New NBC Show Turns Conservative Hypocrite Into Liberal Hero -- But Even MSM Ridicules Plot

September 15th, 2010 7:21 PM
NBC tonight (10 PM EDT/PDT, 9 PM CDT) debuts a new drama, Outlaw, centered on a conservative Supreme Court justice who, as a gambler and a philander, is a hypocrite played by Jimmy Smits. Realizing his political misdirection, he resigns from the court so he can become a crusading lawyer for liberal causes. But the program is so awful, even MSM TV critics are ridiculing it. (Joe Scarborough has at least one cameo in it.) “The show is so ludicrously dumb that your eyeballs will hurt from rolling so much,” Hank Stuever warned in Tuesday's Washington Post.

In USA Today, Robert Bianco pleaded: “Surely NBC's joking. There's awful, and then there's atrociously, hilariously awful -- a line NBC and Jimmy Smits soar across with Outlaw.” He proceeded to describe the show's premise:
A gambling, womanizing, conservative Supreme Court justice who chucks the court to become a crusader for the outcast and oppressed? That's not a prime-time show, it's a Saturday Night Live  sketch. We meet Smits' Justice Cyrus Garza as he's being thrown out of a casino for counting cards. Outside, he stops to debate a case he's due to decide with a pretty ACLU protester (because you know those justices, yak, yak, yak) -- whom he then beds. But her words move him, and he resigns to become a trial lawyer.
Recognizing the commonality of TV shows that ridicule conservatives as hypocrites or people with dark and nefarious motives, Bianco asked: “Do we really need another show promoting another shadowy, conservative cabal, this one with tentacles in the Senate and the court and an anti-Garza agenda?”

The take from James Poniewozik on
Outlaw -- sneak-peeking tonight before moving to Fridays -- starts in a direction of implausibility and keeps on going. The premise: Cyrus Garza (Jimmy Smits) is the most conservative justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and the son of a famous and passionate liberal attorney. After his father dies in an accident, Garza re-examines his life and decides to embrace his father's beliefs. He further decides that the legal system he works in is flawed, in such a way that he cannot do any good as a Supreme Court justice [!]. So he quits the bench and decides to become a freelance lawyer, traveling and taking on highly controversial cases.
In the second episode we'll get liberal guilt-tripping on Arizona, Bianco noted: “Friday, when Outlaw moves to its regular slot, the case involves racial profiling and Arizona's immigration law.” has posted an uninspiring four-minute trailer, which includes a scene with Joe Scarborough playing himself.