If you have read something about “The Sopranos” or listened to podcasts, you could begin to take the alleged laurels of the series at face value. For the first time, people say, HBO’s classic mob show took cinema to the small screen. There was no one concerned with music like The Sopranos, they’ll add.
Feel free to respond to both claims, “Have you ever heard of Miami Vice?” “Brother’s Keeper,” the Miami Vice pilot of 1984 that lasts 92 minutes and starts on New York’s nighttime cobblestone streets, is about ten times more cinematic than the Sopranos premiere of 1999.
After Brother’s Keeper’s spectacular opening and closing credit sequence, the action picks up in another fantastic location with some very active camerawork (including an impressive tracking shot): Miami.
You’d think that the Sopranos invented gritty shooting, the way some people speak about it.
In addition, the Miami Vice theme and the planting of “In the Air Tonight” in the pilot is ideally adapted to the use of music by the Sopranos.
And while we’re talking about historical shots, let’s talk about the death in Season 1 of an important Miami Vice character. You may have read that “The Sopranos” were the first to do this, too.
“Miami Vice” killed a major member of the cast early in season 1.
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“In the 21st century, watching “Miami Vice,” you can’t keep your eyes off Edward James Olmos, who shone for 107 episodes as Lt. Martin Castillo. Going back to the beginning, in the pilot episode and at the beginning of Season 1, Castillo did not have command of the vice squad.
That work, played by Gregory Sierra, fell to Lt. Lou Rodriguez. Rodriguez’s appearance as an old school cop seems like a weak point in the first four episodes of the season. Still, the history between him and Sonny Crockett, played by Don Johnson, could be felt.
Johnson’s character seems horrified that this is true as Crockett fears that Rodriguez may be on the take.
But the audience soon discovers that Rodriguez is a decent cop, and a faithful cop, really.
He goes to Crockett’s boat in his final scene, to get his detective to safety.
And this is Lt. Rodriguez’s end — a sniper shoots him dead on the spot.
Rodriguez died from bullet wounds at the end of the episode.
In’ Miami Vice,’ Gregory Sierra starred as Lt. Rodriguez.
“Sanford and Son,”Sanford and Son,”Barney Miller”Barney Miller”Hill Street Blues,”Hill Street Blues (The Towering Inferno).
And for Miami Vice, Sierra got huge bills.
Sierra has the billing in the credits that Olmos received later – at the very end of the leading actors.
By contrast, in the credits of the Sopranos pilot, Nancy Marchand (Livia Soprano) ended up in that spot. In short, as the leading lady, Sierra was touted.
“Thus, the death of Rodriguez in Season 1, Episode 4 counts as a major kill. While you’ll hear time and time again that Sal “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero’s death was a first for a major series in that department, that’s simply not the case.