That time Michael Mann turned the ‘heat’ into a TV series

“Action is juice.”

It’s just one of those incredibly interesting lines surrounding Michael Mann’s Magnum opus, 1995’s “Heat.”

The line is spoken by Tom Sizemore’s Michael to his fearless crime leader Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). Michael’s boss is asking about taking on the team’s latest job with the unexpected “heat” coming from law enforcement.

“For me, action is juice,” Sizemore says with a revealing smile.

The line exhibits a snake-like quality to the man, but it also deals with Mann’s larger themes of relationships between men with promises of something bigger in life. both sides of the law.

“Heat” won’t be the last time Sizemore uses the signature line. He implemented it to describe his character in another Mann production, the less commonly seen “Murder and Robber Division”.

The 2002 TV series should be more about not only the amount it broke early in dramatic television history, but also because of its place in Mann’s “Heat” unofficial cinematic universe.

It’s one of those places where one of the most talented directors has basically told the same story over the course of three decades without ever feeling like he’s visited the well too many times.

“Sam Cole is what he does,” Sizemore told SF Gate about his character in “The Robbery Murder Division”. “His basic nature is, he is a hunter. It’s his juice, as I call it – action is juice. He’s ready to catch the big game. “

“The Robbery Murder Division” premiered on CBS in 2002 and marked Mann’s return to television after leaving his film career.

The series, starring Sizemore in the lead role (hello, 2002!), follows up on what is essentially a version of the Al Pacino crew from “Heat,” a group of Homicide detectives. Elite robbers on a mission to defeat Los Angeles.

It only marks a step down the rabbit hole as “Heat”, as the series itself is considered a remake of Mann’s own 1987 made TV series “LA Takedown”. This August will also mark the “Heat” world transitioning to a new medium with Mann releasing a novel sequel to his own film, which he has posted on social media.

The deeper implications and connotations of “Heat” will be scrutinized for a while, and “Heat 2” has a lot of fun surrounding it. The Mann cinematic universe of cops and robbers is both good and good, but “The Bandit Killer Squad” seems to have become the shamefully drunk uncle, removed from public recognition and even banned. deemed unworthy of ridicule.

Today’s “murder division” is stripped of its rights to home video or digital distributions, lost in the shambles of CBS procedures that could not have survived in a landscape that once flourished with “CSI” variants ” and “NCIS”.

What makes “Murder and Robber Division” worthy of attention from any Mann or “Heat” fan is the fact that it subverts genre expectations and cultural trends as much as the film’s inspiration. did.

It’s a rough job.

Unlike many police procedures at the time, the “Robbery Murder Division” actually had no basis for its actions. Instead, it constantly puts its characters on the go and in new languages, making Los Angeles a sort of dynamic character just like it was in “Heat.”

It was a bold turn, especially on a network like CBS that had thrived on setting and meeting expectations at the time. Anything that helps give the show a unique look (and what helps video upload on YouTube lo-fi looks good) is an early implementation of digital video, which Mann will experiment with more in 2004 and 2006 “Collateral” “Miami Vice” adaptation.

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You can see the same kind of contrasting shots of cities lit up in pitch-black darkness to different lights creating the colors in the letters that will make up the signature look in “Mortgage.” ” and “Deputy”.

“Yes, it is [the] the early days of Hi-Def. We shot the entire show on a press cam… It was a Sony F-900. And some of that, of course, appeared in Collateral, the use of Hi-Def. That was the first time we tested it; we did the whole thing on Hi-Def. It was interesting,” Mann told Entertainment Weekly then about the decision to go digital to capture the on-the-go production process.

The “killer and loot division” had too much kinetic energy for what it was meant to be, eventually leading to its demise after one season. While Mann points out ratings were never where CBS wanted, Sizemore later admitted a drug arrest at the time didn’t help and put a strain on his relationship with Mann, a director. director whom he considers a mentor.

Next to Sizemore is a team full of authentic, yet flimsy characters, and talented performers like Mario Van Peebles have been cast in regular roles. While there’s no escaping that “The Robbery Murder Squad” is a bubbling monster in its mouth to break out of the cage of its weekly murder mysteries, the mighty cast and full of regular Mann.

The show packed a ton of energy to match slick text and great Mann-ish digital photography.

It would be difficult for a show like this to not find some kind of audience today on a streamer like HBO Max, who will soon host Mann’s “Tokyo Vice.”

An episode of “The Robbery Murder Division”, titled “Life is dust” Acts as the “LA Takedown” version of the 2006 “Miami Vice” types. Both the series and the series revolve around the story of a cop who heads an elaborate underground line by a woman. beautiful is illegal.

It’s a plot line that fits the original “Vice” – and he’s going to use it in the movie – and that’s one of the interesting aspects of “The Robbery Murder Division”. The series would have enjoyed much more creative freedom today, but even for 2002, it looks like Mann was able to take his “Vice” stories and take them to a new level of realism.

“The Robbery Murder Division” is a show that is hard to recommend to the public. It’s hard to find quality copies, but it’s worth a try for those who don’t have enough “Heat”.

Zachary Leeman is the author of the novel “Nigh“And co-host of”Man of Science, Man of Faith” audio file. He has covered politics and culture for Breitbart, LifeZette and others.

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