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The Big Vice

September 07, 1986

I was stunned by the commentary of Connie Koenenn and Claire Derway in which they claimed "Miami Vice" was doing something new with its melancholy portrayal of sensitive men fighting a losing battle against crime and moral decay, knowing that they cannot win the battle, but fighting anyway because of their code of honor (" 'Miami Vice': An Ebb Tide in Pastels for the 'Real Man,' " Aug. 31).

This is new? Haven't they ever read Raymond Chandler?

Of course, Chandler's creed, expressed in his essay "The Simple Art of Murder," might have to be slightly revised to fit Crockett and Tubbs:

But down these mean streets a man must go who does not himself wear earth-tones, who is neither tarnished nor afraid nor badly dressed. The detective in this story must be such a man. He is the hero, he and his car are everything, except for the music. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of fashion. He must be the best-dressed man in his world, and good enough for any social occasion. . . . He talks as the man of his age talks--that is, not much, and in grunts. The story is this man's adventure in search of hidden truth, and it would be no adventure if it did not happen with a nice sound track. . . . If there were enough like him, the world would be a very pretty place to live in, without becoming so dull we would prefer to be in "Dallas."

DAVID NATHAN

Los Angeles

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