“Las Vegas” — Season 3

By Jae-Ha Kim
Amazon.com
September 10, 2006

Equal parts drama, slapstick comedy, and soap opera, this third season of Las Vegas is all fun. Welcome to the Montecito, a casino and hotel that’s so desirable that the only thing more attractive than its clientele is its smoking-hot staff. Each episode contains some kind of crime–a victim whose kidney was stolen, a woman pretending to be a deceased man’s fiancée, an employee who chops off his own finger and serves it up in a shrimp cocktail. That kind of thing.

It’s up to Ed (James Caan) and his surveillance experts Danny (Josh Duhamel) and Mike (James Lesure) to make sure everyone plays nice. Also included in every episode is a bit of Love Boat-style shenanigans. Everyone has slept with each other but is too cool to admit to the object of their affection how they really feel. And the season ends with the double cliffhanger of a wedding and, possibly, a funeral for two of the principal characters.

Caan is a joy to watch as he chews up the scenery. Interviewing a prospective new employee, he admonishes the recruit to never again refer to him as “Mr. Ed” if he wants to be seriously considered for the position. In a sly nod to Caan’s work in The Godfather films, Ed also says he has no idea who Sonny Corleone is.

While Duhamel and Lesure exude charm and charisma, as does Vanessa Marcil as the Montecito’s feisty casino hostess, some of the other actors don’t fare as well. Supermodel Molly Sims, who portrays Ed’s daughter Delinda, is a beauty but her acting is still a little stiff. The same goes for Nikki Cox, who plays good girl Mary, as well as Cheryl Ladd (who’s saddled with a thankless role as Ed’s somewhat annoying wife).

Airing during the 2005-2006 television season, Las Vegas attracted its share of celebrity guest stars, including Dean Cain, Rachael Leigh Cook, and a charming Jerry O’Connell, who reprises his Crossing Jordan character here.

But leave it to Lara Flynn Boyle to add some umph to the show. Her final episode is one of the series’ most unrealistic ever–but also one of the funniest and most memorable. Let’s just say she gives the Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz a run for her money.

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