After rejecting an offer to finance a coup d'etat in the Caribbean, Mel Profitt becomes obsessed with a supposed voodoo death curse, and Vinnie, horrified, can only watch as Mel's personality begins to disintegrate.



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Episode cast overview:
Susan Profitt
Louis Cabra
Emanja Mora (as Charlaine Woodard)
Mae Nina
Helena Yea ...
Preet (credit only)
Marc Bourrel ...
Tailor (credit only)
Marilyn Chin ...
Girl (credit only)


After rejecting an offer to finance a coup d'etat in the Caribbean, Mel Profitt becomes obsessed with a supposed voodoo death curse, and Vinnie, horrified, can only watch as Mel's personality begins to disintegrate.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama | Mystery




Release Date:

22 February 1988 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


French title: Le fantôme de la douleur. See more »


Because of a post-production error, the end credits list three actors from a previous episode (Wiseguy: Player to Be Named Now. See more »

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User Reviews

Every Tyrant Has a Hungry Right Hand
15 March 2014 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Undercover FBI man Vinnie Terranova (Ken Wahl) has toiled in the service of the Profitt family pretending loyalty to psychotic Mel (Kevin Spacey) whilst romancing Mel's beautiful sister Susan (Joan Severance). Mel has shown himself to be the wildest of wild-cards pulling a gun on Vinnie multiple times, going off on weird tantrums and targeting enemies who weren't enemies until he targeted them over reasons which appear absurd until they strangely don't.

Another wild-card in the story-line is Roger LoCocco (William Russ) - a lethal yet industrious and resourceful right hand man of the Profitt's. Roger and Vinnie are friends but also rivals for position in the Profitt organization. The previous episode to this revealed that LoCocco was in the employ of the CIA (or at least a faction within it), undercover like Vinnie but with a very different objective i.e. to forward American foreign policy. In this episode Vinnie discovers who LoCocco's real employers are.

LoCocco introduces Mel to sleazy ex-military thug Louis Cabra (Richard Portnow) who wants to overthrow the dictator of his island nation and become it's new dictator - one beholden to the CIA. Mel immediately suspects him of being part of an evil cult with very little on open display to suggest that to any rational person. A man of genius IQ, Mel is often right and happens to be correct in this instance. Cabra is very much an adherent to an evil cult.

Vinnie learns that Cabra wants to kill young leftist activist Emanja (Charlayne Woodard) who is symbolic leader of a Marxist uprising. Vinnie, trying to play hero, finds her before Cabra and offers her protection. In exchange he asks that she help Mel find spiritual protection from Cabra even if it is just to humor Mel. She obliges but uses the most powerful magic to protect herself from both Mel and Cabra resulting in deadly consequences for her enemies.

Mel's superstitious fears become his undoing. Believing a curse has stolen his soul and unable to find solace in new talisman (a magic tattoo) he implores Susan to give him a fatal injection to end his suffering and she tearfully complies. So ended Kevin Spacey's 7 episode run as the most memorable character in the series.

Vinnie, far from the sharpest tool in the shed to begin with, is left completely beside himself as is his FBI handler McPike (Jonathan Banks). Emanja didn't turn out to be quite the victim he thought she was and actually served to complicate things. The situation with LoCocco changed once again. Beginning on the show as a low-level underworld trigger-man Vinnie was merely meant to file a cursory report on him.

LoCocco and he hit it off so completely that Vinnie found himself pulled into the Profitt crime family circus of horror - a prime target for the FBI and fully worthy of Vinnie's attention but an assignment which served to drain him emotionally and nearly cost him his life.

In LoCocco, he is left with a friend/quarry who continually shows himself to be more than what he appears professionally and philosophically. Vinnie and McPike are left to ponder whether his undercover activities have done more harm than good or even made the slightest difference either way.

This show was never better because the theme of subjective morality and utilitarianism of undercover work was never more coherently explored than it was in this episode. But also the complexity of the interactions between the characters had evolved seemingly so naturally.

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