Once a successful corporate lawyer at a prestigious Philadelphia law firm, Jack Shannon lost his marriage and his job, due in part to a compulsive gambling habit. While Shannon maintains a ... See full summary »


John Sayles




2   1  
1991   1990  
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »


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Complete series cast summary:
Jamey Sheridan ...  Jack Shannon 11 episodes, 1990-1991
Elizabeth Peña ...  Lucy Acosta 11 episodes, 1990-1991
Jenny Lewis ...  Neala Shannon 11 episodes, 1990-1991
Richard Edson ...  Wilmer Slade 10 episodes, 1990-1991
Miguel Ferrer ...  D.A. Todd Spurrier 9 episodes, 1990-1991
Martin Ferrero ...  Lou Gondolf 9 episodes, 1990-1991


Once a successful corporate lawyer at a prestigious Philadelphia law firm, Jack Shannon lost his marriage and his job, due in part to a compulsive gambling habit. While Shannon maintains a good relationship with his daughter, his professional career has hit rock bottom. He becomes a general practioner of law, gaining a loyal secretary in Lucy Acosta when he manages to free her boyfriend from jail. Shannon also gains an unlikely investigator in Wilmer Slade, a verbose enforcer for one of the many loan sharks to whom Jack is in debt. Although he has sworn off gambling, Shannon continues to use his skill as a cardplayer to help him work out his cases, and he always tries to work out deals for his clients without having to go to court. Written by Mark Limvere-Robinson

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Release Date:

13 April 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El compromiso de Shannon See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(14 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Writer and Director John Sayles wrote the teleplay for the pilot, and directed one of the episodes. He also has a cameo role in the premiere episode "Words to Music", as a jealous boyfriend who gets into a confrontation with Jack Shannon. See more »


[Jack Shannon tries to talk Wilmer Slade out of taking his entire payment]
Jack Shannon: Then you should understand that a payment of this size is going to make Mr. Testa very upset.
Wilmer Slade: Why do I sense an oncoming assault on logic?
See more »


Follows Shannon's Deal (1989) See more »

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User Reviews

Jamey Sheridan's best work to date
9 September 2006 | by Cheyenne-BodieSee all my reviews

My favorite shows of the late 80's and early 90's were "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "Shannon's Deal".

Independent film director John Sayles ("Lone Star", "Sunshine State") created this superb series, which kind of crosses "Perry Mason" with "The Verdict".

Shannon is a former big time litigator who lost his job and his family due to a gambling addiction. But his teenage daughter still loves him, and is often around. Shannon now has his own low rent law firm where he handles small time clients. Shannon has trouble paying his secretary, who works part time as a waitress. (Shannon is also half in love with his amazing secretary.) Shannon gets around Philadelphia on a bicycle.

Shannon's goal as a lawyer is to keep his clients out of court. I don't think we ever see Shannon in a trial. (The New York Times TV critic, who loved this show, thought Shannon was a private detective.)

Beautiful Elizabeth Pena ("Lone Star") played Shannon's Della Streeet, who may be even smarter than Shannon. A loan shark's debt collector, who is into self-improvement via watching PBS, is Shannon's Paul Drake. Shannon helps the son of his friend on the force prepare for the law school entrance exams (until he learns the boy wants to be a cop like his father.) Miguel Ferrer plays a DA in some episodes. As far as I remember, we never see Shannon's ex-wife, who could have been an interesting character (Blythe Danner?).

David Strathairn, who went to Williams with Sayles and is a member of his film repertory company, could have been a great Jack Shannon. But they came up with Jamey Sheridan, who was perfect. Sheridan really grew on you episode by episode. A great series lead. I still seek out Sheridan's work.

I really think this show could have been a success if NBC had been more creative and persistent. Characters this appealing don't come along often. Maybe Jack and Lucy (Pena) should have moved out west and become regulars on "LA Law". They could have livened that show up. Arnie would have loved Lucy. As it is, "Shannon's Deal" is a candidate for "TV Too Good For TV".

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