I came across this TV show once in the fall of 1987, it was shot like a movie, and had a style all its own, with a jazz beat soundtrack that kept routine scenes electric. It turned out to be the 2-hour premiere movie of "Crime Story", the follow up show to "Miami Vice" by Executive Producer Michael Mann.
The pastels and neon vanished, replaced by Chicago cops in the chromed out cars that reflected the lights of the original Vegas strip of the early sixties. Space age pop art filled the high-end crowd while the emerging gangsters found new ways to commit old crimes.Enough crime to need the Major Crime Unit led by Dennis Farina as Mike Tuerello, the no nonsense cop who locks horns with the mobs rising star Ray Luca, played by Anthony John Dennison.
"Crime Story" also featured a long list of hipster talent including appearances by Miles Davis, a young Christian Slater and Lili Taylor. Familiar cops and mobster faces like Lorainne Bracco, David Caruso, and Michael Madsen were "Crime Story" actors long before their current roles. And guest stars episodes featuring talents such as Debbie Harry, Kevin Spacey, and Pam Grier cements Crime Story's influence on cop show cool.
"Crime Story" told its cops and mobster story gangster style, brutal and grittier than anything on the television in the mid eighties. Viewers were shocked, ratings bombed as it slid around the weekly programming grid until it was finally shot down at the end of its second season.
And it was never to be seen again for over a decade until a brief stint on cable and the DVD release this fall. While I'm thankful to finally be able to enjoy "Crime Story" in its complete form, the DVD box sets are a let down if you were hoping for any extras that most box sets include. This seems like a lost opportunity and wished the DVD's included features like commentary by Michael Mann and the cast and crew of the show.
Watching "Crime Story" now you can see how the development of the series struggled in the beginning with a mixed bag of production values varying from show to show. By the second half of the first season, "Crime Story" comes into its own, and lays out an engaging story arc with an explosive conclusion.
Wishing someone in television land would let Michael Mann have his way with another hour a week on TV, for Movie Magazine this is Purple.
© 2006 - Purple - Air Date: 11/2/05
Crime Story DVD
USA - 1986-1988