TV News & Reviews

Watch party tonight for locally filmed series ‘Outlaw Country’

Brothers Steve (left) and Mike Cook represent law and order in WGN America’s reality series “Outlaw Country.” Mike Cook is police chief of Buckner.
Brothers Steve (left) and Mike Cook represent law and order in WGN America’s reality series “Outlaw Country.” Mike Cook is police chief of Buckner. WGN America

Update: Meet “Outlaw Country’s” Monk brothers at a watch party starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at No. 9 Saloon, 6609 N. Oak Trafficway. Damien Gunn and the Magnificent Bang Bangs will play before and after the premiere of “Outlaw Country” at 9 p.m. (on WGN America). The public is invited and there’s no cover charge.

Which is Buckner: “The Little Village in the Valley,” as the welcome sign says, or “Outlaw Country”?

From early looks at a new reality show, Buckner (population 3,000-ish) appears to be a hotbed of crime and drugs.

Then again, “you’ve gotta remember, it’s a TV show,” said Gary Thompson, president of the Northeast Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

“Outlaw Country,” which premieres at 9 p.m. Tuesday on WGN America, is billed as “an unprecedented look at crime in a small town from both sides of the law.”

The “docudrama” follows two pairs of brothers: Buckner’s police chief, Mike Cook, and his brother, Steve, an Independence police detective, vs. John and Josh Monk.

At least in promotional video clips, the Monk brothers seem to be bad boys. The show’s publicity says the Monks’ “street crew” are “living as modern outlaws.”

John Monk, reached at his Revelation Tattoo shop in Gladstone, said he couldn’t comment because he and other participants in the show signed nondisclosure agreements. His brother, Josh, works in the landscaping business and is “invite coach” at Maywood Baptist Church in Independence.

One might wonder how all this is going down at Buckner City Hall. The city administrator referred The Star’s queries to the city attorney, Steve Mauer.

Mauer’s response to several questions about the series and community reaction echoed Thompson, the chamber of commerce president: “It’s a TV show.”

“I think it’s pretty well-known around town that the show was there and they did shooting,” Mauer said. “I don’t think there’s any secrets about the show.”

He said the city wasn’t concerned about its police chief being featured in “Outlaw Country.”

Buckner signed an agreement with the show’s production company “to use our facilities,” and there was a “full understanding that Chief Cook and others might be featured on the show,” Mauer said.

The city was paid a $5,000 “location fee,” he said.

Thompson said so far he’s heard “just a few comments here and there” about the show from residents.

“I would hope it doesn’t put a bad light on (Buckner) because it’s a really nice town,” Thompson said. “It’s safe and very family-friendly and a lot of good things are going on,” including a new City Hall and new businesses coming in.

“Outlaw Country’s” season will consist of seven hourlong episodes. One of its executive producers is Jason Hervey, who back in the day played Kevin’s older brother, Wayne, on ABC’s “The Wonder Years.”

To reach Tim Engle, call 816-234-4779 or send email to On Twitter @tim_engle