The Good Guys -- TV Review

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Officers Dan Stark and Jack Bailey are take-no-prisoners, two-gun holdin', moving vehicle-leapin' crime-fightin' machines, and one best not get in their way. Unfortunately, they're stuck in the stolen-property division of the Dallas police force, so those incredible talents are for the most part going to waste. Or so it would seem.

This is the world of "The Good Guys," Matt Nix's ("Burn Notice") latest eye-poke at crime shows that take themselves too seriously, and it's a wild, goofy mix of Tarantino shootouts (there's a real Mexican standoff) and Coen brothers irony.

Bailey (Colin Hanks, recalling his father more than once) is doing penance by handling petty crimes, having insulted a superior officer's grammar; he also is on "babysitting duty" by being paired up with Stark (Bradley Whitford, pudgy and proudly flying the bushy mustache flag), a slacking drinker of a cop who has been coasting on his one true act of heroism 25 years ago -- saving the governor's son -- ever since.

Bailey wants bigger things, while Stark is happy to make a mountain out of any molehill of an investigation, and they're in luck: A stolen humidifier leads to a major drug dealer, a plastic surgeon and Nia Vardalos (inserted perhaps so savvy viewers can play the "Six Degrees of Hanks" game with the show) as the victim. Stark immediately beds her, then claims the sex was a "memory-jogging device" to help her remember what the thief looked like.

The show is a series of rapid-fire everything: gunfights, car chases and witticisms. The device of jumping backward and forward in time provides a jarring sense of raucous suspense while also keeping things light, and there's no lack of tossed-off lines and information handed out like candy. It all goes to provide fuel for this constantly revving engine of a show that gels nicely and bodes well as a potential summer breakout hit.

That all said, maintaining this level of energy is going to take some doing, and there are times when the humor can be precious and self-conscious. But Nix should be up to the task, and in the grand scheme of things, those are really just misdemeanors.

"Good Guys" previews Wednesday at 8 and moves to its regular time slot at 9 p.m. Monday, June 7.

Airdate: 8-9 p.m. Wednesday, May 19 (Fox)
Production: Fox Television Studios
Cast: Bradley Whitford, Colin Hanks, Diana Maria Riva, Jenny Wade
Executive producers: Matt Nix, Mikkel Bondesen
Creator-writer: Matt Nix
Co-executive producers: Ben Wexler, Zack Estrin, Mikkel Bondesen, Matt Nix
Producers: Bradley Whitford, Mitch Engel
Director: Tim Matheson
Director of photography: Brian J. Reynolds
Production designer: Craig Siebels
Costume designer: Stephen M. Chudej
Casting: Wendy Weidman, Rebecca Mangieri, Barbara Fiorentino, Beth Sepko