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Miami: Undercover cops Sunny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Eddie Rivera
(Jimmy Smits) have been trailing a certain Columbian drug kingpin,
Calderone (Miguel Pinero), for months, but when they finally think they
have got a definite lead on him ... Eddie is killed by a carbomb, and now
Crockett is sure that there is a mole in the police department.
Enter hyperactive, jive-talking Rico Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) from
New York, who also wants to do a little business with Calderone ... but
before long walks into a trap set up by Sunny. Only then is it revealed
that Tubbs is an undercover cop as well, and like Sunny, he is now a cop
with a vengeance because Calderone has had his brother (Ernest Robinson)
killed back in New York.
Reluctantly, Sunny agrees to join up with Rico, since Rico is the only
lead to Calderone the department has got ... but whatever they try to
catch him, Calderone always seems to be one or two steps ahead, which
makes a mole in the department ever more likely - so much so that Crockett
even starts to suspect his chief Rodriguez (Gregory Sierra).
Eventually though, the mole turns out to be Scott Wheeler (Bill
Smitrovich), Crockett's best friend and former partner who once even
caught a bullet for him - but who was in desperate need of the money
Calderone offered him.
With the mole out of the way, Crockett and Tubbs have no more problems
cornering Calderone, and Tubbs is so furious tht he almost kills him, only
Crockett can hold him back and has him arrested the proper way ... but
only the next day, Calderone is out on bail again, and will return in a
later episode of the series ...
To judge Miami Vice, the pilot, solely by its overly clichéd
story might be unfair, since it is a perfect of style over content,
and the mediocre cop show that resulted from the pilot would probably not
have attracted such a large audience because of its stories alone.
Now style over content is not necessarily a bad decision if it
is done by a creative mind out of artistic conviction ... unfortunately
though, with Miami Vice (the pilot as well as the resulting
series) that is not the case, it simply indulges in then current
lifestyle, fashion, pop music, hip-talk and presents a then-current
definition of cool. Now that would not even be too bad, but the pilot of
the series was made in 1984, and everything about it is just quite so
terribly mid-80's: an outrageous fashion sense, atrocious mainstream pop,
an annoying synthesizer score, the predominance of a colour chart
(mainly pastel shades) that from today's point of view is an insult to the
eye, and a directing style that is more reminiscent of then contemporary
music videos than any kind of cop drama. The characters on the on the other hand are patchwork contructions,
with character traits (and whole subplots) appearing and disappearing
throughtout the series rather at will. Likewise the story is made up of
genre mainstays and anything but original, while the customary chase
scenes - more often than not the centerpieces of cop shows anyways - seem
to be far more in love with the shining chrome of car wheels and
streetlights mirrored in shiny car hoods than the actual chase going on
... and in this repsect, what could have been a great chase sports car
versus speed boat gets completely boring in this one.
Now there's a serioes that waas hip when it first came out - but it
definitely has not stood the test of time.
Ironically, in 2006, Michael Mann, the creative driing force behind the
seires, directed a big-screen remake of the series starring Colin Farrell
and Jamie Foxx - but don't ask why.