The Defenders TV show was a 60 minute legal drama series with a comedy overtone on CBS about two flashy Las Vegas, Nevada defense attorneys who used their amazing skills in the courtroom to protect the little guy in need.
The Defenders Cast
James Belushi .... Nick Morelli
Jerry O'Connell .... Pete Kaczmarek
Jurnee Smollett .... Lisa Tyler
Natalie Zea .... Meredith Cramer
Gillian Vigman .... Jessica
Tanya Fischer .... Sophie
Cole Jensen .... Sammy
The Defenders Trivia
There was also a 1961 version of The Defenders TV Series, starring "E.G. Marshall". That series was much more serious in nature than this 2010 version with a father and son lawyer team who tackled cases that tended to be politically signifigant in the early 1960s like abortion and drug cases.
Nick Morelli and Pete Kaczmarek don't just defend innocent victims of the legal system. They also assist clients in getting a fair trial who have been charged with a crime that carries a stricter sentence than the one they deserve. In real-life, the Las Vegas district attourney's have been accused of this practice. The idea is to charge say a defendant with a more serious crime to get them to "cop" to a plea for the crime they actually should have been charged with but that denies the defendant to a fair punishment.
Jurnee Smollett who came to the Defenders cast directly from a starring role on the fourth season of "Friday Night Lights" plays Lisa Tyler, a freshly graduated lawyer who joins the firm of Morelli and Kaczmarek. Her character is a street smart young woman who paid her way through law school by working as a stripper.
In some scenes in the pilot, Jerry O'Connell ("Sliders" and "Crossing Jordan") seems to be giving an Emmy-winning performance as a lawyer "on the edge". Actually, they shot the pilot all night long for thirteen hours straight and Jerry was hopped up on (legal) pep pills. Unexpectedly, it made his character seem much more realistic.
James Belushi should feel pretty comfortable while taping The Defenders. It will be shot on the same stage as "According to Jim" was and James even has the very same dressing room on set!
In 2004 James Belushi lodged a $4,000,000 lawsuit against his neighbor Julie Newmar ("Batman" and "My Living Doll") for defamation and harassment. Another neighbor told a reporter, "She's weird and he's a bully". They settled the dispute out of court in 2006 and Julie even appeared on a fifth season episode of "According to Jim" titled, "The Grumpy Guy" where Newmar portrayed a neighbor who irritated Jim.
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