Steven Seagal: Lawman Review

The Series

Some people just make you smile. For me, whenever the late Bobby Robson was interviewed he evinced a kind intelligence and a seemingly endless passion for his career. Similarly the likes of mavericks and lone beacons of integrity like Tony Benn have always a found a place in my heart. And to that short list I can happily add Steven Seagal - most definitely eccentric, most definitely his own man with a rare liberal outlook.
There is also something lovingly bathetic about Seagal. He is now the action star who can't run and a true believer in the power of straight to video shoot em ups changing the world for the better. All that descendant of a Lama stuff, all that government conspiracy against him gubbins.. well it can make the six foot four man mountain seem a little ridiculous.

Steven, however, has a good heart. Exhibit A is the series on review which follows Seagal around with the Louisiana police department as he fulfils his role as a reserve Deputy Sheriff. Firearms training, public education and martial arts coaching have all been provided by him to the upholders of law and order in Jefferson Parish, and we get to see him doing his good deeds and patrolling in a supposedly fly on the wall account produced by Steven's own production company.
As with all reality TV, the question is how much of what we see is staged. Steven's crew on patrol are very senior types and the suspicion may be raised that this placement is rather managed by the cops and Steven's people for maximum positive coverage. Each instalment is a mix of events from a patrol weaved in with some carefully chosen narrative illustrating good deeds and good people. Some moments are a little silly with Seagal being presented as having special visions whilst on patrol and the endless veneration from everyone who meets him is hardly the most humble thing you will ever see.

Yet, this series proves a worthy development of the copumentary(I just made that up, forgive me). The reason for this is that Seagal has a good heart. He cares about the good guys who genuinely reciprocate - his cop "brothers", his fellow Louisianan residents and those nearly ruined by Hurricane Katrina. He even cares about the rodents being exterminated by the SWAT team on a slow night. Heck, he even cares about the bad guys who are all "presumed innocent until proven guilty" and sent off with with an autograph and the experience of a positive role model. In fact the only person he doesn't seem to like is Jean Claude Van Damme.
For all the schmaltz and production, Steven Seagal: Lawman reveals an individual with real depth and sincerity. There is none of the usual dehumanising of villains that you find in this kind of series, there is a genuine remorse at the damage that depravation does to the vulnerable, and an appetite for the human spirit that I found refreshing. There are guilty pleasures - Seagal sings the blues, he goes on about the East all the time and tortures a fellow doughnut eater with acupuncture, but it's impossible to ridicule someone so earnest, compassionate and seemingly decent.

At the end of the 13 episodes, I liked Seagal even more. His movies these days are rubbish, but I can't help but admire his particular individual existence and I can say, without a doubt, that his good heart makes this world a better place.

Technical Specs

This is a two disc set with seven episodes on disc one and the remainder on the second disc. It is region free and the series seems to have been shot digitally. The video does carry some lack of definition, comet trails,combing and uncertain colour balance which is probably down to the source materials, but the transfer is annoyingly non-anamorphic. If you've seen stuff like Cops on TV that will give you a good reference point for the lo-fi appearance of the show and the transfer does ok with what is not meant to be exquisite looking.
No subtitles again unless anyone is mumbling and the sole sound option is a stereo mix which is perfectly serviceable and does a decent job of picking up the basic surroundings whilst keeping dialogue clearly audible.

Special Features

The second disc carries 14 scenes of additional footage from the filming which add up to a good half an hour. Extra scenes include more showing off of Seagal's shooting of a gun (he's genuinely amazing), more from his band before the concert and some strumming in his home which will please those wanting to enjoy his quirkiness.

Both discs have animated menus which morph from poster image to stills and present obvious easily accessible navigation.


Not the guilty pleasure that you might expect. Seagal for all his image manipulation proves intriguing and his liberal re-take on the reality cop show is most welcome.

6 out of 10
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out of 10

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