Network: Discovery Channel
Genre: Reality TV
TV Rating: TV-14
Other Choices: Dog the Bounty Hunter, Wife, Mom, Bounty Hunter, Steven Seagal: Lawman
Available On: Online
Common Sense Says: Criminal capture competition more about greed than justice.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bounty Wars features teams of bounty hunters chasing fugitives in order win a major cash prize. Not surprisingly, guns are frequently visible, and searches and captures lead to threats of violence, broken doors, chases, and the discovery of alcohol and drug paraphernalia. The vocab is salty ("s--t," "f--k" bleeped), too. There is some discussion of crimes relating to illegal drugs, prostitution, theft, and robbery, but the show is more about winning money than catching alleged bad guys.
- Families can talk about the role of a bounty hunter in American crime fighting. Why does the court system rely on bounty hunters, a.k.a. bail enforcement agents, even though they are not officers of the court? Did you know that bounty hunters have more authority than police officers when arresting defendants?
- What is the value of this kind of show? Why would someone want to appear on the show?
What's the story?
BOUNTY WARS is a reality series that features three veteran teams of bounty hunters competing against each other to earn some extra cash. Bail bondsman Jeff Stanley gives each team a list of fugitives that they have to hunt down. The teams must capture as many bail jumpers as possible within five days in hopes that their bonds are high enough to bring in a good return. The team that brings in the most reward money earned from the bonds collected wins $10,000 in bonus money. It isn't easy, especially when they hit dead ends or fail to make a capture in time. But each team does their best to use their strength and savvy to make their captures.
Is it any good?
The series offers a look at the different ways bounty hunters search for and capture defendants in order to collect a percentage of the bounty that is earned as a result of the arrest. To make it more interesting, details about some of the team members' personal lives are revealed, and limited details about the defendants' backgrounds are discussed.The activities featured here are motivated by greed rather than justice, something that is most apparent when a team is minutes away from seizing a wanted criminal and then walks away because the game is over. Nonetheless, fans of crime fighting shows will still find it voyeuristically entertaining.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The bounty hunters chase defendants, but are driven by money rather than justice.
Role Models: Bounty hunters are male and female, from various walks of life, and have backgrounds in different professions, including the military, teaching, and modeling. Most are clearly motivated by the desire to win or gain money.
What to watch out for
Violence Bounty hunters carry guns and mallets, which are often drawn when chasing down fugitives. Captures often require the teams to break down doors, tackle defendants, etc. Some defendants are wanted for gang activity, theft, and violent acts.
Sex: A few defendants are wanted on prostitution charges. In one episode, a search reveals genital enhancement items, the use of which is discussed in detail.
Language: Words like "pissed" and "ass" are audible. Stronger words like "s--t" and "f--k" are bleeped.
Consumerism: Jeff Stanley is the owner of Bad Boys Bail Bonds. GMC trucks and other vehicles visible.
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Some defendants are wanted for drug possession and other drug-related crimes. A few briefly talk about their addiction. Alcohol bottles, cigarettes, and drug paraphernalia are occasionally visible.