Swamp Justice Swamp Justice

In the farthest corner of America lies the nation's largest swamp, a hidden world where nature rules and man fights back.

And right there, it's obvious that Swamp People is a total rip-off (homage?) of the entire Law and Order franchise. The perps: alligators. The detectives: the alligator hunters. Each pair of hunters represents a different set of detectives from the various series.

It's clear from the get-go that Troy “Swamp King” Landry is the Lennie Briscoe of the bayou. He's weathered, he's seasoned , and he's a freaking legend. Filling the role of Troy's Mike Logan is Clint “No Relation” Landry, an up-and-comer in his own right who tried and failed to strike out on his own (with a turtle farm? what?), but he's come back to the Swamp fold this season. Over the course of the episode, Briscoe and Logan bag about nine thousand gators in a secret spot that, according to Troy, can only be accessed by hard work. That, and forcing your partner to wade in alligator-infested waters to push your ten-ton boat through mud while you insist on staying inside the boat to protect your waterproof work boots. Troy, of course, eventually got out to help, but there's an implication by the narrator that he's getting too old for this.

Willie and Randy are the Benson and Stabler of the swamp. They are experts at taking! it! personally! And blowing several opportunities at nailing those pervert alligators to the wall. I think at one point Willie actually starts to cry, but these two are great at sharing the blame every time the perp gets away. Like when Willie completely misses his shot, he's quick to say, “We let him get away.” Or just as Willie is lining up for the kill shot, here comes Randy putt-putting in on another boat and scaring the gator off. But Randy immediately looks on the bright side, “We'll get eem.” And much like Benson and Stabler, it takes the whole episode for these two to finally nab their perp, but they do. And there's one less gator terrorizing innocent catfishers.

In the Swamp People's war on gators, the worst criminal offenders are pursued by RJ and Jay Paul. RJ, heretofore known as Goren, never met a gator he couldn't suss out, but serial crab-killer Gourmand may be his smartest, toughest opponent yet. Jay Paul fulfills his Eames duty with ease, merely providing exposition and a pretty face. Oh, and that one good idea about using his chicken and swiss sandwich for bait. But it's going to take RJ's experience, wisdom, and tenacity to bag this gator. Sure enough, by the episode's end, Gourmand's crab-menacing days are over.

Rounding out the franchise are Austyn and Blake, also known as Winters and Morales. Who and who? Exactly. I worry about the safety of their French bulldog (is he bait?) and their own as they wrestle over a gun, allowing their gator to escape in the process. They get their gator, but I sure hope they were taking notes when Troy was giving them advice at the end, and that his hopes of their carrying on the gator hunting legacy are not met with the same fate as Dick Wolf's for Law and Order: Los Angeles.

Come back next week for another ripped-from-the-headlines episode of L&O: Swamp Justice.

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