Lion-maned bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman returns to television on Sept. 4 in Dog’s Most Wanted, a new series on WGN America that follows him and his team of bounty hunters, dubbed “The Dirty Dozen,” as they track down a curated list of fugitives. “These guys are people who commit crimes against people, not drug addicts, not shoplifters, not burglars. These are rapists, attempted murderers, wife beaters,” Chapman lists. “These are people given over to ‘a vile mind’ — as the Bible calls it. It’s a vile mind, and that’s what they really are.”
Also taking part in this epic, cross-country manhunt was Dog’s beloved wife and business partner Beth, who, despite a cancer diagnosis, was determined to go on one last hunt and help her family find lawless bail jumpers. “She was afraid if I go out of town alone, girls would scheme on me, and she wasn’t having that,” Chapman recalls with a laugh before turning somber (Beth having departed this past June). “No, she had to be there, she had to be out there, she had to work. … That was Bethy.”
The bounty hunter believes this is his best series yet because he’s working with the best in the business: his kin. “Who’s ‘The Dirty Dozen?’” he asks, rhetorically. “It’s my family.” The ex-outlaw turned lawman waxes philosophical when talking about the importance of having his family by his side. “The important thing in all religions is family and love and support, right?” he muses.
Chapman also boasts that in this new series, bounty hunting is going high tech. “I am using drones. I can see a gnat,” he says. “We have night vision too. … We got technology where we can walk around the outside of the house and see where the people are because of the body heat. … We got microphones. We can sit two blocks away and hear what someone’s saying. Or after you interview someone, you can hear what they’re saying after you walked away.”
Chapman loves that technology allows him to be stealthier, safer and smarter than the bad guys. “We caught a guy the other day, his IQ is 148 or something, nothing compared to Beth,” he shares. “So we got him, and he asked, ‘How’d you do it?’ And after I told him about our new tricks, he goes, ‘Dog, you’re cheating!’”
This season was filmed while Beth fought against the cancer that took her life, and Chapman admits that watching footage of her is still painfully difficult. “I can’t look at some of her pictures,” he tearfully shares. “I can’t do that, I can’t.”
And while Chapman and his family adjust to life without Beth, “It’s ‘The Dirty Dozen’ now, minus one,” he says, he remains committed to bringing fugitives to justice as a way to honor his wife. “My wife is, was, and always will be the heart and soul of Dog’s Most Wanted,” he shares. “Beth wanted nothing more than for the show to go on, and I am so proud of the legacy that she left behind.”
Dog’s Most Wanted, Wednesdays beginning Sept. 4 at 9/8c, WGN America
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