Watching the two-part story on Barney Miller, "Homicide." In a reshuffling of the neighborhood precincts and their duties, the detectives in different precincts are now assigned to specialty squads -- burglary, sex crimes, vice, arson, etc. Inspector Luger pulls some strings and gets the 12th Precinct what he thinks is the best of all: Homicide!
It comes back to bite them when Mr. Cotterman, the guy who runs the neighborhood liquor store, comes in reporting that two hoods are shaking him down for protection money. They tell him to go to the 10th Precinct. By the end of the episode, Cotterman's buddy, Mr. Haddad, comes in and tells the detectives Cotterman was killed by the hoods.
Watching the Season 2 premiere of Miami Vice, the one where our guys Crockett and Tubbs, for some reason, are chasing drug dealers in New York City instead of in Miami. I saw it back in the day, but watching it now, there's just wave after wave of goofiness.
Charles S. Dutton is an NYPD detective who, of course, won't cooperate with these Florida interlopers. He's almost completely unrecognizable -- at least, my wife didn't recognize him, after three guesses (Samuel L. Jackson? Sherman Hemsley? Ted Lange?) -- being 30 years younger and about 60 pounds lighter, but with about 10 pounds of bushy hair on his usuallly bald scalp and a bushy mustache to match. Pam Grier is here too, with about 20 pounds of hair. Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller shows up as a middleman who connects the cops with the dealers, and gets killed good and dead for his trouble. And from The Legion of "Hey, It's That Guy!" Character Actors, none other than Luis Guzman as the chief Colombian heavy!
And there's the '80s fashions -- the Italian double-breasted suits with the broad shoulders, the pastel colors, the soft white shoes. There's the hip music; just for this journey, staff musician Jan Hammer came up with Miami Vice: The New York Theme. There's even a scene where Crockett and Tubbs are arguing with their New York counterparts, that takes place on a rooftop -- ostensibly so they can speak in a place where they can be sure no wiretaps are in place, but really so you the viewer can know yes, we really really did go to New York for this one -- don't you see the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building? Good, clean fun. They don't make 'em like this any more. Too bad.
Penn Jillette of Penn and Teller shows up as a middleman who connects the cops with the dealers, and gets killed good and dead for his trouble.
There's another one in which Teller plays a bad guy who gets blown up real good. The first (and only?) time I've ever heard him speak.
I saw another Miami Vice featuring a young Garcelle Beauvais, and Bruce Willis was the villain! And he had hair! and was wearing what I'm sure at the time was thought to be a supercool jumpsuit.
That New York episode of Miami Vice was goofy all the way to the end. Rico Tubbs has a goodbye roll in the hay with Pam Grier, intercut with Phil Collins' "Take Me Home," and there's a moment in the lovemaking where the camera focuses on each person's foot waving in the air. I'm sure it was meant to be erotic, or something, but it just looked really goofy. But Tubbs didn't care; after all, he was sleeping with Pam Grier. He very nearly missed his flight back to Miami. But then, I can't blame him; I'm not sure I would be in any rush to get to the airport if I was spending the day with Pam Grier. Of course, back then you could race to the airport and go right to the gate, which can't happen today.
Y'know, I watch Barney Miller a lot -- I can always drop whatever I'm doing and watch Barney Miller, even though I've seen them all at least twice and most several times over -- but even though it was on the air a full 10 years before Miami Vice, it doesn't seem half as dated. Everything about Miami Vice screams "THIS ... Is The EIGHTIES!!!" Like the production design, which famously mandated bright colors, declaring "No earth tones." Even in the New York episode. There was a moment when Crockett and Tubbs are chasing the bad guys, and they come busting out of some office building whose door was clearly freshly painted in dark blue just for the occasion.
But Barney Miller -- well, yes, the clothes (not fashions) are very '70s with the wide, wide neckties and suits with the wide, wide lapels. And the cop uniforms had the light blue "Mr. Goodwrench" shirts before they went back to the traditional dark blue. But Barney Miller is timeless. Even the fact that they aren't using computers, but typewriters -- and manual typewriters at that -- is fitting, since the rattly old decrepit 12 Precinct would be using out-of-date technology.