When CBS presented their new fall drama “The Defenders” at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, the producers told the press that they were eying Dan Aykroyd to play a tough judge who Jim Belushi will face later in the season. The new Blue Brothers go way back, so creator and executive producer Kevin Kennedy thinks it will be easy to get Aykroyd. Belushi actually wanted him sooner but Kennedy didn’t want to stunt cast the pilot.
“Obviously he and Jim are friends,” Kennedy told Screen Junkies on the red carpet at the Paley center. “I believe he did a couple of “According to Jim”s. They’ve talked about it. Jim asked him. Jim suggested him to play the judge in the pilot and we said, ‘You know what? We’d like to save that because we think we could really plan for it and write something specific for it.’ So we talked about it and we asked Danny if he’d be interested in doing it. In theory, yes. It’s a matter of time. It’s a matter of making the schedules work and obviously Danny has to like the script. It’s a long way down the road but it’s a dream.”
More after the jump…
Until then, “The Defenders” has plenty of interesting plots to set it apart from other legal shows. Belushi and Jerry O’Connell play defense attorneys in Las Vegas, where they have a different sort of crime.
“The next episode, the Pete character represents a guy who backs into the Elvis Pressley museum and steals the blue suede shoes and tries to sell them and make money,” Belushi said. “Pete gets so excited because he’s a big Elvis fan. He represents him and does a great job representing him.”
The show is based on real life Vegas attorneys Marc Saggese and Michael Cristalli. The TV versions are called Nick Morelli (Belushi) and Pete Kaczmarek (O’Connell).
“I personally like the episode, and this is based on the actual guys, where I intimidate a witness who’s lying and it’s affecting one of my clients,” O’Connell said. “Then I get brought in, not on charges but just an inquiry and I become a witness and he has to represent me. It’s really funny because we have this funny exchange when we’re in the courtroom and I go, ‘Good morning Mr. Morelli.’ Those are my characters and it’s just fun but it’s based in reality. That’s really what they did in a courtroom.”
Executive producer Greg Walker shared a few more of the cases The Defenders will represent. “We have everything from a guy who robs the Elvis museum to real serious cases about victims of overcharging of the Vegas D.A.’s office, mothers who have been charged with killing somebody while driving, being accused of talking on the cell phone. So there’s an entire mix of cases. We’ll have wacky ones every couple of weeks.”
So it’s less about the neon glamour and more about the everyday life of Vegas’s criminals. “Most of our stuff deals with off the strip,” Walker said. “We’re the other side of it. We’re the Hangover side of it, the stuff you don’t see behind the set that is the strip.”
“The Defenders” premieres September 22 on CBS.