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TV drama ‘The Defenders’ captures the oily charm of Vegas billboard lawyers

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The Details

The Defenders
Two and a half stars
CBS, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.

Previous Vegas-based movies and TV shows have thoroughly covered casinos, hotel rooms, strippers, dive bars and porn stars, all of which appear in the first episode of the new Vegas legal drama The Defenders, but The Defenders showcases one more Vegas institution that has thus far been underrepresented: billboard lawyers. Jim Belushi and Jerry O'Connell play a pair of fast-talking (but upstanding) lawyers based loosely on real local attorneys Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese, and the show effectively captures the oily charm of folks like Glen Lerner and Adam S. Kutner. Elsewhere, though, it relies heavily on the aforementioned Vegas clichés, and the court cases are interchangeable with those on any other legal drama. The stars' charisma is enough to carry a commercial, but not quite an entire TV series.

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