As Vegas defense attorneys in CBS's new legal drama The Defenders, Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi get to banter in court and represent some interesting characters in stories loosely based on the trials of real-life Sin City attorneys Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese.
"To me, the show succeeds based on their amazing chemistry," co-creator Niels Mueller told TV Guide Magazine at the sixth annual Paley Fall Preview Party on September 10. "You can have two great actors and you don't know if the chemistry is going to be there. We had no idea until we started shooting — and it was magic."
Belushi says he hit it off with O'Connell from the start: "We got lucky. We sat down for three hours and drank beer and smoked cigars and had a great talk. We got a good rhythm going, and we took that rhythm and put it in the show."
Also looks for some familiar Vegas faces on the show. "We have Frank Sinatra Jr. in the pilot, and we'd love to have Frankie Valli, Don Rickles — all those guys," says exec producer Greg Walker. "We also like the new guys, the Lance Burtons, David Copperfields and Penn and Tellers, to kind of authenticate that landscape that we live in. We're in discussions with a lot of those names."
Until then, viewers will have to do with some wacky cases. "A guy backs his truck into the Elvis Presley museum and steals Elvis' Blue Suede Shoes," says Belushi. "He tries to sell them to an impersonator who turns him in, and we represent him. We go to an impersonator bar, and Marilyn Monroe hits on me. I think that's really cool."
The Defenders premieres Wednesday, Sept. 22 at 10/9c on CBS