Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Dr. Mystery guide to "Miami Vice" for gentlemen and gentlewomen of leisure (Part 3: Season 3)

I haven't posted anything on this blog in months, but I finished season 3 of Miami Vice last night, giving me an excuse to reanimate this poorly neglected site with a fresh, hot injection of 1980s-style neon, Hugo Boss suit jackets, and smoldering homoerotic undercover cop angst. In my season 2 recap, I expressed some trepidation about the third season because that's when Michael Mann ceded creative control to new showrunner Dick Wolf. I worried that Wolf, the guy who created the Law & Order juggernaut, would drain Miami Vice of its off-the-charts entertainment value, sense of humor, and pastel and neon color schemes. Wolf is a guy who's a little too fond of humorless political topicality and hitting viewers over the head with self-righteous messages. Fortunately, only a handful of episodes suffer from this problem. The rest of the season is as ridiculous and fun as the preceding two, and though the pastel is mostly gone, the neon is off the motherfucking charts. Also, recurring character Izzy Moreno, played by character actor Martin Ferrero, is in almost two-thirds of the episodes this season, and I love that guy. Enough jibber-jabber, let's get to the guest stars and out-of-context quotes.

"When Irish Eyes Are Crying"
Guest stars: Liam Neeson is a former IRA terrorist who is now a reformed do-gooder for charity. Or is he? Paul Gleason, the principal in The Breakfast Club, is a philanthropist who may be secretly funding the IRA. Jeff Fahey is an illegal arms dealer.
Out-of-context quote: "Are you into animal husbandry these days?"

"Stone's War"
Guest stars: Bob Balaban and G. Gordon Liddy are back playing the same guys from Season 2. This time, they're mixed up in the Contra and Sandinista brouhaha. Lonette McKee is a television news reporter.
Out-of-context quote: "Ears. Sandinista ears."

Guest stars: Star of Mexican soap operas Fernando Allende is a jai alai star player who has some unfortunate drug and prostitution connections. Pro bodybuilder Rhonda Lundstedt is a drug dealer's bodyguard. The stuntman from The Toxic Avenger plays somebody.
Out-of-context quote: "Tico Arriola has been struck with the pelota!"

Guest stars: Ron Perlman is a prison commissioner trying to bust the corrupt staff of a nearby prison. Laurence Fishburne is a corrupt prison guard. Kevin Conway is a corrupt prison warden. A couple of Miami Dolphins, A.J. Duhe and Jim Kiick, are probably also corrupt.
Out-of-context quote: "Didn't know you guys were connoisseurs of the air guitar."
Bonus quote: "If he's a dealer, he better go back to dealing school."

"The Good Collar"
Guest stars: Charles S. Dutton is a speechifying mentor to troubled inner-city teens. John Spencer, the West Wing guy, not the Blues Explosion guy, is a lieutenant in the narcotics division. Terri Kinney is a district attorney.
Out-of-context quote: "All the serious gangs basically hang out at Eastside High."

"Shadow in the Dark"
This episode is completely fucking bananas (see the quote). I highly recommend it. It's nutty, I tell you.
Guest stars: Kickass yet underrated character actor Ed Lauter is a captain in the burglary division. This one's light on star power but extremely heavy on what-the-fuck-did-I-just-watch.
Out-of-context quote: "Only thing we know for sure is he likes men's pants, eats raw meat, and works houses in the northeast grid."

"El Viejo"
Another good one.
Guest stars: Willie Nelson is a retired Texas Ranger and man of mystery. Steve Buscemi is a distributor for a major drug kingpin.
Out-of-context quote: "You know what I like about you, Rickles? Not a damn thing. Backstroke!"
Bonus quote: "This Bolivian doesn't mess around. He probably can't even spell 'mess around.'"

"Better Living Through Chemistry"
Guest stars: San Francisco-based independent film director Rob Nilsson plays a drug kingpin whose chemist has almost put the finishing touches on a highly potent synthetic cocaine. The only problem now is that it immediately kills the user, which is not a sustainable business model. I would be remiss in my duties here to not mention Nilsson's character's name, so here it is: Wango Mack. Victor Love, who played Bigger Thomas in the Native Son movie, is Tubbs' disgraced ex-partner, now a nightclub DJ who's mixed up with some unsavory people. Ex-model Patty Owen is his girlfriend. I say ex-model because her current source of income is a company she created called The Transformational Warriors that provides intimate relationship life coaching from counselors dressed in superhero costumes. That is not a joke. One of those counselors is her, and she has changed her name to Shanti Owen. Please Google this if you have some downtime. People, eh? What will they do next?
Out-of-context quote: "I'm changing my status, man. From now on, I only conglomerate with intellectuals."
Bonus quote: "Ain't life a cabaret?"

"Baby Blues"
Guest stars: Stanley Tucci is a guy whose adopted child may have been kidnapped from its birth mother by a baby-selling ring.
Out-of-context quote: "Babies are like any other business. There's a spoilage factor."
Bonus quote: "This guy is running a baby bazaar!"

Guest stars: Bill Paxton is a good cop who has fallen in love with a prostitute. She may not have a full-on heart of gold, but it's at least quality bronze. Wesley Snipes is her evil pimp named Silk.
Out-of-context quote: "Who is this guy who is spreading around all this pharmaceutical rhino rinse?"
Bonus quote: "Checker Club's where all the Overtown pimps flash their style."

"Forgive Us Our Debts"
Guest stars: No big names or future big names in this one, just a lot of solid working character actors. One of them is Bill Raymond, who played The Greek on The Wire. He plays a sleazy career criminal here.
Out-of-context quote: "You're a politician. A conscience is optional." (That's the best I could do. Not a lot of pizzazz in the dialogue department on this episode.)

"Down for the Count (Part I)"
Hoo boy. This episode is sad. One of my favorite characters is killed off, but it's a very emotionally and cinematically satisfying death and has a quiet resonance that is pretty unusual for a show that is mostly about surface entertainment, action, and neon. One of the best episodes, I think.
Guest stars: Pepe Serna is a local crime boss with his fingers in many illegal pies. Randall "Tex" Cobb is a retired boxer and fight trainer. Boxer Mark Breland is a boxer. Don King is a boxing promoter named Don Cash.
Out-of-context quote: "The man is cooking with grease. Hot grease. You can't cook with cold grease."
Bonus quotes: "I can't watch a blood sport without some chow." "An hombre muy mal. This guy couldn't stay clean if he lived in a shower." "Goodman's got a nonspecific muscle spasm where his heart oughtta be."

"Down for the Count (Part II)"
Guest stars: Pepe Serna and Mark Breland are back from Part I. Joe Dallesandro is a crime boss who is pissed off at Serna for horning in on some of his turf. Chris Elliott is a code hacker who lives in a decommissioned military airplane. Yeah, that's right. Robert Pastorelli is a member of Dallesandro's crime family.
Out-of-context quote: "Can you believe the stones on this burrito?"
Bonus Chris Elliott monologue (in response to the detectives telling him to crack a code in a hurry) : "What is a hurry? Is that just some measurement of time that can only be defined by law enforcement officers? Or is it perhaps that brief period in which you could, oh, I don't know, have a smoke or listen to a cut off the new Peter Gabriel album?"

"Cuba Libre"
Guest stars: Salsa and jazz trombonist Willie Colon is a drug dealer, but he's not such a bad guy.
Out-of-context quote: "Where'd you learn to talk like that? High school?"

"Duty and Honor"
Guest stars: Helena Bonham Carter is a doctor and Crockett's new girlfriend. Michael Wright is a mercenary assassin and serial killer known as The Savage. Dr. Haing S. Ngor is a former Saigon policeman and shadowy secret agent who is trying to track him down. Brad Sullivan is The Savage's business handler. Judith Malina is a hotel clerk. This episode has an amazing kill in it, if you like that sort of thing, and I do.
Out-of-context quote: "Pass me the catsup."

Guest stars: Helena Bonham Carter is back. Brad Dourif is a major drug dealer and all-around nasty human being.
Out-of-context quote: "Dude, I am a shower and shave away from monogamy."

"The Afternoon Plane"
Guest stars: John Leguizamo returns as the son of the drug dealer Calderone. Vincent D'Onofrio is one of Leguizamo's thugs. Margaret Avery is an ex-girlfriend of both Tubbs and Calderone.
Out-of-context quote: "Tubbs always did like good-looking women."

"Lend Me an Ear"
Guest stars: John Glover is a wacky, nutty guy and an ex-cop and surveillance wizard who now bugs and/or debugs anyone you want for money.
Out-of-context quote: "I'm chromosomally unbalanced. I got the good hair. My brother got the good judgment."

"Red Tape"
Guest stars: Viggo Mortensen and Lou Diamond Phillips are a couple of hot-shot rookie cops. Annette Bening is a secretary for the Justice Department who uses her job to get classified info she and her boyfriend sell to criminals.
Out-of-context quote: "Who are you to judge me, teenybopper?"
Bonus quote: "Do you remember when the cops of the month didn't look like extras from Jane Fonda's Workout?"

"By Hooker By Crook"
This episode features a cast list that walks that invisible line between genius and insanity.
Guest stars: Melanie Griffith is a millionaire heiress and madam for a high-end escort service. Vanity is one of her call girls. George Takei is a creepy gangster. Captain Lou Albano is one of Takei's thugs. One-half of the Wild Samoans tag team, Afa Anoai, is another one of Takei's thugs. Veronica Cartwright is a snooty rich lady. TV host Bill Boggs is a TV host.
Out-of-context quote: "I will do whatever is necessary to attain attitudinal composity and that includes the arousal of certain photogenic voluptuaries."
Bonus quotes: "Enough of the mysto-babble, you Hispanic Hugh Hefner." "You're defecating the First Amendment."

"Knock, Knock... Who's There?"
Guest stars: Ian McShane is a big-shot drug dealer. Samm-Art Williams is a DEA agent. Elizabeth Ashley is a corrupt DEA agent but she's only corrupt because she needs to pay the hospital bills for a sick child with a rare disease. Jimmie Ray Weeks is her husband, an ex-detective who is now retired after a shooting left him disabled.
Out-of-context quote: "Suck eggs, pal."

"Viking Bikers from Hell"
John Milius wrote this episode under a pseudonym.
Guest stars: Reb Brown, star of Yor: Hunter from the Future, former NFL star John Matuszak, and Sonny Landham, former porn star turned legitimate actor and the third cast member of Predator to run for governor of his home state (he lost), are members of a biker gang. Landham kills a few people with a crossbow. Sons of Anarchy's Kim Coates is a biker punk Crockett has to rough up in a bar to get some info.
Out-of-context quote: "How many more of these dudes we gonna ace?"

"Everybody's in Show Biz"
Guest stars: Paul Calderon and Coati Mundi are drug dealers. Michael Carmine is an ex-con and drug addict turned Fassbinder-quoting playwright and experimental theater director/owner. A very young, gangly, and awkward Benicio Del Toro is his younger brother, proving that no one is born cool. According to the very helpful web site, Miami Vice Wiki, "[t]his is the only time Miami Vice delved into the world of impressionistic theater."
Out-of-context quote: "My soul is slogging through oatmeal."

"Heroes of the Revolution"
Guest stars: Jeroen Krabbe is an East German agent in Miami to murder the Cuban fugitive who killed his girlfriend, a nightclub singer, back in Cuba in the early 1960s. Not to M. Night Shyamalan you or anything, but that nightclub singer was the mother of Miami Vice detective Gina!
Out-of-context quote: "In this new socialistic paradise, marriage will be merely another bourgeois capitalistic memory."

Goodnight, friends.