Chicago, 1963. As head of the police department's Major Crime Unit, Lieutenant Michael Torello must deal with the city's most dangerous criminals. And possibly the most dangerous of all is Ray Luca, a young ambitious street hood who's out to gain wealth and power by whatever means - including theft, threats, extortion and murder. As Luca begins his ruthless climb up the ladder of organized crime, leaving a growing number of victims in his wake, Torello becomes more and more determined to bring him down. Written by
Eugene Kim <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When the story was first brought to producer Michael Mann, he said he thought the best way to tell the story was as a weekly series. He said he considered doing it as a feature film or a made for television movie as well. See more »
The Plaza Hotel wasn't constructed until 1971, but appears repeatedly in Vegas-based episodes. See more »
Lt. Mike Torello:
Hey you. You hurt anybody else, when this is over, I'm gonna find what you love the most and I'm gonna kill it. Your mother, your father, your dog... don't matter what it is, it's dead.
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Al Kooper ... Guy who picks music for the show See more »
Crime Story was very probably the best show of its kind ever. Although it ran only two seasons, it boasted a superbly worked story and, without question, the best cast ever assembled for television. Not a big star in the mix, but the finest selection of character actors around. Probably the best conflict ever between two men on screen, Denis Farina as cop Mike Torello, and Anthony Denison as hot-headed mob figure Ray Luca. Luca's rise to power in Chicago and later in Las Vegas is the central plot, with Torello and his task force on target to bring him down. With Torello's every failure to bring Luca to justice, he becomes more frustrated and empassioned, and turns up the heat a notch each time, while Luca dances just beyond his reach, increasingly arrogant in his new-found invincibility.
Along with the well-laid foundation of drama and conflict, there was quite a lot of dark humor, one of the things I liked best about the series. Much of this was provided by John Santucci as Paulie, and Ted Levine as Holman, as Luca's sleazy low-life helpers. One show in particular stands out, in which Luca dispatches Paulie and Holman to go to work at a competitor's casino, to do everything possible to make it lose money. Another great role was Luca's long-suffering wife, Cori, played with shrewish gusto by Johann Carlo.
The first season was superior to the second, mostly because the first was so close to perfect. The second half of the first season, in which Torello follows Luca to Las Vegas, is no less than outstanding. Having seen "Casino",the Martin Scorcese movie from 1995, I was struck by how many similarities there were between that movie and "Crime Story" in Las Vegas.
This show was in reruns on USA ten years ago, for a short time, it seems they only ran the whole series through twice. I did tape it at the time, but have since been able to order the entire series on tape, a ten-cassette set. Although the picture quality is not great (EP mode), I am grateful to have these episodes to watch at all. If anybody ever properly puts this series on video (two episodes per tape, stereo sound), I would be even more grateful. The best television show of the 1980's deserves better!
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