Dog the Bounty Hunter – This Family Means Business (DVD Review)

Until now, I’d never actually seen a full episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter. I get sucked in by most reality shows, good and bad – so I thought I’d give this one a try.  I don’t know if I’m proud or ashamed to say that I enjoyed it quite a bit.  With only six episodes on this DVD, it certainly left me wanting more.  By the end of the second episode I began to think of Dog, his wife Beth, and the rest of the crew as my extended family.  The gang of bounty hunters is often loud and obnoxious (especially Beth) but I love them anyway.  The criminals are also pretty entertaining.  Fans of the show COPS who enjoyed watching stupid people get arrested will enjoy Dog the Bounty Hunter in the same way.  If  A&E ever manages a cross-over between my other favorite trashy reality show (Billy the Exterminator) I will be in heaven.  Maybe Dog and Billy could hunt down some animal poachers together!


In the game of bounty hunting, the important information gathered for each episode is who is the bounty, who is the co-signer, what does the fugitive look like and where can they be found.  Dog and his crew sometimes have it easy, being able to track down a wanted person hiding out in their parent’s house or at their own apartment.  Sometimes it’s harder when phone numbers and addresses are invalid and they have to rely on friends of friends for information.

Dog the Bounty Hunter runs the family business with his wife Beth, sons Leland and Duane Lee, son-in-law Travis, and Daughter Lyssa.  From time to time, family friends step in as well.  Dog and his team are serious about catching you but will likely try to council you once they have you in custody.  They will certainly pray for you to change your wicked ways so that you don’t end up back in jail.  I thought that the amateur therapy would annoy me but its usually pretty sweet and it’s obvious that they really care about what happens to these criminals.

The one thing I did find annoying was the fact that the show is obviously set up to pause for commercials.  Obviously the DVD just skips the commercial section but when they come back they often rewind the 30 seconds before the commercial to remind you of what was happening which doesn’t really make sense when you are watching it on DVD.  I wish they would just edit that part out for the DVD release.

The disc contains the following six episodes:

1.  Girl Power – The crew tracks down fugitive Ann, who failed to appear in court multiple times.  Her co-signer is her daughter in law.  Leland is sick and Dog watches his granddaughter while the girls go track down Ann.  The girls are successful in apprehending their woman and even use pink handcuffs.

2. Prodigal Son – The team, including Tim and Sonny chase down 46 year old Joseph who has a $50,000 bond.  His criminal record includes drugs, stolen cars, threats, unlawful imprisonment and other goodies.  His co-signer is his mom who has pancreatic cancer.  When they catch him and find him with drugs he “doesn’t know anything about it”.  Joseph is made to apologize to his estranged father, which his does very reluctantly but is also treated to a hamburger at Jack In the Box.

3.  Family Ties – Dog’s daughter Cecily shows below average grades and they joke that instead of college she may only be able to enter the family business.  A short handed crew tracks down Richard whose crimes include domestic assault.  The co-signer is his ex-girlfriend Camilla.  They are told that Camilla may be combative but she turns out to be very helpful and leads them right to Richard who is wheelchair bound after a recent stroke.  Dog decides not to arrest Richard in that condition and appears in front of the judge the next day to assist Richard with getting his life back on track.

4.  Surface Scratches – Bounty hunter Tim is a single dad to four children and tries to juggle work with a house full of sick kids.  Shane is a 26 year old fugitive convicted of spousal/family abuse.  He apparently had bonds all over town, one of which belongs to Tim, who failed to get a co-signer when the man showed him $2,000 in cash.  Another bounty hunter, Chucky, sets Shane up to be taken down by Tim and the crew.  Shane complains that he “always gets his dates mixed up”.  He has a overall bad attitude and doesn’t do much to make you feel bad for him.  Beth made me laugh when she answered Shane’s cell phone telling the caller that he can’t come to the phone because he is in jail.  All is well and Tim gets his man, takes him to jail, and bails him out again with the promise that Shane won’t run next time.

5.  The Great Debate – Fugitive Russell is out on $5,000 bail with a criminal record including domestic violence, abuse, weapons and drugs.  His co-signer wife calls crying that she wants his bail revoked after being hassled by others Russell has ripped off.  Later, the wife has a change of heart and the family argues over whether or not to revoke the bail.  They are on Leland’s island (the show takes place on the Hawaiian Islands) and he wants to give the man a chance.  They meet face to face, buy  Russell’s young grandson a Happy Meal and agree to give him a “pass” on going to jail.  Later Leland comes to Dog and Beth to admit that Russell was sent to jail on an unrelated charge.  Dog is proud of the compassion his son showed.

6. Facebooked – This is the one episode that reminded me of COPS where the fugitive gets thrown to the ground and doors get kicked.  Brian has a history of check forgery, fraud, ID theft, etc.  Domestic Violence is the reason Dog is in Colorado hunting this man down.  With no mug shut and only a description of the perpetrator the group wonders how well it will go.  An ex-friend tips them off to Brian’s fiancee’s facebook page and they are able to get their man.  His excuse for not showing up to court was the fiancee’s illness and emergency room visit which no one seems to buy.  Further, Beth is disgusted by the filthy house and threatens to call Child Protective Services.  The fiancée was rude and just plain bitchy and I was hoping to see Beth knock her out.  Brian doesn’t feel he has done anything wrong and blames everything on baby mama drama.


The video quality is often pretty poor and gets especially grainy when filming inside the dark car.  I can’t imagine that these are very high budget episodes.  Skin tones seem to be off, as they appear to be overly peach colored.  Black levels aren’t as dark as they should be and low light level scenes don’t fare well.


The video was not great and the audio was only slightly better.  It’s a cable TV show on DVD, so its pretty much the audio quality I expected.  Dialogue was mostly clear and understandable and overall this was decent enough for DVD.

Special Features  

The only special feature is a “Best Of” Retrospective Special where the family gets together to share their favorite memories and celebrate the 200th episode.  From previous episodes we are treated to clips of crazy people, chases, scariest moments, people on roofs, people under beds, Dog being nice, Beth being mean, crying fugitives…you name it.  One fugitive even declares that it’s been a pleasure being arrested by Dog.  We also get to see the family play some football, they discuss Dog’s own arrest for kidnapping (related to a bounty) and the kids go bounty hunting to track down Santa Claus at Christmas time.

Final Thoughts  

Dog the Bounty Hunter begins with this on-screen warning  – “The following program depicts real bounty hunters chasing actual fugitives…All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law” and then adds my favorite line “Do not try this at home.”  Dog the Bounty Hunter is a love it or leave it kind of show.  You likely either love it or hate it.  I’m squarely on board with the love it category and I wonder where I can get my “In Dog We Trust” T shirt.  I wish this DVD had more episodes and more features, but what it does have I thoroughly enjoyed.

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