Dog the Bounty Hunter is an American reality television series on A&E which chronicles Duane "Dog" Chapman's experiences as a bounty hunter. With a few exceptions, the series took place in Hawaii or Dog's home state of Colorado.
On May 21, 2012, A&E canceled the series after eight seasons. The series began airing in syndication on September 16, 2013. Dog and Beth then starred in another series, Dog and Beth: On the Hunt on CMT, before that series ended in August 2015.
Duane "Dog" Chapman
Beth Chapman, Dog's wife
"Baby" Lyssa Rae Chapman, Dog's daughter
Cecily Barmore-Chapman, Beth's daughter
Duane Lee Chapman Jr., Dog's son
Leland Chapman, Dog's son
Tim Chapman, Dog's "brother"
Garry Chapman, Beth's son
Bonnie Chapman, Beth's daughter
The program spun off from Chapman's appearance on the show Take This Job, a program about people with unusual occupations. Dog the Bounty Hunter captured an audience immediately by drawing viewers into the interaction of Chapman and his family/team, mixing street smarts, romance, arguments, teamwork, adrenaline-laced arrests and a philosophy of hope and second chances.
Viewers are taken along as Chapman and his family/team locate and arrest people who have broken the terms of their bail agreements. Bounty hunts and arrests segue into the rides to jail, during which Chapman and his team show compassion and strongly counsel the fugitives to start over, leaving behind drugs and/or crime to become dependable members of their families and society. Rounding out most episodes are scenes featuring Dog, Beth and their large family of children, grandchildren and friends.
As the show progressed, viewers were taken further behind the scenes during Baby Lyssa's training as a licensed bail bondswoman and bounty hunter; Dog's capture of Andrew Luster and the ensuing arrests of Chapman, Tim and Leland in Mexico; the deaths of Beth's father (Garry Smith) and Dog's oldest daughter (Barbara Katie Chapman); Chapman and Beth's 2006 wedding; Baby Lyssa's wedding and the birth of her second child; and the shock and fear of the family after Dog, Tim and Leland were arrested by federal marshals in Hawaii to await possible extradition to Mexico.
Chapman and Beth freely invited viewers into their lives, sharing personal stories about Chapman's 1976 imprisonment; his ex-wives and custody battles;
Production and airing of the show was halted by A&E on November 2, 2007, after an audio tape was released, featuring Duane Chapman using the word "nigger" repeatedly in a discussion about the word itself with son Tucker regarding Tucker's black girlfriend's probable sensitivity to the word. Tucker had sold the tape to the National Enquirer, and it quickly was picked up by numerous print and broadcast media outlets. This media exposure led Duane to make an apology on CNN's Larry King Live for his lack of sensitivity on the matter, and vowed to educate himself and make amends. On February 19, 2008, A&E announced that the show would return. Reruns of Dog the Bounty Hunter, along with never-before-seen episodes from season 4, began airing on June 25, 2008, and the show continued, along with special episodes about the arrest and fallout from the Luster situation.
On April 21, 2009, during filming of Season 6, Chapman was allegedly shot at with a handgun while his crew, along with bail bondsman Bobby Brown, were attempting to arrest a fugitive named Hoang Nguyen in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The suspect escaped on a motorcycle and was captured by Chapman about six hours later. This is contrary to evidence shown in the A&E airing of the episode titled "Easy Rider", on December 16, 2009. According to Chapman's website and TMZ, Nguyen was arrested and charged with attempted murder related to the shooting attempt of Chapman and the Chapman family. On May 15, 2009, the El Paso County, Colorado Assistant District attorney dropped the attempted murder charge against the alleged shooter due to lack of evidence and conflicting statements by Chapman, his son Leland, and bail bondsman Bobby Brown. The prosecutors also state that they have not received the requested video footage from the incident, which was allegedly filmed by the television crew. In March 2011, Nguyen filed a lawsuit against Chapman, Brown, and Chapman's sons Duane Chapman II and Leland Chapman. In the lawsuit, Nguyen claims he lost his job as a result of the incident and had to relocate. He also says he was injured by pepper pellets that were allegedly fired at him. Chapman's attorney, James A. Quadra, told Celebrity Crime Reporter the lawsuit has no basis "in law or fact". The lawsuit was in mediation the first week of March 2011 with a trial date on November 28, 2011.
In 2011, Leland and Duane Lee quit working with their father and stepmother and severed ties with their family. The March 21, 2012 episode showed Duane Lee telling Beth "You want me fired, you gotta fire me," and then Leland weighed in, saying "I quit too." In January 2012, the two brothers confirmed leaving the show. Leland now operates his own bail bond company on the Big Island of Hawaii and heads Bounty Hunter Tactical Supply Co. while Duane Lee moved to Florida. In a tweet from Beth she wrote, "It will take 6 weeks to get through the whole thing tonight's jus [sic] the beginning."
In September 2011 Bobby Brown, who appeared in 30 episodes, sued A&E Television Networks, Hybrid Films, and D&D Television Productions in Colorado federal court, claiming he was promised to be a full cast member, but received only $6,000 for his contributions. The lawsuit is for "the misappropriation of his publicity rights as well as claims of breach of contract and promises.
Heavy metal artist Ozzy Osbourne sings the show's theme song, "Dog the Bounty Hunter". The song can be heard on Osbourne's Prince of Darkness box set. Many episodes feature at least one song from a band that is either unsigned or with an independent label, usually played during an action scene. These songs are plugged at the end of each episode, following the closing credits. Several episodes in season three and four have music from New York City-based dub reggae group Subatomic Sound System's On All Frequencies album. Featured songs include: "Criminal", "Doin' It", and "Ghetto Champion". Soulja Boy's music video for "Yahhh!" includes an impersonation of "Dog Woof Woof"
The following summarizes the original broadcast presentation:
All the hour-long episodes were split into two parts for broadcast syndication. Full episodes are shown on streaming sites and DVD.
Note that not all episodes have been released on DVD.
The television series led to a 2007 autobiographical book, You Can Run But You Can't Hide, which chronicles Chapman's years before becoming a bounty hunter and some of his more infamous hunts, including the controversial hunt that took him and his team to Mexico to capture serial rapist Andrew Luster. It also delves into his criminal past as well as his family background, imprisonment in Texas, marriages and children. A second book, Where Mercy Is Shown, Mercy Is Given, was published in 2009. Its title reflects Chapman's overriding philosophy of second chances, which he writes about at length as he asks the public for a second chance of his own. The book largely deals with the fallout from two factors: the federal marshals' arrest and the scandal over his use of the word "nigger".