TV | Ken Tucker's TV

'Steven Seagal Lawman': Camp-classic TV at its finest

Watch out, evildoers. That lumbering tree-trunk of a man with the scary, hatchet-shaped hairline: He’s got a badge! He’s got a gun! He’s got a soft little voice! It’s Steven Seagal Lawman!

If you missed last night’s premiere of this reality show, you missed one of the best cop comedies since the first Police Academy – except I don’t think this one was intended to be a laugh-getter. For over 20 years, it turns out, the martial-arts action-hero has been a deputy for the Jefferson Parrish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. Only now has he agreed to let cameras follow him on his appointed rounds. Lucky us.

Seagal has never been known for either his sense of humor or an awareness that his deeply-spiritual-knock-out-artist image is pretty silly. When he appeared on The View earlier this week to promote Lawman, he sat between the gals, a serene Buddha stuffed into a leather jacket, answering questions from Whoopi, Joy, and the rest with a furrowed brow and deadly seriousness, as though he was being quizzed on the mysteries of human existence.

Similarly, on Lawman last night, Seagal seemed utterly clueless about how he came off. Sitting in the passenger seat of a squad car roaring off to a crime scene, he starts giving his cop-partner directions… that the partner calmly ignored. It seemed clear that this good officer had probably been led down a few one-way streets the wrong way by following the star’s peremptory orders in the past.

I loved the way Seagal arrived at a crime scene at which the perp was already on the ground. Heaving his bulk out of the squad car, he ran over and yelled, “I’ll get him! Taser! Taser!” You could hear faint cop voices in the background saying, “No! No!” The poor suspect was – did I say this already? – on the ground, in the process of being cuffed.

Man, I haven’t laughed this much since the pilot of Modern Family. When it comes to Steven Seagal Lawman, I’m arrested.

Did you watch, by any chance?

(You can follow me on Twitter.)

Originally posted December 3 2009 — 9:50 AM EST

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