Tonight: The Good Guys Sneak Onto Fox

The Good Guys jumps across the hood of the buddy cop curve Wednesday night at 8 p.m. The Fox cop show stars Bradley Whitford (The West Wing) and Colin Hanks (Roswell) as a pair of mis-matched detectives and will return in its regular Monday timeslot starting June 7. Fox is so high on it they’ve already made it part of their fall lineup before a single episode airs.
Whitford, complete with crazy porn ‘stache, plays police legend Dan Stark, a cop from the Starsky & Hutch era who thinks DNA stands for “Disco Night in America.” Hanks plays a colourless by-the-books officer who has already pissed off half the squad house.
The pilot works in that it quickly establishes these characters, not such a Herculean task given that they’re about as subtle as Whitford’s ‘stache. Nia Vardalos makes a surprise and fun appearance as a crime victim/love interest for ’70s sex machine Stark. Likable Tom Amandes from Everwood gets some face time as a good guy/bad guy.
The story has the boys stumbling on the trail of Russian assassins. Some great character actors, including Alex Fernandez, RonReaco Lee and Luis Antonio Ramos, all ad to the cops and robbers fun. The Good Guys has a bit of a “Quinn Martin” quality without wallowing in camp.
As I related in last Saturday’s Starweek cover story, Whitford and Hanks already had their bored cops shtick down by the time the show was paneled at the January press tour:

Hanks says he was thrilled to get in on the comedy end of a script. He says he sees a lot of “straight-man” parts, “but I don’t really get to say anything funny.” Tired of always acting “exasperated and frustrated,” he was more than ready to joke back. “Since we’ve met,” he says of Whitford, “we haven’t stopped with the witty banter back and forth.”
“We just don’t share it with anyone else,” says Whitford, who feels, at 50–and with that silly moustache–he’s ready to play a grizzled cop like Dan Stark. “One thing I do share with this character is I think I have a bright future behind me,” he jokes. “I think I peaked, you know, professionally and biologically, in another decade.”

TV fans with long memories may recall another show called The Good Guys. That late ’60s sitcom starred Bob Denver (Gilligan’s Island) and bald headed character actor Herb Edelman (who years later turned up as a semi regular on Golden Girls) and was about a taxi driver and a diner owner. The two were childhood friends and hilarity (occasionally) ensued. The slapstick comedy lasted a season-and-a-half; the new Good Guys has a decent shot at topping that run.
I’m not positive, and he’s not around to check with anymore, but I’m going to guess that’s a Gene Trindl photograph of Denver and Edelman on the cover of TV Guide (above). Who ever shot it, they perfectly captured the personalities of the two lead characters as well as the essense of the series in a single gag shot. Interesting to see how the Fox PR people pulled a similar trick with Hanks and Whitford (top of the column).

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