Ain't It Cool News (

Hercules Finds NBC’s Dopey
OUTLAW Guilty Of Boring!!

I am – Hercules!!
Here’s a conspiracy theory for you. I think NBC put legal drama “Outlaw” on now to make its upcoming midseason David E. Kelley legal dramedy look that much better. A blandly absurd enterprise about a Bush-appointed conservative Supreme Court justice named Cyrus Garza who quits his enormously powerful position after a car accident suddenly turns him liberal, “Outlaw” comes to us from writer-producer John Eisendrath, who created NBC’s similarly sloppy, dim and dull sci-fi espionage drama “My Own Worst Enemy.” It seems Garza thinks he can do more good by stripping himself of the legal might only a justice can wield, then returning to private practice. Which makes absolutely zero sense. Take away the eye-roller of a premise and you’re left with one of the more woefully generic fish in a televised ocean of legal drama. The star is Jimmy Smits, who argued cases in Kelley’s “L.A. Law” way back when, but I wouldn’t mind seeing NBC cancel “Outlaw” and replace it with a spin-off starring piping hot Carly Pope’s sexy, mouthy, bisexual private investigator character. She feels like she wandered out of a different show, and might even deserve one. One not overseen by Eisendrath. Sad to say, “Outlaw” is far from the worst new show of the season. Strange trivia: this series comes from Conan O’Brien’s production company, and was greenlit to series by NBC after the funnyman was booted from “The Tonight Show.” Prepare to hear a lot of critics employ the adjective “preposterous”: USA Today says:
… There's awful, and then there's atrociously, hilariously awful — a line NBC and Jimmy Smits soar across with Outlaw. … Not content to simply be stupid, Outlaw is more than a little insulting. Never mind the witless lack of respect for what the Supreme Court does and the people who do it. Do we really need another show promoting another shadowy, conservative cabal, this one with tentacles in the Senate and the court and an anti-Garza agenda? Art should say whatever it wants, no matter how controversial. Pop, procedural claptrap trash should be more circumspect. …
The New York Times says:
… an impatience with subtlety is one of the problems with the first episode of “Outlaw” — the plot points and the performances are overblown, too obvious and too cute. …
The Los Angeles Times says:
… Whistling and kicking dirt like maybe we won't notice, Eisendrath drops Smits in a virtually impossible situation. In a scant hour, the actor must convince us that he is a playboy/gambler/lawyer so corrupt he allowed himself to be put on the Supreme Court for the sole purpose of supporting some vaguely defined "conservative agenda" who, after a come-to-Jesus moment in Vegas, throws himself in full reverse and becomes a crusading defense attorney. That would take a bigger man than Smits to pull off, and though Pope occasionally rises above the feisty leather confines of her character to provide a moment's distraction, we are left viewing the pilot as either cynical manipulation or just plain silly. From "thinking aloud" scenes in which the team tosses around a Nerf football to a most unfortunate series of conversations between Garza and his law clerk, the only thing that makes "Outlaw" unique in a swollen genre is its ability to trip over its own feet so early on.
AOL TV says:
NBC's new Jimmy Smits vehicle is called 'Outlaw.' I guess the title 'Contrived, Irritating Star Vehicle' just wasn't as catchy. …
The San Francisco Chronicle says:
… Unfortunately, the very likable Smits is in "Outlaw," a new legal series on NBC that is so outlandish that if he did leap out of a window and soar above the city, you wouldn't blink an eye. … We learn later about three women he recently slept with. Because, you know, that's just how Supreme Court justices always are - so out there in their personal lives that they end up in tabloids. … Here's hoping next season, Smits gets to play a cop again.
The Washington Post says:
… blows away a viewer's patience with make-believe. The show is so ludicrously dumb that your eyeballs will hurt from rolling so much. … goes horribly wrong almost as soon as it gets started. … I hope, somewhere out there, that fictional attorney Victor Sifuentes (Smits's role on "L.A. Law") is drafting a cease-and-desist letter.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says:
… anyone who pays even the slightest bit of attention to current events will find the show preposterous. … He's also under pressure from a Republican congressman for failing to be conservative enough with the congressman threatening to have him removed from the bench via impeachment, something that could technically be attempted but has not in almost 200 years. … If you're able to get past the ridiculous premise -- and, admittedly, I was not -- "Outlaw" still suffers from other problems, including two-dimensional supporting characters. …
HitFix says:
… far from the worst rookie of the season (NBC's “Outsourced,” CBS' “(Bleep) My Dad Says” and ABC's “My Generation” are all duking it out for that honor), but it may be the silliest. … However you view it - mediocre “House” rip-off, improbable law show or “Like Father, Like Son 2: Judicial Boogaloo” - you have to like Jimmy Smits an awful lot to make “Outlaw” a Friday appointment. I’m as devoted an “NYPD Blue” fan as they come, and even I’m not willing to make that leap.
The Boston Herald says:
… just might be the most preposterous show of the fall. … about as entertaining as a legal brief on the case of Wall v. Paint Drying. …
The Boston Globe says:
… There’s not a hint of logic in the procedural aspect of the show. The development and the resolution of tonight’s case, in which a man on death row is trying to prove he isn’t a cop killer, represent the sloppiest, most factory-like TV writing there is. And there’s not much realism afoot, either. Just the idea of a man with Garza’s love of casinos getting confirmed in the first place is a bit of a laugh riot in this age of cellphone scrutiny and media obsessiveness. Not even Smits at his most charming can sell that kind of lazy writing.
The Hollywood Reporter says:
… The idea that a young Supreme Court justice in the rare position of being a tiebreaker on crucial decisions would resign hastily to avoid exposing his very public gambling habit is preposterous. … Unlike the generic and largely predictable story in the pilot, future episodes have Garza and his team parachuting into one hot spot after another, tackling issues ripped from the headlines. …
Variety says:
… a jaw-droppingly simple-minded legal procedural that's improbable on most every level. Conservatives, for once, will be right to express indignation about the show's ham-fisted politics; others will have their own ideology-free but equally valid reasons to complain. …
10 p.m. Wednesday. NBC.
Follow Herc on Twitter!! Follow Evil Herc on Twitter!!
185 Blu-rays Under $10!!
When Anakin & Vader Were Two Different Guys!!

Readers Talkback
comments powered by Disqus
    + Expand All
  • Sept. 15, 2010, 7:16 a.m. CST

    Looks like there's zero interest in this one

    by TheBostonStrangler

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Pilot shot in Philly, Smits didn't want to shoot it here

    by Bullet_time_Facehugger

    The pilot episode was shot in philadelphia, standing in for D.C. (Something that happens here a lot. I guess its cheaper and easier to shoot it here) But Smits didn't want to live here, so they moved the whole thing to NYC, taking at least a years worth of paycheck away from a lot of local production people. Fuck Smits and this dumb show.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 8:55 a.m. CST

    sounds like a winner

    by Miyamoto_Musashi

    Jimmy really needs cash then ?

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST

    So brain damage causes Liberals?

    by johnnyangelheart

    Before you flame me, I hate conservatives, too.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Of course she *has* to be bisexual...

    by D_T know, 'cause she's all smart mouthed, hot and badass. Let me guess, she'll also have all sorts of skeletons in her closet that drove her to succeed.<br /> <br /> Here's a novel idea, make her smart, hot and no-compromise, but with a normal past and solid family. Oh yeah, and also make her an alien. OK, scrap the normal past, she's also a serial killer.<br /> <br /> Speaking of which (yeah, I setup my own segue), Smits was excellent on Dexter. When I heard he was getting a show, that was my most recent exposure and I was thinking "Yeah, a new show with Smits would be great!".<br /> <br /> I guess not.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    Blue Bloods

    by obriensg1

    I'd rather watch "Shark" if it were still on CBS. They were dumb to replace it with trite like NCIA LA (and I love the original NCIS) I also love Smits, mostly for West Wing cause I'm only 22. I'll be watching Blue Bloods with Tom Selleck

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    So this isn't the one with the scowling blonde?

    by The McPoyle Clan

    Wrong show.<p><p>Speaking of Pope, was Day One so freaking bad that even NothingButCrap won't show it?

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:42 a.m. CST

    Not a suprise

    by Sonny_Williams

    Any hope I had for this was pretty much already snuffed out. Every new spot for this has my cheese detector reading higher and higher. Too bad, hope Smits bounces back from this abortion without too much damage.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:43 a.m. CST

    It comes from Conan's prodco after he was fired.

    by kabong

    So it was part of the compensation deal.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    Has Jimmy Smits Ever Carried A Show By Himself?

    by thorin01

    He's great in ensemble shows (LA Law, West Wing) but every series he's tried to headline has failed after only a couple of episodes. And this one looks to be the same.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:06 a.m. CST

    How its that even legal?

    by torontoxic

    He has a car accident and wakes up from his conservative nightmare? That's just wrong. Even by political framing standards. <P> I get the feeling many in CA are stuck in 2006 and will be for some time. <P> That's fine the world has a habit of going on without you guys (seriously it won't stop spinning because you're not ready yet) and I pretty much just watch FX and AMC anyway.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 1:19 p.m. CST

    The presence of Jimmy Smits alone...

    by lprothro

    is always a strong indicator of boring. Nothing against the guy but...he's really great at putting me to sleep.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Sexy, mouthy bisexual investigator?

    by ROBRAM89

    So I guess whatshername from The Good Wife is already drawing imitators.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:46 p.m. CST

    Saw it last night

    by jim

    His quitting is basically he wants to "fight for the little guy", help the hopeless, become a champion for lost causes (kind of like if Angel was a lawyer instead of a vampire). His feeling about being on the Supreme Court is that, while he can do some good, he's limited to what cases appear before him and he's not so much a champion of justice as he is simply weighing in on it (at least that's how I'd interpret his motives as he stated them).<p>That said (as Harry says), it was a rather flat and generic show. Herc's right, Carly Pope seems like's she's in a different show, and maybe she was. Maybe she's a character left over from some failed spec-script that the creator decided he liked so much he shoe-horned her into this. Too bad, I'd much rather watch a show about a sexy, mouthy, Bi P.I. than another lawyer show, even one with Jimmy Smits and Carly Pope.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 5:01 p.m. CST

    I always thought of Jimmy Smits as an actor

    by skimn

    of little consequence. But his season on Dexter surprised me with the sense of danger in his performance. But now he's back to noble-with-a-few-chinks nice guy network tv guy.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Oh yea screw this, Terriers is on tonight

    by skimn

    Thanks for reminding me supermarch.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 6:20 p.m. CST

    That Jimmy Smits is an OUTTLLLAAWWWWW!!!

    by skimn

    Geez, somebody had to, I guess.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 7:27 p.m. CST


    by JaredP

    isnt this just a redo of his infa mous dexter character, just less evil?

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 4:39 a.m. CST

    Conservative turn liberal? Figured media would love it.

    by FlandersBum

    Must be a real stinker if the media gives bad reviews to a concept they wish would happen in real life.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 7:20 a.m. CST


    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Coco does a No-No with this Sho-Sho!

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Didn't think it was all THAT bad

    by Sonny_Williams

    but it'll definitely have to improve from this ep. A lot of tonal shifts, from straight drama to (unintentional?) comedy. Needs refinement if it's going to last past October.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Singular, not plural

    by Psychonaut

    When I saw the name I thought this might be a remake of Outlaws, the best legal drama series ever made, which ran for two seasons on BBC2 in the UK in the early 2000s. Phil Daniels played a shabby, down-at-heel defence lawyer, always struggling for money, making unsuccessful attempts to chat up the prosecutor and winning cases by low cunning rather than by expounding fine legal principals. It was ace inevery respect, universally considered the most realistic legal drama amongst people who worked in the law and was cancelled after two seasons, presumably to make way for a show in which unemployed soap actors milked a goat whilst ballroom dancing. Or something. Anyway, that was Outlaws, plural. This is Outlaw, singular. And it sounds fucking awful.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 3:12 p.m. CST

    The best putdown ...

    by reaper28

    ... "about as entertaining as a legal brief on the case of Wall v. Paint Drying. … " <p>Motherfucking OUCH!</p>

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 5:30 p.m. CST

    The Bi PI

    by TheRevenge

    The Bisexual PI was the worst part of an already awful show. She was soooo unlikeable. Women who wear leather jackets and talk about how everyone wants to fuck them aren't "Cool", Hollywood writers; They fucking annoying. Her character is 30 something and sits in chairs like a teenager, even blowing bubbles with her chewing gum and ignoring people who speak to her because he's "Too cool". Who likes people like that? When did Hollywood decide that "cool" was synonymous with "Cunty"? <br> <Br> But the whole show was an awful mess. The characters are stupid and contrived. A well-meaning, white, crusading lawyer who also happens to be a hot chick? Yawn. A well-meaning, white, crusading journalist, who also happens to be a hot chick? Yawn. A stuffy, by-the-books, uptight white lawyer who looks as if he's 18? Yawn. God, they were insufferable characters speaking in contrived scenes with predictable dialogue. Ugh.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:11 p.m. CST


    by torontoxic

    This place needs a Terriers talkback.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:30 p.m. CST

    No matter how bad "Outlaw" is...

    by WarrenSmooth

    (even if it's just Jimmy Smits staring silently into the camera for a full hour), it can never be as boring as five minutes of "Rubicon".

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:39 p.m. CST

    I had the misfortune of sitting through some of this...

    by jjwalrus

    The Playboy as Supreme Court justice wasn't nearly as ridiculous as his conversion from conservative to liberal. There is a hilarious clip of Smit's character's father (who recently died)talking about how is son is conservative, and his son is wrong but deep in his son's heart he knows it's wrong to be conservative. The most blatant piece of liberal propaganda I've ever seen, and that's something coming from NBC.

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 5:39 a.m. CST

    It was pretty bad...

    by tailhook

    The one thing liberals have never leared from Aaron Sorkin's The West Wing is to treat the situation in a somewhat realistic and respectful manner before teeing off in a realistic and respectful manner with your agenda. Heck, my parents were as conservative as they get and wouldn't miss The West Wing from Day One even though it was a largely liberal-centric show. But the reason that was is it didn't outright pander to liberals while being very well written. This show is in the same vein as Commander-in-Chief... the conservatives are 'fascists', there is only one 'right' way, and by-and-large the conservatives are just mustache-twirling villains to drag out and point and giggle at. And they wonder why these shows flop. If anybody didn't notice, neither Fox News NOR MSNBC has a viewer base that would support any mainstream TV show. You have to play both sides of the fence if you want to get your message across. David Kelley tends to avoid that quagmire in that his shows tend to be lawyer based with very little political hackery. But if you're going to go that route, Sorkin did it better than anyone else, and so far nobody has picked up his mantle.

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 7:04 a.m. CST


    by A_Die_Hard_Fan

    I liked it. Contrived? Yes. But still intriguing.