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TV Review: Jimmy Smits Stars in NBC’s Mediocre ‘Outlaw’

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CHICAGO – The TV premiere season can be a hard slog. Not every pilot can click and herald the early success of a “Grey’s Anatomy” or a “Lost.” Still, some series do hit their stride later on, taking a season or two to find their footing: as in the case of “Sex & the City” or “Seinfeld.” In those cases, a lackluster pilot may belie the momentum, cast-gelling, and great writing still to come.

HollywoodChicago.com Television Rating: 2.0/5.0
Television Rating: 2.0/5.0

Having said that, NBC’s “Outlaw,” with its schmaltzy pilot full of cheap ploys to lure viewers, seems unlikely to fall into this latter category. What is striking is the quality of actors that this show has attracted. “Outlaw” wastes the talents of an outstanding cast led by the immensely likable and earnest Jimmy Smits as a deeply flawed and grieving Supreme Court justice, along with supporting actors Jesse Bradford, Carly Pope, Melora Hardin and David Ramsey. Yet, misuse of this promising cast and cheap ploys abound.

Photo credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

Carly Pope, though spunky and intriguing, is also subjected to cheap, lingering leg shots and clothed in overly revealing outfits. Plus, she and the slimy Harvard Law grad played by Jesse Bradford share some of the most vapid and forced on-screen flirtations imaginable.

The writing is lackluster in other ways too. Smits delivers resounding, inspirational speeches about public service, set to triumphant musical crescendos, which do not inspire. And a saccharinely pretty law clerk confesses her love for Smits in a forceful-but-awkward declaration with little or no emotional believability or build-up.

“Outlaw” generally feels bland, forced and lackluster. Given Jimmy Smits’ strikingly interesting turn as a Barack Obama-esque politico in the final seasons of “West Wing,” it’s understandable why NBC tried to thrust him into this role in this series. But quite simply, he should have held out for a better one.

‘Outlaw’ premieres on NBC on Wednesday, September 15th at 9:00pm CST before moving to its regular time of Fridays at 9:00 p.m. CST. It stars Jimmy Smits, Jesse Bradford, Carly Pope, David Ramsey and Melora Hardin.

HollywoodChicago.com TV critic Emily Riemer

TV Critic

Doug Johnson's picture

excellent review


I think your review was succinct and well-thought out. Such tired ploys should not be allowed to annoy. As a member of the general public to whom you have afforded respect. . thanks. .. and yes…we are not that stupid.

And so. . in terms of real crime…Anne Rule style. ..my book HIMALAYAN HOEDOWN is about to release. It’s my account of the Swami Shyam saga:


Please let me know if you are aware of any book reviewers who might like a copy.


Doug Johnson 415-290-5322

Anonymous's picture

Far worse than mediocre

Outlaw is insulting, offensive, retarded left-wing garbage. Let’s hope the show gets killed before Jimmy Smits feels the need to bare his fat old ass on it for old times’ sake.

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