teaming up. This appears to be the thread we'll be following as the show continues, but the new conglomeration has a name straight out of a comic book -- "The Reckoning."
TELLS UNDERSHERIFF TO SHRED USE-OF-FORCE REPORT
Now the sheriff, Hollister spots a meeting happening. He asks what's going on, and is told that they've decided to pull anyone with 16 uses of force in a three-year-period from the field, in order to avoid lawsuits.
Hollister responds that he wants more deputies in the field -- and tells his undersheriff to shred the list of 44 deputies.
For more on repeated uses of force, you might want to check out KPCC's podcast Repeat.
TRIES SETTING UP HIS GODSON TO BE FIRED
We learn that Hollister's former partner died in the line of duty, and that his partner's son, who is also Hollister's godson, is a cadet. The cadet just happens to be getting sworn in this week.
When his godson's mother asks him to fire her son in order to keep him safe, Hollister actually goes to a trainer and tries setting up his godson to fail his evaluations -- but the trainer refuses.
PRISON RIOT AND ESCAPE INVOLVES HIS GODSON'S BADGE
Now on the job, Hollister's godson ends up getting beaten up by one of the central figures at the heart of The Reckoning and a few other gang members. They provoke a full-scale prison riot -- while also stealing the godson's badge and allowing the leader to escape disguised as a deputy.
HOLLISTER'S WIFE IS A DOCTOR, AND HIS PARTNER DIED ON HER MEDICAL TABLE
We learn more about that former partner, including a brief mention that Hollister's wife -- who happens to be a doctor -- was treating that partner when he died. While we're sure there are other doctors in this show's version of L.A., she's the one treating the main characters way more frequently than you'd think the wife of one deputy would be. She even playfully makes her husband wait near the end of the episode as she deals with other patients, because he insisted on being seen by his wife after being injured.
COMPARES THE PRESS TO COYOTES
Sheriff Hollister doesn't seem to have the warmest feelings toward the press. After his contemptuous undersheriff apparently leaks to the press details about a raid, he tells the press that they don't want the truth -- they smelled blood and came out like coyotes going after a wounded animal.
CLIMACTIC RAID VIA HORSEBACK
This is a western, so the climax comes with a raid on a hideout in Lancaster -- with Hollister leading the raid on horseback.
PHEW. And that's not to mention all the gunplay you'd expect from a show like this, the sheriff canceling another ICE joint raid and threatening federal funding, the talk of throwing feces and urine in the prison, and more.
At the end of the episode, the new driver Hollister's been assigned as sheriff notes that it's been four days since he took over. He responds that it's 110 days left until the election to replace the previous sheriff.
We don't know whether he'll still be the sheriff after all that -- the show's called Deputy, not Sheriff, and he repeatedly reminds us that he's not much for politics -- but 110 days seems just about long enough to get us through the rest of this season. The show airs Thursday nights on Fox -- you can also watch the full pilot episode here.