Fall Pilot Review – THE DEFENDERS on CBS

What? THE DEFENDERS is a drama about two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys who go all-in when it comes to representing their clients. Nick and Pete are the local go-to guys with an eclectic client list who are still looking to hit their own jackpot. Leading the law firm of Morelli & Kaczmarek are Nick Morelli, an earnest, hard-charging attorney who represents his clients to the best of his ability, no matter how big or small the case; and his partner, Pete Kaczmarek, whose passion for the law is matched only by his love of fast cars, beautiful women and expensive clothes. Joining them in their growing law practice is new associate Lisa Tyler, an enthusiastic young attorney looking to put her exotic dancing days behind her; and their young assistant, Zoe Waters, a spunky and sweet ingénue who is eager to please her bosses. While Lady Luck shines on their legal careers, the partners have their hands full when it comes to their personal lives. With Pete busy cruising the Vegas Strip for his latest romantic conquest, Nick is focused on repairing a fractured marriage to his estranged wife and remaining present in the life of their young son. No matter the offense, Nick and Pete aim to prove that when the stakes are high, they’re willing to bet the house on the clients they defend in Sin City.

Who? Stars Jerry O’Connell as Pete, Jim Belushi as Nick, Tanya Fischer as Zoe, and Jurnee Smollett as Lisa Tyler.  Produced by CBS Television Studios, with executive producers Carol Mendelsohn, Kevin Kennedy, Niels Mueller, Joe Gantz, Harry Gantz, and Greg Walker.

Where/When? CBS, 10/9c Wednesdays, after all new episodes of CRIMINAL MINDS.

Why (Why Not)? Well, I’ll be damned.  This was a show that I had originally written off because I have never really been a fan of Jim Belushi, and years of ACCORDING TO JIM appeared reason enough to back up that statement.  But THE DEFENDERS is a really solid law drama, and he and O’Connell have incredible partner chemistry.  I believe that these two nuts have been practicing law together for years.  Jurnee Smollett is one of my favorite people on TV these days – she was great in her one episode of HOUSE, loved her on FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (it goes without saying that she was a favorite on FULL HOUSE, right?), and she continues to do great work here as someone trying to shake a bad past.  The show is funny, smart, O’Connell is adorable as ever, and the way that they build a case is really fun.  I didn’t think I needed to add another law show to my schedule, but this one surprised me enough to sneak in at first place on Wednesdays at 10!

How? Watch live.