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Series / Hap and Leonard

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Hap and Leonard is a Sundance Channel drama series based on the characters Hap and Leonard, created by novelist Joe R. Lansdale and adapted from his series of novels of the same name.

Set in the late 1980s in the fictional East Texas town, it focuses on the titular characters (respectively played by James Purefoy and Michael K. Williams). Hap Collins, a white working class laborer who spent time in federal prison as a young man for refusing to be drafted into the military and serve in the Vietnam War and Leonard Pine, a gay black Vietnam vet with serious anger issues.

Cancelled after 3 seasons.

Tropes used by the series:

  • The '80s: Season 1 is set in 1988. Most of season 3 takes place from Christmas Eve 1989 through New Years.
  • Actor Allusion: Not the first time Michael K. Williams has played a main homosexual character.
  • Adaptational Curves: While no particular mention is made in the novel about Trudy's bust, her role is played by the very buxom Christina Hendricks.
  • Adaptation Expansion: While the first season is mostly an adaptation of Savage Season, minor elements of Mucho Mojo are included.
    • Likewise, elements of Two-Bear Mambo shine through in Mucho Mojo, as well as a quick nod to Bad Chili.
  • All for Nothing: In Season 3, Hap and Leonard have to find Florida Grange. In the end, despite their best efforts and even finding her, she is killed by getting impaled on some debris.
  • Ate His Gun: Reverend Fitzgerald commits suicide via shotgun when cornered by the police and Hap & Leonard. The irony? They were there for Hap.
  • Ax-Crazy: Jesus, Soldier and Angel play this trope EXTREMELY well.
  • Badass Preacher: Reverend Fitzgerald is quite the boxer, able to keep up with Hap in a charity boxing match, although Leonard beats him quite handily in a serious engagement.
  • Butt-Monkey: Chub, poor Chub!
  • Berserk Button:
    • Chub went tranquil bananas after Soldier called Leonard the N-word until out of blue, Paco shot him down.
    • Hap tells Uncle Chester in no uncertain terms he will not abide anyone calling Leonard the f-word.
    • Threaten MeMaw and Reverend Fitzgerald in front of T.J. at your own peril.
    • Don't give drugs to Ivan, or else Leonard will burn down your house. In fact, messing with children and Leonard finding out about it is tantamount to suicide.
    • Hap is anywhere from vindictive to outright hostile to anything relating to Beau Otis. To be fair, Otis did kill his father.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Hap is polite and rather gentlemanly, if a bit of a pervert. If you try to hurt Leonard, however, he will destroy you.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • Slow burn in the case of Hap. His father was killed by a drunken teenage Beau Otis, present day county judge in Laborde. Hap suffers with the psychological damage inflicted upon him as a child, while Otis prospers and barely gives thought to that fateful night.
    • MeMaw literally dies when given the news that not only are her grandchildren dead, but the ones responsible for the string of child murders in Cooperstown.
  • Cartwright Curse: Being romantically involved with Hap Collins is not something that comes with a long life. Trudy and Florida both suffer from it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: In the first episode, Leonard mentions how Switch, one of his dogs, will attack anyone he thinks is doing Leonard harm. Sure enough, come episode five Hap and Leonard use this as a ploy to incapacitate Soldier and Angel.
    • MeMaw's childhood run-in with the Klu Klux Klan at her church, and in a way MeMaw herself. Her grandsons, Reverend John Fitzgerald and T.J., are behind the series of grisly child murders in Cooperstown. And her old defunct church serves as the burial grounds for Fitzgerald's victims.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Paco sold this trope two times.
  • Cruella to Animals: One of Leonard's dogs was killed by....of course....Soldier, who went on to taunt Leonard about it.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: The end of season 3. They finally manage to find and rescue Florida, but then a flood just comes in out of nowhere and sweeps her away, impaling her on some debris and killing her anyway. It has absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and serves no purpose other than to deny the series a happy ending.
  • Cultural Rebel: Leonard is a double example; his political leanings puts him at odds with his boyfriend, and his uncle has all but disowned him for being openly gay.
  • The Determinator: Both Hap and Leonard fit this bill. Once they resolve to solve the Cooperstown Murders, they do not stop. Even the love-starved Hap isn't distracted by the prospect of a booty-call with an ex-girlfriend, or a rendezvous with Florida Grange.
    • Trudy's will is nothing short of iron in the face of psychopaths like Soldier and Angel.
    • Angel herself is no slouch either, when it comes to keep on fighting despite multiple incapacitating wounds.
  • Disco Dan: Soldier enjoys mocking Howard and Trudy over how the carefree idealism of the 60s is dead and buried.
  • Death by Irony: Paco died, engulfed in flames!
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Softboy McCall is murdered in prison by another inmate because he took the last piece of cake.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Paco's extremely noticeable disfigured face was from an accidental explosion decades prior.
    • MeMaw's burns on her arms come from trying to put out a church fire when she was a child.
  • Evil Brit: When she's not being The Quiet One, Angel is this.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Soldier and Angel.
    • Played straight with Reverend Fitzgerald in the penultimate episode of Mucho Mojo.
  • Femme Fatale: Trudy is guilty of this.
  • Fingore: In "War", Trudy's hand literally nailed into the table by Soldier.
  • Flashback: Both to Hap and Leonard meeting in the 50s, and the breakdown of Hap and Trudy's marriage in the late 60s.
  • Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Again, Soldier.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Hap and Trudy.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Despite only one half being heterosexual, Hap and Leonard have each others backs no matter what.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": Hap is indeed Hap's legal name as shown in the flashback to Hap recieving his call up papers to serve in Vietnam.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Hap and Trudy engage in this after nearly becoming gator chow.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:Florida is fatally impaled on a log when the dam flood sweeps her away.
  • Let Them Die Happy: When Angel is fatally wounded from the arrow Hap fired at her throat, Soldier comforts her with visions of their future living off the loot in Acapulco.
  • Name and Name: Hap and Leonard
  • Neck Snap: To Angel, courtesy of Leonard.
  • Nice Guy: Hap. He's a polite, mellow, and all-around friendly guy who is unconditionally loyal to the people close to him. Leonard flat-out compares him to a puppy dog at one point.
  • Not Quite Dead: Angel!
  • N-Word Privileges: Hap seems to have them with Leonard.
  • Odd Couple: Hap is white, liberal, and heterosexual. Leonard is black, conservative, and Manly Gay. They fight crime!
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Soldier enjoys using the N-Word.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: When Hap refuses to be drafted, the recruitment officer tries to advise him to go to Canada or claim to be a conscientious objector, instead of going to jail.
    • He may be a hard-ass following false assumptions and incorrect leads, but Marvin Hanson will follow every possible lead and is willing to give the benefit of the doubt.
    • Despite having an appearance of an Ambiguously Evil Small-Town Tyrant, Sheriff Otis Valentine in Season 2 proves himself to be.
  • Secret-Keeper: Subverted with Chub.
  • Sequel Hook: The last shot of the first season is the child skeleton that kicks off the plot of Mucho Mojo.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The hunt for Florida. After an arduous adventure to find her, she and Hap are reunited for barely 5 minutes before she's washed away in the dam flood and fatally impaled on some debris.
  • Shoot the Dog: Soldier. No, he literally shoots a dog in a cage.
    • The circumstances by which T.J. is killed by Detective Charlie LeBlanc. He didn't need to die, and he was just as much a victim as any of the boys his brother killed.
  • Shout-Out: Soldier shouting, "Hap and Leonard, COME OUT AND PLAY!
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Softboy McCall indirectly causes the entire plot of the first season with his botched robbery, but he dies in the first episode over a petty dispute while still in prison.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Then and there.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Leonard regularly eats vanilla cookies.
  • Truth in Television: Chester's homophobic attitude toward his nephew Leonard's homosexuality is very common in the African American community.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: T.J. in combat doesn't amount to more than a few wide haymakers and clumsy grapples, but he's strong and sturdy enough that knee and joint strikes don't bring him down, and he's able to fight both Hap and Leonard to a draw.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Hap and Leonard more often than not suffer misery for knowing the other, and will insult each other the entire way. But they're still friends.
  • Wicked Cultured: Soldier qualifies.