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.