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September 2014


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

A New FBI Show Is Coming to Prime-Time TV This Season on CBS

By Alan Stamm

Josh Dunhamel is no Efrem Zimbalist Jr., and his new TV show is unlike “The F.B.I.”

The 2014 version is “Battle Creek,” a drama-comedy set in that Michigan city and picked up by CBS for at least 13 episodes. No date is announced for its “coming soon” mid-season debut.

Dunhamel plays Special Agent Milt Chamberlain, sent to open a field office in the economically depressed Midwestern city of 52,000.

“It’s a throwback old-school cop show,” Dunhamel tells Lauren Moraski of CBS News. “I play an FBI agent who’s setting up a satellite office in Battle Creek.

“We work together with some of the local detectives in this underfunded run-down department. So my character has all the resources in the world and this poor police department has almost nothing. So it’s a contrast between local law enforcement and the FBI. It’s funny, but it’s also a serious procedural at the same time.”

His main co-star is Dean Winters as local Det. Russ Agnew. They spar as a mismatched pair, much as Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy do in “The Heat,” a 2013 comedy film. And as Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy do in “48Hrs.” (1982) and its 1990 sequel. Similarly, Sylvester Stallone and Kurt Russell played “Tango & Cash” on the big screen in 1969. Hey, no one pitches this as a breakthrough concept.

Here’s how CBS promotes the new series, shot in Los Angeles:

“As Russ and Milt work long hours together, the question is: Will it be Milt’s charm and endless supply of high-end resources or Russ’ old-fashioned cynicism, guilt and deception that prove to be the keys to catching the bad guys in his beloved hometown?

The executive producer is Vince Gilligan, who produced “Breaking Bad,” which goes a long way toward explaining why USAToday this summer called it “one of next season’s most-anticipated new series.”

Gilligan says he’s “never actually been to Battle Creek,” but likes the name and will portray it as “a city of underdogs.”


Here’s a partial list of some of other FBI shows

  • “The F.B.I.,” 1965-74:  Insp. Lewis Erskine (Zimbalist) and several agents handled cases based on real FBI files. Erskine reported to Arthur Ward (Phillip Abbott), assistant to the director. The technical adviser was W. Mark Felt, an associate director of the bureau later unmasked as Watergate informant “Deep Throat.” It ran for 241 episodes.
  • “Mancuso, F.B.I.” 1989-90:  Robert Loggia starred on NBC as Nick Mancuso, a bureau veteran assigned to headquarters, where superiors saw him as a maverick with little regard for agency rules and procedures. Low ratings limited it to one season and prime-time summer reruns in 1993.
  • “The FBI Files,” 1998-2006: This 120-episode documentary series ran on the Discovery Channel cable network, using reenactments and interviews with agents and forensic scientists to dramatize real cases.

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