For a freshman series, "Vegas" has found its footing in record time. "All That Glitters," the third episode, distinctly draws the battle lines between Sheriff Ralph Lamb (Dennis Quaid) and Savoy casino manager Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis). It also proves the old adage about keeping your friends close and your enemies closer.
Savino has his hands full with Johnny Rizzo (Michael Wiseman), father of count room manager Mia Rizzo (Sarah Jones). Mr. Rizzo comes to Vegas with Boss Angelo LaFratta (Jonathan Banks) to check up on the Savoy and his little girl. Savino needs the mobster's approval to add a restaurant and an arena to the casino, so it can attract and keep high rollers.
Because he assaulted a dealer years earlier, Rizzo is not allowed on the gaming floor. To appease the mobster, Savino sets up a private casino for him in one of the hotel's suites. Rizzo loses his temper, though, and assaults another dealer in the suite. After heading down to play on the casino floor, Sheriff Lamb arrives to arrest the mobster.
Rizzo wants Lamb eliminated, but Savino speaks to the assembled Chicago mobsters and makes a case to keep the sheriff alive. Two dead sheriffs, Savino explains, would keep potential gamblers from coming to Nevada.
Sheriff Lamb survives this episode, but another body turns up. Olympic boxer Tommy Carroll (Toby Meuli) dies in the middle of the street, the victim of an apparent assault. A boxing promoter seems like the likely suspect, but after he's taken into custody, he paints a picture of the boxer as a junkie desperate for money.
The son of an abusive father, Carroll had a reported soft spot for the underdog. Tommy had been helping the abused wife of a teammate named Ronnie (Austin Hebert). Ronnie admits to beating Tommy, but the coroner's report shows the 20-year-old boxer died of a heart attack. A combination of painkillers combined with antihistamine pills from another boxer accidentally caused his death.
By episode's end, the mob from the Windy City is heading back East. Angelo thinks Savino is doing good work, but Rizzo tells his daughter that a shakeup in management could occur. In other words, Angelo may soon be, as they used to say, sleeping with the fishes in Lake Michigan.
The dialogue in "Vegas" gets sharper every week. Looking extremely comfortable as the cowboy sheriff, Quaid's Ralph Lamb gets the driest lines. While watching a waiter prepare baked Alaska, for instance, Lamb wonders how much it costs to have someone burn their food. Lamb's two-fisted sensibility and droll observations continue to make this series a must-see on Tuesdays.
- Johnny Rizzo
- Dennis Quaid
- Michael Chiklis