FBI undercover man Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) has gained tacit approval for an operation to infiltrate the American recording industry. Under RICO statute he has commandeered Dead Dog Records in order to investigate overproduction and under the table sale of LPs, cassettes and compact discs which are distributed without payment of royalties to the artists or taxes to the government.
Terranova targets Winston Newquay (Tim Curry) - the first industry contact that he deems particularly obnoxious. His plan is to induce Newquay or his rival Isaac (Paul Winfield) to take over and bring Terranova on as an executive as part of the deal. From within Terranova can investigate industry corruption.
Whilst wide scale record piracy, particularly when it is perpetrated by legitimate corporations, was and is a serious issue it nevertheless appeared to be a step down from Terranova's previous successful investigations into the Mafiosi, arms trading/terrorism and hate groups. White collar crime hardly has the urgency of those nor consequently would it logically engage the audiences which would watch a show like this.
It is painfully obvious that this over-produced mess of an episode complete with Dynasty-style evening gown cat-fight overlooked the disaster of casting Sheena Easton on Miami Vice the previous TV season. The distinct possibility that this Dead Dog Records storyline was inspired by that one should be so retrograde to the quality of the show as to be inconceivable. Network TV does not merely come up with bad ideas it recycles them making them even worse.
In Debbie Harry, Glenn Frey and Mick Fleetwood we have great musicians who happened to be appalling actors. Being a musician doesn't disqualify one from being an excellent or at very least passable actor but you wouldn't know it from what is shown here. The narrative falls down hard when Frey and Harry are on screen trying to act opposite each other. But the show is at its worst when Mick Fleetwood appears on screen.
It is not a complete waste of terrific actors like Tim Curry, Patti D'Arbanville and Paul Winfield shunted aside by musicians who couldn't act. When these real actors are brought in the narrative is given new life even though they begin as incidental characters with sparse screen-time.
On the initial DVD release of the show the Dead Dog Records arc which spanned seven episodes over season two was not included due to issues regarding the music rights. Debbie Harry, Glenn Frey and Mick Fleetwood should count themselves lucky.
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