Network: NBC
Air Dates: September 28, 1984 – May 21, 1989
Stars: Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, Saundra Santiago, Michael Talbott, John Diehl, Olivia Brown, Gregory Sierra, Edward James Olmos

In 1984, Michael Mann turned up TV by injecting the medium with a sense of style and an appreciation for form that was revolutionary at the time. The eye-popping colors and scenes cut to pop music reflected the cool of Mann's feature film Thief, the first sign that he was an auteur to watch.

Miami Vice took Mann's questions of fate, free will, and individuality to Tony Montana's turf, where James "Sonny" Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) fought crime with Easter-bright style and rampant sockless-ness.

The MTV-style visuals juxtaposed against the downbeat fatalism of the narrative captured the attention of the nation, and paved the way for the best work in Mann's filmography: Manhunter, Heat, and the 2006 film adaptation of the series. —RS