Miami Vice - Season Two


  • Original Language:English
  • Subtitled:English
  • Subtitled:Spanish



    In its second season, Miami Vice walks that fine line between hip and cool. Hip fades, but cool is timeless. Then, as now, it doesn't get much cooler than this groundbreaking and trendsetting series' promise of a "life of adventure, exciting folks, and exotic locales," to quote one sardonic character. But the compelling stories, cinematic trappings, and lightning-in-a-bottle chemistry between costars Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas elevate Miami Vice from time capsule status. Likewise, the eclectic soundtrack, that would be painfully dated had it been stuck in the '80s, is a mind-blowing shuffle of genres and mainstream, alternative and world artists. "Prodigal Son," the double-length episode that opens the season, features Glenn Frey, U2, the Neville Brothers, Debbie Harry, Brian Ferry, Lou Reed, Traffic, and Phil Collins. Collins himself portrays a con man in one of the season's most entertaining episodes, "Phil the Shill." Not content to just be heard, other musicians who generally eschewed television, appeared on Miami Vice this season, adding to the series' considerable cachet. Among them: Kiss frontman Gene Simmons ("Prodigal Son"); Miles Davis ("Junk Love"); Leonard Cohen ("French Twist"); Ted Nugent ("Definitely Miami"); and Frank Zappa ("Payback"). Miami Vice instantly established itself as an oasis for character actors, many at the beginning of their careers. The second season offers early glimpses of Nathan Lane ("Buddies"), Harvey Fierstein and a pre-Seinfeld Michael Richards as a menacing heavy ("The Fix"), David Strathairn ("Out Where the Buses Don't Run"), Bob Balaban ("Back in the World"), and John Leguizamo ("Sons and Lovers," which also features the unfortunate stunt-casting of Lee Iacocca as a gun-toting parks commissioner).

    Most of Miami Vice's buzz-generating episodes were in season 1, but season 2 offers several series benchmarks. Two of Johnson's finest hours are "Back in the World" (which he directed) and "Buddies," two episodes that explore Crockett's Vietnam War experience. Thomas got his chance to shine in "Prodigal Son" and "Sons and Lovers," in which Tubbs becomes a target of the vengeful Ivan Calderon. "Bushido" is an always-welcome showcase for Emmy-winner Edward James Olmos as Castillo, who helps shield an associate's Soviet wife and son from the CIA and KGB. "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" boasts an Emmy-worthy performance by guest star Bruce McGill (D-Day in Animal House) as an unhinged former vice cop. Miami Vice stylishly subverted TV cop drama convention, but despite one too many downbeat endings that freeze on a devastated Crockett, it remains exhilarating to re-visit. There are no extras on this three disc-set, but the episodes are enough to make you want to party like it's 1985. --Donald Liebenson


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