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I am one of the millions of Deadwood fans out there. Unfortunately, I recently learned that HBO plans on axing the show before David Milch, the show's executive producer, can shoot the planned fourth and final season. Here is a recent news story detailing the situation:

 

'DEADWOOD' HEADS FOR BOOT HILL

 

By ADAM BUCKMAN

 

May 18, 2006 -- HBO's decision against holding the "Deadwood" cast to their contracts for a fourth season was a business decision the show's creator finds frustrating, but also understands.

 

"How [expletive deleted] is it that we're not coming back"? asked the show's creator and executive producer, David Milch, on the phone from Los Angeles this week.

 

With fans of the critically acclaimed western series gearing up for the start of the third season June 11, HBO last week decided not to pick up contractual options that would have obligated the cast to hold off on scheduling outside work that would have interfered with the production of a fourth season of "Deadwood."

 

The move effectively puts the kibosh on a fourth season, which likely would have begun production this fall.

 

"If I were a betting man, which I am, I would say the odds are against ["Deadwood" returning]," Milch said.

 

As he interprets the situation, HBO's decision was based on financial considerations that weighed the advantages of continuing with "Deadwood" against the benefits of funding other series - both new and continuing.

 

"A whole bunch of other development was going on and it was a finite fiscal universe," Milch said, "and they just couldn't push the button at that time for a full slate."

 

As a result, he said, "It was not responsible to hold [the cast] any longer."

 

"I guess inadvertently I was part of the equation in that I had believed that ["Deadwood" had] been picked up and I had also given them the script of a new pilot which they wanted to proceed with," said Milch, referring to a new series with the tentative title, "John from Cincinnati," reportedly a drama about surfing. HBO has ordered a pilot for "John" but has not yet made a decision about ordering a series, Milch said.

 

Milch said his biggest fear is that some viewers - especially those thinking about watching for the first time - might not want to get involved in watching the third season when they know it will be the series' last.

 

"It would break my heart if this sort of foreknowledge on the part of the audience of what has happened [behind the scenes] casts a shadow on their experience of these 12 episodes to come," Milch said.

 

[email protected]

 

 

Source -- http://www.nypost.com/entertainment/68731.htm

 

Those interested in trying to save the show or learning more should visit http://www.savedeadwood.net/

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I'm totally speculating here, but here's what I think may have happened here...

 

Milch kind of dropped a surprise announcement about 2 weeks ago that he only planned to stay with the show for 4 seasons. He said that he didn't know if it would go on without him, but as far as he was concerned, he would do one season for each year that the Deadwood camp existed. Which, by the way, doesn't make much sense to me because there's no way the first two seasons covered two full years. Not even close.

 

But anyway...that announcement may have upset HBO a little bit, so they figured rather than dump all this money into a show that was going to be leaving soon anyway, why not save that money to work on some new shows that would be around for a long time.

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Here is what W. Earl Brown, the actor who plays Dan Dority on Deadwood, wrote on the HBO Deadwood message board on the situation. To see more of his posts on the subject, just click on his screen name BigEarlB.

 

Re: Season 3 May be the last season for Deadwood

 

Posted: May 13, 2006 12:49 PM (205 of 903) Report

 

It has nothing to do with pregnancies. It has nothing to do with conservative watchdogs.

 

It has everything to do with money.

 

Chris Albrecht, HBO CEO, is in danger of losing his job. The network is bleeding red ink. His production side lost a ton of money. They sunk 120-million into ROME. They are committed contractually to another season, plus they have 120 invested already.

 

On DEADWOOD, they did not get foreign rights. Paramount had a deal with Milch to work for them. In exchange for them releasing him to HBO, they got foreign rights to our show. So for three years, HBO has not seen that money from around the world.

 

While we are the second biggest show on HBO, we are the 2nd most expensive to make (half of what ROME costs, mind you). Chris has shareholders to answer to and is panicked to cut the bottom line. Never mind the fact, that in 2004 he posted a 1-Billion dollar profit (the most for ANY network. Ever.) You might've won the Super Bowl last year, but if you go 0-16 this season, you're looking for another coaching job.

 

We had been given word of season four. They trumpeted the announcment of the season to the press in March. Chris, obviously having not been raised the way I was where a man's word is his bond, reneged on us. He offered Milch the opportunity to wrap up the series with either a 2 hour movie or an order of six episodes. David refused, feeling that to conclude with anything short of a full season (which we'd already been given word of) would demean all the work we'd done prior. I agree.

 

The sh*tty part of this is David's Paramount deal is over this year. Starting with season four, HBO would own the show outright. All world monies would be theirs. BUT... that doesn't help Chris with the shareholders today. He is cutting off his nose to spite his face.

 

Write HBO. Call HBO. Email HBO. It amounts to the bottom line. If the are overun by subscibers and the threatened cancellations are enough of an issue to seriously cut into their cash flow, they might change track.

 

Bottom line matters. CARNIVALE only had a weekly viewership of 2-3 million. SOPRANOS, on the opposite end, has 10-12. DEADWOOD drew 5-6. ROME has a comparable draw, although their viewership dwindled as the show went on. However (this is solely my opinion having constantly encountered fans on the street, in airports, etc. who are only now getting into the show via dvd of season 1) DEADWOOD is (was) still ascending.

 

We've been cut off at the knees.

 

Read this. Memorize this. I'm afraid some Monitor from Big Brother will soon delete it and I will never work for HBO again... at least while Albrecht is at the helm.

 

Source -- http://boards.hbo.com/thread.jspa?threadID...65443#800065443

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Awesome. I can't deal with the HBO boards. I swear there's never been more stupidity collected in one area before...with the possible exception of the ESPN boards. But that dude's pissed off.

 

As much as I like Deadwood, I can't work up the passion to get all enraged about it ending. For some reason, I have trouble believing this is really the end for the show, even if it really sounds like it.

 

It's hard to believe they renewed The Wire, though, and not Deadwood. I mean, no one watches The Wire.

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No doubt W. Earl Brown is one pissed off hombre. I don't blame him. Deadwood is the best original programming that HBO has and one of the best shows ever produced as far as I'm concerned. Here is Brown's message reacting to this news in the same thread I cited earlier. I am sure other Deadwood actors had similiar reactions.

 

Re: Season 3 May be the last season for Deadwood

 

Posted: May 12, 2006 10:58 AM (5 of 910) Report

Having not slept for much of last night, I sit staring bleary-eyed at my computer. That phone call last evening floored me. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I see it coming.

 

I feel cheated.

 

I am cheated as an person because the way I was brought up a man's word is his bond. We were given word in Dec. that we'd be back for a fourth season. A formal annoucement of that fourth season was trumpeted in the press in March. Lives were planned accordingly.

 

I am cheated as an artist because something that I poured my lifeblood into has been given short-shrift and not allowed to conclude properly.

 

I am cheated as a fan because the verbally fleet and intricately plotted show shall just cease to be. It will just stop. No wrap up. No farewells.

 

It isn't like DEADWOOD had a tiny audience. No, our ratings -- based on what I've read -- were good, better than all HBO shows but one. They were not SOPRANOS huge, but then again, SOPRANOS did not become the cultural phenomenon until it's third season.

 

This is not the fault of David Milch. Given his druthers, he would never just leave a show hanging like this. I feel nothing but gratitude toward his largess. As for the coporate bean-counters...

 

It has been a high-water mark of my career. I seriously doubt I will ever again be a part of something so unique, so daring, and so special. I hang my head in sorrow...

 

 

 

W. Earl Brown

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Guest CrimsonCane

This is awful news. Deadwood is probably my favorite show on television and, in my opinion, one of the most well-writen and well-acted shows ever. I hope that this isn't the final word from management over at HBO. The second season DVDs haven't even been released yet. Maybe strong DVD sales or improved ratings this season can give HBO enough of a reason to change its mind. If not, I'll still be looking forward to an amazing third season and be upset at the fact that the show wasn't given the proper send off it deserved.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here is a recent article on Deadwood. At least I have Lost to fall back to, but this hurts.

 

'Deadwood' appears to be dead in the water for fourth season

By David Kronke, Television Writer

 

 

 

In an episode of the upcoming third season of HBO's acclaimed Western "Deadwood," Al Swearengen, the town's saloon/brothel owner with the soul of a poet but the mouth of a sailor, declares, "Change ain't looking for friends."

Particularly if it's the change HBO has in store for fans of "Deadwood." Though series creator David Milch envisioned the program, which focuses on the denizens of the roughest community America had to offer in the late 1800s, to run for four seasons, HBO offered him a truncated, six-episode final season. Milch declined.

 

And, just as Swearengen notes later in the aforementioned scene, "Change calls the tune we dance to," HBO decided the song-and-dance was over.

 

Milch, in an event sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West on Thursday, said, "I'm not competent enough to assess what combination of circumstances appears today to have curtailed (the series)," but admitted that each episode of the series required "15, 16 days (of shooting) ? maybe that's why we're speaking in the past tense." Most TV dramas film an episode in half that time, and "Deadwood" cost an estimated $5 million per episode, more than twice that of most hourlong dramas.

 

"I don't make (set) deadlines," Milch conceded with a shrug. He added that when a show becomes highly successful, a network will trumpet, "It's a hallmark of this network that we are brave enough ... to allow a certain idiosyncrasy in work schedules."

 

Not anymore, apparently. No contract extensions have been offered any "Deadwood" cast members ? their contracts conclude June 10, the day before the third season premieres. Viewers who e-mailed HBO about the show received a form letter stating: "There has been no decision for the future of the series, and conversations regarding a fourth season are ongoing. ? (We've) granted our beloved 'Deadwood' cast the latitude to pursue other projects, for the time being."

 

Earlier this week on HBO's "Deadwood" message boards, cast member W. Earl Brown reported that the show's sets were being dismantled.

 

"I don't know where they are headed after the dismantling ? to storage or to the dump," Brown continued. "I don't think (HBO chairman) Chris (Albrecht) has some personal vendetta against either us or anyone on the show. ... He can't base a decision solely on 'art' when his bottom line is suffering."

 

Still, "Deadwood" remains one of HBO's most popular original series, as well as a critical darling and an awards magnet ? in two seasons, it's won the prestigious Peabody Award, five Emmys and a Golden Globe for Ian McShane, who portrays the profanely scabrous Swearengen. HBO's series "Rome" was renewed, though its viewership didn't approach "Deadwood's" and its first 12 episodes cost a reported $100 million (though the network split the costs with the British Broadcasting Corp.). HBO has been extravagantly promoting "Entourage," which also returns for a third season June 11 but boasts a fraction of "Deadwood's" fan base.

 

Fan response to HBO's was immediate. Chip Collins of Boston, who admits he wasn't even a fan of Westerns until the series came along, created a Web site, savedeadwood.net, and within a few days rustled up $6,000 to place an ad in Daily Variety imploring HBO to allow Milch to give his creation proper closure.

 

"Its writing is so much different than anything else that's on TV," Collins enthused in a phone interview, "and the composition of particular shots is up there with the best of anything I've ever seen ? I'd even call them Kubrickian."

 

Still, Collins conceded, "It's hard to think of many fan campaigns to save shows that have worked. But we really went into this with the idea that we want to make a statement. We want to go down fighting."

 

For his part, Milch will begin shooting a new HBO series, "John From Cincinnati," which he describes as "surfer-noir," in July, and professed no ill feelings toward the network. "My collaboration has been a uniformly positive one," he said Thursday.

 

Milch expressed the hope that fans could view the third season outside of the context of "Deadwood's" early cancellation.

 

Noting that he had been editing the season's ninth episode earlier in the day, Milch recalled watching a scene be formed in the editing bay.

 

"I thought, 'Gee, that's nice,' and then I thought, 'Boy, I'm gonna miss it.' And that 'Boy, I'm gonna miss it' takes me out of the scene.

 

"Everything can take on a new meaning," he continued. "Your experience of the meaning of 'Deadwood' ? the betrayal of the artist by an unfeeling corporate organism ? you can let that be what you take from the show; that is there.

 

"But if that's all you take from this season, you will be deprived. Just let 'Deadwood' be 'Deadwood.' "

 

---

David Kronke, (818) 713-3638 [email protected]

 

http://www.sbsun.com/ontv/ci_3869734

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It's now official. Deadwood is dead after this upcoming season.

 

"I'm touched by the passionate response of many of the fans of Deadwood and understand the disappointment they have expressed that this is to be the final season of the show.

 

However, I presented a new project to the network, John from Cincinnati, which they are very excited about. We worked together to try and fashion a plan that would have enabled us to produce a fourth season of Deadwood, as well as the new show. HBO, in fact, offered to commit to an additional six episodes after this season to conclude Deadwood.

 

I felt the right decision creatively was to stop now and move forward with the new project. Deadwood has been a magnificent experience for both me and the cast and crew behind the show, and I hope that everyone who loves Deadwood will not allow their disappointment in any way to affect what we believe is a wonderful season to come."

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He is a bit of (possibly) good news on the Deadwood front:

 

Deadwood Exclusive!

What's happening in the camp?

by Stax

 

June 2, 2006 - Ever since the media began suggesting last month that HBO would likely not bring back Deadwood for a fourth season, the show's fans as well as industry pundits have weighed in on the prospect of the critically acclaimed Western lying down for a dirt nap. Fans took the news especially hard, with some even promising to cancel their subscriptions to HBO in a sign of protest.

 

"Not having a fourth season of Deadwood is not the result anyone wanted," HBO honcho Chris Albrecht advised the L.A. Times' Calendarlive.com in May.

 

While HBO reps informed the Hollywood trade papers that no final decision has yet been made on a fourth season and that talks are ongoing, the cable network let its options lapse on bringing back the cast. HBO was also said to be gun-shy about a potential two-year gap between seasons, as happens with its flagship series, The Sopranos.

 

Being an expensive show with no opportunity for lucrative product placement does not help Deadwood's chances of survival, either. Even the series' creator and executive producer, David Milch, has all but sounded the death knell for the show, recently informing TV Guide, "I felt the right decision creatively was to stop now and move forward with the new project [John From Cincinnati]."

 

Milch also discounted the notion of bringing Deadwood back for a truncated fourth season, an HBO counter-offer of six episodes instead of twelve. Milch reportedly said the series was never intended to go beyond four seasons anyway.

 

In essence, by not renewing the cast's contracts, HBO was canceling the show without quite calling it that. But, as Variety recently pointed out, "Terms of the contracts had been set to expire before the third-season premiere on June 11." That means there is still time for the cast's options to be renewed if HBO so chooses.

 

Now HBO has taken an action that suggests there might be hope for Deadwood. Might.

 

IGN was told that the show's sets were being dismantled as of last week. Indeed, we were informed that The Gem Saloon was already in a Dumpster! But now a reliable source close to the series has informed IGN that HBO issued a "halt" order yesterday (June 1st) on tearing down the sets.

 

Could HBO be succumbing to fan and media pressure to bring Deadwood back for a fourth season? If not then why not simply continue with striking the sets? With the third season debut right around the corner, this is the most promising sign yet that Deadwood may not be quite dead yet.

 

http://tv.ign.com/articles/711/711064p1.html

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It looks like fans of Deadwood might be getting 2 two-hour movies after Season 3. I won't believe it until all the actors are signed up. HBO promised a fourth season and then reneged.

 

Considering Milch was reportedly offered 6 one-hour episodes and he turned it down because it wasn't sufficient to wrap up the series, it seems like this might be a sellout on Milch's part (who has another series in the works with HBO). It is hard to say. Then again film is different than television. I have some mixed feelings about the whole thing, but I guess it is better than nothing.

 

 

Posted: Sun., Jun. 4, 2006, 4:34pm PT

 

'Deadwood' rides again

Milch, net agree on pair of specials for series finale

 

By DENISE MARTIN

 

"Deadwood" lives.

 

After a month of what seemed like public negotiating, HBO and "Deadwood" creator-exec producer David MilchDavid Milch have kissed and made up, as it were, agreeing to produce a pair of two-hour specials that will serve as the show's series finale.

 

While Milch's grisly Western had been presumed a goner last month after HBO announced it would not be renewing options on the large cast (Daily Variety, May 12), HBO said Sunday that the series and its fans would get closure in what amounts to a four-hour event.

 

HBO will have to renegotiate new deals -- now for a pair of two-hours as opposed to a full season -- with all of the players. Although no one is locked into continuing with "Deadwood," an HBO reprep said the network was confident in reaching all the deals necessary to proceed with the show in its new incarnation.

 

No decisions had been made about a production start date or a premiere date.

 

Insiders say HBO was uncomfortable with the hefty costs of holding the actors over an indefinite amount of time now that Milch would be splitting his time between another season of "Deadwood" and his new surf noir pilot "John from Cincinnati," also set up at the pay network.

 

"Deadwood" rotated in at least 20 major characters during season two. In addition, each episode of "Deadwood" is said to cost around $5 million to produce and require 15-16 days of shooting -- a hefty tab even for HBO.

 

And although both Milch and HBO say the parties had always intended for the series to end after four seasons, economics at the cablercabler have changed. "The Sopranos," which begins production on its final episodes shortly, is more expensive than ever, while new series -- including the expensive $100 million first season of "Rome," a co-prod with the BBC, and "Big Love" -- haven't exactly ignited ratings or subscriptions.

 

For Milch, keeping "Deadwood" alive in some form saves him having to prematurely end the show or work with a truncated fourth season of six episodes, which HBO had initially offered (Daily Variety, June 2). He is said to have worked with the network over the weekend to give "Deadwood" a proper conclusion.

 

A shorter order was problematic for Milch because each episode in the first three seasons of "Deadwood" represented a single day, and he could not see how to wrapwrap up the stories in just six days. By instead producing a pair of special event presentations, Milch will be able to write the finale using a different format and space of time.

 

"I am thrilled that we were able to figure out a way to continue," Milch said in a statement. "No one was ready to let go of the show, and I'm really glad we've found a way to proceed that works creatively."

 

Decision to continue also spares HBO brass criticism that they were prematurely pulling the plug on a series with both critical acclaim and a loyal following -- two elements that earned lauded but ratings-challenged crime drama "The Wire""The Wire" a fourth season, due this fall.

 

http://www.variety.com/article/VR111794462...14&cs=1&s=h&p=0

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Guest FlummoxedLummox

Why the hell does HBO do this? It's the second time they've prematurely killed my favorite T.V. show. First Carnivale, which was an outstanding series -- both well acted and well written, and now Deadwood. Those are my two favorite Television shows of all time.

 

When the execs give these shows the "green light", they know what the fiscal situation is. They know how much it will cost. It's not like a few hundred thousand less viewers makes a difference to them. There is no advertising, that's not where they make their money, so there is no need to have fantastic ratings. As long as HBO has a variety of good television, people will continue to subscribe to it, and make it the #1 premium cable channel.

 

FINISH THE STORY ARCHS BEFORE YOU CAN THE SHOW!!! Otherwise, stop teasing us with these shows!

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Why the hell does HBO do this? It's the second time they've prematurely killed my favorite T.V. show. First Carnivale, which was an outstanding series -- both well acted and well written, and now Deadwood. Those are my two favorite Television shows of all time.

 

When the execs give these shows the "green light", they know what the fiscal situation is. They know how much it will cost. It's not like a few hundred thousand less viewers makes a difference to them. There is no advertising, that's not where they make their money, so there is no need to have fantastic ratings. As long as HBO has a variety of good television, people will continue to subscribe to it, and make it the #1 premium cable channel.

 

FINISH THE STORY ARCHS BEFORE YOU CAN THE SHOW!!! Otherwise, stop teasing us with these shows!

 

 

I totally agree. On the Deadwood message board on the HBO website, Carnivale fans came out of the woodwork to show their support for Deadwood fans during this ordeal since they went through a similiar experience.

 

It was only one more season after Season 3 that Milch and crew were looking to film. HBO announced months ago that there would be a Season 4. Besides losing a top rated show that many consider to be the best on television, a number of actors and actresses may decide not to appear in another HBO series again because of how HBO handled Deadwood.

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And now for some better news and what we all have been waiting for...

 

Deadwood Season 3 premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on HBO with an episode titled "Tell Your God to Ready For Blood"

 

From the trailers on HBO, it looks like the main themes of this season will be the camp drawing together to battle a would-be takeover by George Hearst and the effects increased mining and wealth will have on the camp. From what I've read, the premiere looks great.

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The premiere was all I expected it to be. The conflict between Swearengen and Hearst has already begun. I look forward to seeing how this will play out. From the preview, it seems Hearst has one of his cronies (probably the Captain) actually knock Al out or at least attack him in the next episode.

 

We learned Cy is (or at least seems to be) on the mend from the knife attack of the Reverend Cramed. Joannie seems to be lamenting the fact she has to return to Cy despite all he has done to her. She thinks she is too weak to let him die after all he has done to her so she should die?

 

Bullock hates being played and the only one who has been able to play him successfully without raising his ire too much is Swearengen (besides when Al miscalculated with his comment about him and Alma). Hearst made a big mistake making his play so plain (though I am not so sure Seth would have figured it out had Al not spelled it out for him).

 

There were many other things going on, but I'll look forward to other comments.

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  • 11 months later...

Deadwood is my favorite show ever. IMO the acting,writing and directing are the greatest of any show ever put on TV. I have never been more engrossed by characters and a story as I have by Deadwood. Figured it deserved a bump. Glad to see some of my favorite posters on this board enjoy the show too. :thumbup

 

Anyways, thought I would share the latest news on the Deadwood movies. It looks like the two two hour movies will be made soon, as soon as David Milch finishes production on his newest series John in Cincinnati.

 

I love Deadwood and of course will watch and anticipate the movies with a great joy, but for some reason the abrupt ending to the Series just fit. Al Swearengen finishing the series with the final line of "Wants me to tell him something pretty." seemed to be so bittersweet and just fit the series perfectly.

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Deadwood is my favorite show ever. IMO the acting,writing and directing are the greatest of any show ever put on TV. I have never been more engrossed by characters and a story as I have by Deadwood. Figured it deserved a bump. Glad to see some of my favorite posters on this board enjoy the show too. :thumbup

 

Anyways, thought I would share the latest news on the Deadwood movies. It looks like the two two hour movies will be made soon, as soon as David Milch finishes production on his newest series John in Cincinnati.

 

I love Deadwood and of course will watch and anticipate the movies with a great joy, but for some reason the abrupt ending to the Series just fit. Al Swearengen finishing the series with the final line of "Wants me to tell him something pretty." seemed to be so bittersweet and just fit the series perfectly.

my favorite show on TV ever.

 

what's with these 2 hour movies?

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Finished the first three epsidoes.

 

I'm liking it so far, a lot of strong characters and the sets, costumes, and look of the show is very good.

 

One thing I've noticed is that the show doesn't really have a protagonist or much of a sense of which side you should root for or care about more. Doesn't need one but I felt that was interesting. Show is definitely an ensemble piece.

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It's definitely an ensemble piece, but I always thought Bullock was supposed to be the protagonist. For one, the series starts with him, and, for two, he starts off the series with an uncompromising moral code. He's basically the only person willing to challenge Swearengen. Alliances get switched around as the series goes on, but Bullock always seems to be fighting for "the right thing". He's not perfect, but he's kind of a crusader for decency.

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