Crime Story was created by Michael Mann when he was hot with Miami Vice. The first season of the show was supposed to unfold as one long episode broken up into 21, one-hour segments. The story of Lt. Mike Torello (Dennis Farina) of Chicago's Major Crime Unit chasing after rising gangster Ray Luca (Anthony Dennison) from the streets of Chicago to the lights of Las Vegas is brilliantly told. The show trails off in season two and you are left with an unresolved cliffhanger as the show never made it back for a season three.
Dennis Farina played Lt. Michael Torello of the Major Crimes Unit, in a race to capture rising mob kingpin Ray Luca. The show did not compromise in its depiction of the evil and violence that wracked the underworld. It began in Chicago, and moved in its second year to Las Vegas.
Key roles included the aforementioned Farina, along with Bill Smitrovich as Sergeant Danny Krychek, Stephen Lang as idealistic attorney David Abrams, Anthony Denison as Ray Luca and reformed real-life ex-con John Santucci as Ray's henchman Pauli Taglia. Without the stellar writing and atmospherics of "Crime Story," shows like "Law and Order," "NYPD Blue" and "Homicide: Life on the Streets" would have lacked the inspiration that brought them such substance and believability.
This was a fantastic series. Shame it was only on for two years, but it's now out for home release. See it. It tops most novels and films of this genre. You will not be able to forget it.
Set in the early 1960\'s, Crime Story illustrates the exploits of the Major Crimes Unit of the Chicago Police department. Headed by Mike Torello, the MCU takes on gangsters much in the same fashion of Eliot Ness decades earlier.
I have always been a fan of police dramas. Especially those that have an element of humor, great plotlines, memorable characters, as well as that grab-you-and-refuse-to-let-you-go quality. I found Crime Story to be one of those shows. Mike Torello is the consumate police officer, and he surrounds himself with other competent men of like mind. Additionally, the Major Crimes Unit, which Torello heads, is going up against the very epitome of \\\"gangster\\\". I feel that when the definition of gangster was written, they may as well have been looking at the character of Ray Luca.
As well as all of the above, I just liked the \\\"feel\\\" of the show; the period cars, the clothes, the humorous supporting characters, and the lack of Miranda warnings.(Miranda warnings didn\\\'t become mandatory until a few years later.) All in all, I found \\\"Crime Story\\\" to be a superior-quality police drama, in a time of \\\"cookie-cutter\\\" police dramas. In my humble opinion, excellent on all fronts.
Sadly, we'll never know what happened after the plane dived into the ocean. I liked this show because it captured a certain FEELING more than anything else. I thought Dennis Farina was perfect for this role well before I learned he wasn't acting (he was an actual Chicago cop for 19 years!) It showed Old-timey Vegas before it got too glitzy and polished. Vegas was built as a playground for partying MEN; Vegas was NOT - repeat NOT - founded so that the wife and kids can come along. Anthony Denison (Luca) was dead-on as young street punk up-and-coming as a mobster. More than anything else, it effected me in a way I can only vaguely describe. It's a well-done period piece that depicts the U.S.A. at the peak of it's self-assured glory. The characters, whether good or evil, knew who they were and why they were there.
This tv show had it all, great characters played by a fantastic cast, some of the coolest cops and villians you could ever ask for, great music, the cars, the atmosphere and dialogue, and a plot that went way beyond any single episode! It's the story of one cop named Michael Torello (Dennis Farina) who makes it his life's mission to bring down a "ruthless hood" named Ray Luca (Anthony Denison) who is quickly working his way to the top of the Chicago organized crime syndicate. Along the way, you're introduced to other key figures, like Andrew Dice Clay's character Max Goldman and a performance by Joseph Wiseman as Manny Weisbord that stands just as strong as anything The Godfather produced (in my absolutely biased opinion, of course). Don't forget Pauli Taglia, Ray's henchman, and rockin' Frank Holman (the same guy who plays Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs), who bears an intriguing resemblance to the Rev. Horton Heat! The series started in Chicago, migrated to Las Vegas about a third of the way through, and ends in Latin America of all places. I won't give anything away here, but I will warn you that if you see the pilot, you'll want to get your hands on the rest of the series. Unfortunately, that's not as easy. The tapes show up on ebay regularly but aren't cheap. Good news is that Anchor Bay is releasing all the episodes on dvd really soon, so it's probably just better to wait for that. Alot of the tapes were copied in SLP mode anyway, and don't have the best quality. This series has a severe cult following now, even though it only aired for two seasons in the '80s. I introduced my girlfriend at the time to this show, and while she was skeptical at first, by the end she insisted we had to get the rest of the series. You'll watch it over and over again and pick up on stuff you miss everytime, not to mention the stories are just classic and filled to overflowing with one-liners and scenes! Michael Mann is a genius for making this show happen. I hated Miami Vice, but this was just "the greatest thing, since bullets"---Yikes!!!!, I could write on and on about the merits of this series!! It's hard to believe how few people know about Crime Story! Don't be one of those people, check it out!
Crime Story was very probably the best show of its kind ever. Although it ran only two seasons, it boasted a superbly worked story and, without question, the best cast ever assembled for television. Not a big star in the mix, but the finest selection of character actors around. Probably the best conflict ever between two men on screen, Denis Farina as cop Mike Torello, and Anthony Denison as hot-headed mob figure Ray Luca. Luca's rise to power in Chicago and later in Las Vegas is the central plot, with Torello and his task force on target to bring him down. With Torello's every failure to bring Luca to justice, he becomes more frustrated and empassioned, and turns up the heat a notch each time, while Luca dances just beyond his reach, increasingly arrogant in his new-found invincibility.
Along with the well-laid foundation of drama and conflict, there was quite a lot of dark humor, one of the things I liked best about the series. Much of this was provided by John Santucci as Paulie, and Ted Levine as Holman, as Luca's sleazy low-life helpers. One show in particular stands out, in which Luca dispatches Paulie and Holman to go to work at a competitor's casino, to do everything possible to make it lose money. Another great role was Luca's long-suffering wife, Cori, played with shrewish gusto by Johann Carlo.
The first season was superior to the second, mostly because the first was so close to perfect. The second half of the first season, in which Torello follows Luca to Las Vegas, is no less than outstanding. Having seen "Casino",the Martin Scorcese movie from 1995, I was struck by how many similarities there were between that movie and "Crime Story" in Las Vegas.
Very stylish Michael Mann show that really showed off Chicago in the early 1960's, choosing great locations, classic cars and fantastic music. It was a time when cops could be cops. Although the other members of the MCU were only thinly sketched, former Chicago cop Dennis Farina was great as Torello. The crooks were also given lots of character, from the powerful Manny Wiseboard to the idiot Pauli Taglia. Holman and Ray Luca were also favorites.
In my opinion, the show lost a step when it moved to Las Vegas, but the end of season one where the loyal but stupid Pauli saves Ray only to make their hideout on a nuclear test range was inspired genius.
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