July 29, 2011 10:17am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Big Law: Deputy Butterbean': Better Than Steven Seagal's 'Lawman'?
Eric “Butterbean” Esch wants you to know he’s more than Steven Seagal.
The former heavyweight boxer, wrestler and mixed martial arts fighter stars in Investigation Discovery's Big Law: Deputy Butterbean, a new docu-reality series which follows the reserve deputy bring his weight to fighting crime in his hometown of Jasper, Ala.
But the fighter, whose uniform has “Deputy Butterbean” stitched into it as the camera follows him on the job, wants viewers to realize that he’s not a flash in the pan law reality star like other celebrities, like Seagal’s Lawman and Erik Estrada’s Armed & Famous, who have joined law enforcement ranks for the camera.
“I was deputized before the show even happened,” Esch said Friday during the series’ stop at the Television Critics’ Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills.
Deputy Adam Hadder, his partner on the Sheriff’s Narcotics Unit in Jasper, notes that Butterbean is not a flash in the pan and that his hometown celebrity status helps a lot.
“It draws attention to our department,” Hadder noted, adding that it helps in fighting the town’s drug problem. “I don’t think people took the Seagal show serious because he didn’t live there.”
“It’s not all about arresting people and throwing them in jail,” Esch noted. “It’s about trying to make a difference where we live.”
Noting that he’s gone through more training than most reserves – he says he “aced” the annual shooting qualification this year with a 94 – Esch continues to participate in MMA matches and speaking engagements. He’s confident that his reserve gig with the Sheriff’s Department will continue to make a difference in his community in ways other celebrities who have tried the same haven’t.
“Butterbean is much better than Seagal … and a lot cuter,” he joked.
Added Investigation Discovery president and GM Henry Schleiff: "This is our attempt to tell the good cop story."