Saturday, August 15, 2015

31 Day Miami Vice Challenge, Day 9: Favorite Villain

This is probably one of the hardest challenges to do, seeing as nearly every episode had a new villain, although most of the time, they were just expendable goons. Sure, there was Calderone* from Season One, who was as violent with his enemies as he was loving with his daughter, Angelina, and then Hackett, who finally pushed Sonny to the brink by the end of Season Four, but my favorite of all?
Via E! Online
Only Al Lombard fits the bill.

Lombard is probably the most multifaceted character in the entire series. He's vicious and manipulative, a perfect Miami-style mafioso, who rules his gambling empire with a suave but iron fist. He has tremendous loyalty to the old guard of the Librizzi family, under whom he's employed, but is willing to throw them under the bus when he is upset with the management style of the successor, who he feels is too inexperienced and flamboyant. He's a likable guy, even convincing Sonny Crockett - Lombard had his old flame, Barbara Carrow, murdered over gambling debts in the first season - to enjoy his presence when Crockett and Tubbs are forced to protect him prior to his testimony against the Librizzis. Even then, he pleads the fifth and flees, supposedly getting mowed down by Librizzi hitmen, only to show up three years later in one of the post-finale episodes released ("World of Trouble"), claiming to have left the mob world behind and hoping to reconnect with his son and grandson. After his son dies protecting him, Lombard gives his own life to save Crockett's, asking only that Sonny relate the story to his dead son's wife and child: that Al Lombard was an honorable guy.

It doesn't hurt that Lombard was played perfectly by Dennis Farina, one of my favorite actors of all time (if you haven't seen "Snatch," go. Do it now. I'll wait.). His performance is, I think, the reason they brought back Lombard at all. The whack-a-mole nature of criminals on Miami Vice is such that you don't expect an escaped criminal to return to get beat again; many simply leave to continue their lives of crime, such as Phil Collins' character in "Phil the Shill." And if they do come back - like Calderone and even Lao Li - their returns are never about their stories; it's always focused on the main character that is their nemesis. Lombard was humanized instead of demonized, and those are the kind of villains that I absolutely love to watch.


BACK TO CHALLENGE


* Miguel Pinero, the actor who played Calderone, was such an inspirational guy. Much of his youth was spent in and out of prison, where he wrote his first play, which was performed first at a church and then moved to fucking Broadway because it was that damn good. Sadly, he suffered from severe drug addiction that started when he was young, and he died in his early forties, but not before he was extremely successful on film and in the theater. He did a lot more than people realize. 
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