“We’re gonna buy Theresa a new gun,” exclaims the title character of the new WE series Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter, before going pistol shopping with her best friend and fellow bondswoman. “This oughta be fun!”
The shopping trip is indeed fun; so is the rest of this show about ex-wrestler and suburban mom Sandra Scott, owner of the Phoenix-based Old West Bail Bonds. While hewing to a pretty standard reality-show template (fast cuts, cute music), Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter also sneaks in a bit of substance. Like A&E’s Dog the Bounty Hunter, its obvious inspiration, it treats the job as just another way to earn a buck, and a means to show how middle-class suburbanites balance work and family.
Sandra, a charming, beefy blond, spends the first part of the premiere tracking a female crackhead while simultaneously planning her daughter’s birthday party. (At the start of her workday, she warns her handsome husband and employee, Ron, “Before you go I need you to set up that waterslide, because I do not know how to do it.”) She also makes time for the aforementioned gun-shopping trip with Theresa and a third employee, J.D., an ex--pro football player who looks like he could bench-press a Buick.
Intriguingly, while the series visually resembles Cops—J.D. and Theresa make the comparison explicit by singing the Fox show’s theme song-—it never dehumanizes its perps, instead preferring to celebrate their eccentricities. During the ride to jail, the aforementioned female fugitive cracks up Theresa and J.D. by telling blond jokes; Sandra pretends to be unamused, but then chimes in with one of her own. She’s a good sport who could bust you up. — Matt Zoller Seitz