"The bad guys are a bunch of guys running around with guns. The good guys are a team of guys running around with guns."
—Dan Stark "$3.52"
The Good Guys is a 2010 summer Buddy Cop Show starring Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, from the creator of Burn Notice. The Pilot aired as a sneak-peek on May 19th of that year, and the series began its first season on June 7. Unfortunately, the show struggled with low ratings via something of a cult audience, and was cancelled after one season.
Dan Stark (Whitford) is a former brilliant detective who still works as if life were in The Eighties, while Jack Bailey (Hanks) is his By-The-Book Cop partner. The show's tone is very much like Burn Notice, but unlike Burn Notice's adherence to Awesome Yet Practical, The Good Guys runs on distilled Rule of Cool. Over-the-top shootouts and car chases are a regular occurrence, and in general, the show's writers seem to plan the plot purely around what's fun.
Much like Glee, The Good Guys tends to use its Troperiffic premise to build up subversions of the genre's conventions. And, also much like Glee, this gives the frequent impression that the show doesn't know if it's a parody, a deconstruction, or a reconstruction at any given time.
- AB Negative: Dan's blood type.
- Adorkable: Samantha, especially in the first episode in which she's introduced.
- Affably Evil: Almost every bad guy there was.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: One of Dan's more irrational ideas about computers.
Dan: I think it's thinking. You know... making plans.
- Anachronic Order: Every episode! A rewind effect is used to go back and explain things.
- Anti-Villain: Nearly all the villains on the show. Which of course makes Kyle seem even worse.
- Armed Altruism: Jack does this in the pilot, despite being specifically told by his superior not to.
- Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving: Jack and Dan clearly expect this after they complete their first case. Then, Da Chief tells them they caused over a million dollars in property damage and violated over 30 procedural rules, and they're lucky they still have their jobs.
- Back for the Finale: Frank Savage.
- Badass Mustache: Dan Stark. The mustache even got its own billing in some of the promos.
- Batman Gambit: The villain's plan in "Hunches and Heists", using a bank heist as a feint by setting up one inept, unarmed crew so he can get the cops on the wrong side of the river. Then he detonates explosives on the bridge and sends his real crew after a jewelry store. It works perfectly except that Dan and Jack get there and scare the jewel thieves off, but they still don't manage to catch them.
- Berserk Button: As Dr. Laviolette found out, Stark hates it when another man sits in his desk.
- Big No: Dan lets out three of these when his trailer blows up.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Kyle
- Bland-Name Product: In the show, the local paper is called the Dallas Daily News. The actual local papers in Dallas are the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.
- Blatant Lies: In 1x03, Dan is forced to put a toy gun to Gemini's head since his is in the car. Gemini holds up his hands, then looks in the anti-theft mirror.
Gemini: That's a toy gun.
- Brick Joke: Played straight... and literally, in the episode "$3.52". At the start of the episode Dan vows to take down the drug smuggling ring with the $3.52 in his pocket. Fast-forward to the last minute of the episode, when everyone believes that the brick of Heroin is long gone. In comes Dan with a flashback to where he buys a brick for three bucks and a nougat bar for fifty cents, loses the two pennies somewhere along the line, and swaps the bricks.
- The Murderin' Jane's drawn in a nurse uniform.
- The Brute: Sasha, the Georgians' muscle.
- Buddy Cop Show: Either an Homage, a parody, or both.
- Buffy-Speak: A lot like in episode 4.
"So the dog poisoner is actually a meth-lab-exploder-man?"
- Bunny Ears Lawyer: Dan, despite his Cloudcuckoolander nature, is still good at his job.
- The Duke, a hitman who lives in his mother's basement, is skilled enough to outwit and overpower two U.S. Marshals and Dan.
- Butt Monkey:
- Julius, especially in the first few episodes.
- Perry, played by Wayne Knight, spends his appearance getting verbally abused by cops, criminals and even children.
- By-The-Book Cop: Jack. Initially, anyway - the longer he spends with Dan, the more he bends the rules. He's still far more by-the-book than his partner.
- California Doubling: Averted completely. The series was filmed entirely within the DFW Metroplex.
- Career Killers: The world's best and second best assassins, who appear in the first episode.
- Car Fu: When in doubt, drive a car through a building.
- Catch Phrase: "Let's go bust some punks!"
- Character Filibuster: Dan spends the last two minutes of the final episode calling all CSI techs stupid and how his method is more fun. Bittersweet when you realize this show is getting canceled while the forensic genre of cop shows still is going strong.
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: Double subverted in "Whistle-blower", to excellent effect.
- Chronic Villainy: Walter DiParco.
- Clear My Name
- Cloudcuckoolander: Dan has his moments; see the quote under A.I. Is a Crapshoot, above.
- Cool Car: Dan and his old partner Frank had a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am back in the day, according to Dan. By the end of the pilot, Dan and Jack have one.
- Lots more show up in the second episode.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Special mention has to go to Kyle, Liz's (currently ex-) boyfriend.
- Covert Pervert: Samantha was going to draw the Murderin' Jane next in a leather cat suit.
- Cowboy Cop: Dan is one of the ultimate examples.
- Also played with, Dan clearly knows the rules inside and out and can twist them to suit whatever he wants to do.
- Cowboy cops are often loners but Dan is the one who often reminds Jack that their a team.
- Also played with, Dan clearly knows the rules inside and out and can twist them to suit whatever he wants to do.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Nigel.
- Curse Cut Short
Dan: Crime is like women. When they demand attention, you just gotta whip out your gun and- (car peels away)
- Da Chief: While not technically an actual chief, Ruiz fits most of the conventions of the trope.
- Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Duke, antagonist of episode 1x09.
- Dark Action Girl: The "Murderin' Jane".
- Deconstructive Parody: To the idea of the Cowboy Cop. See trope entry.
- Description Cut / Ironic Echo Cut
- Documentary Episode: Episode 11.
- Dirty Coward: Kyle, complete with instant loss of all audience sympathy. It didn't help that he blamed all of his cowardice on Jack. This later bites him in the butt when Liz realizes that Jack would have never acted in such a cowardly way and breaks up with Kyle
- Drunken Master: Dan can take on the world's second best assassin in a gunfight while heavily drunk. Which is handy, because he's heavily drunk at all times.
- Dynamic Entry: Dan tries to kick down a door in 1x03, "Broken Door Theory". His technique is horrible; he keeps kicking the door too high, on the hinge side of the door instead of the handle. And then, of course, Jack just pushes the door open.
- And, of course, any time they drive a car through a wall.
- Lt. Ruiz gets one in "The Whistleblower". She appears from behind a tree and clotheslines a guy hard enough to flip him over.
- Ebony and Ivory: Hodges and Lang.
- Epic Fail: Jack empties two clips at his opponent at point blank range and manages to miss every shot. The assassin shrugs and comments, "It's harder than it looks."
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The Duke again.
- Exact Words: After being told not to get within a mile of a case, Dan and Jack wait at a drugstore exactly 1.01 miles from the criminals house.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Subverted hilariously when we find out the guy who was in the trunk of a car pushed off a cliff was not blown up. But he was pissed. What was his Madness Mantra again?
- Five-Man Band
- Firing One-Handed
- Fluffy the Terrible: The Georgians' muscle, Sasha, is treated like he's a cherished pet.
- Friend to All Children: Dan. He has kids doing exercises and pushups as part of a community outreach program, and they love him for it. They apparently join the police force at a rate that Lt. Ruiz can only describe as "Alarming."
- Fun with Subtitles: Similar to Burn Notice, it features rather snarky informational subtitles. As with Burn Notice, later episodes start to have more fun with them such as making them a part of the scene they show up in and interact with objects.
- Genki Girl: Sam's habit of skipping around the Dallas PD and waving her arms around, not to mention her "getting into the moment" and greeting Liz like a best friend, definitely qualifies her as this.
- Gentleman Thief: The Tech Bandit who just does that for a living to support his real love, blogging about food.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Cop Killers, Jack and Dan "cop-block" Julius in the middle of a date.
- Gilligan Cut: at least once an episode, usually more often - and all too often involving the equivalent of someone saying "Even Stark wouldn't do X"
- Glory Days: The '80s, for Dan.
- Good Cop, Bad Cop
- Good Old Ways: Dan's philosophy, which is perpetually stuck in The Eighties.
- Grammar Nazi: Apparently, Jack got partnered up with Dan because he couldn't resist informing the captain that there's no "statue of limitations" while in front of the Chief.
- Guns Akimbo: Pedro is highly trained and very good at trick shots so he can pull this off. When Jack tries this it results in the Epic Fail of missing with every round from only a few meters.
Jack: Not even one?
- Hello, Attorney!: Liz, the Assistant District Attorney and Jack's ex-girlfriend.
- Hideous Hangover Cure: Dan's cure for hangovers is a "Guacamonut" (a cinnamon donut dipped in guacamole).
- Hitman with a Heart: Pedro, the world's second best assassin. He's got two kids and is a pretty nice guy who frequently tells people that he doesn't want to have to kill them.
- That's most likely why he's the world's second best assassin.
- Ho Yay: Some believe there's some of this between Jack and Dan.
- Invoked (sort of) in "Silence of the Dan", after Jack tells Dan he loves him:
Dan: You realize this is Texas, right?
- Hollywood Nerd: Sam, a new lab tech, is also Hollywood Homely due to a ponytail, coveralls, and thick glasses. And Nerds Are Sexy by pretty much any other standard.
- Hooker with a Heart of Gold: The one from episode 3. Averted by Zoe.
- Hot-Blooded: Stark.
- How We Got Here
- Hypocritical Humor: In 1x03, Jack and Dan are in a store when the suspect walks in. Dan asks where Jack's gun is; in the car. Dan chews him out for it, then is asked where his gun is. It's in the car.
- I Call It Vera: Frank Savage's gun Stella.
- I Just Want to Have Friends: The loan shark from episode 10.
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Walter, the worst getaway driver in the business. Also a Minion with an F In Evil. He is such a bad getaway driver his favorite getaway car is a station wagon.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: In Small Rooms, Dan shoots out the tire of an escaping vehicle with one shot while he's also doing the driving.
- It's All About Me: Gemini the pimp.
- Jerkass: Assistant Chief Guthrie of Internal Affairs is this full stop, since his Pet the Dog moment at the end of the episode in which he first appeared occurs rather begrudgingly and up until that point he was a completely unlikeable Smug Snake.
- A.D.D. Gordon and Dr. Laviolette.
- Karma Houdini: Liz's BF Kyle in the whistle-blower episode. He does get dumped by Liz for lying to make himself good (and Jack look bad), though, so he doesn't go completely unpunished.
- Karmic Death: In one episode, the villains get away because Jack and Dan's ride is totaled, but then they kill each other in a shootout.
- Kavorka Man: Dan.
- Lampshade Hanging: The show is very self aware.
"And there was a giant explosion, which, as far as I can tell, is a recurring motif in a staggering number of your cases."
- Large Ham: Brad Whitford.
- Le Parkour: Done by a graffiti tagger who Jack and Dan are
chasingattempting to chase in the opening sequence of "The Getaway".
- Magic Plastic Surgery: Played with in the pilot. Escalante demands that the plastic surgeon make him look exactly like Erik Estrada. The surgeon is somewhat afraid to tell him that it doesn't work like that.
- Male Gaze: Liz as a hooker and US Marshal Justine Marino.
- Man Child: The Governor's son. Doesn't help that Dan still sees him as the child he saved all those years ago.
- Meganekko: Samantha.
- Memento MacGuffin: When trying to convince Frank, who had tossed everything from his and Dan's partner days away, to help him save the governor's son, Dan notes there's one thing he didn't get rid of... his mustache. This is what convince him to help.
- Mexican Standoff: With actual Mexicans!
- Meaningful Echo: Much of the scenes in "Silence of the Dan" between Jack and Hodges mirror the first few episodes of the series. You have the uptight, fastidious, by the book cop (Hodges) with a more senior partner (Jack) who reminisces about stuff their old partner did.
- Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The higher-ups paired Dan with Jack and send them to investigate minor crimes to keep them out of trouble, but they always stumble across something much bigger.
- Mistaken for Badass: Maxson from episode 4 who was blowing up every meth lab in Dallas was just a concerned father, who cries a lot.
- Mistaken for Dying: Stark turned out to have gotten a toxic reaction from his indigestion meds which have been out of circulation for 20 years.
- Dirty Cop / The Mole -
- Ms. Fanservice: Liz is this though to her credit, she is also more than just fanservice. But her hooker outfit from "Common Enemies" is this even in-universe, as it renders Jack unable to stand up. Samantha is as well, though more along the Nerds Are Sexy line.
- Most of the female guest stars seem to be aiming for this as well.
- No Name Given: "The Murderin' Jane".
- Noodle Incident: Stark and Ruiz blowing up a taco truck (implied that it contained evidence) and whatever Stark tried to do with the Dallas Task Force's battering ram.
- Once More, with Clarity
- Product Placement: Bailey distracting Hodges by talking about his lunch from KFC.
- Production Posse: Many actors who guest starred on Burn Notice also guest starred here.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni / Sensitive Guy and Manly Man
- Rousing Speech
Stark: You wanna make a movie about lab wienies or do you wanna make a movie about cops?
- Shown Their Work: Very accurate regarding North Texas geography and life. The working title, Code 58, is the real Dallas PD code for "routine investigation."
- Sick Episode: Episode 3.
- Sitcom Arch Nemesis: Hodges & Lang.
- Status Quo Is God: No matter how heroic Stark and Bailey are, they will never be promoted.
- Straight Edge Evil: Dolph from episode 7.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The Georgians. Alfredo & Tico aka, Matt & Phil.
- Trash the Set: Dan's trailer gets blown up in episode 19.
- True Companions: The Georgians and Sasha.
- The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: Molly DiParco.
- Villainous Breakdown: Buddy Haverton.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Hodges' partner Lang who disappeared for many episodes. He said he was on vacation.
- Who's Laughing Now?: Escalante.