Miami Vice

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Miami Vice was a popular, innovative television series (five seasons on NBC from 1984-1989) starring Don Johnson (James "Sonny" Crockett) and Philip Michael Thomas (Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs) as two Miami police detectives working undercover. A motion picture based on the series is currently planned for release in 2006.


Television Series

In the early 1980s, the head of NBC's Entertainment Division, Brandon Tartikoff, reportedly wrote a brainstorming memo that simply read "MTV cops." The result was Michael Mann's production of Miami Vice.

While the series had many regulars, it focused primarily on two lead characters. Sonny Crockett, a former college football star, became a police detective after a tour in Vietnam; as the series begins he is a vice officer with an elaborate cover, including a Ferrari, a Cigarette racing boat, and a sailboat on which he lives with his pet alligator Elvis. Ricardo Tubbs, a former New York police detective, travels to Miami on a mission involving a personal vendetta, and after teaming up temporarily with Crockett in the pilot episode, follows his advice to transfer to "a career in southern law enforcement," joining the Miami department and becoming Crockett's permanent partner. Tubbs often poses as Ricardo Cooper, a rich out of town buyer, with Crockett serving to broker his deals with criminals, thus setting them up for arrest.

The storylines of the series differed from those of police shows from earlier decades, simultaneously reflecting the more glitzy and gritty feel of 1980s culture; cocaine trafficking and culture, for instance, were common themes in many episodes, and the graphic, casual violence and the relatively exotic, subtropical urban setting of Miami (the series was shot on location) were significant departures from most earlier cop shows. The locale gave the series a pronounced internationalist Latin and Caribbean flavor, which occasional location shoots in Latin America intensified.

The truly revolutionary aspects of Miami Vice, however, lay in its music, cinematography, and imagery, which made large segments of each episode resemble a protracted music video. As Lee Katkin, one of the series's directors, once stated, "The show is written for an MTV audience, which is more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character." These elements made the series into an instant hit, and its first season saw an unprecedented number of Emmy nominations. While the first few episodes contain some echoes of cop show convention, the producers soon abandoned them and fully developed the trademark Vice style. One key to the complete transformation was the early introduction of the Vice Division's new commander, former DEA agent Lieutenant Martin Castillo (Edward James Olmos in an Emmy-winning performance). Distant, imposing, and utterly competent and professional, Castillo was an intriguing character with a somewhat mysterious background and a highly distinctive style that perfectly counterbalanced the flamboyance of Crockett and Tubbs.

The series was noted for its innovative use of music, particularly countless pop hits of the 1980s and the distinctive, synthesized instrumental music of Jan Hammer, who was also responsible for the title theme. Many famous pop stars of the 1980s, among them Glenn Frey (along with his apropos hit "Smuggler's Blues"), Phil Collins, and Sheena Easton, supplied music for the show as well as guest-starring in various episodes. Many other famous names appeared on the series as well. Willie Nelson once guest-starred as a retired Texas Ranger, and G. Gordon Liddy added a realistically political edge to two episodes by starring as a politically-motivated drug runner.

The show had a huge influence on (men's) fashion at the time, arguably inventing the "white T-shirt under Armani jacket"-style. Pastel colors dominated the series in clothes as well as in architecture.

Many episodes of Miami Vice were filmed in the South Beach section of Miami Beach, an area which, at the time, was blighted by poverty and crime. Scripts for some episodes were loosely based on actual crimes that occurred in Miami over the years. (Example: "Out Where the Buses Don't Run", 1985)

Personal issues also arose: Crockett divorced from his wife Caroline early in the series, and later his second wife (Easton) was killed by a criminal. In the three episodes "Mirror Image", "Hostile Takeover" and "Redemption in Blood", a concussion caused by an explosion caused Crockett to believe he was his undercover alter ego Sonny Burnett, a drug dealer. Tubbs had a running, partly personal vendetta with the Calderone family, a member of which had ordered the death of his brother Raphael, a New York City police detective.

In the first seasons the tone was often very light, especially when comical characters such as Noogie and Izzy appeared. Later on, the content was almost always quite dark and cynical, with Crockett and Tubbs also having to fight corruption. Typically the darker episodes had no tag sequence, each episode ending abruptly immediately after a climax that almost always involved violence and death, often giving the episodes, especially in later seasons, a despairing and sometimes nihilistic feel despite the trademark glamour and conspicuous wealth.

Miami Vice was one of the best-known shows of the 1980s, and it had a huge impact on the decade's popular fashions as well as setting the tone for further evolution of police drama. Series such as Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, and Law & Order, though much more realistic and vastly different in style and theme from Miami Vice, followed its lead in breaking the genre's mold.

2006 Movie

Filming is set to begin in May 2005 for the Miami Vice movie. Locations are tentatively set for Miami, Colombia, Cuba, Paraguay, Haiti, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. The Universal Pictures production is set to be released in North America on July 28, 2006 starring Colin Farrell as Crockett and Jamie Foxx as Tubbs. The director and screenwriter is original series executive producer Michael Mann. Also set to appear are actors Wes Studi and Danny Trejo who incidentally also appeared in Mann's 1995 movie, Heat, which had a similar feel to "Vice".

Jamie Foxx was quoted as saying in a pre-production statement in early 2005: "The chemistry between us is already there, like it was with me and Tom Cruise in Collateral, so making this movie is going to be a total blast. And it's going to redefine cool. You're going to see our Crockett and Tubbs suits and be like, 'I want those.' You'll see our car and you'll go, 'I want one of those.' And as for our woman, man, you're gonna be like, 'Now I gotta get me some of that.'"

Cast of original 1984-1989 series

Many famous actors guest-starred in Miami Vice, for example Phil Collins, David Rasche and Ian McShane. Lee Iacocca of the former Chrysler Corporation also made an appearance. Also a number of stars before they were stars made appearances including Julia Roberts, Chris Rock, Ed O'Neill. The listing of guest stars on the IMDB database is in fact really amazing.

See also

External links

( leads to Universal Studios, leads to a second rate search engine that has nothing to do with the television series, has been down since December 2004) {{subst:ilcomment}} de:Miami Vice nl:Miami Vice pt:Miami Vice fi:Miami Vice


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