Dogs have been a staple of police dramas for decades, and newly acclaimed police series, Will Trent, is no exception to this standard, but the show flips the trope around. Typically, the canine is a trained police dog who assists the police with particular criminal cases. Trained police dogs, both fictional and non-fictional, tend to be medium to large size dogs that are ferocious and physically strong like the German Shepard and the Labrador Retriever. However, Will Trent has a secret weapon that upends the classic police dog cliché.
Betty, whose real name is Bluebell, appears in the opening scenes of Will Trent’s pilot episode. The titular detective, Special Agent Will Trent of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, adopts Betty after finding her tied up alone in his neighborhood. Because Betty is a miniature-size pet and not a trained member of a K-9 unit, she functions primarily as a loyal and comforting pet to Will. Though small and seemingly docile, Betty proves how mighty she can be throughout the first season of Will Trent.
Will Trent’s Fierce Dog Betty Brilliantly Flips Police Procedurals’ Typical K-9s
Like their real-life counterparts, a police dog’s objective is to search for crime scene evidence, explosives, illegal drugs, and missing people; protect officers and citizens from harm; and attack suspects who are attempting to flee. Not being a police dog, the chihuahua Betty avoids most of these tasks and simply waits anxiously for Will to return home. Each time Will arrives, following a difficult work day, he scoops up Betty and rubs her fur, out of a sense of love and also because it relieves stress. Betty is happy to oblige Will’s affection, and often, when Will is stewing over a murder investigation, Betty will leap into his lap to provide comfort to her owner.
Betty also shows loyalty to others in Will’s home, like her dog walker, Nico, a young non-binary person who has run away from home and is estranged from their family, and Will’s on-and-off girlfriend, Atlanta police detective Angie Polaski. Angie shows little interest in becoming friendly with the chihuahua, but her attitude changes when Will goes missing in episode 7, “Unable to Locate.” Worried about Will and an argument they had earlier, Angie confides in Betty, who listens attentively to the detective’s woes before lovingly licking her hand. Later, in episode 10, “Pterodactyls Can Fly,” Betty playfully interacts with a young boy who has been traumatized following the murder of his family. Betty’s sweet and cuddly nature is the antithesis of most big, tough police dogs.
Will Trent’s Betty The Chihuahua Reverses The Real Dog’s Other Most Notable Role
In the season finale of Will Trent, Betty risks her own life out of loyalty to Will and Angie. She first attacks a serial killer who is abducting Angie, then guides Will to the killer’s basement where Angie is being held hostage. Considering all of her actions in the series, it would seem that Betty is a role reversal for the other role for which people recognize Bluebell: Wink, the thieves’ pickpocketing sidekick in Cruella. Seeing Bluebell play Betty, the comforting and sometimes ferocious detective’s pet on Will Trent, is an entertaining contrast to the chihuahua’s move star role as a petty criminal.