The Defenders © CBS

Actor Jerry O’Connell knows his telly. He’s starred in countless hit shows throughout his career and now he’s back in The Defenders, as one half of a pair of Las Vegas criminal defence attorneys (with Jim Belushi ) who use their charm and smarm to get people out of trouble.

“They originally wanted to make a reality show based on these two lawyer guys [real-life Las Vegas criminal lawyers Michael Cristalli and Marc Saggese],” explains O’Connell. “But they couldn’t because they legally couldn’t show them on the television while they were still bringing active cases to trial. So they decided to make a scripted show – and now me and Jim Belushi have these great jobs. It’s like nothing we’ve ever worked with.”

We asked Jerry to make his pick of six of the best TV shows…

I do like True Blood. I think it can be very sexy, it makes me laugh how they’ve really sexualized being a vampire. That sexual theme always runs through vampire stories but True Blood really does it in the most humorous manner. There’s not one character I don’t enjoy watching on that show. 

I realize it’s over and done with but I was a really big fan of that show. I’m a big fan of Kiefer Sutherland, he’s a friend of mine, and I can watch a lot of that show. It’s incredibly compelling and once you start watching one episode you can’t stop yourself from watching a load more.

I’ve just started watching this one again recently and I believe it should be watched by everyone at least every few years. Man, it’s so funny. The fact that everybody is having sex except for Mr Fawlty just makes me laugh out loud. I was just watching a whole bunch of them the other day, it’s beyond funny. Sitcoms are always changing in terms of popularity – one time it’s Miley Cyrus’ sitcom that’s at the top or it’s Charlie Sheen’s sitcom – but, in terms of pure funny, it doesn’t get any better than Fawlty Towers.


I’ve got about two and a half hours of TV now, so I’ll throw The Defenders in there. It’s an amazing, amazing show! Its star Jerry O’Connell is just riveting. No seriously, Jim Belushi and I have a really good time together. Our characters try every case together, so we have a really close bond that extends off camera.

I wanted to think of a fun sci-fi show and I really liked this one. I loved how it created this whole new universe but kept things relevant to our experiences as the human race. I’ve got some experience doing sci-fi [with Sliders] and I know how much of a challenge it can be to get the balance right. Battlestar Galactica just got everything so right.

I saw Dominic West in the paper the other day and saw there was a lot of controversy about him playing the serial killer Fred West. Some people may be upset that he’s playing a serial killer but he’ll always be Jimmy McNulty to me. I did a film called Obsessed with Idris Elba and I could not stop thinking that I was working with Stringer Bell. I’d probably had a few drinks and he said you can ask me anything you want about The Wire and I think I bothered him for about two hours.


The Defenders is showing on the FX channel every Friday night.


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