Posts Tagged ‘TV crime’

Mob Doctor

Here come the autumn schedules Crimeziners, and as ever, those nice people at Fox are crimetime leaders when it comes to new breaking crime shows. Top of this seasons offerings is the crime and medicine hybrid Mob Doctor.

We would have just love, love, loved to have been at the production pitch meet for this show—

FOX: We want a crime show involving the mafia but with the main-stream appeal of a medical drama what you got?

Josh Berman and Rob Wright: How about Sopranos meets ER?

FOX: Sold! Make sure all the actors are cute though.

Josh Berman and Rob Wright: Natcheroooo!

Jordana Spiro is the pulchritudinous lead in Mob doctor, she plays the fabulously named Grace Devlin [Angel or demon—GEDDIT?]. Spiro, you will no doubt have seen before, in the ill fated Harry’s Law. She also appeared in a multi-episode arc of Dexter. Spiro is likeable and charismatic and the show revolves around her split allegiance to the Chicago Mob and the Hippocratic oath—will she betray her personal and professional integrity to stop her lame-brain brother being toasted by the Chicago mob?

The brother is such a spineless, whining, crybaby, most people would give him up to Mob in a second, but not our Gracie… and this is where her problems start.

The Capo figure, Constantine Alexander, is played by crime-veteran William Forsythe, who has starred in many highly rated crime shows from CHiPs, to Hill Street Blues. He also starred as mobster Al Capone, in the’90s revival of the classic ’60s crime show, The Untouchables. Recently Forsythe gained critical acclaim, playing butcher Manny Horowitz in Boardwalk Empire. But perhaps more interestingly, he is starring as Jake LaMotta in the forthcoming Raging Bull II.

Other stand out performances, come from Wendy Makkena, as Grace’s Mom Daniella Devlin and Zach Gifford, as goody-two-shoes love interest Dr.Brett Robinson.

The real star of this show however, is young Gracie’s moral dilemma. What ever will the nasty gangsters ask her to do next? Judging from the first episode, where she had to remove a screwdriver from a gangster’s head and ‘kill’ a federal witness, the Mob Doctor will be up against it big time.


Jeffery Dean Morgan, Magic City

Following the untimely demise of horse killing crime show Luck there is a new pretender for the premium cable crime-crown,  Magic City from Starz Channel.

Miami Beach 1959 and Ike Evans is bringing in the New Year as the owner of the palatial seafront hotel Miramar.

As Castro’s Cuba falls, glamor, sleaze and excess are in full effect: The Kennedys, The Mob and the CIA are all calling room service. Frank Sinatra is topping the bill in the ballroom. As America’s most fabulous decade draws to a close life couldn’t be better.

But poor Ike has problems. He has financed his dream of luxury hotel ownership with the help of sleeping partner Ben ‘The Butcher’ Diamond, played to marvelous effect by Danny Huston. Just how nasty is Diamond? He blasts his girlfriend’s dog in the head, because it’s barking is interrupting a phone conversation, after which he returns to the telephone and calmly resumes talking as if nothing has happened. That nasty. Worse for Ike, his priapic gigolo son Stevie is shtupping The Butcher’s girl. Crimezine predicts it will end in tears or concrete shoes—maybe both.

Magic City is visually stunning: classic cars, classic fifties styling and sundrenched retro lifestyle shots abound, as does gratuitous nudity and the producers of this show waste no opportunity to shoe-horn  T&A shots in where ever possible. Now Crimezine appreciates gratuitous T&A as much as, if not more than Hotel Miramar’s whiskey drenched hi-rollers, but we suspect that the titillation may be an attempt to distract form the shows more obvious failings.

The script for example has a bonktastic seventies soap-opera vibe that sits uneasily with its crimetime aspirations. It is possible to watch long sections of this show and forget there is a crime angle here at all, which is a pity, as the crime angle is a good one and while fifties hotel crime has been done before, a new take is always welcome here at Crimezine HQ.

Magic City’s Ike Evans reminds Crimezine of the Sam “Ace” Rothstein character played by Robert De Niro in the 1995 Scorsese film Casino, which was in turn based on the true tale of legendary Stardust proprietor and Mob associate Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal. Not necessarily a problem you might think—but the history of the South Florida Mob—of Meyer Lansky and Santo Trafficante—looms large over this show and divergent details annoy: for example, would Ben Diamond really murder a Union organizer for Ike Evans, when the mobs influence with unions was legendary during this period—small point maybe, but one that jangles.

Crimeziners should give this show a go. Check out the first three episodes for free at the link below. Let us know what you think.


Crimezine is #1 for TV Crime


Steven Van Zandt as Frank Tagliano

Miami Steve Van Zandt or Little Steven as he is better known to millions of Bruce Springsteen fans, is no stranger to mafia gigs . He played the part of Bada Bing proprietor Silvio Dante in hit HBO show The Sopranos.

Now Van Zandt is back, as wise guy Frank ‘the fixer’ Tagliano, a man who has finked off mafia boss Aldo Delucci to the FBI. His reward? A new identity in the Federal Witness Protection Program, and a one-way ticket to Lillehammer Norway.

Why Lillehammer? Well, sports fan Tagliano, much impressed by the 1994 Winter Olympics, figures he could use some fresh air and the company of some hot Scandanavian ‘broads.’

We are talking Dramedy here though Crimeziners, so things quickly go badly wrong. Tagliano gets billeted next door to the middle aged Chief of Police—a woman who doesn’t exactly conform to his fantasies of Scandanavian blonde bombshell. Then there is the comedy clown car he is allocated a subcompact not best suited to the Norweigan winter.

And if that wasn’t enough, our hero is expected to get a job, trouble is the only job on offer is as a pizza delivery guy. No surprise that Tagliano quickly reverts to his wise-guy routines, with hilarious consequences.

Now I am sure you will all be anxious to see this new series that is released on Feb 6, trouble is all eight episodes will be released simultaneously on Netflix. That is right Crimeziners, that subscription you just junked will have to be renewed if you want to see this show. Curses!


Alcatraz cast

Look out Crimeziners! Mondays on Fox are about to turn manic on January 16 at 8/7 Central. The reason? A crazy new crime show called Alcatraz, that sounds like a nutso cross between Shutter Island and the X files.

Now Crimezine doesn’t usually like supernatural shenanigans, but when sicko serial killers start coming back from the dead and rampaging through modern day San Francisco, investigations need to be made.

Doing the investigating we have the lovely Sarah Jones of Sons of Anarchy fame as Detective Rebecca Madsen along with Comic book guy (chortle) Jorge who ate all the pies? Garcia of Lost. Additional cast members include veteran actor Sam Neil who has appeared in Films such as Jurassic Park and Dead Calm and Robert Forster, the protagonist from classic Tarantino movie Jackie Brown.

Of course, it turns out that the spooky killers are Alcatraz inmates back from the beyond for an orgy of gruesome goings on. Expect conspiracies and government cover ups galore. Yikes!

The show is produced by Bonanza Productions in association with Bad Robot and Warner Bros. Television. The award winning production team feature big hitters behind such shows as: Lost, Fringe, CSI Miami and Cold Case. Sounding good Crimeziners? We thought so!

Crimezine Alcatraz

Sarah Jones as Detective Rebecca Madsen

The New NBC Crimetime offering The Firm starts with a two hour premiere January 8th at 9/8C. The show is based on the bestselling Grisham book of the same name and carries the story forward ten years.

Mitch Mc Deere and family emerge from the Federal witness protection Scheme after his testimony brought down the Mafia controlled law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke. Trouble is past dangers still lurk and new threats are everywhere.

The new show is produced by Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures and Entertainment One. Grisham is acting as executive Producer along with Lukas Reiter who has also worked on the hit shows Law & Order and Boston Legal

Crimezine Josh-Lucas

The Noirish Josh Lucas

It had to happen. Reading the opening pages of the first Sherlock Holmes book A Study In Scarlet one is struck by the very contemporary scenario of Watson returning home after being wounded in Afghanistan. It is no surprise therefore that Holmes and Watson have now been updated for a new TV series set in modern day England, and not a deerstalker or opium pipe in sight.

The three 90 minute episodes of Sherlock, commissioned by BBC Wales from Hartswood Films  were written by Steven Moffat And Mark Gatisss (of Dr Who fame) and Stephen Thompson who wrote the third episode.

The show stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Holmes, and Martin Freeman as Watson. Filmed on location in Cardiff and London the show transposes The adventures of the Victorian super-sleuth into a very modern Milieu of txting, computing and GPS. Whilst this may be upsetting to fans of the period drama, it makes perfect sense to Crimezine that Holmes, a man far ahead of the times he lived in, should make use of cutting edge technology to meet his investigative ends.

The first show in the series is called A Study in Pink and bears a number of parallels with the first Holmes book A Study in Scarlet.While the writers are to be applauded for their ingenuity, Crimezine prefers the medical mystery drama House for it’s more subtle Holmesean parallels.

A second series, of three further 90 minute episodes are due for Autumn 2011 Look out for them. If you live in the US you can see the original series on PBS.

Blu-ray and DVD versions of the show are now available in the UK.

Gatiss & Moffat: Genuine fanboy passion

The Good Wife is possibly the best courtroom drama ever conceived. Undoubtably the gorgeous and swoonfully unassuming Julianna Margulies and the cast will slip into multi awards territory in the coming months. Julianna —or Emmy award winner Julianna Margulies— as CBS likes to call her, is the bell of the courtroom ball here, But the cast of The Good Wife are up for two Screen Actors Guild awards and three Golden Globes, so soon there will be no talking to any of them without long preamble.

If you have seen the show and I advise you to do so, even if you are averse to the court drama format, you will be aware that the controlling idea for the show involves Margulies as a wife and mother re entering the workplace as a defense attorney after a 13 year absence when her politician husband lands in jail after being disgraced in a sex and corruption scandal.

So we get a woman battling judgement and a vipers nest of office politics, struggling to keep her family afloat as she does so. We also get  complex crimes that are fought both in and out of the court room. The show involves us every step of the way as Alicia transforms from her role as the good wife, into a resilient career woman in command of her own destiny. The scripts are so sensational in this show, one wonders why more crime shows cannot reach this level of savvy and humanity. Hard hitting monologues go with the territory in this genre, but with the good wife there is a freshness and urgency to the scripts that is both involving and impactful.

The cast on this show are beyond fabulous: Christine Baranski, Josh Charles, and Alan Cumming you will know. But big shouts also go out to to relative newcomers Matt Czuchry, and multi-talented Archie Panjabi as the gorgeous Kalinda.

Did I tell you you had to watch this show? So what are you waiting for?

NCIS Los Angeles

Posted: December 16, 2010 in TV Crime
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It’s a spin off of a spin off! (NCIS & JAG) It is crime-time comfort food for mystery minded fans of the police procedural. It is yet another city orientated acronym show and for that you just want to hate it. But there is something fluffy and endearing about NCIS Los Angeles that not only sucks away your ire but draws you back for yet another weekly installment of unlikely super-cop antics.

The charismatic cast have much to do with the shows appeal and the carefully engineered characters are designed to draw in as wide a viewing demographic as possible. There is Linda Hunt as the diminutive and quirky boss lady Hetty. There is former rapper LL Cool J as the big muscled and tight sweatered Sam Hanna. There is b-list former Batman side-kick Chris O’Donell, as regular guy heartthrob G Callen. Then there is the will they- won’t they love interest, between tousel-haired Marty Deeks, played by Eric Christian Olsen and the smouldering smart-mouth Kensi Blye (Daniela Ruah)

Naturally this cast of pulchritudinous sauce-pots are supported by the usual crew of back room computer nerds and boffins.  A yawnsome and irritating cliche, undoubtably sourced by focus group marketing dorks at the major networks, who seem to think such cookie-cutter characterization will endear this show and others like it  to the more socially inept members of their target audience. Gimme a break.

NCIS does of course stand for Navel Criminal Investigative Service, but there are precious few jack -tars or roistering shore leave shenanigans here. Rather it seems the super sexy NCIS LA crew are in heavy competition with the other acronymed crime shows for the same rapidly dwindling pool of Russian mobsters and gun toting business big wigs. It is of course all very silly, but silly in an engaging way and you get to see a whole bunch of Ooo look at that! views of LA. Although the car strangled streets of Santa Monica always seem uncharacteristically quiet when  our heros are screeching after the bad guys. Go figure.

Hawaii Five-0

Posted: November 24, 2010 in TV Crime
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Altogether now, Dah-dah-dah- Dah Dah! Hawaii Five-O is back. (This time around the o is a zero) The original show ran from 1968–1980, which made it the longest running crime show in American television history, until Law & Order beat the record in 2003. The original series became a classic of such gargantuan proportians  that thirty years after its demise, the show has become a legend .

Many things contribute to this legend: the suave, steely demeanour of Jack Lord, as the inimitable Steve McGarret and his catch phrase–Book ’em Danno, murder-one. Then there is the unique and widely copied on location concept, that made the Hawaiian Islands a co-star of the show—a masterful juxtaposition of Eden like paradise with crime hell. Then there was that theme tune… in conjunction with the  opening credits, designed by Reza S. Badiyi, no television show before or since has opened with such impact. Hard acts to follow.

The legacy of the original show leaves the 2010 remake with much to live up to. There are the same bonkers plot lines naturally. If you thought Hawaiian policing was all about  stolen surf boards, tiki-toting tourist drunks and inappropriate beach attire, you would be wrong. Hawaiian policing involves international terrorist conspiracies, rogue spies, drug toting criminal master minds and mob boss histronics.

More automatic weapons than a Mexican border town, more explosions than an Iraqi  election and more casualties than a Steven Segal movie trailer. Throughout this carnage the hairstyles of Alex (McGarrett) O’Loughlin and Scott (Danno) Caan remain unruffled. This is no mean feat, as Caan’s pomaded quiff is almost as big as the diminutive actor himself. But Caan is the perfect sidekick and what he lacks in size he more than makes up for in passion, windmilling his arms demonstratively at the slightest provocation, a charming if  startling attribute, somewhat reminiscent of  Tim  Roth of  Lie To Me fame.

Stylistic distractions aside, Hawaii Five-0 is a valiant attempt at bringing this crime-time staple up to date. The question is, does it need bringing up to date? Having watched several episodes of the new series, it is clear that the new show is  taking cues from other contemporary shows in terms of gore and body count. It is also clear  that the producers are hoping that O’Loughlin’s heartthrob looks and good-guy resolve will be a substitute for Jack Lord’s steely charisma. I hope that works out for them, because if this show is going to run for twelve seasons like the original it will have to focus more on plot and characterization and less on the holiday brochure distractions.