September 22, 2003
Gary Scott Thompson
Michael W. Watkins
Pilot is the first episode of the first season of Las Vegas. Danny McCoy has a busy day coddling an oddball winner, trying to locate a missing high roller, and figuring out a cheater's modus operandi. Ed Deline finds his daughter, Delinda is sleeping with Danny.
The show opens on a body lying in the desert outside of Vegas. The camera quickly moves into the city and then to the Montecito casino. The camera goes inside and we see Mike Cannon, Mary Connell and Nessa Holt doing their respective jobs around the casino. The camera moves up the stairs and down a hall and we see a couple having sex. Back in the hall, a group of armed men are walking toward the room being led by the head of security, "Big Ed" Deline. The men enter the room, the woman looks up and smiles. "Hi, Daddy". She is Delinda Deline. Her lover is Danny McCoy, Ed's top employee. He is shocked and nervous once he finds out she is Ed’s daughter. "Welcome to the worst day of my life". Ed is not happy and wants to get to Danny but Delinda won't let him. She says that he can't hurt Danny – or fire him. Delinda came home from Europe and was staying with Danny. She didn't tell her father. Ed leaves and Danny asks why she never told him about being his daughter. She says that she though it would be fun. Paulie, Big Ed's assistant, tells Danny that Ed wants to see him in his office.
Paulie tells Danny that Ed will probably bury him alive in the desert. They reach the office and there are monitors everywhere that allow that security team to watch everything that is going on in the hotel and casino. Ed is waiting for Danny. Instead of talking about what just happened. Ed begins playing a game that he often plays with Danny. He quizzes him about military history. There is a bum in bunny slippers cashing his social security check for chips. There is a man also suspected of cheating at blackjack. Ed tells Danny that the casino has lost a whale. A whale is a high spending gambler. The Montecito has paid to fly the whale in on their private jet, and now he is missing. Danny must find him. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson have just arrived. They are in Las Vegas celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary. Danny must find out what present Mrs. Johnson would like and get it for Mr. Johnson. Ed then welcomes Danny to the family. He tells him that if he ever catches him with a woman other than his daughter, he's going to kill him.
Danny goes to find his childhood friend, Mary Connell. Mary tells him that he needs to call their friend, Greg. Danny tells her that he will but he's too busy to do it now. He asks her who the whale dates while in town. She tells him that she will talk to his regular. Danny then checks in with the pit boss, Nessa Holt. She fills him in on the blackjack cheater. The bum in the bunny slippers isn't cheating but is having a really lucky streak. After after telling Danny that the whale wears a lucky horseshoe ring, Nessa asks when they are going to hook up. Nervously eyeing a security camera, Danny tells her maybe another time. Danny then talks to Mike, the head valet. Mike tells him that he drives the whale's limo whenever he is in town. The whale's favorite stripper starts her show at the Crazy Horse at midnight. The whale's name is Mr. Herman. Mike reminds Danny to come to his house for a barbeque the next night. Danny calls Ed with an update; Ed tells him that since the show isn't until midnight then Danny should join him for a family dinner.
At the restaurant, Ed is talking to his wife, Jillian. Danny arrives and Paulie shows him where to go. Jillian thinks Ed is worried about losing Danny to Delinda, not the other way around. Delinda enters the restaurant, approaches the table, and kisses Danny very passionately, while Ed and Jillian watch. Ed asks Danny what his intentions are with Delinda. Delinda responds that her intention is to have as much sex with Danny as she can and then dump him. Later, Danny goes to Mary for advice about how to handle the situation. Mary tells him that a guy should never sleep with a girl who is out to get back at her father. She suggests that maybe he should go back to work with his father in the family business. She is upset because his father and grandfather built up the business and he doesn't want it. At the strip club Danny talks to Mr. Herman's favorite stripper. She says she doesn't know him, but he sees that she is wearing the horseshoe ring. She tells him that Mr. Herman was there earlier and gave her the ring, but he left in a limo. Danny realizes that Herman would have only gotten rid of the ring if he had lost big somewhere. Danny calls his contact with the IRS and asks him where the money was lost.
Back in Ed's office, Ed has discovered that the blackjack cheater is receiving signals from outside of the casino. He is currently up $750,000. Ed tells Danny that Jillian wants him to join them for Sunday dinner. Danny tells him that he is planning to go to Mike's barbeque. After a glare from Ed, Danny invites him to come too. Ed agrees and says he'll bring the family. Ed sends Danny out to the floor to offer the bum a high-roller suite to get him off the floor. In the casino, Mary tells Danny that Sam, a known "whale thief", picked up Mr. Herman. Danny says that Sam is famous for stealing whales, but no one knows what he looks like. Danny offers the bum the suite, but he's not interested. Mary is able to persuade him to take the room. As he is leaving the casino, Danny finds his father waiting for him. Mr. McCoy asks Danny if he would like to come with him to see his mother. Danny tells him that his mother is not there - it is just a tombstone. His father asks him if he would like to come out to the new job site, but Danny isn't interested. Mr. McCoy tells Danny that Greg has been trying to get in touch with him because he needs his help with something. Danny tells him that he will call Greg promises to go to visit mom with him. Danny goes to the hotel that Sam works for and talks to his secretary, Jane. Jane apologizes for not calling Danny back after they hooked up. Danny tells her that he is there to see Sam. Sam is not there.
Danny goes into the poolroom. He finds Mr. Herman in the hot tub with several women. When Herman tells him that Sam arranged everything, Danny says that he would like to meet him. Mr. Herman tells him to turn around - she's right behind him. Danny is surprised to learn that Jane is actually Samantha Jane. He realizes that the only way to get Herman back to the Montecito is to hire Sam. He offers to double her salary and she accepts the new job. Danny, Sam and Mr. Herman arrive back at the Montecito and learn that Mr. Herman's regular suite was given to the bum in bunny slippers. Danny gives Sam the job of convincing the bum to change rooms. While they are talking with the bum, Danny realizes where the blackjack cheater has been getting his signal from. Danny leaves Sam with the bum. Danny heads out to the front of the casino and grabs Stevie, a valet. Danny had remembered that every time he had seen Stevie, he was using a PDA. It turns out that the blackjack player has a small camera on the end of his finger that he used to look under the top card on the deck. Stevie received the image on his PDA and told the cheater what the cards were through an ear piece. He calls Ed and tells him what he found. Ed heads down to the floor and tells Nessa that they need to shut down the table. The cheater says he wants to play one more hand and bets everything. Danny forces Stevie to tell the cheater the wrong cards, causing him to lose back all the money he had won. Ed parades the two cheaters through the casino to show that people can't get away with cheating at the Montecito.
Sam tells Danny that she was able to get the bum out of the room by promising to let his family know that he is all right. Danny finds him at the tables having lost all but $40,000 of the money he had won. Danny convinces him to quit while he still has money. Watching on the cameras cameras, Ed is proud of Danny because "the kid did the right thing". Danny also finds the Johnson's and overhears that Mrs. Johnson wanted to go to Monte Carlo for their anniversary. Danny then gives them free passes to the best French restaurant in Vegas. The next day at Mike's barbeque, Danny is surprised to see Sam. Mary asks Danny if he has called Greg yet. Danny says no, but promises to do it soon. As he is driving home, Danny sees the bum. He has gotten a haircut and bought a nice suit. Danny finally calls Greg and we see that the dead man in the desert is Greg.
- James Caan as Ed Deline
- Josh Duhamel as Danny McCoy
- Masha Thomason as Nessa Holt
- Nikki Cox as Mary Connell
- Molly Sims as Delinda Deline
- Vanessa Marcil as Samantha Jane Marquez
- James LeSure as Mike Cannon
- Phil Maloof as Himself
- Cheryl Ladd as Jillian Deline
- John Terry as Larry McCoy
- Tishara Cousino as Dana Berry
- Stacy Linde as Jewel
- Sandy Hackett as Surveillance #1
- Marlene Harris as VIP Rep
- Glenn Schaeffer as Himself
- Frank Patton as Bouncer
- Cogee as Pit Boss
- Reno Nichols as Stickman
- Brian Phelan as Blond Valet
- Victor Wallace as Cowboy
- Stephan Lofaro as Butler
- Beverly Washburn as Mrs. Johnson
- Steve Nguyen as Gambler
- Frank Santorelli as Paulie
- Tom Ayers as Tom Bay
- Michael Crider as Warren Herman
- Randy Sutton as Jake Snow
- Frankie DeAngelo as Mr. Johnson
- When Danny acknowledges the "hookers at the end of the bar" he is actually turning a blind eye. While the state of Nevada is the only state in the U.S where prostitution is legal, there are several counties within Nevada where it is not. Clark County, of which Las Vegas is part, is one of them.
- While trying to get Mr. Herman to stay at the Montecito, Danny promises him use of "one of the Montecito jets". In every episode after the pilot the Montecito is always mentioned as only having one (the) jet.
- The name of the episode (Pilot) is not actually an episodic name. In TV series production a pilot episode is produced as a test case to show a general concept of the show to potential TV networks, and sometimes to gauge audience interest. Pilot episodes are usually shot separately from the rest of the first season.
- Because the pilot episode has a much more limited budget compared to later episodes, almost all interior and exterior shots of the Montecito were filmed on location at Mandalay Bay and Green Valley Ranch. Later episodes used a replica set of the Mandalay Bay interior.
- Pilot is the only episode in which no CGI wide shot of the Montecito is shown, most likely because of the low budget.
- The opening shot enters Las Vegas from the south and follows the Strip all the way up to Treasure Island, where the shot does a quick pan into the Montecito entrance. This sequence places the Montecito at the northern end of the Strip, while almost every exterior shot in the series after this episode places it at the south, across from Mandalay Bay and the Luxor (N36º05'25" W115º10'8" on Google Earth).
- Phil Maloof makes a brief cameo appearance, which would be the first of many made by Joe and Phil Maloof. The Maloof Family owned the Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas at the time of filming the series. In 2011 a restructuring left the Maloof family with only a 2% share in the casino.
- During the final confrontation with the blackjack cheater, Ed has to get permission to raise the table limit from his superiors and turns to Glenn Schaeffer (who plays himself in the episode). While never explicitly stated, this implies that the Montecito is owned by the Mandalay Resort Group, of whom Schaeffer was CEO at the time of filming. The Mandalay Resort group was bought by MGM Mirage in April 2005. In the episode Magic Carpet Fred, which aired only two weeks after the Mandalay Resort Group was sold, the Montecito is sold to a new owner.
- When Danny catches the valet who is sending the info to the blackjack player, he hits him in the back and they both sit on the bench while Danny looks over the Ipaq he was using. The valet tries to get up and Danny hits him again and he falls back into the bench holding his stomach. The camera angle changes and his left arm is now stretched over Danny's back.
- When Danny sees Mary in the casino, he leans over to kiss her on the cheek and he's then seen leaning back. Camera angle changes and he's seen kissing her cheek again.
- When Tom (Bunny Slippers) is playing the wheel, they close the table to save him money and the dealer pushes his chips back to him. He reaches over to grab the chips and when the camera angle changes the chips are no longer on the table, they are in front of him neatly stacked.
- After Danny gets caught with Big Ed's daughter, he's escorted to see Big Ed and he's seen fixing his tie as he walks down the hallway. The camera angle changes and he's now seen with his hands by his sides. Camera angle changes again and he's back to fixing his tie. Happens twice during scene.
- When Danny gets to taste Ed's private stash of red wine, he says "Bottom up!" and takes the whole glass in one sip. At his age, most people know that drinking wine at the speed you drink beer isn't the right way to drink wine. (Though the scene is obviously made to further show Danny's mistakes regarding Ed in this episode.) (This may also have been Danny chugging a glass of wine out of nervousness) .
- Delinda's breasts are clearly visible in the reflection of the glass when she and Danny are having sex.
"Ready, Steady, Go" by Paul Oakenfold
"Ain't That A Kick in the Head" by Dean Martin
"Papa Loves Mambo" by Xavier Cougat
"Tomorrow" by Avril Lavigne
"Voodoo Baby" by Hypnogaja "We Used to Be Friends" by Dandy Warhols