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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, 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 led the series to be canceled with a Cliff Hanger series finale. Creator Gary Scott Thompson at one point wanted to do a TVMovie that would tie up the numerous loose ends of the finale, but as yet nothing has come of it. Currently airs weekdays at noon and one p.m. EST on TNT.
If you're looking for the trope about the city itself, you want Viva Las Vegas.
Ed Deline (James Caan) - The Head of Surveillance and Security at the Montecito, Ed was a no-nonsense ex-CIA agent who had the respect (and fear) of most of the old guard in Vegas, as well as virtually all of the new establisment. He was soon promoted to President of Operations, and became responsible for the day-to-day running of the casino.
Danny McCoy (Josh Duhamel) - The central character of the series, Danny was a former Marine and childhood friend of Mary, who worked at the Montecito as a member of the Surveillance and Security team. When Ed became President of Operations, Danny was promoted to Ed's former job of Security head. The show started off with him giving voiceover explanations about what was happening, but this was quickly dropped part of the way into the first season. In the fourth season, Danny and Delinda got together and Delinda got pregnant, and in the fifth season, he was promoted to Ed's old job as President of Operations.
Mary Connell (Nikki Cox) - The Montecito's Special Events Director, who was responsible for planning and organizing conventions, weddings, and any other events taking place at the hotel.
Sam Marquez (Vanessa Marcil) - The Montecito's Casino Host, responsible for drawing "whales" (rich clients who gamble large amounts of money) to the casino and doing everything she can to keep them happy and betting.
Mike Cannon (James Lesure) - The Montecito's Head Valet, Mike is actually a genius graduate of MIT who moved to Vegas for the adventure. After Danny is promoted to Head of Security, he brings Mike upstairs as a member of the Security team. In the fifth season, the recently promoted Danny makes him head of Surveillance and Security.
Delinda Deline (Molly Sims) - Ed's daughter, Delinda becomes the Entertainment Manager of the Montecito, overseeing the running of the casino's clubs, restaurants and shops. She has a short-lived affair with Danny at the beginning of the first season, but they later fall in love and get back together.
Nessa Holt (Marsha Thomason) - The Pit Boss of the Montecito, she oversees all betting on the floor and monitors the tables to ensure there is no cheating. Her father was a CIA agent who worked with Ed, and after his disappearance, Ed took her in and raised her like a daughter. She is of course very close to Ed, and she and Delinda consider each other sisters.
A.J. Cooper (Tom Selleck) - A Wyoming cattle baron who buys the Montecito at the outset of the fifth season, little becomes known about him except that he is a former Marine and claims he got into the hotel/casino business because he wanted to learn about it. He prefers being called "Cooper" instead of "A.J.", is prone to shaking things up at the Montecito, and has a mysterious connection to...
Piper Nielsen (Camille Guaty) - A new character introduced in the fifth season premier, Piper is a Concierge, focusing on getting the guests whatever they want (separate from Sam, who only worries about her whales).
This series contains examples of
- 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. James Caan's character, 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?"
- Vincent Ventresca and Paul Ben-Victor guest starred as a quirky duo, echoing their dynamic from The Invisible Man.
- 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, formally Ed Deline's office. Logically, Ed knew it would collapse for any intruder.
- Alliterative Name: Delinda Deline
- Almighty Janitor: Mike Cannon is an engineer, MIT graduate, and Hollywood Nerd. He starts the series as a valet. He's called in to help the actual security staff several times during the first season. Despite his initial reluctance — due to actually liking being a valet, and the potential pay cut -- he eventually becomes full-time security staff. In the final season, he's actually promoted to head of security.
- As Himself: Mayor Oscar Goodman occasionally appeared as...Mayor Oscar Goodman. Jean Claude Van Damme as..uh...unusual as he died in the episode.
- Asian Rudeness: Sheesh, Polly, not everybody wants to hear about your sex life!
- Berserk Button - Ed had a couple, usually anything to do with Delinda. Danny's Button was Mary's father; he flatly told the man once that the next time he came near Mary, Danny would kill him. And the guy came near Mary. And died. It was Ed.
- Big Blackout: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Vegas."
- Big Breasts, Big Deal: Mary Connell.
Mary: Why is everyone so fascinated with my breasts?
- Bottle Episode: "The Night the Lights Went Out in Vegas." Only the main cast is used and none of the extras can speak. Danny and Mary are stuck in an elevator with a deaf man who writes notes they read out loud.
- Brilliant but Lazy - Delinda, who is a member of Mensa, but usually acts very flighty and has a short attention span. She used to be a psychology major, and can still reel off several concepts from the field at the drop of a hat, but quit because it was boring.
- The Caligula: Monica Mancuso. The Montecito’s other owners have ranged from reasonable (Gavin Brunson) to friendly (Casey Manning) to aloof but thoughtful (AJ Cooper), but Mancuso gradually devolved into outright megalomania during her stay.
- Celebrity Paradox: See trope entry.
- City of Adventure: Something big seems to happen at the Montecito every week.
- 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?
- Crossover: Occasionally with Crossing Jordan.
- Cut Short: The series finale wasn't ever intended as such, so when the show was cancelled, it ended on a major cliffhanger.
- Daddy's Girl - Whenever Ed and Jillian argue, Delinda tends to side with her father. She viewed their life of travel as a constant adventure and doesn't understand why her mother is tired of it.
- The Danza: wheelchair-bound security specialist Mitch played by real life paraplegic actor Mitch Longley.
- 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.
- Dropped A Bridge On Her: Monica, who is fatally blown off the Montecito's roof and carried by the wind into another casino. It's a real Shoot the Shaggy Dog moment, but employees are later laughing about it.
- They were laughing about it because she was an Asshole Victim. Even she admitted she wasn't very nice.
- 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) facial recognition software. 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.
- Ethical Slut: Delinda. Also arguably Mike, and perhaps Danny. Sam would be one, but she bends the interpersonal ethics at times, though it's usually funny.
- Everythings Precious With Puppies: Sam receives a puppy as an unwanted Christmas present from Belinda, then brings it to a dying friend whom it comforts.
- Fan Service: Frequently and unashamedly. There's a reason Delinda's emergence from the pool was never taken out of the opening sequence.
- Field Promotion: Ed goes from chief of security to casino president on behalf of a mysterious owner who just bought a controlling interest in the Montecito.
- Genius Ditz: Delinda is specifically described as having a genius IQ. She is very good at running restaurants, fashion, and sex.
- Good Bad Girl: Sam and Delinda both describe themselves openly as sluts on at least one occasion.
- 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 Turnover Rate: Montecito owners are usually killed or bought out, with the notable exception of Sam and outright subversion of Cooper.
- 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.
- Hot Mom: Cheryl Ladd as Gillian Deline, and later Delinda.
- Informed Ability - It wasn't explicitly referenced often, but Danny's status as an ex-Marine made his fighting and marksmanship talents more believeable.
- 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.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold - Heart of gold might be stretching it a bit, but Sam had enough genuinely nice and selfless moments, where she did something kind even though there was nothing in it for her, to keep her from being a pure Jerkass or Ice Queen.
- 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 and Sam may or may not have had sex after a night out at a strip club. Also Delinda called dibs on the girl in the gold top while they were out.
- Malaproper: Polly the beautician, a woman who speaks near-perfect English, except with a Korean accent. Problem is, she has no appropriateness filter. Take the time her friend Sam is offered a drink by a cute guy in Traffic school. Polly complains that no one offered to buy her a drink. Quadriplegic Mitch offers to buy her one.
Polly: No thanks. Wheelchair give me bruises.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: An after-sex scene with Sam and a man has him wanting to cuddle, but her zipping up, adjusting her crotch and moving on.
- 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.
- Mysterious Past: Ed's past with the CIA, and AJ Cooper. We don't even know what his initals mean.
- 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.
- 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.
- Papa Wolf: Ed. Take the episode that starts with Delinda being kidnapped unless Ed steals money from the Montecito for the bad guys.
Ed: (calmly) I swear to God I will kill you.
- This gets him in trouble a few episodes later when Danny tells Ed to give him and Delinda some space, then realizes Ed's installed spy cameras in their suite. He punches Ed in the face.
- 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.
- Rape as Backstory - Mary was molested by her father, which informed much of her character.
- Retired Badass - Ed's jobs as Chief of Security and President of Operations came after he'd left his first job: Chief of Counter-Intelligence for the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge - Ed and Danny go on one of these together when Delinda is kidnapped.
- Running Gag: People mistaking Mary for a prostitute, or ogling her breasts.
- Samus Is a Girl: In the pilot, Danny is surprised to learn that the super-host "Sam" is a hostess, as she'd previously maintained her mystique by posing as her own secretary.
- Sassy Black Woman: Sam is a Sassy Hispanic Woman, though "Sassy" may be a bit charitable. She does have a few Pet the Dog moments, including one involving an actual dog.
- Special Guest: Regularly.
- Stealing The Monster's Car: 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 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.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Piper in season five seemed to fill the occupational role Mary had before she left, but Piper's backstory is more reminiscent of Nessa's.
- Television Geography: Boy, oh BOY! The Montecito starts out as Mandalay Bay, then becomes a Conspicuous CG 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.
- Tell Me About My Father: Piper mistakenly believes for a while that Cooper is her father; it turns out he's not, but that Piper's father was his best friend and Cooper promised the man he'd watch after her.
- 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.
- Tsundere - Mary becomes this for a while after Danny and Delinda begin dating.
- Viva Las Vegas: Well, duh.
- 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.
- 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.