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Series / Las Vegas

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The cast from season 1. From left to right: Mike, Sam, Delinda, Ed, Danny, Nessa, and Mary.

If you're looking for information about the city itself, click here. Also not to be confused with anything called "Vegas".

Running from 2003 to 2008 on NBC, Las Vegas was an hour-long drama that depicted the professional and personal lives of the employees of the Montecito Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, which was based loosely on the Mandalay Bay building.

The show underwent several retools during its five-year run, usually referenced in-universe as the casino changing ownership (a few of the owners were portrayed by Dean Cain, Lara Flynn Boyle, and Tom Selleck). James Caan and Nikki Cox left at the end of the fourth season (Caan to return to films; Cox, it was rumored, due to budget cuts) and Selleck was brought in as the new owner. Ratings, however, had never been stellar, and combined with the high costs of filming and the 2007 Writer's Strike, led the series to be cancelled with a Cliffhanger series finale. Creator Gary Scott Thompson at one point wanted to do a TV movie that would tie up the numerous loose ends of the finale, but as yet nothing has come of it. Reruns currently air on E!.

This series contains examples of:

  • Accidental Marriage: Mike and Piper got so drunk in one episode, they ended up getting married in one of Vegas' chapels. After some talking, they decide to stay married.
  • Accidental Pervert: In one episode, Delinda offers to allow a blind man to feel her face so he'll know what she looks like. The blind man in question reaches out at eye level, not noticing Delinda stood up from the stool she was on, and takes hold of her breast. The man comments "Apparently you're very tall" but makes no effort to remove his hand.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Dean Cain guest stars in one episode as the owner of the casino. He spends two hours walking around in disguise. Ed, meanwhile, had spotted him on the security cameras from the beginning, and comments "Does he really think a hat and a pair of glasses can make him invisible?"
    • He also appears when the Monticito is hosting a comic convention where it is revealed Ed went to him to take back the casino from Monica. As the comic book style scene shows, she's about to get an ass kicking, or more appropriately Superman is flying in to save the day.
    • Vincent Ventresca and Paul Ben-Victor guest starred as a quirky duo, echoing their dynamic from The Invisible Man.
    • Ed Deline asks Danny and Mike if they've seen The Godfather, and then quotes the famous line "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer". Ed is played by James Caan, who played Sonny Corleone in that film.
    • Josh Duhamel (Danny McCoy) gets two alluding to his relationship (later marriage) with Fergie, a member of the Black Eyed Peas. When the band guest stars in the show, she refers to Danny as being hot when she sees him. In a later episode, Danny sees a poster of her hanging in a teenager's room and comments on it.
  • Adam Westing: Many over the course of the show, most notably Jean-Claude Van Damme, who gets killed off onscreen.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: In one episode, some bad guys take over the Montecito security centre. Danny McCoy uses the air vent system to try and get some intelligence on them. Right after the audience starts wondering why the hotel with "the best security on the strip" has such a gaping security hole, the vent collapses, conspicuously dumping Danny in the middle of his, formerly Ed Deline's office. Logically, Ed knew it would collapse for any intruder. Heck, he may have set it up that way deliberately.
  • All for Nothing: A young man steals something, and one of the Montecito team goes through a lot of trouble to give him a second chance. Turns out that the item he stole was on sale, which made it a lesser crime, so he got off with probation. He shows up at the casino to thank his guardian angel...and then gets caught lifting a purse on his way out.
  • Alternate Reality Episode: There's an episode where Danny imagines himself and his co-workers working at a Las Vegas casino in the 1960s instead of the 2000s. Ed Deline is basically a mobster-turned casino boss as opposed to an ex-CIA agent turned casino manager, Mike faces racism from a Jerkass diner owner, and Sam Marquez is a hooker operating out of the casino.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: This is how Monica's exit is handled. The cast is not only all-around pleased that she's gone, but they flush her ashen remains down a toilet. Though this was according to Monica's wishes, as her will and friend explained that it was a metaphor for what Monica believed life to be like.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: They steal a truckload of lobsters from the Montecito to prevent their "murder", and dump them into a shark aquarium, which endangers the sharks by introducing unchecked foreign contaminants into the water. Besides getting them arrested and using the Running Gag of the threat of Prison Rape by suggesting he will become a meat eater, Ed and another casino manager retaliate by organizing an All-You-Can-Eat lobster buffet.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: An Arab oil sheik showed up in an episode. He sort-of defied the stereotype in terms of looks since he was younger and more handsome than the usual standard and just wore a regular custom suit instead of a keffiyeh, but he was openly polygynous and already had three wives. He proposes to Delinda, but is 'mysteriously' poisoned and then set on fire before he can give her the ring. It turns out that his previous wives all despised him.
  • Ashes to Crashes: Played with in the episode "For Sail by Owner".
    • The crazy owner of the casino, Monica, diednote  and named Ed Deline as her executor. She is cremated and when her stepson, child of the billionaire Monica wed, arrives Ed gives him an urn of ashes. Angered by being given this, he threw the urn against the wall before Ed could tell him it was his father. Monica felt he would want his father back.
    • Later, when deciding where to lay Monica's ashes to rest, they decide the perfect place down the toilet in Monica's suite.
  • As Himself:
    • Mayor Oscar Goodman occasionally appeared as... Mayor Oscar Goodman.
    • Jean-Claude Van Damme as... uh.... Unusually, he also died in the episode.
    • Steve Wynn, Glenn Schaeffer and the Maloofs, pretty much the people who built Modern Day Vegas, often make many appearances as patrons of the Montecito (the show was essentially 40 minutes of free advertising on primetime for the city every week, little wonder the Vegas establishment bent over backwards to aid the production).
    • Wolfgang Puck is eventually introduced as opening his own restaurant at the Montecito, and takes over as the head chef for Mystique as well, with Gunther quitting in defiance after loosing a cooking competition to him.
    • Wayne Newton appears as himself many times, with him and Ed having a rivalry over a botched golf card.
    • Other Vegas standouts, Penn & Teller, Blue Man Group, Paul Anka, The Pussycat Dolls, Lance Burton, Criss Angel and more make appearances in the show as well. Harder to find a 2000s celebrity who didn't guest on this show.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The pilot intro is shot in a manner to create the impression that Ed and his guys getting off the elevator are mobsters preparing to assassinate the man who's having sex with the woman in the hotel room upstairs. No, Ed is the head of security and the whole thing was set up by Delinda, his rebel daughter, to embarass her father and get Danny in trouble.
  • Bar Brawl: Ed, Danny, and Danny's ex commander went had some drinks in a bar and they decided to have a bar fight.
  • Big Blackout: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Vegas."
  • Bottle Episode: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Vegas." The episode takes place entirely at the Montecitio, and only the main cast is used and none of the (few) extras can speak. Danny and Mary are stuck in an elevator with a deaf man who writes notes they read out loud. According to the DVD commentary the series was far exceeding its' budget so this scenario was created to cut costs.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Mike and Danny would give occasional nods to the camera accompanied by a "Ding" sound, normally when they have inadvertently stumbled into a sexually advantageous situation. The female characters would do the same but normally when they had a financial windfall.
  • Casual Kink: It is Vegas, after all. For example, at one point, a man and a woman start getting hot and heavy in an elevator. Danny knocks on the door.
    Danny: There's a camera directly over you! We can see what you're doing.
    Woman: I know!
  • Catfight: There's a verbal variation between Sam Marquez and Monica Mancuso when they first meet in the third season. Any ambiguity as to whether it's intended as one is dropped out the window when two cats screeching are heard over the soundtrack. The guys later remark that they really regret that they missed it, so it's also in-universe fanservice.
  • Celebrity Casualty: Jean-Claude Van Damme made a guest appearance as himself in which a stunt was sabotaged and he fell to his death.
  • Celebrity Paradox: See trope entry.
  • City of Adventure: Something big seems to happen at the Montecito every week.
  • Comically Small Bribe: A filmmaker tries to get Ed to close down the Montecito's entire casino floor by offering him five grand. Ed points out that a single craps table makes about 5 times that in 10 minutes.
  • Continuity Nod: At one point, Sam gets a dog named Reggie. She mentions it in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it comment a few episodes later, despite it not having been seen since that episode. 'Heroes' shows him, much bigger, and judging by his food bowl, he's treated well. But then again, he doesn't appear again, so maybe not?
    • After Mike is attacked he and Danny eventually track down the culprit and discover the motive was a huge stash of priceless, pre-embargo Cuban cigars. Ed is seen smoking them for the rest of the series.
  • Covert Distress Code: In case of a kidnapping or hostage situation in ops, those taken hostage should communicate this to anyone on the outside by saying things are "Nothing but aces."
  • Crossover:
    • Occasionally with Crossing Jordan. A few episodes of the 2008 Knight Rider reboot featured the Montecito, though none of the usual characters were around. Same with Heroes (in the latter's case, it was more because they already had the sets around).
    • And, of all things, Deal or No Deal. One episode of Deal ended with host Howie Mandell walking off the set, telling the stage people that he is late for his flight to Las Vegas. In the episode of Las Vegas that followed, he arrived As Himself to stay at the Montecito.
    • Also with NBC's daytime soap Passions, though this amounted to little more than the Passions characters dropping by the Montecito and some of the characters from this show appearing in extended cameos.
    • Even Medium had a scene involving someone gambling at the Montecito, as evidenced by the chips with the casino's logo on them.
    • "The Story of Owe" had a line about a Dunder Mifflin convention being held at the Montecito.
    • The sets for this series were extremely expensive but the creators sold them to the network pointing out that they could be reused time and again for other series/films which had scenes based in casinos which indeed they have been.
  • Cut Short: The series finale wasn't ever intended as such, so when the show was cancelled, it ended on a major cliffhanger.
  • Depraved Homosexual: Subverted by a gay couple when they have Danny and Mike over for some food. They say that the four of them can have each other for lunch and then dinner, weirding out Danny and Mike, but then admit that they were just messing with them.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Delinda taunts her kidnappers with this (the general tone, not the exact phrase) when they're trying to make a new escape plan after Danny calls in a fake terrorist threat to ground all flights in or out of LAS. (She has a point: they kidnapped the daughter of a former Head of Counter-Terrorism for the CIA. What did they think was going to happen, he'd play along?)
    Delinda: You're gonna die, you know. They shut down your airport, it's only a matter of time.
    Mr. Chips: By the time the police figure any of this out, I'll be on a beach earning twenty percent.
    Delinda: *chuckles*
    Mr. Chips: I'm glad you think this is all funny.
    Delinda: What's so funny is, you actually think the police will be involved. There'll be no police, no FBI. There'll only be men whose sole responsibility is to hunt you down and kill you.
  • Diplomatic Impunity: Played utterly straight when a Syrian diplomat steals a 90 million dollar Egyptian mummy that was on display at the Montecito casino. When Ed shows up trying to stop the guy before he boards his private plane the cops just let him go on with his business by citing his personal immunity, in spite of the fact that letting a foreigner steal a national treasure would undoubtedly lead to an international incident with Egypt (which unlike Syria, has been a major US ally since 1989). However, the guy who stole the treasure was a selfish dick who simply did not give a crap who wanted it for his private collection, Deline didn't have any legally obtained, actionable evidence of the crime, and Team Montecito had already stolen it back.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: One season one episode had Sam really upset by a rival, culminating in suggesting they make a fresh start, make out, then after really working him up ties him to the bed and offers him to a grotesque, obese, borderline woman. This is especially hypocritical in light of the show's generally egalitarian view of gender, and the fact that Sam herself would later be kidnapped and nearly raped, which is treated as serious and traumatizing.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Some of the season one episodes (including the pilot) featured a "Mr. Schaefer", who was implied to be Ed's boss at the Montecito. After all, Ed is the head of security, not the casino's manager. The character was quickly dropped and Ed later became the official manager with a separate office.
  • Egopolis: Neither of them gets the chance to go through with it, but before her death billionaire Monica Mancuso planned to rename the Montecito Resort and Casino The Monica when she was the property's owner, while Sam Marquez toys with renaming it the "Samecito" when she later inherits the ownership from Casey Manning.
  • Elseworld: "Everything Old Is You Again", set in 1962.
  • Enhance Button - The show is absolutely terrible about this. In fact, it's built into the very premise: the main characters are almost always able to solve the various crimes that occur in their casino because of the abundance of security surveillance on the premises (as noted in the pilot, Las Vegas has more surveillance cameras per capita than other any city in the world). Nearly every episode has Danny, Ed, and Mike zoom in to identify individuals from security cameras at least twenty feet away and use absurdly sophisticated (for a casino, MIT students gave them the latest and greatest in exchange for helping with a harmless prank) facial recognition software. And yet despite all this, they still manage to get robbed (or at least someone tries to) in every other episode. Some of the more ridiculous examples:
    • Episode 2.16 has Mike using the footage from two convenience store cameras to create a composite image of Ed driving through a green light (he was falsely ticketed for a red-light violation) by among other things, straightening a diagonal image, and using a reflection on a videoscreen in the footage to zoom in on the (now-defunct) High Roller Ride on the Stratosphere Tower more than 5 miles away.
    • Episode 2.08 (a crossover with Crossing Jordan) has the boys using four or so medium-close-up-size stills to end up with a 3-d simulation of a room, revealing the face of a women which wasn't anywhere in the recorded material. There's a slight Hand Wave that the computer "extrapolated" the new information from what they already had (which simply means that it took a guess), but it's not even shown how it did so - the audience is simply supposed to accept it.
    • Episode 2.18 starts out with CCTV footage of a guy's head shoved onto a restaurant counter by Sylvester Stallone, with his hand concealing nearly all of the man's face. They then remove the hand, fill in the missing features, do the same to the other half of the guy's face, ending up with a complete 3-d rendering of the guy's head by pure guesswork.
    • In Shrink Rap, Mike holds a special filter up to an image of cards on the screen, revealing the markings in invisible dye which a cheater has been applying to them. On the screen, which by rights shouldn't be capable of displaying anything but the human-visible spectrum of colors.
    • When the Monticito reopens Ed does some Lampshade Hanging by asking to use something he is not supposed to have, suggesting that if the casino wouldn't use it then being ex CIA he would.
  • Epic Tracking Shot: A signature staple of the series, with some pretty impressive examples. The series even opens with a rather extensive one.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Sam may do some low things but she wouldn't break the law by drugging her clients to keep them to continue gambling. And when she used a rich man dating service to bring in three whales, her conscience started eating her as the men seemed to genuinely like her and she was just using them. So, she uses her connections and finds suitable romantic interests for each one while she gave them a break-up speech.
  • Evil Debt Collector: Subverted in an episode where Sam Marquez is teamed up with a debt collector to track down several gamblers who are evading their debts to the casino. She asks him if he's gonna hurt anyone to force them to pay up, but he points out that this would quickly land him in jail if the debtor decides to call the authorities; according to him it's more about appearance and intimidation than actually roughing people up. This doesn't stop Sam from playing the "violent collector" part herself later on.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: In the last episode of season 1, Ed says to a group of lawyers that it might seems strange to them to try to do the right thing for once.
  • False Rape Accusation: A privileged woman lies that Danny forced himself onto her after she came onto him while both were drunk. She then tries to blackmail Ed into using his worldwide contacts to get several of her company's overseas development projects approved in exchange for her dropping the false charges against his employee and protégé. Ed blackmails her right back by using these same contacts to cancel most of her company's projects, and generally make her life a living hell, after which she backs off.
  • Fanservice: Frequently and unashamedly. There's a reason Delinda's emergence from the pool was never taken out of the opening sequence. And don't worry, it's often unisex. Taken a step further on the DVDs of the series, as the topless scenes at the Bela Peto pool are uncensored.
  • Fatal Method Acting: invoked In the first season, Jean-Claude Van Damme makes an appearance and gets killed off in a sabotaged stunt. It turns out he wasn't the intended target; the director was trying to kill Van Damme's stunt man because he was sleeping with the director's wife. It's because Van Damme insisted on No Stunt Double and went behind the director's back to do so that he died instead of the stunt man.
  • Flair Bartending: When Delinda opened her new club in the Montecito casino, one of the first things she did was hire a stellar flair bartender. She had to steal him from another establishment, in fact.
  • Genius Bruiser: Sylvester Stallone's guest character, Frank the Repairman. Notably, Stallone is one in real life too.
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man:
    • In "The Night the Lights Went Out in Vegas", there is a power outage in the entire city, and Mike and Ed are locked up in the surveillance room. Mike, who is claustrophobic, starts freaking out, leading Ed to hit him. Subverted in that Mike says it doesn't work he's still freaking out, but now his face hurts.
    • Delinda does it to Mike again in a later episode.
    Mike: What is it with your family and hitting people?
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: When Ed and Jack Keller are looking for a stolen painting they use this approach to the suspects twice, but switch the roles around.
  • Good Bad Girl: Sam and Delinda both describe themselves openly as sluts on at least one occasion.
  • Hard Boiled Detective: LVPD officer Max Dillon, introduced in the final season.
  • The Heist: "Pharaoh 'Nuff" revolves around a mummy being stolen from the Montecito on the way from the airport by a guy with diplomatic immunity, and Ed deciding that the team is going to steal it back.

  • High-Class Call Girl: numerous examples, prostitution actually legal in various parts of Nevada.
  • High Turnover Rate: Montecito owners are usually killed or bought out, with the notable exception of Sam and outright subversion of Cooper. It is remarked that of the previous 4 owners before Cooper one disappeared, one is in prison, one died after being blown off the Montecito's roof and one was killed by a giant squid.
  • Historical AU: "Everything Old Is You Again" takes the cast back to 1962 after Danny purchases a souvenir from the Jubilee Hotel, which was located where the Montecito now stands. In this setting, they work for a mob casino, deal with issues of the times, and generate a forward-thinking moneky-making scheme. As a bonus, the title card is retooled to be 60s-style.
  • Hit You So Hard, Your X Will Feel It!: In one episode, a prosphetic foot belonging to a boxing champion's assistant is stolen and he refuses to fight until he gets it back. The casino's manager Ed Deline, a former CIA operative, puts the culprits all in one room, then makes some very pointed threats including that unless the foot shows up, when he's done with them "their kids will come out well-behaved". He quietly leaves and returns 10 minutes later to get the foot.
  • Hot Men at Work: Appears in an episode when two window washers are doing work on the Montecito casino's many hotel windows while shirtless. Justified because they were specifically paid extra to follow this dress code to placate the guests.
  • I Let You Win: In "Delinda's Box: Part 2" Soli Tendar threw his final bet on the roulette wheel, saving the casino from a lose in the millions. He showed this by after making his bet, he wispers to Sam another number and that is the one the roulette wheel came out with.
  • Imagine Spot: Danny and Mike have two pretty funny ones of these when they think Ed may have had an affair with the deranged Monica Mancuso. The first involves Monica being dominant and Ed submissive behind closed doors, and the second the other way around.
  • Informed Ability: It wasn't explicitly referenced often, but Danny's status as an ex-Marine made his fighting and marksmanship talents more believable.
  • Interrogation by Vandalism:
    • Ed Deline and Jack Keller do this to get info from an effeminate artist by destroying his paintings, virtually giving the guy a heart attack in the process. Subverted in the same episode when Ed tries this approach with another artist. It's modern art, and the guy says it can't actually be ruined.
    • Also used by Ed and Danny while questioning an escort service manager.
  • Jerk Ass Has A Point: antagonistic Detective Max Dillon introduced in season 5, pointing out that the relationship between the local police and the Montecito has been far too cosy, allowing the staff to regularly break the law without consequence.
  • Karmic Death: Mr. Chips, the man who had kidnapped Delinda and buried her in the desert, finds himself waking up in a coffin Buried Alive after Delinda's rescue.
  • Karmic Jackpot: In "Delinda's Box: Part 2" Sam and Mike deal with Buddhist monk Soli Tendar who runs with this. Every seven years or so he comes to Vegas from his monastery and wins big each and every time. He gives all winnings away, so as not to accrue negative karma from greed. He even lost a final double or nothing bet on purpose.
  • Knight of Cerebus: The show was fairly light in tone despite several dramatic moments such as Danny's shellshock and the episode's typical villains were usually thieves, cheaters and con artists. Then comes Vince Petersen in season 4, who quickly establishes himself as the most twisted and horrifying one when he is revealed as a rapist and serial killer when he abducts Sam Marquez to do the same to her. After Sam kills him she suffers from PTSD in the next season and spends most of it trying to cope with the trauma.
  • Laser-Guided Karma:
    • A guy came to the Casino to look for a prostitute to sleep with while away from his wife. As it turns out, she took some self-defense courses way too far, and became a Domestic Abuser who likes hurting him. He finally gets the courage to leave her for good; ties her to the bed, goes downstairs and leaves his wedding ring in an envelope with Mike. Then he drives off free.
    • Sam was faced in bet against another Host to see who could be the best. She ends up being so desperate she goes to a Gambler's Anonymous meeting to try and convince one of her old whales to come back into the game but relents and is willing to accept a lose when the meeting starts. Mistaken for one of them, she stays and listens to some of their stories, which included a man who recently went off the wagon because the new drug prescription his doctor gave him was causing him to gamble. With this knowledge in mind, she was able to beat the other host as he is drugging his clients to play more.
  • Lesbian Subtext: In 'Fleeting Cheating Meeting' Mary and Sam argue over Sam's poor behavior before deciding to kiss and make up. They do this by making out on the floor.
    • Sperm Whales and Spearmint Rhinos: Mary, Sam and Delinda take a trio of glamourous lipstick lesbians to a strip club to try to distract them from their winning streak which is costing the casino a fortune. To the surprise of the others Delinda calls dibs on the girl in the gold top if they do all actually hook up. Mary and Sam may have had sex together afterwards.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane:
    • It's never fully confirmed if Sam's whale in "Hide and Seek" is an actual Vampire or a Vampire Vannabe.
    • Likewise in "The Bitch Is Back," no logical explanation is given to some of the mysterious events going on, leaving it up in the air if Monica's ghost is actually haunting the Montecito or not.
  • The Mole:
    • Leo, one of the new guys at surveillance Ed hired in season 2, is revealed to be working together with a group of card counters.
    • Adam, an employee remotely overseeing the card games in "Hit Me" is revealed to be sending electronic signals to a player.
  • Mood Whiplash: As a result of most episodes involving at least two separate plots, this happens often on the show. One episode had a plot dealing with someone with a bomb threatening to blow up the casino unless he got to talk to a particular blackjack dealer, which was interspersed with a plot about an Everlast concert and another one about dealing with a prima donna chef.
  • Mugging the Monster: Played with in the episode "Big Ed De-cline" Mike borrows Ed's Aston Martin to impress a girl on a date. The girl steals the car and takes it to a chop shop. Mike is able to track her down and while surrounded by the mechanics, with it already in the process of being chopped up, Mike tells them who actually owns the car. The mechanics don't care until the boss comes on and demands proof by looking at the registration which confirms this and promptly orders his men to put the car back together now.
  • Mysterious Past: Ed's past with the CIA, and AJ Cooper. We don't even know what his initals mean.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In "Can You See What I See?" Ed is accused of running a red light. He asks Mike to prove he didn't and Mike uses some tech to show the light was green and the system needs recalibration. To confirm this is legitimate evidence, Ed shows it to a judge playing at the casino, just for consulting knowing the man cannot sit on any case Ed is involved with. The judge looks at the evidence and confirms he would agree Ed didn't run a red light, however he was driving without a seat belt on and that is a more serious offense.
  • No Animals Were Harmed: Parodied in the episode in which Jean-Claude Van Damme is killed in a rooftop motorcycle movie stunt gone wrong. According to the credits, "No Jean-Claude Van Dammes were killed in the making of this episode".
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Gavin Brunson, the first of the Montecito's many, many owners, is a Race Lifted version of Howard Hughes.
  • No Ending: The series ends with a To Be Continued, but was never given another season. The TBC wasn't even intended as a season finale, it only ended up that way due to the WGA strike. There were even plans for the 2008 revival of Knight Rider to conclude the unresolved cliffhangers, featuring the Montecito crew (the first episode of KR08 featured the Montecito), but it too was cancelled before anything could come from it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The bad guys in the first episode of season 2 use this to infiltrate the Montecito surveillance room.
  • Only Bad Guys Call Their Lawyers: Played straight in the episode where Danny is falsely being accused of sexual harassment.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Played straight in the season five opener, as Delinda outruns an explosion started by one of Danny's old marine comrades, a Shell-Shocked Veteran.
  • Powerful People Are Subs: At one point, based on some suggestive camera footage they stumble across, Danny and Mike (mistakenly) believe that their boss Ed, a hard-ass ex-CIA agent who runs the casino, was having an affair with Monica Mancuso, an ill-tempered Gold Digger who bought the casino and regularly feuded with Ed. In an Imagine Spot, both Ed and Monica are in turn portrayed as submissives to the other behind closed doors.
  • Precious Puppy: Sam receives a puppy as an unwanted Christmas present from Delinda, then brings it to a dying friend who it comforts. Sam later names the puppy after her dying friend/client, Reggie.
  • Prison Rape: Threatened a couple of times after Sam had a rival raped.
  • Put on a Bus: Nessa put herself on a bus, and at the end of Season 4, both Ed and Mary left town to avoid getting charged with murder for killing Mary's father.
  • Real Life Writestheplot: the ongoing war in Iraq was referenced both with Danny's temporary recall to duty with the Marines and the recurring character of Detective Luis being killed there whilst serving as a reservist and the cast attending his funeral.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation."
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Ed and Danny go on one of these together when Delinda is kidnapped.
  • Rogue Juror: Ed plays this role in "Tainted Love". He's called for jury duty, but before the deliberation among the jury even begins, he already openly notes many discrepancies in the prosecution's case (for which he is almost held in contempt of court), and even investigates the case himself on his off-time. He discovers that the suspect is innocent, but the judge orders him that he can't use any of the evidence that he found out in his judgment. So instead he proves to the other jurors that the guy is innocent by noting that he is left-handed, while the real perpetrator would have to be right-handed to commit the crime the way the photos show. He did this because of his own backstory. He tells his wife that when he was a teenager, he was caught for stealing hubcaps, but even though he committed the crime, a single juror outright refused to find him guilty, which he did because he wanted to give Ed a second chance.
  • Running Gag: People mistaking Mary for a prostitute, or ogling her breasts.
  • Serial Rapist: In an early episode there was a guy who went around parties slipping roofies into girls' drinks to rape them. Delinda almost becomes one of the rapist's victims, which means It's Personal for her father Ed, who runs the casino. He tracks down the guy together with Danny and drives him out to the desert before forcing him at gunpoint to dig his own grave, which turns out to be a bluff on Ed's part.
  • Sex for Solace: In the episode "Three Babes, 100 Guns and a Fat Chick, " Sam has sex with one of her whales to keep him from committing suicide after losing his entire family to random violence.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: Danny McCoy when he returns from his second tour of duty with the Marines in season 2. He recovers later on.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Monica, the megalomaniacal new owner of the Montecito in Season 3, tries to seduce Danny McCoy after promoting him to President of Operations in Ed's absence. Danny isn't interested in the slightest and starts to conspire with Ed to have her removed.
  • Special Guest: Regularly.
  • Statuesque Stunner: many examples but Delinda is perhaps the most notable (Molly Sims nearly 5 feet 10 inches in height). When Sam (played by 5 feet 4 inch Vanessa Marcil) is borderline deranged due to sleep deprivation she cattily refers to her taller female co-workers as "Supermodel bitches!".
  • Television Geography: Boy, oh BOY! The Montecito starts out as Mandalay Bay, then becomes a casino that moves around about five times through the first season alone. In the first ten episodes or so the other casinos on the Strip do too, to the point of putting Luxor next to Mirage.
    • By the time the Montecito II is opened, the casino consistently is located in what is really an empty space south of the Tropicana. However, the view out of the window of Ed's office, as well as the roof in one important sequence, is all the way up Treasure Island.
  • That Was Objectionable: An Amoral Attorney tries to net a hefty salary by encouraging his client to pursue a Frivolous Lawsuit against the Montecito. He objects during a meeting with the casino's bosses and main lawyer when he's not even in a courtroom, which is duly pointed out to him.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: An Arab Oil Sheikh is murdered by his three wives because none of them could stand his blatant gluttony (for more wives).
  • Vampires Sleep in Coffins: In one episode the Montecito is hosting a group of clients who like to pretend that they're vampires. At first Sam Marquez is pretty curious about their private parties, but when she sees the coffins in their room, she just calls them lame.
  • Vandalism Backfire: Ed tries to get revenge on an anger management therapist by wrecking his car after the therapist had used accomplices in trying to provoke Ed into lashing out throughout the episode. The therapist explains that it's not actually his car - cue the car's hugely built owner (also a patient of his) seeing the damage and telling the therapist that he'll have to ignore his lessons for a few moments.
  • Vigilante Execution: Ed and Mary cold bloodedly assassinate Mary's paedophile father after he is acquitted by the court rather than risk him abusing his young daughters and both walk away unpunished.
  • War Is Hell: Danny is a veteran of two tours of duty in Iraq. He comes back from his first deployment fairly well-adjusted, his second one, not so much.
  • We Can Rule Together: Monica to Danny after she fired Ed; Danny preferred to team up with Ed against her instead.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: One episode features Ed, aka. James Caan trapped in his bed with a psychotic housemaid, who holds him hostage after receiving news that infuriates her, while Mary tries to sneak into his house and rescue him.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Since A Christmas Carol is his favorite Christmas story, Mike is Genre Savvy enough to want to get through the spirits as quickly as possible.
  • You See, I'm Dying: In one episode a childhood friend of Delinda shows up, only to inform her that he's dying of cancer, and is going down a bucket list. This list includes sleeping with her. Turns out Sam does instead.