Friday, February 15, 2013
The Dr. Mystery guide to "Miami Vice" for gentlemen and gentlewomen of leisure (Part 2: Season 2)
Holy crap, Season 2 is going to be hard to beat in the guest star department. This season had possibly the strangest assemblage of actors in television history, and I don't see how the other seasons are going to be able to compete. Season 2 was pretty strong and almost as entertaining as Season 1, though I feel like there was a slight decline in the quality of the writing and the visual style. This decline was only tiny, and the guest star bonanza more than made up for it. However, I'm a little worried the decline will be more marked in the remaining three seasons, especially with Michael Mann vacating his post as showrunner in the third season and handing over the job to TV jobber Dick Wolf, who has an awesome name but creates pretty generic TV. I'm not a huge Michael Mann fan, but I love his '80s movies, and he definitely dictated the visual style of the show, which looked like nothing else on TV at the time and still looks pretty cinematic today. Will the show's visual palette, use of color, and framing of shots turn as bland as Dick Wolf's other stuff? I hope not. Blah blah blah, let's get to the guest stars and out-of-context quotes. Season 2, baby! Wooooooo!
"The Prodigal Son"
Guest stars: This one's loaded with people. Julian Beck, the creepy old man in Poltergeist II, is a creepy rich banker who belongs to that small class of creepy rich old guys who run the world. Charles S. Dutton is a New York police chief who doesn't want to listen to a couple of jerk vice cops from Miami, goddammit. Pam Grier returns as the New York cop who used to date Tubbs. Anthony Heald, star of Boston Public, Boston Legal, CSI: Boston, Hot Boston Nights, and Boston Sex Academy (three of those shows are maybe not real) is a New York police commander who really hates Crockett and Tubbs. (You may have surmised by now that our main characters are in New York for this very special episode.) Libertarian magician and noted Bongwater enthusiast Penn Jillette is a small-time Latino drug dealer turned informant with an awesome apartment. James Russo is a hot-tempered drug dealer whose crew has been infiltrated by an undercover Pam Grier. Gene Simmons is a smarmy drug dealer named Newton Windsor Blade who has a yacht full of sexy ladies in bikinis. Paul Calderon is a drug dealer. Abel Ferrara regular and famous drug addict/NY scenester Zoe Lund, also known as Zoe Tamerlis, plays a drug addict/NY scenester. Luis Guzman is a drug smuggler. Ken Ober is a taxi driver. Holy shit, that's a lot of people.
Out-of-context quote: "That's Tubbs. T.U.B.B.S. Tough, unique, bad, bold, and sassy."
Guest stars: Eartha Kitt is a Santeria priestess. A pre-Robert Palmer Power Station is the band playing in a nightclub. The Duran Duran and Chic members are still in the band, but Michael Des Barres is the singer.
Out-of-context quote: "You want a little dork meat for breakfast?"
"Out Where the Buses Don't Run"
Guest stars: Little Richard is a fundamentalist street preacher. Bruce McGill is an ex-cop who's gone nuts and changes his accent and personality every few sentences. He's like Robin Williams, but funny. David Strathairn is an ex-cop turned lawyer or businessman or something (he has a nice office) who is McGill's old partner. A guy named Scott "Slo-motion" Randolph plays a guy named Manuel "Skates" Santino.
Out-of-context quotes: "You know the man who puts $5 worth of quarters in the juke, hits J-50 over and over again? Arcaro is Weldon's J-50."
"The Dutch Oven"
Guest stars: Giancarlo Esposito is back and he's another drug dealer. This time, he's dealing coke. David Proval, from Mean Streets and The Sopranos, is an Internal Affairs agent. David Johansen plays a very strange version of himself wearing a very strange hat and performing a very strange song at a coke party.
Out-of-context quote: "This late in the game and you're holding kings?"
Guest stars: Nathan Lane is a standup comic and date rapist. Eszter Balint from Stranger than Paradise is on the run from gangsters. James Remar is an old friend of Crockett's who's torn between his noncriminal nature and his debts to some gangster relatives. Frankie Valli is a gangster. So is Tom Signorelli.
Out-of-context quote: "Definitely not a funny way to die."
Guest stars: Miles Davis is a high-class pimp who runs an exclusive brothel. Model Ely Pouget is a drug addict turned call girl.
Out-of-context quote: "Where is he wearing his mic?" "You don't want to know!"
"Tale of the Goat"
Guest stars: Clarence Williams III is a voodoo priest and crime boss who has himself shipped to Miami in a coffin and rises from the dead, voodoo-style. Midget wrestler Little Coco is part of the voodoo cult/crime syndicate. Playwright and theater director Peter Sellars is a doctor. Ray Sharkey is a used car dealer and money launderer named Bobby Profile.
Out-of-context quote: "Nobody is gonna risk brain damage for a little cashola and a bad girlfriend."
Guest stars: Dean Stockwell is a rogue CIA agent and assassin. David Rasche is an American mercenary turned KGB ally named Surf. Tom Bower is a CIA agent. Musician Natasha Shneider, who played with Eleven and Queens of the Stone Age, is an ex-KGB agent turned KGB target.
Out-of-context quote: "Surf's up, pal."
"Bought and Paid For"
Guest stars: El Debarge plays himself laying down some sexy slow jams in a nightclub. Lynn Whitfield is a Haitian immigrant and housekeeper. Joaquim de Almeida is a rapist. Tomas Milian is the rapist's rich and powerful father.
Out-of-context quote: "Lose the cologne. You smell like a cheap pimp."
"Back in the World"
Guest stars: Bob Balaban is an investigative reporter who knew Crockett in Vietnam. G. Gordon Liddy is a prick who's been smuggling heroin in the body bags of dead soldiers. He has his own personal Asian assassin. Maybe he's playing himself? Iman is a mysterious woman who knows all these guys' secrets. Patti D'Arbanville is Bob Balaban's wife, and she's pissed as hell, buddy. Finally, somebody got Bob Balaban, G. Gordon Liddy, and Iman together. They'd been looking for a project for some time.
Out-of-context quote: "Be advised you're under arrest for trafficking in controlled substances." "Don't forget smoking in the bathroom."
"Phil the Shill"
Guest stars: Three people play con artists in this episode. Those three people are Kyra Sedgwick, Phil Collins, and Emo Philips. They'd also been looking for a project to do together for years.
Out-of-context quote: "This is the '80s, Phil. Everyone takes drugs."
Guest stars: Ted Nugent is a guy who arranges drug deals but then rips off and murders the people he arranges the deals with, burying them and their automobiles in a rural sand pit. Nugent's lady friend is a fellow murderous con artist, played by French bombshell and star of many Eric Rohmer films Arielle Dombasle. This may be the only time Eric Rohmer and Ted Nugent appear in the same sentence. Fun fact: After filming, Nugent shot each prop with 28 crossbows. He then babbled incoherently and made some shitty music.
Out-of-context quote: "Man, I can dig tropical, but this is out of bounds." Bonus quote: "I hate all this waiting. I feel like a character in a Beckett play. Charlie Beckett, the shoeshine. He writes plays down on the corner."
Guest stars: No big stars, cult actors, or crazy stunt casting in this one, but there are some reliable character actors whose names aren't well known. Ned Eisenberg is a drug smuggler named Charlie Glide. Austin Pendleton is his middleman. Pepe Serna is a player in the drug trade.
Out-of-context quote: "I promised myself when the Dow broke 1400, I would buy myself a present."
"One Way Ticket"
Guest stars: John Heard is a lawyer who has some beef with Crockett. Former Mahavishnu Orchestra member and the guy who does the music for Miami Vice, Jan Hammer, plays a wedding musician wearing a sassy getup. Work it, Jan. Annie Golden is Crockett's mechanic. The episode's villain is played by a guy named Lothaire Bluteau.
Out-of-context quote: "You think the guy practices being a tubesteak?"
"Little Miss Dangerous"
Guest stars: Briefly famous '80s hair-metal singer Fiona plays a prostitute and exotic dancer who goes nuts sometimes and murders her johns. This episode is really pretty good but it does contain the stupidest line of dialogue I've ever heard. I can't find it online, so just watch it. It happens after they ask Fiona's boyfriend, Cat, what his nickname means. The line was so bad I blushed.
Out-of-context quote: "Pal of mine, we just get older every year."
Please enjoy this intermission, in which we take a few minutes to remember Fiona in her prime, duetting with Kip Winger on the song that summed up an entire generation: "Everything You Do (You're Sexing Me)."
Guest stars: Charles Rocket is a smarmy agent for race car drivers. The Fat Boys are beatboxing marijuana dealers. Annie Golden is back as Crockett's mechanic. Race car driver Danny Sullivan is a race car driver. His appearance on this episode gave him the acting bug, and he actually managed to work as an actor pretty regularly for the next 15 years even though he's really bad at it.
Out-of-context quote: "If we keep covering the street, they're going to have to call it Crockett and Tubbs Boulevard."
Guest stars: Leonard Cohen is the powerful head of a shadowy international covert ops thingamajig that may be a front for terrorism. He only speaks French in the episode. He had no choice, he was born with the gift of a Gallic voice. Lisa Eichhorn from Cutter's Way is a French INTERPOL agent who is actually working for Leonard Cohen. Elliott Easton from The Cars is buying some pharmaceutical morphine. Ex-wife of Play from Kid 'n' Play, Shari Headley, is a precocious teen who witnessed a murder.
Out-of-context quote: "There are plenty of cold cuts in the refrigerator."
Guest stars: Harvey Fierstein is a corrupt lawyer. Former NBA star Bill Russell is a corrupt judge with a heart of gold forced into corruption by his gambling addiction. Michael Richards, Cosmo Kramer himself, is a badass gangster and bookie. ("You better pay up, Jerry!" "But Kramer, it's only a $10 bet. I'll pay you tomorrow." "I'll break your legs, Jerry. I'll do it!" "Tomorrow. I'll pay you tomorrow." "Giddyup!")
Out-of-context quote: "He practically gave Ortega a ticket to Bogota at the bond hearing."
Guest stars: Frank Zappa is a big-shot Latino coke dealer who never leaves international waters. He refers to cocaine as "weasel dust." Dan Hedaya is Zappa's middleman. Boxer Roberto Duran is a drug dealer who Crockett put away years ago.
Out-of-context quote: "You spend a couple hours combing some guy's brains out of your hair, see what that does to you."
Guest stars: Byrne Piven, father of Jeremy Piven, plays an exiled South American poet targeted by both right-wing and left-wing assassins. Piven loves women, pro wrestling, and booze, and breaks free from his police protection to attend a Suicidal Tendencies concert. Suicidal Tendencies play themselves. Bianca Jagger is an international right-wing assassin targeting Piven. It's what ruined her marriage to Mick. Two of the four left-wing assassins are played by Luis Guzman and future Transformers director Michael Bay.
Out-of-context quote: "Are all American cops so good-looking?"
"Trust Fund Pirates"
Guest stars: Richard Belzer is a pirate radio DJ. Tommy Chong is a drug dealer, arms smuggler, and middleman for bigger dealers. Denny Dillon, from Dream On and the 1980-81 season of SNL, is Chong's girlfriend. They live in an Airstream trailer inside an airplane graveyard. Gary Cole, the shitty boss on Office Space, is a guy who flies planes for anyone for the right price. He says he knows Glenn Frey from season one. Nicole Fosse, daughter of Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon, is Cole's girlfriend.
Out-of-context quote: "Is a frog's butt watertight?"
"Sons and Lovers"
Guest stars: John Leguizamo is the son of a drug dealer Crockett and Tubbs killed in season one. Lee Iacocca is an overzealous parks commissioner.
Out-of-context quote: "I wasn't really suspicious except when you told me that the kid was good-looking."
Frank Zappa shortly after asking Phillip Michael Thomas what it was like to work with Fiona