The Player’ is another misconceived Vegas-set TV series


Two stars

The Player Thursdays, 10 p.m., NBC.

The Player joins a long, disappointing tradition of movies and TV shows that completely misunderstand and misrepresent Las Vegas. The setup for this high-concept action thriller is just as silly and unconvincing as its use of the Vegas setting: A seemingly all-powerful, ultra-wealthy, ultra-mysterious organization has developed a system to predict crime, and its members gamble huge amounts of money on whether certain crimes can be stopped. To do this, they’ve established the House, run by the Pit Boss, who oversees the Dealer and the Player. The Dealer provides information, while the Player runs around trying to thwart the predicted crimes (without alerting any actual authorities).

It’s a convoluted way to get around to yet another show about an intense and extremely capable agent fighting crime (while investigating a standard-issue global conspiracy). Philip Winchester (Strike Back) is smarmy and sneery as the title character, while Wesley Snipes has a bit of fun as the cocky Pit Boss (delivering lines like, “The game has begun” and “This is highly irregular”). The show’s version of Vegas is all sin and no city, with basic, glaring geography errors (a character runs through the distinctive sights of Fremont Street and in the next scene refers to it as the Strip). Its narrative and dramatic errors are even less forgivable.

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