Video: Cool Cops, Hot Show

With flashy visuals and a rock score, Miami Vice sets a new TV beat

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Back in Miami Beach, the show's crew has taken up semipermanent residence in the Alexander Hotel, where the walls are painted peach, the carpet has a magenta stripe, and even the lines in the parking garage have been repainted pink. Some civic leaders were originally unhappy at the prospect of a network- TV series blaring the city's crime problems into living rooms across the nation. But Miami Vice's success has quieted most of the naysayers. Miami officials estimate that the production contributes $1 million per episode to the city's economy, and the show may even be boosting the tourist trade. "I like Miami Vice," says Mayor Maurice Ferre. "It shows Miami's beauty." Adds William Cullom, president of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce: "It has built an awareness of Miami in young people who had never thought of visiting Miami." Since its debut last September, Miami Vice has been the No. 1-rated network show among local viewers.

If summer trends extend into fall, the series may be poised for a long reign in the national Top Ten as well. The two-hour fall premiere episode, shot in New York City and scheduled for Sept. 27, will feature such guest stars as Gene Simmons of Kiss and Peter Allen. The show is also playing a major role (along with such new series as Amazing Stories and The Twilight Zone) in attracting writers and directors who have previously avoided television. "The old stigma against TV is gone now," says Bobby Roth. "A lot of shows are going to sound better, and they are going to look better. And I think Miami Vice is a big reason for that."

Not everyone is so enthusiastic about the direction Miami Vice is taking TV. "Miami Vice is a cop show--very well done and stylish, but still a cop show," says Bruce Paltrow, the executive producer of St. Elsewhere. "It's hip and glib, but not very deep." Concedes Creator Yerkovich: "In the long run you can only rely so much on color coding and Bauhaus architecture and the Versace spring catalog." Yet Vice may be revving up to move beyond such trendy props. "As soon as they get a handle on the script situation," says Yerkovich, "the show is going to burn rubber." With Crockett and Tubbs at the wheel of their Ferrari, designer jackets whipping in the wind, the TV world had better run for cover.

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