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'Good Guys' lets Hanks, Whitford stretch

Dan (Bradley Whitford, left) and Jack (Colin Hanks,

Dan (Bradley Whitford, left) and Jack (Colin Hanks, right) bust punks and kick some 'stache in "The Good Guys" previewing Wednesday, May 19 at 8 p.m. on FOX. Photo Credit: FOX Photo

'The Good Guys," a new Fox series that gets a sneak preview Wednesday before beginning its official run June 7, is a refreshing blast of laughter and almost nonstop action.

A bracing variation on cop-buddy comedies, "The Good Guys" combines a sharp visual style with a time-jumping narrative as it follows the adventures of odd-couple Dallas detectives Jack Bailey (Colin Hanks), an ambitious but buttoned-up type who ticked off an important superior, and Dan Stark (Bradley Whitford), a boozing 50-something cop blearily trying to recapture his glory days from the 1970s.

Whitford's change of pace

It might sound like a familiar formula - and to some extent, it is - but the character-driven comedy is sharp and funny, not to mention delivered skillfully by the two stars, both of whom were eager to escape their usual character types.

"I wanted to get away from the yuppie guys in suits," says Whitford, who was cast as Dan after an NBC sitcom pilot - in which, weirdly enough, he played another alcoholic cop - didn't get picked up. "I hope Dan is unlike any other character I've ever played, and it's so much fun to play this guy. When the show moved to Texas, Dan got a little more Texan. He's not the same guy as in the other show, but when you're playing an alcoholic, the research is fascinating."

A different Hanks, too

Hanks, meanwhile, was getting tired of finding himself repeatedly cast as a nice guy around whom the truly funny stuff actually happened.

"Those were the mainstream roles I was being offered, and that doesn't really give me a chance to be funny," explains Hanks, the 32-year-old son of Oscar winner Tom Hanks. "Really, all you have to do with a part like that is 'bring the sweet' and be endearing. This is much more of a true two-handed setup, with the going back and forth. Jack definitely gets embarrassed by some of Dan's crazy stuff, but Jack talks back, and he talks back with an opinion. I don't have to deliver every line in an uptight, squeaky register, and that's really refreshing."

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