Wiseguy

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CBS (ended 1990)

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Wiseguy

Show Summary

How does a deep-cover operative keep his sanity and morality intact when the criminal lifestyle he’s sworn to bring down from within is more compelling than his own? Federal Agent Vincent Terranova (Ken Wahl) is plagued by the question in this innovative take on 80’s cop dramas. Created by veteran hit producer Steven J Cannell, Wiseguy veers from traditional ‘bad guy of the week’ police procedural by breaking the drama into multi-episode story arcs that followed an Organized Crimes Bureau case—and its charismatic criminal suspects—to its logical conclusion. No matter the cost to criminal, victim, or cop. In the end, Vinnie may have got his man, but the emotional toll of the lies and deceptions he used to get close enough to his prey couldn’t be ignored. But he’s ably backed by his Field Supervisor Frank McPike (Jonathan Banks) and his OCB Lifeguard (Jim Byrnes) on the law-and-order side and his brother Father Pete Terranova (Gerald Anthony) on the spiritual side. Plus many up-and-coming stars (Ray Sharkey, Annette Benning, Billy Vera, Kevin Spacey, Fred Dalton Thompson, Ron Silver, Michael Chiklis) cut their teeth on juicy roles as either flashy but flawed criminals or tragic victims of the same. Personal problems and injuries caused Wahl to back out of a fourth season and be replaced by Steven Bauer, thereby giving the show a new slant and hastening its cancellation. Still, Wiseguy is referenced by many critics and fans as one of the most literate, stylish, audacious, and fun cop shows of the late 80’s. Selected story arcs are currently available on DVD.moreless
  • COULD BE GOOD, COULD BE HORRIBLE

    News Briefs: NBC Is Remaking Wiseguy

    Plus: Friday is no longer Soup day, Jim Gaffigan is in cahoots with NBC, and a new sitcom says you're single because you're a bitch.

  • Ken Wahl

    Ken Wahl

    Vincent Terranova

    Jonathan Banks

    Jonathan Banks

    Frank McPike

    Jim Byrnes (I)

    Jim Byrnes (I)

    Dan Burroughs (aka Lifeguard & Uncle Mike)

    Steven Bauer

    Steven Bauer

    Michael Santana (Season 4)

    Cecil Hoffmann

    Cecil Hoffmann

    Hillary Stein (1990)

    Wednesday
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    More Info About This Show

    Categories

    Drama

    Themes

    gritty crime scenarios, failed crime, ensemble cast, corruption, keeping secrets