Is it possible to be an honorable citizen in a town filled with criminals looking to get rich? That’s part of the premise behind CBS’ new show “Vegas,” which followed two very different men who were on a collision course that was going to end badly.
“Vegas” followed Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) who lived in Las Vegas as a rancher that had a hard time getting by as the city he loved was changing before his eyes. He was afraid that his ranching business would suffer with all the new casino business popping up around him. Ralph got an unexpected job offer when he was tasked with solving a high profile murder that put him in the path of mobster Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis). Savino had the appearance of a classy businessman, but it was just a front to hide his darker motives. Ralph leaned on his brother Jack (Jason O’Mara) and his son Dixon (Taylor Handley) to help solve the case. They’re also the only ones that he can truly trust in 1960s Las Vegas where the politicians were hard to tell apart from the criminals. Luckily, Ralph had an ally in A.D.A. Katherine O’Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss) that could turn into something more if Ralph was willing to overlook his personal grief. Will Ralph be able to handle his new job promotion and stay alive long enough to maintain his ranch?
In terms of questions, the answer was clear that Quaid’s Ralph would survive and prosper as the new sheriff because of the show’s source material. It was based on the life of the real Ralph Lamb who served as a Sheriff until the late 1970s. Quaid was perfectly cast as the extremely tough Ralph because he gave the show a sense of grit and humor. Quaid’s performance helped to ground the show’s sometimes routine murder cases that were often solved by viewers quicker than the cast. He gave the show a sense of credibility even when Ralph did some outlandish things to catch bad guys, such as successfully catching a biker while on a horse. Quaid had a genuine chemistry with Moss as she played Ralph’s girl friday. Hopefully, future episodes will allow Moss more to do than being a mere background player who did more than quietly flirt with Quaid. Her character has a position of power in Vegas, which the show should use to their advantage.
As for the rest of the cast, there was a lot of potential in the premiere episode. O’Mara will have better luck here as a supporting player than as a leading man on a string of failed shows (“Life on Mars,” “Terra Nova” and “The Agency” to to name a few). Chiklis, on the other hand, had the opportunity to play a truly bad guy who enjoyed being a criminal no matter how much he pretended not to. He played Vincent as someone truly dangerous by demonstrating it with a quietly manic look in his eye that never went away, even when he appeared to be calm and courteous. Whenever Quaid and Chiklis shared scenes together, fireworks were bound to happen. In order to keep things interesting, future episodes should focus on the brewing tension between the lawman and the mobster. Only time will tell if that’s going to be the case.
“Vegas” premiered on September 25th and airs Tuesdays at 10:00 PM on CBS.
Verdict: A show that focused more on the acting than the actual details, which could be a recipe for disaster down the line.
TV Score: 2.5 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)