During the spring of 2012, the Starz Network introduced a new tv series called Magic City. It was set at the very end of the 1950’s in Miami Beach with Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Isaac (Ike) Evans, the majority owner of a fabulous Miami Beach hotel called The Miramar Playa.
In nearby Cuba, Fidel Castro was about to take over the country, and that would mean that the big Havana tourism industry with its triple threat attractions of the exotica, the beaches, and sex, all found at the hotels, would be nationalized, and US interests in Havana, including those of organized crime, would have to find a new place to put their stakes into the ground. That would of course be Miami and Miami Beach.
Evans was a widowed man with two grown sons, and small daughter. He had remarried and he had met his new wife when she worked at a dancer at Havana’s Tropicana Club. She’s played by Olga Kurylenko.
Danny Huston portrayed mobster Ben (the Butcher) Diamond who was Ike’s silent minority partner. When Ike Evans was facing a strike threat by the hotel workers, he had to go to Diamond, who promptly took care of it by the simple measure of having the union boss (with a gun pointed at his head) call off the strike.
Once that was done, the union boss, Mike Strauss, who was Ike’s boyhood friend, was quickly sent to ‘sleep with the fishes’. So Ike owed Diamond.
Diamond’s wife Lily (above) played by Jessica Marais, was the lover of Ike’s son Stevie Evans. This would run all through the first season, and involve blackmail, murders, and ultimately, as Season One ended, would lead to the cliff-hanger finale of Ike being arrested for murder.
I had watched the first three episodes of Season One, and did a review (<—click), and basically wrote the show off. I didn’t like the casting, thought the stories and characters were dull and uninteresting. I also stated that I thought the show spent far too much time in dark interiors watching people drinking, smoking, or having sex. Not that people shouldn’t do those kind of things, but the show lacked dramatic intensity as well as balance because of this.
I later went back and watched the last five 5 episodes of the 1st season. I haven’t changed my mind. However I will state that the show showed decidedly positive signs of improvement. Topics like voyeurism, adultery, and criminal activities are fine topics for adult TV. When you bundle those against a period when people didn’t have cell phones or personal computers, when Castro’s forces were taking over Cuba, and set the whole show in Miami Beach, with ever-increasing amounts of time given to AT & T – alcohol, tobacco, and tits, I can see the appeal to viewers better now than I did after just three episodes of April 2012.