We've all heard the story. Retired cop just wants to settle down and have a normal life, but is called back into action when a local is murdered because he’s the only one who can bring down the killer. Enter CBS’ “Vegas.”
Starring Dennis Quaid as the hardened cowboy Ralph Lamb, and Michael Chiklis as the new gangster in town, Vincent Savino, “Vegas,” set in the 1960s heyday of Sin City, is the newest cop/crime product from the CBS drama machine.
We begin with Lamb on his steed, herding cattle like any normal ranch hand. But, his desert peace is disturbed nearly instantly as a low-flying plane spooks his livestock. This, naturally, makes Lamb a little more than upset. Rather than trying to round the animals back up because, you know, they’re the source of his livelihood, he takes off after the plane.
The DC6 lands and we get our first glimpse at Savino as he exits. Savino gives a quick smirk as he surveys the land, but catches a glimpse of an odd figure in the hazy distance. Quicker than you can say crazy cowboy on a horse, Lamb is seen making a bee-line towards the airstrip.
After voicing his displeasure to the owner of the pseudo airport about the plane getting a little too near his “heifers,” said owners’ three henchmen surround him. Lamb takes out the three thugs with relative ease, only to see the cops show up to take him away for trespassing.
Cut to Vegas showgirls doing the can-can, we get our first glimpse of the Mayor, Ted Bennett (Michael O'Neill), and the assistant District Attorney, Katherine O’ Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss). There’s been a murder, and it just so happens to be the governor’s niece. They head to the crime scene and decide to give their ol’ buddy Lamb a call, as the sheriff is nowhere to be found. Mayor Bennett wants Lamb on the case as he was part of the military police back in WWII.
Lamb shows up in cuffs and has a fantastic exchange with the mayor that basically encapsulates the nature of the show in its entirety.
“I need you to find this killer.”
“I’m not a cop.”
“You were back in the war in the MP – and a damn good one … I don’t expect you to work for free.”
“I don’t want your money. You get those planes to quit flying over my land and we got a deal.”
So, just to recap, we’re three minutes in and we have a brawl and murder. Also, apparently, if you’re the mayor in Vegas in 1960, you have the right to investigate homicides, and if you’re a cowboy in Vegas in 1960, you have the right to move the body at a crime scene, “ … before the coyotes come.” The 60s was a wild time, man.
Lamb employs the help of his brother, Jack (Jason O'Mara), to investigate the murder. Jack, not sure why he is being asked to help, says he doesn’t know anything about catching criminals. Ralph’s answer? “Ask a few questions, listen to what people have to say … what they don’t say is just as important.” Hear that professional law enforcers? Don’t you feel silly for going through all that training? Lamb also gets his son Dixon to help out, picking him up from a married woman’s house who he’s been have extramarital relations with.
After doing some investigating at the scene of the crime with a guy who can only be described as Native American (not surprisingly, Mr. Native American is used to identify tire tracks in the dirt), the Lambs head over to Savino’s casino. Come to find out, the governor’s daughter, Samantha, worked at the casino in the credit office. Lamb, following his cowboy intuition, quickly gets knocked out cold by a faceless assailant when he ventures into an employees-only area located within the bowels of the casino. The screen goes black, but when we return, Lamb is holding ice on the back of his head at his home. The mayor tells Lamb this is what bellboys do to patrons who wander into the employees only area. Let that be a lesson to all of you that ever get curious in a hotel.
After rounding up some bikers they find suspicious, the Lambs head back to the casino later on to do a little more investigating, and Ralph comes up with some good info on who may have been involved in the murder. They head out to a motel where they think he’s hiding. After finding said suspect, they find out Samantha’s boss is responsible for her murder. This inevitably leads to a stand off at the airport where the murderer is trying to escape. Of course, the cowboy comes through, thwarting the no do-gooder.
Just when all seems well, O’Connell urgently informs Lamb that he needs to come with her. Lamb shows up to the crime scene to find the missing sheriff’s body.
Looks like someone just got promoted.