You don’t have to be a boxing fan
to be knocked out by Lights Out, FX’s new drama

While the show
is rooted in the
sweet science,
the appeal of
Lights Out stems
from the rich development
of its
characters and
stories. Holt
McCallany (Men of Honor, Three Kings) stars as
Patrick “Lights” Leary, an aging fighter struggling to
decide whether to leave the sport, even though
he was a champion just five years ago.

The pilot opens with a badly bruised and
semiconscious Leary lying on the locker-room
table in the aftermath of his championship loss
to Richard “Death Row” Reynolds (Billy Brown)
— a fight in which Leary failed to finish off his
badly-hurt opponent. As his wife, physician’s assistant
Theresa (Catherine McCormack), tends
to his cuts and bruises, she gives Leary an ultimatum:
Stop fighting or she’ll leave.

Five years later, viewers find Leary clearly
uncomfortable with his loss to Reynolds and
his decision to retire from boxing. Complicating
matters are the fighter’s depleting finances
due to his daughter’s tuition fees, bad
investment choices and the costs of keeping
up a boxing gym run by his father (Stacey

When his brother Jimmy (Pablo Schreiber)
informs the champ of an IRS probe of his finances,
Leary begins to consider re-entering
the ring. In the meantime, he reluctantly looks
to make fast money as hired muscle for a local
debt collector.

As with other FX series, Lights Out features
a complicated lead character whom audiences
want to root for, but who achieves his goals by
taking some questionable actions that leave
viewers cringing. The flawed Leary is torn between
his unabashed dedication to providing for
his family and his hurt pride, which, after five
years, is still haunted by his controversial loss
to Reynolds and his decision to hang up the
gloves for good.

Viewers get to see the conflicting dynamics of
Leary’s life during a scene in which he promises
his young daughter he’ll never fight again — she
got upset from watching one of his bouts on
TV — while reliving, through flashbacks, the
very brutal beat-down he had just delivered to a
former fan who failed to pay back Leary’s new
loan-shark boss.

Leary’s ongoing conundrum, and the actions
he takes to resolve it, should keep viewers
engaged up to the last round of this intriguing
drama series.