VEGAS 1.06 ‘The Real Thing’

Sheriff Lamb and Vincent Savino find themselves playing for the same team when a counterfeiter takes aim at The Savoy.

Hilary Rothingby Hilary Rothing

Episode Title: "The Real Thing"

Writer: Vanessa Reisen

Director: Alex Zakrzewski

Previously on "Vegas:"

Episode 1.05 "Solid Citizens"


There's a difference between law and justice and there's a difference between Sheriff Lamb and Vincent Savino, though the mobster tried to argue otherwise towards the end of this episode.

Both are just trying to defend what's theirs. For Savino (Michael Chiklis), it's his stake in the new Vegas and for Sheriff Lamb (Dennis Quaid), it's his roots in the old one. Ultimately, this puts them at odds. However, in "The Real Thing," the lawman and the gangster found themselves working together to take down a killer chip counterfeiter. For Savino, it was just about getting his money back, but for Sheriff Lamb, there was a murder to be solved.

This week, it was a dentist in debt who took to counterfeiting chips with the help of a complicit Savoy cashier and her boyfriend. As it happens, the dentist killer made off with a pile of cash from The Savoy after making more chips with stolen dental cement. When Savino caught up with the culprit first, he and Sheriff Lamb engaged in a brief philosophical debate on the difference between law and justice, which served as a reminder that the instinct to protect what's theirs runs deep in both of these men. The means to that end may be the only thing that separates them.

And in "The Real Thing," we saw Savino make moves in the political area to secure Chicago's take on The Savoy's earnings. After Mayor Bennett planted a gaming control board auditor in his count room, Savino took a sudden interest in the upcoming mayoral race. He decided to back the very green candidate, George Grady against the incumbent mayor. In the process, Savino's wife, Laura (Vinessa Shaw) got to rub elbows with Assistant D.A. Katherine O'Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss). Though the two did little more than make a lunch date to discuss Grady's run, perhaps both these characters will begin to matter more in the larger storyline.

The tension between Lamb, his brother, Jack (Jason O'Mara) and son, Dixon (Taylor Handley) seems to have settled down for the time being though the sheriff continues to sit out his partners when it suits him. Meanwhile, Jack tries (again) to get close to Savoy cardroom manager Mia Rizzo (Sarah Jones). The two managed to crack the counterfeiting case. but a romance between the Deputy Sheriff and the mobster's daughter has yet to begin.

Six episodes in, "Vegas" has seeded a couple of intriguing subplots, but there hasn't been too much movement with any of them. Taking a cue from its namesake, I'd like to see these storylines move a little bit faster. Now that its been given a full season, the show's marquee star, Dennis Quaid can afford to take an occasional backseat to let the supporting characters run with the story from time to time. And a political subplot seems like a good enough place to start.

Meanwhile, "Vegas" continues to lay it on thick with its retro charms. We see a mobster water boarding a casino thief in the men's room and bribing female voters with stolen televisions. As Grady's new "campaign advisor," Savino decides it best if his debate against Bennett isn't televised. After Grady's opening remarks about leading Vegas into the future, Savino has the television signal cut, making all those stolen TV's kind of useless, at least in Bennett's case. And then there was the opening scene where Dixon "pantsed" a trio of robbers before the sheriff sent them on their way, preferring to go with his form of justice, a stern warning rather than the pile of paperwork the law would require.

At the very least, "The Real Thing" opened up some interesting possibilities for the rest of the season. We've got a pretty good idea what Sheriff Lamb and Vincent Savino want but there's still much to learn about both men and the people supporting them. This episode didn't exactly cover new ground with our two leading men, but it did open up some new territory for the rest of the cast to stir up trouble in, hopefully sooner than later.