Thursday, September 16, 2010

US Television: Outlaw, Episode 1.1, Pilot

Season One, Episode One, Pilot
Original Air Date:  September 15, 2010

Gregory Beales, a man on death row has one last hope of saving his life for a murder he claims he didn't commit.  His attorney makes a case for a stay of execution to the Supreme Court and Justice Cyrus Garza grants the stay despite warnings not to.  At the same time he grants the stay, Garza resigns from the Supreme Court shocking everyone, including his staff.  Garza gathers his team to work the Beales case so that the justice he believes Beale was originally denied will finally prevail.

Supreme Court Justice Cyrus Garza (Jimmy Smits) is the most conservative justice on the Supreme Court who has a penchant for gambling and the ladies.  Garza's father, Francisco Garza, was also a judge but the complete opposite of his son.  Cyrus is in trouble with his bookie to the tune of a half million dollars and we all know that isn't a good thing.

Garza's staff is made up of young, bright and driven individuals.  Lucinda Pearl (Carly Pope) is the private investigator working for him.  She's pretty cool.  She's young, intelligent, outspoken and has a wild streak.  Eddie Franks (Jesse Bradford) is Garza's clerk.  He's Yale-educated and straight-laced and seems to be Lucinda Pearl's favorite person to tease.  Mereta Stockman (Ellen Woglom) is sort of the female equivalent of Franks and the exact opposite of Pearl.  Rounding out Garza's staff is Al Druzinsky (David Ramsey), Beales attorney. 

Mereta Stockman delivers one of this episodes more humorous moments.  After overhearing part of the conversation between Cyrus and his bookie, she believes Cyrus to be dying.  She blurts this information out in front of the rest of his staff and Beales family then proceeds to confess, in front of everyone, that she loves Cyrus.  The moment is funny and awkward at the same time.

Based on information from Lucinda Pearl, Garza grants Beales his stay of execution because he believes the man is truly innocent.  Garza does so despite being warned by Senator Vidalin (Richard Portnow) that if he doesn't vote the right way he will be impeached.  Cyrus and his team dig into the Beales case and learn that Beales truly is innocent of the murder because he was in jail on an unrelated crime at the time the victim was murdered.  After tracking down a hard-to-find witness, Rita Schmidt (Judith Lightfoot Clark), they get the piece of the puzzle they need to free their client and get the real murderer into custody.

But the celebration doesn't start there.  While the rest of his team is enjoying a cookout to celebrate their win, Garza notices that someone is following him.  His bookie has given him three months to pay the money he owes.  He knows he's made many political enemies.  Just who has sent the muscle after Garza remains to be seen.

As with Law & Order:  UK, Outlaw is a show I didn't have any intentions of blogging about.  I was going to watch it and be done with it.  As I tried in vain to get to sleep last night, I kept thinking about the show (I guess it says something good about a show when you think about it instead of sleeping?) and decided to blog it.  For a little while, at least.  NBC aired a sneak peak of the first episode of Outlaw on Wednesday, September 15, 2010.  Conan O'Brien is one of the executive producers of Outlaw.

I've been a fan of Jimmy Smits for a while now.  I loved him in L.A. Law (where are the season sets of that show on DVD, 20th Century Fox??) and various films.  When I read that he was returning to television in a new show I jotted it down and counted the days until it premiered.

I've read some reviews and viewer comments around the Internet today for Outlaw and they appear to be mixed.  Some really, really hated it while others really, really loved it.  Some comments have said Outlaw is basically L.A. Law:  2010.  I, personally, think that's wrong.  Smits' Outlaw character, Cyrus Garza and his L.A. Law character, Victor Sifuentes aren't the same man and I don't think it's fair to look at this show and see Sifuentes instead of Garza.

As for my personal opinion of the show:  was it everything I was expecting it to be?  Not really.  Was I disappointed with it?  I can't say that I was.  Personally, I'm on the fence right now.  I didn't love it and I didn't hate it.  I hate to judge a show on a single episode (unless it's really, really bad or really, really good) so I'll be sticking with Outlaw for a few more weeks, at the very least.  I felt that Smits was in top form (as he always is in my most humble opinion) in Outlaw and it was such a pleasure to see him back on television that I'm looking forward to watching more of the show for him alone.

Outlaw airs on Friday nights at 10:00 p.m. (9:00 p.m. Central) on NBC.
For more information:
NBC Official Site:
Internet Movie Database:
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