Only Caan can make this thin gamble work
Las Vegas 8.30pm, Seven
‘‘ A HEART attack? Nah, you gotta own one of those things for that to happen.’’ So says James Caan as the ever modest, anything but heartless Big Ed Deline in tonight’s season return. Sure, in the cliffhanger from last season Ed was shot at point blank range as he opened his front door and could rightfully be expected to be toast right now.
But this is an expensive series and Caan is as vital to it as the captain of any ship. You didn’t really think they were going to bump him off, did you? Second, this is Vegas, where every gambler gets a second chance. So the bullet missed ( natch) and we are supposed to be distracted by a nonheart attack. Go figure.
Las Vegas is a curious mixture of things. There’s a splash of Desperate Housewives tonight, as Big Ed’s beautiful daughter Delinda ( Molly Sims) realises at her wedding ( interrupted by the aforementioned shooting/ heart attack) that she doesn’t really love her fiance Derek and is still in love with her dad’s protege Danny ( Josh Duhamel).
In every other episode, Ed gets to reprise his most famous role as author Paul Sheldon in Misery , presumably because he’s really good at pretending to be tortured.
There’s also a hint of hospital drama when Ed is visited by ultra macho mobsters in his hospital bed as he waits for the blood work on his possible heart attack.
Then there’s the nonstop whirlwind of criminality in Vegas, and the surveillance technology deployed by Ed and his team ( he’s the head of security at a casino) that makes the NASA stuff in Apollo 13 look like Duplo.
Caan is terrific as the long- suffering Ed, making the most of puerile plots and dialogue that, in lesser hands, would be cringe- inducing.
When it comes to the depictions of rich bitch wilfulness, Sam ( Vanessa Marcil) takes the biscuit: ‘‘ I’m going to Hawaii — now. Tell Woody I’ll be back tomorrow night at the latest. Have Mary watch my clients but if there’s any problems you call me. And I’m taking the jet.’’ When she arrives at the Hawaiian hotel, she barks at two lei- bearing natives: ‘‘ Aloha my ass. Who the hell puts a hotel in the middle of the jungle?’’ I think we’re supposed to swoon at her authority, but she sounds like a spoiled brat at a frat party.
Fast cars, gorgeous homes, pretty people, sumptuous casinos, clever crims, romance and law- breaking, but not much in the way of character development. Then, money has always been the major draw in Vegas.
Question of character: It’s all fast cars and pretty people in Las Vegas