Off and on over the last few weeks, I’ve been watching an episode or two of Netflix’s “The Good Cop”. It’s the streaming service’s first procedural and features Josh Groban and Tony Danza as a father and son odd couple. If you liked the creator Andy Breckman’s other show, “Monk”, you will probably enjoy “The Good Cop” as well.
For me it’s sort of a palate cleanser. It’s a nice kind of show to wind down with at the end of the day. It’s warm, good for a laugh, and you usually know who did it in the first ten minutes.The perfect show for a mom who has spent the day chasing children and wants something not challenging to watch before falling asleep.
Generally speaking it's not the kind of show I’d expect to have a scene I can’t stop thinking about weeks after I watched it. And yet, here am weeks later thinking about a random scene that takes place in the middle of the season during an episode titled “Will Big Tony Roll Over?”.
In it Josh Groban’s little Tony, otherwise known as TJ, is trying to save his father Big Tony (Tony Danza) from being murdered by a gang boss. TJ goes to the prison where said gang boss is being housed and sets up meeting with a random prisoner in order to be in the room at the same time as the gang boss and gather some information from him. The random prisoner is so happy to have someone to talk to and tells Little Tony he has not had a visitor in eighteen years. He is forgotten and just wants to talk. TJ promises he will return if he is quiet for a minute so he can take the chance to confront the man trying to take out his dad.
And then at the end of the episode TJ does what he says. He visits the old, forgotten man. It's supposed to be partially for laughs, partially to demonstrate the character of little Tony. A man who keeps his word even when it's inconvenient, or awkward. He’s a cop sitting down with a lonely convict, having a genuine conversation about chips. He’s doing it just because he said he would. But I couldn't stop thinking about how there are really people like that. In prisons, nursing homes, and apartments there are people who have no one. No family. No visitors. No one who will notice if they were gone.
It’s a deep takeaway from an otherwise pleasant but forgettable show. Ever since that episode, I’ve been wondering who I might be forgetting. Who other people would even say deserve to be forgotten, like this random convict. I have this belief that everyone has an inherent and divine dignity. That no one should be forgotten. But what am I even doing to show I believe that.
Little Tony is kind of a buzzkill to some. Literally the sort of guy who won’t take a sugar packet from a diner home with him because it’s technically stealing. But he does what he says and is true to his beliefs. I think I’d rather be like that. Rather be a little odd, than think I believe something and not actually follow through with it.
So, this week I’m asking myself, who in my sphere have I forgotten. And how can I be more like Little Tony and keep my word, even when it's awkward or inconvenient.
Strange Perspective is a weekly look into all things pop culture by Progress Columnist Rachel Strange.