‘Mad Dogs’ Runs Toward Comedy Where Everything Goes Wrong

Mad Dogs / Pilot
Mad Dogs

Unless you’re a bunch of monks, any guys-only vacation to the steamy paradise of Belize promises to get rowdy. But when that trip celebrates the retirement of your rich college bestie (Billy Zane), who turns out to be in the Central American drug trade and is murdered right in front of you by a little person in a cat mask with ties to the local police—well, you might just be up the Caribbean without a paddle. Such is the fate of Joel (Ben Chaplin), Lex (Michael Imperioli), Gus (Romany Malco) and Cobi (Steve Zahn) in Amazon’s new black-comedy-thriller-mystery-action series Mad Dogs. “Cris Cole, who created the British series the show is based on, sums it up as a ‘farce noir,’ which is a great descriptor,” executive producer Shawn Ryan (The Shield) says. “It’s a farce noir about the uselessness of the middle-aged American male.”

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But is that uselessness in terms of getting out of their crazy predicament or uselessness in general? The answer: both. “These guys aren’t cool-headed superheroes with clever tactics. They bumble,” Ryan says. “They’re the opposite of Liam Neeson in Taken. They don’t have a unique set of skills.” And as the stakes get higher, tensions between the quartet reveal their buried secrets—like Joel’s estrangement from his kids and obsession with Cobi’s wife, Gus’s disbarment, Lex’s addictions and Cobi’s affair. “None of them were where they wanted to be in their lives,” Ryan adds. “They’d gathered to relive their college glory days when it felt like everything was in front of them. Of course things were going to go horribly wrong!”

Mad Dogs, Series premiere, Friday, Jan. 22, Amazon Prime Video