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Miami Vice

pilot episode
Miami Vice - Brother's Keeper

USA 1984
produced by
Michael A. Cherubino, John Nicolella, Michael Mann (executive), Anthony Yerkovich (executive) for Michael Mann Productions/NBC
directed by Thomas Carter
starring Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago, Gregory Sierra, Bill Smitrovich, Belinda Montgomery, Martin Ferrero, Miguel Pinero, Mykeli Williamson, Olivia Brown, Michael Talbott, John Diehl, Jimmy Smits, Michael Santoro, Jossie DeGuzman, Harold Bergman, Darcy Shean, Brian C.Smith, Julian Byrd, Bud Hoey, Ernest Robinson
written and created by Anthony Yerkovich, music by Jan Hammer

Miami Vice

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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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.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD