After sitting through an unimpressive 3rd season, I was worried about season 4. From what I had read going into it, critics and fans seemed to agree the show peaked in season's 1 & 2 and season's 4 & 5 were where things went bad.
I'll admit, season one was damn good. Aside from the tone being a bit too light at times and the miscasting of the first Lt. (Gregory Sierra), the show really hit its stride by the second half. I expected season 2 to pick up on the momentum, but instead it stalled and didn't get going until the second half. Season 3 was an incongruous mix of good and terrible episodes that ended on a high note with the final episode "heroes of the revolution."
The opening episode of season 4 could arguably be the best episode of MV so far. Make no mistake though, this isn't the same music video, style driven MV that made the series popular. Perhaps this departure in style and tone is the reason the ratings took a huge decline, but if so, it's truly a shame that audiences weren't willing to adapt to the new direction. If this episode is any indication of things to come, a lot more is going to be brought to the table than just a great soundtrack and cool b-roll of flashy cars driving around neon soaked Miami.
The biggest relief for me is to see the demise of the cheap looking studio sets in favor of great on-site (read: real) locations. The writing & directing too have evolved, substituting corny melodrama and silly shootouts for grittier and far more realistic plot lines and character arcs. Unless I'm mistaken, no one in this episode gets shot to death, an overused plot device that had become a tired cliché by the end of season 3.
In "Contempt of Court" Stanley Tucci is center stage as the mobster Frank Mosca, the man the vice squad and the DA are determined to put away for a long time. Even though Tucci hams up his mob boss performance, his character is written with enough skill that Mosca's actions are elevated above being laughably implausible...much more than can be said of other bosses in previous seasons (ie. Leguizamo's Calderon).
If this episode is an indication of things to come, Season 4 should be a treat. We shall see.
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