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Wiseguy, Huh?

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Monday, Mar 21, 2011

Wiseguy may have been the best television show ever. Made way before cop shows like The Shield and The Wire, the stories revealed the ambiguities of right and wrong in a cop versus bad guy world, where corruption and honor equally existed at all levels of government and civilian life. The show also had several arcs that presented the complex nature of the music industry. Here organized crime and big business played nefarious roles in the name of promoting art, but all involved collaborated in the dirty pursuit of money and power.


But what really made Wiseguy unmissable, what put it head and shoulders above anything else on television during its three year run (1987-1990) was lead actor Ken Wahl. He exploded on the small screen. As Vinnie Terranova, the New Jersey undercover agent could be the doppelganger of Bruce Springsteen, tough but sensitive, and with a code of honor. He could also be sexy, as this scene from Season 3 with Patti D’Arbanville shows. Wahl’s physical disabilities have hindered him from acting roles, but watching footage like this makes one wish he could come back to television.


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