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|Index||31 reviews in total|
I miss it, and it's been nearly 20 years! I'm just surprised there is not a bona-fide cult following for this show! If anyone reading this disagrees, well speak up!! The show premiered when I was a teenager, and I thought it was cool as sh%#! Of course, I was also watching Pee-Wee's playhouse, Joes Bob Briggs Drive-In Theatre, going to see Roy Orbison in concert one last time. And while the addition of cast member Andrew Goldman (Dice-Clay) may not have done much in retrospect for the show, I'll be damned if it didn't prove that he could actually act! I'm not kidding, he did a fine job! Dennis Ferrina, the Maimi Beach widows dream, so my (much older) ex used to tell me... I've been rooting for him ever since this show. (And Midnight Run paid off!)Not sure yet on Law & Order.....
Crime Story was a strange, hard and often inspired tv series from
mid-eighties. It was made by the producer of Miami Vice,
Mann, and the cast is stocked with Michael Mann regulars - Stephen
Bill Smitrovitch, Ted Levine and Dennis Farina (all except Ted
are in Manhunter).
Although Farina and his crew throughout the series chase after their arch nemesis, Ray Luca and his gang (Pauli Taglia, Frank Holman), the story comes in two parts. The first part, allegedly set in Chicago, the second set in Las Vegas.
Throughout the series, the director tries for a fifties, early sixties feel, even though that's tough to maintain. Great music, every episode is introduced by Del Shannon's "Runaway".
However, very often the focus is the psychological dynamic between Mike Torello (real-life Chicago cop Farina) and Ray Luca (played with a psychopathic coldness by Anthony John Denison). Torello may be on the right side of the law, but there is an equally uneasy quality about the doggedness with which he keeps going after Luca. What would his life be without him? Torello is also frequently tempted to cross the line and behave in a more effective, but illegal way himself.
If you haven't seen it, and you like Wise Guy, or the feel and look Michael Mann gives to his productions, don't miss this series. As this is a classic 80s series, there are also lots of cameos from familiar actors and actresses.
From producer Michael Mann, a brilliant crime drama series that can be
mentioned with similar reverence as THE UNTOUCHABLES(TV series)1959-1963.
Chicago, Cleveland, St. Louis, Las Vegas...organized crime is spreading its
wings. Michael Torello(Dennis Farina)is the head of Chicago's Major Crime
Unit and determined to bring down up and coming crime figure Ray
Luca(Anthony Denison). The action takes place in the early 60s...and it is
very impressive that the clothing, hair styles, automobiles and music are
circa 1963. The opening theme is a revved up revised version of Del
Shannon's "Runaway". The Torello/Luca relationship may even be more intense
than that of Ness/Nitti in THE UNTOUCHABLES. From direction to dialogue;
from story line to acting...hard to find fault with one of the best in this
Kudos for strong acting from Stephen Lang, Bill Smitrovich, Andrew Dice Clay, Jon Polito, David Caruso, Ray Sharkey and Joseph Wiseman. Rocker Todd Rundgren is responsible for all original music that drives this 42 episode crime drama.
Crime Story was very probably the best show of its kind
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
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!
Michael Mann is a first class director. He is laser focused and always delivers in spades. He is the genius who directed the tv film The Jericho Mile and the film noir classic with Jimmy Caan Thief. I think he needs to be given credit for this HE DIRECTED THE FILM THAT IS BETTER THEN SILENCE OF THE LAMBS!!!!He directed Manhunter which was so unjustly overlooked when it was released, but has now on DVD been given the credit it deserves. Mann also directed Heat, The Insider and Ali. Before he did that however, he created the classic tv shows Miami Vice and Crime Story. These are the series that made tv crime shows "grow up" in a sense. It made them more gritty and realistic the way that The Untouchables and Dragnet did. Mike Torello on this show was just as tough and bad ass as Elliot Ness or Joe Friday! I loved the look of this series, it made you feel like you were back in that time where cars had finns, where rock and roll was king and where the good guys wore black! I loved the theme music for the show, it was Del Shannon's "Runaway" I always remember that song. Mike Torello against Ray Luca was almost like a morality play of good versus evil. The scripts were first class, and the actors never gave a performance that didn't rule. Dennis Farina had actually been a cop with Chicago Police Department and it amazes me that a man who never had an acting lesson could give such a fine performance in every show that he has been in! Crime Story wasn't a show for sissies, but it always delivered and kicked ass!
I only wish I could rate it higher on the scale than just ten stars.
Talk about a lot of work that went into this one. I actually felt as if I was back in the early sixties when I was watching it. This was masterfully done. The scripting, to me was flawless. The development of the characters, was straight up, right. The scenery, well...brought to you by Good Ole Michael Mann. Largely some of the coolest style and presentation in Television and Cinema that I have seen yet. Mr. Mann brings deep emotional content and sustaining context to what he makes. I was traveling on a short vacation, I stopped into Tower Records in L.A. probably about (1995) and found the complete 'Crime Story' series on VHS for I believe it was merely $60.00 then. Needless to say I bought it. Then later on laser disk, but only found a couple. Now it has been put out on DVD!! Thankyou everyone in charge of production and ownership of the rights and especially WalMart for selling it on-line! Cheaper than when I bought it on VHS even.
Every character together makes the 'tapestry' of the story complete. From the lawyer, David Abrams(Stephen Lang), the ever 'Bad', Ray Luca, to Johnny O'Donnell (David Caruso, now C.S.I.:Miami's Lt. Caine) Pauli Taglia the roly-poly happy go lucky, sometimes fearful,(when running into Turello) sidekick to head man 'Luca'. But, you can't forget (or even try) the king of the street Lt. Mike Turello! Now He's the man!!! His crew, including Big Walter Clemmons, Nate, Joey and of course Danny. All excellent detectives battling highly organized crime (or evil) in their fair city.
The town and all the back ground in the story just rings true to form of that city in that era. The job putting this all together to make it that real, takes incredible work, time, effort, research. Even down to using real 'Morgue footage' actual film stock from 1963 for the real 1960s Chicago look. It was compiled and layered just right.
But then the network that let this epic show, just go, I believe is really stupid. Just like other shows that have had total-life left and yet the network 'lunk-heads' pulled the plug instead of giving some better, (uh hmmm) P.R. than they had done, back then. This show inspired me and my creative mind. I didn't quite know in what way, then, but I know now. I recommend this awesome police-mafia drama, with some comical over tones to those who enjoy wheel made television. (***)
P.S: I just bought the DVD set, and it is still a beauty to behold, now digitally remastered!!!!
Who knew a cop show could be so good? I didn't (until I saw it). But this cast is so good, it makes the show very likeable. Dennis Farina plays a Torrello in a very cool way. Also, future NYPD Blue man David Caruso makes an impressive breakthrough here. Andrew Dice Clay here gives his ultimate best as a actor and is definately worth a look see. Good show, too bad it's gone now. A+
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is easily one of the greatest shows TV has produced: Dennis Farina
shines very brightly in his role here that pretty much solidified his
career as a cop both in front of and behind the screen. Every fan of
crime drama must go out of their way to get this set and watch it with
There are only two things that may sink the series for some: the ending to the first season was a bit too much (the very ending would have been great if those involved actually perished; a fitting irony) and the second season's ending is a kick in the teeth the way it was presented. I won't ruin it, just watch the whole second season and then watch the finale and tell me you don't feel a tad betrayed on the tone of the final sequence. Yes, it could have worked, but it would have been great to finally ignore the cliffhanger and just go for some sort of closure.
Or at the very least, try to keep it tense and serious as the rest of the series was. But besides this, this is definitely one of TV's finest moments. Perhaps Mann could give us a movie to wrap up the series properly? Dennis Farina and the rest are still living, why not?
This tv show had it all, great characters played by a fantastic cast, some of the coolest cops and villians you could ever ask for, great music, the cars, the atmosphere and dialogue, and a plot that went way beyond any single episode! It's the story of one cop named Michael Torello (Dennis Farina) who makes it his life's mission to bring down a "ruthless hood" named Ray Luca (Anthony Denison) who is quickly working his way to the top of the Chicago organized crime syndicate. Along the way, you're introduced to other key figures, like Andrew Dice Clay's character Max Goldman and a performance by Joseph Wiseman as Manny Weisbord that stands just as strong as anything The Godfather produced (in my absolutely biased opinion, of course). Don't forget Pauli Taglia, Ray's henchman, and rockin' Frank Holman (the same guy who plays Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs), who bears an intriguing resemblance to the Rev. Horton Heat! The series started in Chicago, migrated to Las Vegas about a third of the way through, and ends in Latin America of all places. I won't give anything away here, but I will warn you that if you see the pilot, you'll want to get your hands on the rest of the series. Unfortunately, that's not as easy. The tapes show up on ebay regularly but aren't cheap. Good news is that Anchor Bay is releasing all the episodes on dvd really soon, so it's probably just better to wait for that. Alot of the tapes were copied in SLP mode anyway, and don't have the best quality. This series has a severe cult following now, even though it only aired for two seasons in the '80s. I introduced my girlfriend at the time to this show, and while she was skeptical at first, by the end she insisted we had to get the rest of the series. You'll watch it over and over again and pick up on stuff you miss everytime, not to mention the stories are just classic and filled to overflowing with one-liners and scenes! Michael Mann is a genius for making this show happen. I hated Miami Vice, but this was just "the greatest thing, since bullets"---Yikes!!!!, I could write on and on about the merits of this series!! It's hard to believe how few people know about Crime Story! Don't be one of those people, check it out!
I watched this one religiously, even taped a few episodes. Perfectly cast, this had gritty direction, excellent writing, and wonderful sets and visuals. Farina is perfect as ultra-tough guy Mike Torello, leading a squad of elite Major Crime Unit cops. The transplant from Chicago to Las Vegas works at first, but the abbreviated third season got a bit tacky. Great lines, awesome acting, and an overall "feel" that no police drama has come close to matching. Kudos to Michael Mann and his team of terrific writers.
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