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Wiseguy 

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Vinnie Terranova does time in a New Jersey penitentiary to set up his undercover role as an agent for the OCB (Organized Crime Bureau) of the United States. His roots in a traditional ... See full summary »
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2,162 ( 457)

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4   3   2   1  
2009   1990   1989   1988   1987  
Won 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
Jonathan Banks ...  Frank McPike 74 episodes, 1987-2009
Jim Byrnes ...  Daniel Benjamin 'Lifeguard' Burroughs 74 episodes, 1987-2009
Ken Wahl ...  Vinnie Terranova / ... 65 episodes, 1987-1990
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Storyline

Vinnie Terranova does time in a New Jersey penitentiary to set up his undercover role as an agent for the OCB (Organized Crime Bureau) of the United States. His roots in a traditional Italian city neighborhood form the underlying dramatic base throughout the series, bringing him into conflict with his conservative mother and other family members while acting undercover as syndicate enforcer. The segments, which ran several shows each, included in-depth and empathetic characterizations of the players on both sides of the law. Scenarios include the underbelly of the recording industry, protection rackets, international arms dealing, foiling white supremacist plotters, uncovering a government conspiracy to set up a compliant new head of state in a third-world country, and Vinnie's final reconciliation with his Italian mother and her new husband, the purely legendary Mafia figure Don Aiupo. Written by Barlow Pepin <mbpepn@sbcglobal.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

His first wrong move will be his last.

Genres:

Crime | Drama | Mystery

Certificate:

TV-14 | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 September 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El astuto See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

4:3
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Profit on the TV series Profit (1996) was named after Mel Profitt and partially based on both Mel Profitt and Sonny Steelgrave. See more »

Quotes

Sonny Steelgrave: In my neighborhood, possession is nine tenth of the law. The other ten - we don't care about.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Due to licensing costs, the song "Nights in White Satin" by the Moody Blues featured in one episode has been replaced by a less expensive tracks on the DVD release. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Greg Gutfeld Show: Episode #1.1 (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Bright Side
Debbie Harry sung title track for 3 episodes
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User Reviews

 
Holds Up Very Well!
16 June 2016 | by bluesteeleSee all my reviews

I remembered this late 80's/early 90's show for its look, high production values, and Ken Wahl's wholly believable turn as Vinne Terranova. After it was recently released (again) on DVD, I picked up Season One from Amazon. It's been very hard to hit 'pause' and come back later! And certainly worth every penny. Wahl is even better than I remembered (I don't think he ever ended up doing anything again after leaving Wiseguy), and the rest of the cast--especially those who were brought on as Wahl's antagonists for the multi-episode story 'arcs' like Ray Starkey and Kevin Spacey--bring their 'A' game (which seems unusual for that era of television.) What struck me in scene after scene is that Wahl not only seems perfectly cast in this role, he has SERIOUS presence and acting chops. His acting, which never seems forced or 'over the top,' seemingly pushes first rate actors like Starkey and Spacey to give it THEIR best . . . there's almost a competitive edge to the extended scenes where Wahl and these guys are truly going for it in an acting sense.

Some of the scriptwriting is a little corny by today's standards, and the plots . . . peculiar (I'm thinking of the Mel Profit arc where Terranova and Profit's right hand man are sent to Tennessee to "straighten out the business"). Jonathan Banks, who plays Terranova's FBI handler, seems overly heated and one dimensional for the most part (a criticism that may have been contemporary as he occasionally breaks character to show some kind of human side). Not a particularly memorable turn.

The other reviews here suggest that things dropped off after Season One, so I probably will skip those . . . but Season One is a serious work of early episodic television.


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