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This week on 'Outlaw': Dreck

The new NBC series "Outlaw" has been getting a pounding from the critics, and sure, the premise is laughable: Strict constructionist Supreme Court justice (Jimmy Smits) has a change of heart when his liberal father dies in a car wreck, so he quits the bench to fight for justice as a pro bono attorney.

Well, not only the premise is bad, the writing is bad, the acting is bad, and the depiction of reality is bad. A Supreme Court justice is kicked out of a casino for counting cards in a six-deck shoe and then has an angry confrontation with a cute ACLU activist amid an anti-death penalty protest, with no security around? And that's in the first three minutes!

Judging from the first quarter-hour, business will be depicted as malevolent. Smits' character, Justice Cyrus Garza, walks down the front steps of a CGI-Supreme Court and enters a limo to speak to a U.S. Senator, a bald, overweight Senator, of course, who says with a scowl ..."Chelsea vs. Intel, Frankl vs. Portland, Manilow vs. 3M. All five-four decisions. Five-four. These are precedent-setting cases, and they all went south because of you."

The Senator tells Garza he's heard the justice may stop the execution of a liberal cause celebre, Greg Beals. He continues the warning: "If this new direction of yours is because of your dad's death, see a therapist. If it's a mid-life crisis, screw your secretary, but do not shift the balance of the Supreme Court. We put you in there, we can take you out. You're at the tipping point here Cyrus. You don't vote the right way on Beals, you're out."

Next scene, Garza is on the bench with his fellow justices and announces, "I'm staying the case of Gregory Beal and sending it back for a new trial ..." In the audience, the Senator scowls.

Nowhere, nowhere, is the question ever answered: Why is Barry Manilow suing 3M?

Fridays, 10 p.m. Eastern, 9 p.m. Central. Must not watch television.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.