Say, want to know how to tell all the dashing good guys from the rest of the blue-suited dullards on TV this season? Easy: This year the heroes tend to wear wild-patterned neckties against wildly mismatching, dark-patterned shirts. Robert Urich dresses like that in American Dreamer; Stephen Collins does in Working It Out; the punk who plays Ferris Bueller does; so do the guys in Married People and Going Places. Michael O’Keefe seemed to go through a half dozen variations on this hip fashion combo in the pilot of Against the Law, and if there’s one thing he wants to be here, it’s a dashing good guy.

O’Keefe plays Simon MacHeath, a fast-talking Boston lawyer who wisecracks and grins his way through his cases. He overdoes the hard-boiled tone (eyeing a curvaceous potential client, he asks his secretary, ”She got a name, or just a shape?”), but whenever he’s not a rude jerk, he’s a charmer. This is due mostly to O’Keefe’s skill — another actor would come off a creep spouting lines like this, but the way O’Keefe plays it, there’s a bit of James Garner’s wily Jim Rockford in MacHeath. And as far as TV lawyers go, MacHeath is livelier than the sagging L.A. Law crew, more chipper than Rosie O’Neill. If he got better scripts, he’d be the one to stay home for. B

Against the Law
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