Jeremy Schoen

Jeremy Schoen

Jefferson Davis (J.D.) “Boss” Hogg was the sole commissioner of Hazzard County, Georgia, and thus held all executive and judicial powers therein. (In real life, Georgia is the only state which still allows this form of government, and in only eight of its 159 counties.) As the wealthiest man in the county, he would do almost anything to get his hands on more money, including executing many nefarious and criminal schemes. However, he does not tolerate anyone (even the Dukes, despite Hogg’s constant rivalry with them) getting physically hurt in the process (showing that he does have some scruples), he also refuses to have anything to do with illegal drugs, regardless of money, making him one of the few TV villains with any such sense of personal ethics. Boss Hogg is described in one analysis as “an ineffectual bad guy—hence amusing”.

Hogg owned most of Hazzard’s property and businesses, either directly or by holding the mortgages over the land. His lust for money often drove him to participate in criminal activities—usually by enlisting the aid of associates—mainly his right-hand man and partner in crime, the dim-witted, bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane. Together, the two schemed to frame the Duke family for crimes they did not commit. Rosco’s deputies, Enos Strate and Cletus Hogg (Boss’s cousin), have also aided Boss Hogg, though Enos (and to a lesser extent, Cletus) were decidedly more reluctant to do so. According to Waylon Jennings’ narration, he had a “cradle to grave” earning plan; in that if you were a Hazzard County resident, you were born at the local hospital (owned by Hogg), you lived in a house that he owned the deed to, worked at one of his businesses, and when you died, his casket company would make your pine box.

Boss Hogg’s greed only seemed to fuel his lust for more and more wealth. He was chauffeured around in the back of a Cadillac (though he drove himself around in later seasons), all-white in color to match his all-white suit. Other clothing (such as jogging suits, etc.) and much of his other accessories, and much of his own mansion home, were also decked out in white.

Boss is forever angry at the Duke family, particularly Bo and Luke, for continually exposing and halting his various crooked schemes. Despite the Dukes coming to his rescue on occasion, Hogg forever seems to have an irrational dislike of the clan, particularly Bo and Luke, often accusing them of spying on him, robbing or planning to rob him, and other supposedly nefarious actions as he believes they are generally out to get him. Although this characteristic is present throughout the show’s run, it is particularly evident in the earlier seasons. One episode has Uncle Jesse mentioning that he and Boss had known one another “since we were kids”, and others mention that they had run moonshine together.

Just like the exact specifications of the Duke Boys’ probation rules, the extent of just what was and wasn’t within Boss’s powers often seemed to vary from episode to episode. However, this can be countermanded slightly, as Boss would often bend the law and make up rules to suit himself.

Every morning, Boss Hogg would drink coffee and eat raw liver (as seen in the pilot episode, “One Armed Bandits” and several later episodes).

Initially the character was created as a corrupt, gruff nemesis for the Duke family to battle, but as the series evolved over its first and subsequent seasons, Hogg developed more into a comical money-grabbing villain, more intent on various get-rich-quick schemes and shady plots than ever knowingly causing anyone serious harm. With this evolution of the character, for which the foundations were set over the course of the first half-season, came the closer pairing of Hogg and bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane, and as the pair’s comical ability together became apparent and a popular element of the series, Booke and Best were often given permission to ad-lib and improvise their scenes together.

By 1997, Boss had died and willed his empire to Rosco P. Coltrane, who continued to pursue zany schemes, many of which Boss came up with before his death.

Photo of Jeremy Schoen