After lasts week’s serious episode, I was hoping The Defenders would focus more on humor with "Nevada v. Cerrato."
And it did. Sort of.
The start of the episode introduced Nick and Pete to a case concerning a man who owes six million dollars to a casino. Watching the two mock out the criminals and flip a coin to decide who will lead was amusing.
Pete and Nick clearly have chemistry. No, not the lovelorn relationship kind. Rather, it’s the competitive, brotherly, frat boy kind. These two are at their best when together and simply bantering.
The witty repartee continued as Nick revealed that he’s on a diet. Pete teases him about being angry and hungry, getting Nick to throw carrots at him. Although it really had nothing to do with either case of the episode, it was funny to see a slightly vulnerable side of Nick. Plus, that look he gives Lisa as she chows down on cakes? I’ve seen that look before. Sweets and sugar are powerful things.Moreover, the back and forth between the two involves bouncing off ideas on their respective cases off one another. It shows their personalities on a business level while revealing a complementary process between them.
A further positive moment of the episode consisted of Zoe serving casino boss Johnny Greene. In a segment stylistically reminiscent of Ocean’s Eleven, Nick and Pete disguise their secretary, Zoe, as a stewardess. As the two playfully watch and smile at Greene, their plan smoothly works to perfection and she serves him with papers that force him to appear in court.
This finally gave Zoe with something fun to do that didn’t involve answering phones or shuffling papers. It’s moments like this that make the show. It’s playful and clever to a point that I don’t mind it being unrealistic. Did anyone feel like Greene seemed like a James Caan character?
The episode’s serious side wasn’t as over the top, either.
Nick’s case of defending his friend, Vinnie, from an arson and murder charge delves into his character. Like Pete last week, Nick is willing to do whatever it takes to save his client. That even means attempting to put a perjurer on the witness stand.
Just when I wanted to roll my eyes at this stunt, Nick pulls out a tape recorder. He tricked the witness into confessing that he threatened Vinnie to start the fire or he’d kill his family. I was honestly surprised by the reveal. I know it’s not the cleverest trick in the book and kind of obvious, but it worked. Plus, it allowed him to break that diet and get a victory snack.
I like that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously at times, but I’m wary when it focuses on the dramatic aspects of cases. I don’t want it to be an episode of CSI or Criminal Minds. Sure, hiding a tape recorder in a jacket pocket seems simple, but I’m not looking for an elaborate uncovering of the truth. I like a fun and entertaining look at two lawyers of Las Vegas using their wit, charm, and any means necessary to win that case.
I also appreciated that despite Nick and Pete’s “wins,” it wasn’t completely a “win.” Nick’s client was forced to serve two years of prison and Pete had to make it look like he lost in order for his client to be freed from the casino debt. After all, casinos need to maintain a powerful front for their customers; don’t mess with them.
With a sound off reference to Casablanca and Nick getting Pete to pay for an expensive dinner, the ending was certainly better than last week’s. It was kind of campy, but I liked that the episode worked more humor into its plot. Nick and Pete are colorful characters that show a completely different and flashy side to the lawyer world. I’m still entertained with their performances and enjoy watching Pete and Nick do their thing.
Will next week jump back into a serious storyline? What genre do you hope the show falls into?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.