The latest Louisiana-based entry into reality television is set to premiere tonight, June 7, 2012 at 9 p.m. on AETV. The series, “Cajun Justice,” joins other shows such as “Cajun Pawn Shop, ” “Swamp People” and “Duck Dynasty” in focusing on that southern state.
“Cajun Justice” takes a look at the Terrebonne Parish Sheriff’s Office (T.P.S.O.) run by Sheriff Vernon Bourgeois Jr. We will also get a look at his deputies, which include Det. Lt. Terry Daigre, Dep. Paul “Highlights” Thibodeaux, Deputy Melissa “Catfish” Quintal, Deputy Keith Bergeron, Lt. Peter Guidry, Corporal Storm Fitch (while not listed in the credits, Storm’s brothers Steam and Dakota are also members of the T.P.S.O. Sheriff’s department), Sgt. Dudley “D.J.” Authement, Lt. Merlin Daigle, Jacob “Gator Man” Lirrette and Sgt. Jacob “Funkie Nuts” Fonseca.
The nicknames above have to attract some degree of attention, and the explanations are as interesting as the people themselves:
- Jacob “Gator Man” Lirrette isn’t really part of the T.P.S.O., but works closely with them. He is a third-generation “Alligator Nuisance Man.”
- Dep. Paul “Highlights” Thibodeaux got his nickname because he loves his hair. Indeed, he regularly has highlights applied at a local salon – resulting in his nickname.
- Deputy Melissa “Catfish” Quintal received her nickname from her shift commander, who said that “she’s as hard-headed as the hard-head catfish that we have down here.” She is currently in a relationship with Terrebonne’s Alligator Nuisance Man, Jacob Lirette, and is originally from Massachusetts.
- Sgt. Jacob “Funkie Nuts” Fonseca earned his nickname in two ways: there are people some around the area who call Fonseca a “crazy Cajun,” and combined with the difficulty some have pronouncing his last name, he has been nicknamed “Funkie Nuts.”
Mark Kadin, executive producer, said it was a challenge to get people in Terrebonne to trust the show’s crew. Past reality shows such as “Swamp People” didn’t help.
“The biggest issue was getting the locals to trust us and to realize we weren’t down there trying to portray them as hicks, that we were actually trying to spotlight Cajun culture. A lot of them had criticism of ‘Swamp People’ and how the people on ‘Swamp People’ are portrayed. We really tried to acknowledge that and make sure that we were taking a little bit of different slant.
“What’s fascinating about them, and what comes across on TV, is that they are very wary of outsiders. But once they get to know you, and if they respect you, they take you in as one of their own, as their own family, practically. They’re some of the nicest people on the planet.”
Tonight’s premiere is called “Bayou Busted,” and starts things off fast. Deputy Quintal responds to a report of a nighttime voodoo ritual taking place in an abandoned shed in the bayou, while “Highlights” examines a case involving a “ornery citizen” who intends to take justice into his own hands after his A/C unit was stolen during a heat wave. Finally, Sheriff Bourgeois and the entire team go on the hunt for an elusive drug dealer known as “Jesse James;” that investigation takes them deep into the swamps.
There is a second episode airing tonight, though (the series consists of 30-minute episodes). In the second one, called “Catfish and Gators,” an alligator attacks a family dog; a suspect from a local theft ring is pursued; and water-patrol officers investigate a strange call in the bayou in the middle of the night.
Get ready for more excitement. Among the “bizarre and unusual criminal incidents” that may be covered in the series is the Rougarou, which is a “shape-shifting swamp monster.”
“Cajun Justice” premieres tonight, June 7, 2012 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AETV.