I was in my late 20's when this show first aired in 1986 on CBS. It was the ONLY Crime Drama that used the "ARC" to keep the story going from one episode to the next. Way ahead of it's time, the only other show that came close to competing with WISEGUY..
Like the Equalizer, Wiseguy has a great ensemble cast at it's core. Frank McPike, Lifeguard and of course Vinnie Terranova. It also had great supporting cast members. Ray Sharkey, as Sonny Steelgrave - an incredible performance that fans remember to this day. Kevin Spacey, as Mel Profit was also excellent, although I still prefer Ray Sharkey's performance. Altogether an unforgetable first season. The following two seasons were not as good, but still better than any other crime drama at the time. It is definitely worth seeing again.
Does anyone remember HILL STREET BLUES? This was the next show to capitalize on the "ARC" storyline and was another one of my all time favorites.
Sadly, this show seems forgotten now, but at one time it seemed poised to be huge, the word of mouth was great, critics loved it. I had a Wiseguy T-shirt and a poster, so someone was conscious of marketing it. It was the first of the "arc" shows. What I mean is: now you the viewer take for granted that what happens in one episode of say "24" affects the next episode. But back then networks wanted shows that could be rerun in any order, it made them easier to sell. Wiseguy broke that rule and For three years we saw Vinnie Terranova evolve, endure hardships and grow as a person. This was a show based on character and the people we saw in it every week were very real, flawed, vulnerable. Though the show had a regular cast of three, some story arcs focused more on guest characters and this kept the show fresh. No two episodes or arcs are alike. The writing, directing and acting were top-notch. This is the polar opposite of a silly program like the A team, don't be discouraged by the fact that the two shows were produced by the same folks, this one was for grown-ups. The first season was the best but 2 and 3 were also high quality drama. The ratings declined after star Ken Wahl departed in season four and after a few weeks MIA, i realized my favorite show had been cancelled after the first arc of seas 4. That was 1990, a disapointing reunion was aired in 1996.
Ken Wahl is so cool in this show. Too bad he left the show during the final season. This is a weekly affair, a definite must see series. Steven Bauer made a good replacement, good thing Jonathan Banks stayed with the show all the way. Undercover cop shows are cool, there are good ones, and there are bad ones, Wiseguy is one of the good ones right along 21 Jumpstreet. The episodes are interesting, the plots are intriguing, and the undercover stuff are so compelling. The writers did a good job with the show. I give this show a 2 thumbs up.
when this show first came out i was hooked. the first season is still my favorite, but season two was great too. after ken wahl left the show it started to go downhill, but the guy that took his place first did a good job. i wish they would replay this show on tnt or something.
With the addition of the classic crime-drama "Wiseguy" to HD net's drama series replays, it's refreshing to see a television series with real plots, real characters, real drama, and real direction. I miss the "arc" shows... worth tuning in if you've never seen it. "Postcard from Morocco" is a personal favorite episode.
Well Written with a great cast. That gave up and coming great actors at the time like kevin spacey a place to start and shine spacey's arc is a must see as well as the late great ray sharkey's as sonny steelgrave
Well Written with a great cast. That gave up and coming great actors at the time like kevin spacey a place to start and shine spacey's arc is a must see as well as the late great ray sharkey's as sonny steelgrave. Ken Wahl gives has vinnie terranova a undercover cop caught in the middle.
Who are the morons on this site that gave this show an "others" rating? The show is either perfect or superb. These morons should be caged in a cell and forced into one of those gothic traps designed by the Jigsaw killer from the movie "Saw". And while they are dying, these morons should be informed by their killer that...
This show deserves the credit of breaking the mold of traditional primetime tv structures. When it came out in 1986, no other show at that time did a story arc that lasted an entire season. Today in 2005, the best shows on television use this format. From Prison Break to 24 to Veronica Mars to Lost and Desperate Housewives, these shows which have such a strong following of viewers, owe their thanks (in part) to the success of Wiseguy's storytelling narrative structure. Ken Wahl, who plays the lead in Season 1 through 3, deservedly won a Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of the tormented Vinnie Terranova who wins the confidences of high-powered mobsters in order to take them down for the FBI.
Season 1 was absolutely electrifying as Vinnie becomes the personal right-hand man and friend of the man he must betray.
Sorry for the morbid intro, what anyone who hasn't seen this show should realise is that this show changed the structure of television so that today you and i can enjoy intelligent and well-written stories that span a season. This is what makes television so great... a movie is confined by 2 to 3 hours of running time. A television series has the luxury of a season (thanks to the mold-breaking effort of Wiseguy). Even Quentin Tarantino recently mentioned his interest in doing a whole series (after his tv directorial debut on CSI's fifth season finale), he argues in favor of the length of time that can be used to fashion the characters and tell a compelling story....
Yup, that is exactly what the series Wiseguy did... way back in 1986.
Wiseguy was a piece of great American Television. I saw the feature length pilot first, and that would have made a great movie with very sharp writing and great performances. Any TV show that has a guided missile fight in it, is tops with me. Direction by Rod Holcomb was fantastic. He really showed the gritty world of Atlantic City vice. Holcomb has given us some great TV moments in action/drama shows like ER, China Beach, and The Equalizer. Ken Wahl plays OCB Undercover Agent Vinnie Terranova who has just finished 18 months in prison to set up his rep for going undercover. Vinnie has to carry all the emotional baggage of being undercover, but also has to live with looking like a disappointment of his mother who loves him, and brother, who is a parish priest. Vinnie has second thoughts and decides to resign, and tell his family, when his contact is gunned down by Dave Steelgrave (Gianni Russo). Dave and his bother Sonny are major players of the very organization that Vinnie was supposed to infiltrate. Vinnie now sees it as his duty to take down that organization. The late Ray Sharkey played Sonny Steelgrave, who I think was one of the best villains on TV. Wiseguy was a great show that didn’t last long enough.
Wiseguy was so far ahead of its time I am shocked it ever made it on the air let alone lasted more than a dozen episodes. But it did and what it left us was arguable the best single season of television ever made.
Wiseguy hit the airwaves in 1987, now for anyone who has gone back and watched old tv nothing from that time period holds up today in fact up until about 1993, nothing except for the first three seasons of Mash is watchable. But in 1987 wiseguy managed to create a season of television that not only stands up today but is arguable the best single season of television ever. The fist half of the year involves the story line of Sonny Steelgrave which shows our hero Vinny Terranova going undercover to bring steelgrave to justice and in the process vinny becomes freinds with Sonny. The second half of the year features vinny once again going undercover this time to bring down Mel Profit played to perfection by Kevin Spacey. Spacey delivers a performance that is the stuff of legend. Long after you have watched wiseguy the name and face of Mel Profit will remain etched in your mind.
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