Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Criminally Entertaining: Crime Story

Yeah, I know it's Space Opera week. I'll try to get there, but right now, I'm talking about Crime Story!

Crime story was on for only 2 seasons, and in that time was filmed entirely on location. Starting in Chicago, going to Las Vegas, and ending in Mexico(no clue where).

Ok, ok. You want to know why the crap I'm posting about a 2 bit crime show from the 80's that practically nobody remembers, right? This show oozes in crime pulp(that is, noir) sensibilities.

Del Shannon recorded a new cut of "Runaway" to be the theme song of this show, and all the rest of the music is both great and era appropriate(it's set in 1963 to start).  The public, cops, and gangsters are mostly in suits, though there are some early punk rock characters here and there.

The reason I call it a crime show and not a cop show is that it shows both sides of the fight: the Outfit is not unknown and pervasive, it's full of characters of  its own. The story is the feud between Chicago MCU head(at the start) Mike Torello (played by Denis Farina, a former Chicago cop) and Ray Luca, freelance crook who joins up with the outfit (played by Tony Denison). The rest of the regular cast is great, from Bill Smitrovich to Stephen Lang to Andrew Dice Clay. The guest stars were pretty phenomenal too, with Pam Grier, Stephen McHattie, Kevin Spacey and a whole lot more.

Yes, this show is dramatic, violent, and borders on obsessive for the two largest characters. (Not screen time, merely their role in the story). Some of my pulprevolution friends might say this isn't pulp, but crime pulps always had a tendency to be on the darker side of the tracks, and there is definitely a bit of romance with justice, as opposed to the law.

I have two minor bits of grief with the series: the ending it was given(Andrew Dice Clay reportedly said it was "on hiatus"), and the fact that, on the physical copies, 2 of the late episodes are in reverse order, so I recommend checking the order before watching. One speculation is that the show got too close to reality, and was shut down due to that. If you like gangsters, cops, and style, Crime Story has it in spades.

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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