• Network: CBS
  • Series Premiere Date: Sep 22, 2010
  • Season #: 1

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. The Defenders which, like those other shows, is a pretty straightforward legal procedural, has a surprising amount of fun with its familiar building blocks.
  2. 75
    Belushi and O'Connell are fun to watch, and--spoiler!--it turns out they're real sweethearts, too.
  3. Belushi and O'Connell are two jokers who love the law and practice in Las Vegas and ... oh, forget it. The show is lousy.
  4. On the correct assumption that almost no one watching TV today remembers the original "Defenders" series, CBS has created a new one with more swash, more buckle and results that are modestly entertaining.
  5. There's nothing particularly bad about this new legal drama starring Jerry O'Connell and Jim Belushi as a couple of skeevy Las Vegas lawyers--but then again there's nothing particularly good about it, either.
  6. Questions of innocence are established fairly early in the far more appealing of the legal dramas beginning on Wednesday: The Defenders on CBS. Here the love connection is unambiguously platonic and winning.
  7. The Defenders, based on a documentary about a pair of hotshot Las Vegas lawyers, is easily the best thing to happen to Jim Belushi since "According to Jim" was canceled and people like me had to stop using him as a punchline....[And] They're not the only fun characters.
  8. 70
    Whether Belushi is using the firm's private detectives to follow his estranged wife, or O'Connell is sleeping with the prosecutor who's trying to put his client in jail ("You really don't like me much, do you?" she asks while taking off her blouse), the show has an irresistible outlaw quality.
  9. The plots feature lots of creative legal give-and-take to keep the audience amused and guessing.
  10. There's actually no reason this couldn't be a perfectly fine legal procedural, except there's no indication that anyone is attempting to make it one. The script is strictly writing by numbers.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    This latest legal franchise appears to harbor no such ambitions [as "The Good Wife"]--and the gambling, booze and sexual debauchery associated with the town is inevitably going to be rather tepid and implied, even in a 10 p.m. timeslot. The show would be more defensible, oddly, if its characters could be a trifle sleazier.
  12. 50
    Sure, it's nice to see Belushi in a new incarnation, and if I were trapped at a car repair shop in front of an episode I might be happy. But there are much better shows out there right now, and only so many hours in my day--and on my DVR.
  13. Although titled The Defenders, there is no mistaking this stubbornly and unaccountably bland legal show for the bold CBS series of the 1960s with the same name.
  14. The Defenders is a standard-issue legal drama, but Mr. Belushi and Mr. O'Connell bring a playful exuberance to their roles that allows the series to rise above its trappings.
  15. 75
    But the moments it goes too far or feels too slight are countered by the sense you're watching two men who care about their clients and are good at what they do, and by the emotional hook that helps provide. And that may be enough to turn it into a hit.
  16. Reviewed by: Verne Gay
    The show is an old-fashioned courtroom procedural, but the pilot has enough sharp writing and well-greased plot twists to suggest future promise.
  17. O'Connell glides through the show on his smile. Belushi isn't as bad as one might expect, which, granted, isn't much of a compliment. He reins in the comic buffoonery, and if the scripts get better, he might prove to be up to a dramatic role.
  18. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    It's a brash, enjoyable hour that doesn't take itself very seriously, though fighting for their underdog clients is very serious business.
  19. Reviewed by: Tom Gliatto
    Dec 15, 2010
    Defenders at least has a sure grip on its tone. [8 Nov 2010, p.40]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 1 out of 5
  1. Feb 26, 2011
    I didn't think I would like the show but Jim Belushi does a good job with his character and there are nice twists with the legal battles. It is not deep or preachy and does touch on social issues but without being heavy handed. I find I really am looking to see just how the case will be handled. Full Review »
  2. Oct 3, 2010
    the cast is great, the stories are well fit to a 50 minutes show.
    and for sure, after watching a lot of new shows. this is one of the best
    there is.
    if you love all the law shows, and you want to laugh a little bit, this is the show for you.
    hope it will stay on the air.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 7, 2011
    This is my new favourite show. Intelligent, funny and usually morally conscious, "The Defenders" is a smart legal thriller that outshines predecessors with it's mixture of mystery, humour and drama. I hope this show sticks around because I wasn't much of a fan of Belushi after the horrible "According to Jim" but he shines here, alongside his more than competent co-star Jerry O'Connell who has always put forward his A-Game. A worthwhile show that rewards more and more with continued viewing. Full Review »