I'll have to admit that I was not planning on liking The Defenders. Not being a big fan of lawyer shows or Las Vegas, and unable to forgive Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell for their last outings (According to Jim and Do Not Disturb), I expected it to be terrible, worthless garbage. But, just as I've always secretly assumed I would like Las Vegas if I went there, the show actually entertained me. Like the city it takes place in, there's a lot of sexy behavior, and the lawyers really know how to put on a show in the courtroom, which is important for a legal Smeagol like myself.
Belushi and O'Connell play partners and defense attorneys who have their own small bustling practice in Vegas. And while their clients do include showgirls and prostitutes, they were only there as waiting room dressing, and the big case they do take on involves an accidental shooting, where the shooter is being tried for murder. In order to win this thing, they'll need to do some play-acting with an expert witness, play on the adversarial nature of the judge (Stephen Root) and enlist the help of their fresh-faced ex-stripper junior attorney (Jurnee Smollett, Friday Night Lights), who actually seems very wholesome so far. Belushi and O'Connell tag-team during the trial, and Belushi is pretty good at playing a smart guy playing dumb, walking a fun line between Jack McCoy and My Cousin Vinny.
Fans of O'Connell and his abs will appreciate that he's the playa of the pair, hooking up with a stewardess in the beginning of the ep and another attorney at the end of it, while Belushi is adorably sad-sackish as a man separated from his wife, whom he still loves, trying to be a good father to his tween son. Their assistant, who is annoyingly perky, might get old after a while, but I'll allow it for now, because everyone at the firm seems to be a legitimately nice person, who wants to help people, in spite of their flaws, and yet the show doesn't hammer us over the head with it like Outlaw does. Sure, no bad guys in the pilot means no conflict, but people go to Vegas to have fun, not to look for drama.
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