'Vegas' recap: '(Il)Legitimate' brings Sheriff Ralph Lamb, Vincent Savino into sharp focus

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'Vegas' recap: '(Il)Legitimate' brings Sheriff Ralph Lamb, Vincent Savino into sharp focus
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Vincent Savino sets his sights on investing in another casino, which makes the Milwaukee mob feel threatened …

"(Il)Legitimate," the latest episode of "Vegas," showcases the two big reasons why CBS ordered a full season of the new crime drama: Dennis Quaid and Michael Chiklis. After just four episodes, both actors have sharply defined their respective characters.

Quaid's Ralph Lamb is a traditionalist who maintains the integrity of both the land and the people of Las Vegas. Lamb has, for instance, a century oak tree that sits on top of an aquifer on his land. His brother Jack (Jason O'Mara) wants to take the tree down to tap that water source, but Ralph would rather pay for a more expensive well and preserve the tree.

In contrast, Vincent Savino (Chiklis) believes the future of Vegas will be about larger hotels/casinos that offer more amenities. Though he didn't get approval from the Windy City to expand the Savoy, Savino plans to buy an interest in the nearby Tumbleweed Club. Instead of going through Chicago, the mobster arranges legitimate bank financing on the deal.

The Tumbleweed management is having some labor issues, though. Mr. Kovacs (Wade Williams), a senior union shop steward, encourages the maids and kitchen workers to go on strike for better conditions. Estelle Drew (Yaani King), another shop steward, opposes a wildcat strike and suggests that when their contract is up, the union should go to the negotiating table.

Estelle's suggestion is greeted with applause, but shortly after leaving work, she is fatally struck by a car. Kovacs seems like the likely suspect, especially after he breaks into Estelle's apartment. As Ralph and Jack take him into custody, a firebomb crashes through the window of the Tumbleweed and explodes.

With bombs, union troubles, and dead employees, Mert Hayes (William Russ), owner of the Tumbleweed, is ready to sell to either Savino or the members of the Milwaukee mob who arrived in town. The rival gangsters are there to stake their claim and try to take Vincent out of the running for good.

Savino learns he also has troubles with his own employers when Johnny Rizzo (Michael Wiseman) comes back to town. Word of the Tumbleweed deal has reached boss Angelo, and he isn't happy. Rizzo wheedles a 50 percent cut of the deal from Savino with the promise that he will take care of Angelo.

Speaking of Rizzo, Mia (Sarah Jones), his daughter, catches the eye of Jack Lamb. When she comes to the sheriff's office to get her work card, Mia and Jack engage in some playful, flirtatious banter that holds the promise of something more.

Ralph and Jack run through the possible suspects in the death of Estelle Drew, but a photograph provides a crucial piece of evidence. It turns out that Tracy (Megan Henning), another maid, threatened to tell everyone that Estelle had a rich white father if she didn't pay her off. After Estelle threatened to go to the police, Tracy ran her over with her car.

By the end of "(Il)Legitimate," both Ralph Lamb and Vincent Savino are embracing the old ways of doing things. Lamb sits in his ranch house cleaning his gun while looking out at the century oak. Ralph imagines that his wife Marilyn (Kristin Slaysman) is out there hanging up the wash as she used to do.

Taking a "step back to move forward," Savino arranges a hit on union organizer Davey Cornaro (Jamie McShane), the man responsible for the Tumbleweed firebombing. Savino is looking toward the future, but he realizes that he still has to do some things the Chicago way.

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