True Justice & The True Justice Drinking Game (TM)

Thanks to Netflix, I have seen the future of Steven Seagal‘s career. It’s TV, and I’m not talking about that Lawman reality show of his.

TRUE_JUSTICE_poster

Let’s start with looking at Seagal’s credits on True Justice. Beyond being the titular star (his name appears before the title), Seagal is a writer, executive producer, and creator of the show. I cannot think of any other project where Seagal has so much creative control, and his influence definitely shows.

True Justice takes everything “we” (re: I) love about Seagal and distills it down to a pure essence. Whereas his direct to video films have a running time of 90 minutes or so, each episode of True Justice is a tight 45 minutes without commercials. As such, we get everything we would normally get in a Segal film but with none of the extra filler. Think of it as the difference between an energy drink an an energy shot. True Justice is a pure shot of Seagal every episode and for true fans every episode will leave them wanting more. (Thank goodness there’s a 2nd season of this show!)

So what is True Justice about? Seagal is Elijah Kane, the chief of SIU, a secret division of the Seattle Police Department that specializes in undercover duties. SIU works multiple cases and they are usually called in on cases that either rapidly escelate (multiple homicides, drug trafficking, serial rapist, etc.) or are unique in some other manner. Many of the episodes features the team taking on multiple cases and sometimes the cases end up linked and sometimes not (how realistic!).

There's no "Seagal" in TEAM

There’s no “Seagal” in TEAM

Kane’s team is composed of newbie Sarah, token minority Mason, tough veteran brunette Juliet, and male renegade Sheppard guy Radner. I would discuss each of them in more detail, but this show is all about stereotypes, archetypes, and tropes. One thing I noticed about this show is that since it’s filmed in Canada (Vancouver?), there are many Asian actors and actresses in secondary roles. It’s probably the TV show I’ve seen with the most number of Asians in speaking roles even if over half of them are criminals or shady informants.

So is this show watching? That’s hard to say. Hopefully this article should be enough to convince you one way or another. I am avoiding spoilers as I want things to be a surprise to the Seagal aficionados. This show is basically an adaption of a self-insertion fan fic. I do think this is the best format to showcase Seagal and his Seagalisms as it avoids the issues that crop up in his films due to length. It’s definitely not for everyone, but I love it. In fact, I’ve created the True Justice Drinking Game (TM) to help haters and fans get through episodes of this show. (WARNING: Playing this game during the last episode of Season 1, “Payback” will probably lead to alcohol poisoning.)

The True Justice Drinking Game

Take a sip

    Seagal

  • Kane’s Asian heritage is referenced or his knowledge of all Asian cultures helps with the case
  • Kane speaks Mandarin/Cantonese/Japanese/other Asian language in a scene
  • Kane uses an accent in a scene
  • Kane references black ops or his black ops background comes in useful
  • Kane mentions training someone
  • Kane wears a badge around his neck
  • Kane wears sunglasses or shooting glasses
  • Kane wears a hat or bandanna
  • Kane visits an informant
  • Kane disarms/shoots/beats someone up (another if it’s unnecessary or another lawman)

The Team

  • Sarah gets hazed or is called newbie, or her skills are questioned etc.
  • Sarah gets in trouble
  • A team member is saved by Seagal, another sip if it’s NOT Sarah
  • The team tails someone, another sip if they lose them

Production

  • Asian in a secondary role, take another if it’s George Takei or Tia Carrere
  • B-roll footage of Seattle via car or aerial shot
  • Obvious digital effects (fire, smoke, explosions, etc.)
  • Jump cut white flash edits (just 1 for each sequence/group)
  • Text appears telling you a vague location in Seattle/surrounding area
  • “Written by Steven Seagal” appears in the opening credits of an episode (him and someone else counts)
  • A punch or kick misses but people react as though they are hit
  • Seagal vision (like Shawn Spencer from Psych‘s detective vision only…Seagal-ier) / crime flashback
Seagal shooting from a truck

Seagal often shoots from vehicles to conserve energy.

Take a gulp

Seagal

  • Kane cheats death in a ridiculous manner (dodges bullet at 6ft, etc)
  • Kane dodges an ex flame/lover
  • Kane has a model girlfriend at the end of an episode

The Team

  • Radner/Shepard loses his temper and starts a fight / goes too far fighting a suspect / in too deep
  • Radner/Shepard volunteers to go undercover in a strip club / deal with the ladies
  • Radner/Shepard gets shot down by a woman
  • Mason/Token Black Guy talks about divorce, his wife, or problems meeting up with her, their rocky relationship, etc.
  • Juliet/Brunette girl gets angry at someone
  • Sarah volunteers to go undercover
  • Team members go undercover in a strip club or dance club
  • Team members go on a stakeout
  • A team member has a personal tie to the case

Production

  • Obvious continuity error (costume change, etc.)
  • The camera shakes during non-action scene or ridiculous shaky cam during an action scene
  • A gunfight at the beginning of the episode (8min in or less)
  • A gunfight lasts longer than 2min
  • Split-screen shot
  • Subtitles under credits
  • Obvious recycled footage
  • Shot of shell casings hitting the ground
  • Seagal’s political/environmental philosophies are a plot point
  • Scene cuts instead of showing Seagal running OR another character pursues a character instead of Kane
If you play during this episode, you may get alcohol poisoning.

If you play during this episode, you may get alcohol poisoning.

Finish the Drink!

  • Kane sings/plays the Blues
  • Kane polishes a katana / uses one
  • Kane gets wounded/hurt
  • Kane has a beard
  • A team member leaves the show (temporarily or permanently)
  • Triple or quadruple split-screen shot
  • Seagal looks at the camera

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