Dog, whose real name is Duane Lee Chapman, was actually found guilty of first-degree murder in 1976. A drug deal gone wrong led to an alleged dealer being shot dead, and Chapman was subsequently sentenced to five years behind bars. According to Chapman, it was while he was in prison that he decided that he wanted to become a bounty hunter.
It wasn’t just Dog’s prison past that caused controversy, however. Three years after Dog the Bounty Hunter debuted, a phone conversation between Dog and his son Tucker was leaked. In the recording, Dog used a racial slur when talking about the girl Tucker was dating.
It was a huge story at the time and serious enough that A&E decided to take the show off the air. With Beth’s help, however, Dog was eventually able to save the series. “After meeting with [Dog] and his wife, Beth, and hearing his side of the story, we realized that the controversy had unjustly spiraled out of control without context,” Roy Innis, chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, subsequently told the New York Sun.