EDITORIAL DISCLAIMER: Joe had a terrific time on the Miami Vice episodes and my opinions as a reviewer should not lead people to believe otherwise.
One Eyed Jack
November 2, 1984
with JOE DALLESANDRO AS VINCENT DEMARCO, Don Johnson (Det. James Sonny Crockett), Philip Michael Thomas (Det. Ricardo Tubbs), Edward James Olmos (Lt. Martin Castillo), Dennis Farina (Lombard), Dan Hedaya (Schroeder), Jimmy Ray Weeks, George Kyle (Russo). Directed by Lee H. Katzin. 60 minute broadcast
Michael Mann's Miami Vice is to the 1980's what Charlie's Angels was to the 1970's: an embarrassing media microcosm of a decade's trash culture. Vice, which debuted in 1984 and ran until 1989, was a phenomenal hit, influencing for better and worse both real-world fashion and television cop shows, making Don Johnson a bonafide star 20+ years after he began in the biz as a cute young contemporary of Joe Dallesandro's, and irradiating all that now seems pompous and silly about the Reagan era of false prosperity and greed.
Slickly formatted, shot among gorgeous locales, peppered with Top 40 song interludes, and featuring horrifically stylish clothes, cars, boats, shades and two-day stubble, the show has aged badly, but still has its flock of devoted followers.
This particular episode, the sixth show of the very first season, also introduced the terminally humorless Lt. Castillo (James Edward Olmos) to the cast, and has Crockett coming down on a local racketeer named Vincent DeMarco (Joe, in his television series debut). DeMarco has been hassling an ex-flame of Crockett's who's now married, but still has a drug dependency problem.
Fearing the threatened interference might also eventually involve DeMarco's boss, Mr. Lombard, the racketeer sets the detective up as an accomplice and rats for immunity. With Sonny now under investigation and temporarily suspended, partner Ricardo Tubbs goes undercover and in turn sets DeMarco up to Lombard as an employee who's skimming off the top.
Joe has several good scenes in the show, made even more enjoyable by the radical statements offered up by his wardrobe. Early on, he's in striped shirts, but wearing a Fedora, which looks good on him, but I kept waiting to find out its relevance. Like the double-take worthy form-fitting black suit with glaring white collar, quarter-length white button strip, and tiny silver bow-tie Joe is humiliated into wearing for the gaming room scene, there simply is no explanation forthcoming, just gaping wonder at a recently bygone era of fashion atrocities.
Joe tells me that when in the mid-80's he at long last started to get to know his kids again, his son Michael called, and during their first conversation, Michael asked his estranged father about whether or not he was losing his hair. Mike had been worried about what he thought might be his own receding hairline and became that much more concerned when he caught his Dad on Miami Vice wearing a hat all the time.
The Fedora eventually disappears, even though it nicely highlighted Joe's intense eyes for those bad-guy stares, and by the episode's finale, Joe has turned from cool operator and a lively threat to a skittish wimp outfitted in a bad aqua-green and pink number that looks as if its been stitched from the two shirts Don Johnson was sporting earlier in the show. Of course, Don wore his pink T-shirt with a silver blazer, so that's okay.
REWIND SPOT: DeMarco finishes his barely glimpsed dance on the disco floor and returns to his table, telling Lombard and Tubbs, Chick told me she was a minor. I told her, so am I. I got a hat with a light on it and everything. Tubbs laughs and DeMarco gives him five.
with JOE DALLESANDRO AS ALFREDO GIULINI, Don Johnson (Det. James Sonny Crockett), Philip Michael Thomas (Det. Ricardo Tubbs), John Diehl (Det. Larry Zito), Michael Talbott (Det. Stan Switek), Edward James Olmos (Lt. Martin Castillo), Mark Breland (Bobby Sykes), Randall Tex Cobb, Don King, Chris Elliott, Robert Pastorelli, Pepe Serna (Oswaldo Guzman), Saundra Santiago (Det. Gina Novarro Calabrese), Olivia Brown (Det. Trudy Joplin). Directed by Richard Compton. Two 60 minute broadcasts
Crockett and Tubbs, meanwhile, have been posing as television reps looking for juicy deals on upcoming fights for a satellite cable broadcast. The F.B.I. gets involved when their taps on a Vegas bigshot, Alfredo Giulini (Joe), reveal his plans to bully Guzman out of the South Florida fight racket and put the squeeze on the television reps as well. The F.B.I. describe Giulini as kind of a combination of Bugsy Siegel and Charles Manson and think it wise to tell the vice cops that Godzilla's coming.
A major fan of boxing in real-life who's been known to host fight parties at his home, Joe, who receives and Joe Dallesandro billing for the episode, walks away with every one of his scenes, dressed to the nines in suits that don't look the least bit embarrassing a decade later. His Giulini is self-assured, cocky, full of attitude and able to rattle off mobster colloquialisms with comic sincerity. His learjet is a cigar tube, an upcoming meeting is a group grope, a business alliance is playing footsy, and when he learns he's just had a contract put out on him by his little league competition: Can you believe the stones on this burrito? He's gonna have me hit?
©2005, Michael Ferguson | firstname.lastname@example.org