After a hiatus from television, Duane “Dog” Chapman is back on A&E. And so far, Season 5 is better than ever.
Dog, wife Beth, sons Leland and Duane Lee and daughter Lyssa are once again hunting and capturing fugitives in Hawaii and Colorado, and the A&E cameras are once again documenting their wild adventures.
The 2004 season premiere of Dog the Bounty Hunter proved to be an insane success: by the end of the fourth season, the show captivated an average of two million viewers per premiere episode.
The show was removed from A&E’s lineup after the fourth season after a telephone conversation between Dog Chapman and his son (who was not regularly featured on the TV show) was released by The National Enquirer in 2007. During the phone call, Chapman referred to his son’s girlfriend as a “n*****” and went on to repeat the controversial and offensive “n-word” several times. Chapman told the media that he was “angered” by his son’s interracial relationship, and that he used the word “liberally.” During the taped conversation, Chapman expressed concern related to his son’s girlfriend recording his racist remarks and then selling them to the tabloids.
A&E promptly canceled one of their highest-rated shows, and dedicated Dog fans were left wondering if and when their beloved show would be back.
Prior to the show’s temporary cancellation, there was no shortage of real-life drama for the Chapman family. Dog, son’s Leland and Duane Lee, and longtime hunting partner Tim Chapman (who does not appear in Season 5) were facing extradition to Mexico after the capture of Max Factor heir and rapist Andrew Luster. A&E even produced a special episode that followed the Chapman family during the ordeal. All four bounty hunters were eventually cleared of related charges.
Dog Chapman is a legend in Hawaii. After spending time in jail himself, Chapman has become an inspiration to Hawaiian youth, as well as the fugitives that he captures, and travels to speaking engagements all over the country giving motivational speeches. His autobiography, You Can Run But You Can’t Hide, was published last year.
In addition to his book, Dog fans can purchase their favorite episodes on DVD and keep up with the latest Chapman family news by visiting his website, dogthebountyhunter.com.
Season 5 has just begun, and viewers can tune in on Wednesday’s at 9 PM for new episodes.
Nicolette Kuff is a freelance writer from Upstate NY.