O'Connell, 36, began taking night classes at Southwestern Law School in L.A. last August. This fall, he and Jim Belushi will portray two colorful Las Vegas defense attorneys in The Defenders.
"The script is great. The characters are a lot of fun," O'Connell says in a preview clip at CBS.com. "But really I wanted to work with Mr. Belushi. Comedy comes easy to him, but he is a dramatic actor."
Belushi, 55, returns the compliment. "I love Jerry," he says. "He's a very well-trained actor and comic actor. He's got a great sense of humor. And he's a handsome son of a gun!"
It's a good thing O'Connell, the father of 16-month-old twin girls with Rebecca Romijn, hasn't taken the oath of attorney yet. On the show, he and Belushi won't always do things by the book.
"They play by the rules," he says, "but maybe they pass on the shoulder a little bit – make an illegal U-turn now and then."