Episode Title: “(Il)Legitimate”
Writer: Ashley Gable
Director: Matt Earl Beesley
Previously on “Vegas”:
During a union meeting at the Tumbleweed casino, Senior Shop Steward Sam Kovacs (Wade Williams) talks to the staff about a possible strike. A young maid named Estelle (Yaani King) is vocal about not going on strike until their contract is up and rallies support from her fellow workers. That night, Estelle is killed in a hit and run on her way home.
Sheriff Lamb (Dennis Quaid) learns that Kovacs had it out for Estelle and suspects he may be the driver of the car that killed her. At the station, a wealthy local man named Randall Paltries (Christopher Cousins) arrives with his son, Terry. He tells the Sheriff that Estelle was his housekeeper’s daughter and he offers up a reward for the capture of her killer.
At Estelle's apartment, Sheriff Lamb spots a car peeling away and has the plates run. Back at the station, Mia Rizzo (Sarah Jones) drops by to get her work card and Jack (Jason O'Mara) uses the opportunity to flirt with the Savoy casino count room manager.
With his eye on the neighboring Tumbleweed casino, Vincent Savino (Michael Chiklis) makes an offer to the owner, Mert Hayes (William Russ). He promises to end Hayes' union problems and tells him he's secured financing from a local bank.
Sheriff Lamb learns that the car he spotted at Estelle's is registered to Kovacs. When the Sheriff and Jack find Kovacs at the Tumbleweed, he admits to stopping by Estelle's to ask her about the strike but she was gone and her place was trashed. He tells the Sheriff that Estelle frequented a club called the Blue Note and that she had a thing for white men.
Savino offers to cut the Tumbleweed's union head, Davey Cornaro (Jamie McShane) in on his deal if he calls off the strike. Cornaro agrees but seems suspicious of the deal. Savino is then shot at in his car inside a parking garage but manages to escape with a minor wound.
While Sheriff Lamb is questioning a waitress from the Blue Note, Jack learns that Estelle was getting regular deposits from Randall Paltries. When they stop by his home, Paltries explains that Estelle was his daughter. Though he kept their relationship a secret for fear of public scrutiny, Paltries said he would never harm Estelle.
Jack learns that Paltries' son, Terry (David Gallagher) drives a car matching the description of the one that hit Estelle. Terry tells the Sheriff that he knew Estelle was his sister and admits to stealing jewelry from her in order to fund his drug addiction. When he examines Estelle's jewelry box, Sheriff Lamb finds surveillance photos of Estelle and her father.
Sheriff Lamb theorizes that Estelle was protecting her father from blackmail. When he gets the negatives from the shop that processed the photos, the Sheriff spots the photographer in the reflection of her car's mirror. She cut herself out of the photo before sending it to Estelle.
With a suspect in mind, the Sheriff brings in one of Estelle's co-workers, Tracy and accuses her of the crime. Her bank accounts show regular deposits matching the amount Estelle's father was sending her. Tracy, who was jealous of Estelle's wealthy background, eventually admits to killing her when Estelle threatened to have her arrested.
While Assistant District Attorney, Katherine O'Connell (Carrie-Anne Moss) looks for Cornaro, who's accused of firebombing the Tumbleweed, Savino has him shot as he gets into a car. That night, Jack asks Mia to dinner but she turns him down, as she has plans to see the sights with District Attorney Reynolds.
Now things are getting interesting. Up until this episode, “Vegas” has been about Sheriff Lamb butting heads with mobster, Vincent Savino. In “(Il)Legitimate” a new set of tensions arose, between Ralph Lamb and his younger brother, Jack. And it's not just about an old tree and a well.
Ralph's refusal to cut down a century-old oak tree, one which he fondly remembered his wife hanging laundry in front of, when Jack suggested they use the lot to build a new well was a telling moment. Despite his gruff demeanor, Ralph's a sentimental guy. He's resistant to the impending "asphalt avalanche" that Savino spoke of and has a deep reverence for the land his family has lived off of for generations
Typically, the younger Jack would prefer to use the parcel the tree stands on to build a more economically efficient well. He also doesn't see a problem with dating a mobster's daughter. When he asks her to dinner, Mia turns Jack down as she has a date with another professionally inappropriate suitor, District Attorney Reynolds. This could be a fun little love triangle, especially after Savino and Sheriff Lamb get wind of it. At the very least, it provides the spicy subplot the show needed.
Over in mobland, Savino tried to go legit with his offer on the neighboring and aptly named, Tumbleweed casino only to find that there's no escaping the mob. In the end, Savino's men took out Milwaukee mob-affiliated union head, Davey Cornaro when he attempted a hit on Savino. Still, there's pesky Johnny Rizzo, who wants fifty-percent of the cut on the Tumbleweed, to deal with.
The mob subplots in “Vegas” aren't that interesting, probably because we've seen this done before and better on a number of obvious cable shows I don't need to list off here. What is interesting is Savino's ambition and the fact that he's willing to go outside his organized crime comfort zone to make his plans happen. I'm interested to see how he handles those who stand in his way, especially if he finds himself alienated by his Chicago boss.
This week's case tied in nicely with the escalating union problems at the Tumbleweed. Turns out this time it was the maid, not the butler whodunit. Vegas is a town that breeds greed, which can occasionally lead to murder. If you're a big TV fan, this episode was littered with notable guest stars including the corrupt corrections officer from “Prison Break” (Wade Williams), the drunk cop from “Weeds” (Michael J. Harney) and Ted from 'Breaking Bad' (Christopher Cousins).
Now with a full-season order, we're stuck in “Vegas” for a while but I don't mind, as the show is improving each week. With its glitzy setting and top notch cast, “Vegas” might not be the smartest show around, but it sure is pretty to look at.