Crime Story: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (18 Sep. 1986)

TV Episode  |  Unrated  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 652 users  
Reviews: 12 user | 5 critic

Chicago Major Crime Unit, led by no-nonsense lt. Torrello, stops a team of robbers, but the leader escapes. Torrello suspects Ray Luca, a mobster on the rise. He also deals with idealistic public defender Abrams, who opposes his methods.



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Title: Pilot (18 Sep 1986)

Pilot (18 Sep 1986) on IMDb 7.9/10

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Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. See more awards »





Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Luca (as Anthony Denison)
Det. Danny Krychek (as William Smitrovich)
Det. Joey Indelli (as Bill Campbell)
Paul Butler ...
Johann Carlo ...
Cori Luca


Chicago's Major Crime Unit, that can operate slightly outside the law and is led by hardboiled lieutenant Mike Torrello, stops a violent team of armed robbers one night, but their leader escapes. Torrello suspects the head to be Ray Luca, a young ruthless and ambitious mobster on the rise. Luca soon convinces Johnny O'Donnel, one of the people Mike cares for, to join his crew, but this ends up having deadly consequences. Mike must also deals with idealistic public defender David Abrams, who highly disapproves of Mike and his team's sometimes borderline vigilante methods. However, Luca sees this as Abrams' weakness and uses it to get on Abrams good side, by pretending to be clean. However, Luca still has to follow orders of his higher-ups, even though he's trying to remove their influence over him.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

18 September 1986 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The jewel robbery using the underwater cutting bar is based on a real jewel robbery masterminded by 'John Santucci' who was a "Technical Consultant" as well as playing Paulie. See more »


During one scene as Torello sits unmoving at his desk talking to the MCU officers, the medallion on a chain around his neck change position several times. See more »


Chief Kramer: Look, Mike, you gotta watch what they now call an 'image.' The Daily News is treating the other night like you're Billy the Kid.
Lt. Mike Torello: That's pretty accurate. I felt like Billy the Kid.
See more »


Referenced in A Short Film About the Long Career of Abel Ferrara (2004) See more »


Stand by Me
Written by Ben E. King, Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
Performed by Ben E. King
See more »

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User Reviews

Fantastic Early's 1960's period Crime Drama - Based on History
4 December 2003 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just finished watching the season one DVD set and "Crime Story" is the best 1963-5 period crime drama you will ever see. Filmed and recorded in 1986-7, the cinematography and music (with Todd Rundgren) are of the highest quality. Co-creators Chuck Adamson (a real life Chicago and Las Vegas detective) and Gus Reininger spent a lot of time living and researching the subject matter of organized crime in the Midwest and West. Dennis Farina (also a 20 year Chicago detective) is very convincing as an incorruptable Elliot Ness-like war hero(Mike Torello) with a very dysfunctional personal life. This is the "reverse Sopranos" where the highly strung and violent cop is the one who needs a shrink, but doesn't get one because you didn't do that then. He is basically a good guy, dedicated to fighting crime and injustice, but who is so obsessed with taking down the rising star of the Chicago mob that he loses almost everything in the process. Once The Outfit moves into Las Vegas, things begin to turn around for him but only after seeing some of his people die at the hands of the merciless men he is tracking. The series is based on the same events and characters from the book/movie "Casino" it pre-dated, namely, the ultraviolent Anthony "The Ant" Spilotro (or Ray Luca as played by Tony Denison) and gambling czar Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal (or Max Goldman as played by Andrew Dice Clay), and the mob's move into big time Vegas casino action led by an elderly Meyer Lansky (or Manny Weissport). It does not follow the history exactly but close enough so that you get a very good idea of how they operated in Chicago and Las Vegas and how they were brought down. The DVD images and soundtrack are high quality but there are no extra features and it doesn't have any chapter or scene selection capability. For your $50 will get 20 episodes and the pilot of a timeless TV crime epic and you won't be sorry. You will get an excellent written summary detailing the history of the show and its creators and actors. A must have for true crime buffs who want realism or are interested in organized crime/law enforcement and how it works. If you liked Casino and Goodfellas you will love this..... and Michael Madsen, David Caruso, Gary Sinise, Ving Rhames and Julia Roberts all have substantial roles in several of the episodes. There was a second season and we will have to wait for that one. Here's to hoping they roll out some extra features then as it would be interesting to see how much it influenced later crime dramas such as "The Sopranos".

6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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