How Much of ‘Miami Vice’ Did Michael Mann Control as Executive Producer?

If the subject Miami Vice (1984-89), it will not be long before Michael Mann is mentioned. That’s because of Mann, the writer-director who embraces credits The Last of the Mohicans (1992) and The Insider (1999), his signature throughout the NBC iconic series between film projects.

However, Mann did not create Miami Vice. Anthony Yerkovich, who wrote and performed Blues Hill Street in the early ’80s, came up with the concept of a series that would feature a sub-cup of the work in central America of the narcotics trade.

But although Yerkovich wrote the Miami Vice pilot (“Brother Keeper”) and full of story while the executive team produced a piece of season 1, it was Mann who got his name as the EP prominently in the credits (all some at the beginning and end).

Since Mann is involved in the production of the show, that ‘s okay. As Emily Benedek put it in 1985 Rolling Stone article on display, “[Mann’s] a signal is visible in every frame of each program. ”

Michael Mann was involved in every detail of ‘Miami Vice’ from the beginning

Michael Mann at Cannes
Michael Mann at the 1981 Cannes film festival Jean-Marc ZAORSKI / Gamma-Rapho through Getty Images

Benedek had no question about who ran things on the set of Miami Vice. “Mann is the single most important force behind him Miami Vice, ”She wrote in Rolling Stone. “He is, quite simply, his baby.” Naturally, that went far beyond visual beauty.

“[Mann] I am delighted to manage every detail of the show, from script to final edition, ”wrote Benedek. “And while it only employs the most talented person, it makes it clear – the cast, the crew, the staff and the public – that this is the Michael Mann Show and that only one person is required. . ”

As Steven Sanders wrote in his book-length review of the exhibition (Miami Vice, 2010), “Mann created a holistic feeling: visual, sonic and thematic.” Sanders compared Mann’s work on the show with Jack Webb’s (Dragnet) and other “television auteurs”.

For Mann, it wasn’t about bringing a program together for a weekly show. Instead, he saw it as a weekly film production. Sopranos fans may have seen interviews with creator David Chase in which Chase says basically the same thing.

Mann would want choices of clothes, vehicles and Miami Vice spaces

Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson in 'Miami Vice'
MIAMI VICE: Philip Michael Thomas as Detective Ricardo ‘Rico’ Tubbs, Don Johnson as Detective James ‘Sonny’ Crockett | NBCUniversal through Getty Images

In terms of daily work, nothing escaped Mann’s focus. Producer John Nicolella told Rolling Stone that he said “the overall visual feel of the show.” That included the cars as well as clothing, the color palette, and film cutting.

When Bruce Willis was a guest king of drugs, Mann claimed that Miami’s “Pink House” was his home. As for the content, you could say that Mann wanted, in a word, his own noir sensible. Fans of Thief (1981) and Heat (1995) will have good knowledge of it.

All in all, you can’t overdo Mann’s influence on him Miami Vice production. Although he stood away from the show at a certain level after season 2, he never lost the Mann stamp. And Miami Vice has lived in his fourth decade because of that influence.

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