WISEGUY (TV Series)

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(non-arc episodes marked *)

Steelgrave arc, episodes 1-9

ARC GUEST CAST

Ray Sharkey as Sonny Steelgrave
Dennis Lipscomb as Sid Royce
Joe Dallesandro as "Pat the Cat" Patrice
Eric Christmas as Harry "The Hunchback"
Joe Shea as Mack Mahoney

Episode 1. "Wiseguy." 9/16/1987. Premiere. 2 hours. Wednesday, 9 pm.

Writers: Stephen J. Cannell, Frank Lupo.
Director: Rod Holcomb.

PLOT

Vinnie, an FBI undercover agent who has just served 18 months in jail to establish his cover, fights his way into the mob family of Sonny Steelgrave, who wastes little time testing his loyalty.

CAST

Gianni Russo as Dave Steelgrave
Robert Miranda as Jerry Greco
Jessica Steen as Tracy Steelgrave

LINES

"My mother thinks I'm adorable."

"Don’t be a kiss-up, Vince."

"You just play things the way you want, don’t you?"

"I don’t like you, but I don’t want to have to bury you."

"Let’s see if you love me after I bust ya."


Episode 2. "New Blood." 9/24/1987. Thursday, 9 pm.

Writer: David J. Burke.
Director: Lyndon Chubbock.

PLOT

A politically ambitious lawyer targets the mob for a clean-up campaign, and the bad publicity prompts the syndicate boss to install watchdogs in Sonny's organization.

CAST

Vic Polizos as Anthony Serrera
Frank Ferucci as Angelo

LINES

"Since when does a pizza carry more weight than a Federal badge?"


Episode 3. "The Loose Cannon." 10/1/1987. Thursday, 9 pm.

Writer: Stephen J. Cannell.
Director: Larry Shaw.

PLOT

Sonny's nephew Lorenzo wants to learn the business, but Vinnie smells a rat.

CAST

David Marciano as Lorenzo Steelgrave
Yvette Heyden as Gina Augustina
Raymond Forchion as Cecil Demont
Blu Mankuma as Jack Jackson

COMMENTS

David Marciano is a friend of JB's. When JB got the part of McPike he suggested Marciano for the guest role. (Gannett News 4/23/94.)

COSTUME

When Frank rushes out to rescue Vinnie, he’s still wearing his pajama top, which Vinnie finds amusing. See LINES.

LINES

"I personally don’t care what you do as long as you don’t end up a bent axle yourself because then my favorite Fed, Frank McPike, would develop a problem, and that I would hate."

"Yeah, it's my pajama top. Workin' around you, kiddo, the lines begin to blur."


Episode 4. "The Birthday Surprise." 10/8/1987. Thursday, 9 pm.

Writer: Eric Blakeney.
Director: Robert Iscove.

PLOT

Vinnie's cousin is killed by a middle-man who's negotiating a drug-smuggling deal with Sonny.

CAST

Aharon Ipale as George Zaratzo
Nestor Serrano as Kiki Vanno
Sal Lopez as Leon Perez
Kerry Sandomirsky as Angelea Tessio

COMMENTS

Good business includes Frank extorting information from drug-addicted Leon by driving him around and preventing him getting his fix; also slamming him against the car.

LINES

"I can’t let personal problems jeopardize this program. You do your job, Vinnie!"

(Picking up Leon) "I'm Frank. I'm your date. Tonight we're going to do things you never dreamed of."

"Leon, you puke in my car, I’ll make you eat it."


Episode 5. "One on One." Thursday, 9 pm. 10/15/1987.

Writer: Stephen Kronish.
Director: Reynaldo Villalobos.

PLOT

Sonny puts the heat on Vinnie when he discovers that the local police have planted an informer in Sonny's operation.

CAST

Annette Bening as Karen Leland
James Handy as Chief Yates
William Bronder as Cassidy
Elaine Church as Elaine Royce
Edward Green Halch as the Electrician

COMMENTS

Sid Royce arranges to have Frank kidnapped and tortured by the Electrician to reveal the informant, but he doesn’t break. Vinnie and Karen rescue him; he’s in bad shape.

COSTUME

When Frank shows up at Steelgrave’s to talk to Vinnie, he’s wearing a waiter’s uniform that’s too large for him.

LINES

(The meet in the amusement park) "No cotton candy?"

"I don’t want you to become the poster child for rigor mortis. Not on my watch, anyway."

(When Frank is rescued after being tortured) "Oh, Vinnie, do me a favor. Don’t ask if I’m okay."


Episode 6. "The Prodigal Son." Thursday, 9 pm. 10/22/1987.

Writer: Carol Mendelsohn.
Director: Charles Correll.

PLOT

Vinnie's mother is mugged, and the trail leads directly to Sonny's empire.

CAST

Elsa Raven as Carlotta Terranova
John Jackson as Daryl Elias
Eddie Zamitt as Manny Sica

LINES

"Are you kiddin’?-- Sir."

(To Vinnie about breaking cover to his mother) "I have been where you are. I know what sacrifice is about. You cannot tell her."


Episode 7. "A Deal's A Deal." Thursday, 9 pm. 10/29/1987.

Writers: David J. Burke, Stephen Kronish.
Director: Charles Correll.

PLOT

A couple of cops on Sonny's payroll spot Vinnie with McPike, which may make Vinnie's formal invitation to join the family a dead issue.

CAST

Billy Vera as Johnny Romanowski
Dan Lauria as Jack Phillips
Steve Vinovich

COMMENTS

Frank has some real tough guy scenes in this episode. He hits the corrupt cop with rifle butt, and later is forced to shoot Romanowski to protect Vinnie’s cover.

LINES

"An abandoned distillery. Thank God my old man’s not alive to see this." (Later it’s clear Frank father isn’t dead.)

"What do you think, I live in a tree? Don't answer that."

"Well, if you’re not gonna shoot me, sport, you better put the gun down."

"You cheap nickel-and-dime corrupt bastard."

"The hoi polloi is gathering. I think we can rule out a bar mitzvah."

"Do you know you have your hand on me?" (This line re-occurs in episode 30, and other versions appear in other roles, such as BP 4/1993 and MAPI 3/1994.)


Episode 8. "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell." Thursday, 9 pm. 11/5/1987.

Writer: Eric Blakeney.
Director: Zale Dalen.

PLOT

Alliances are formed as Sonny plans his wedding, and a rift between Sonny and Vinnie prompts a rival mobster to make an offer for Vinnie's services.

CAST

Nathan Davis
Robert Mangiardi as Aldo Baglia
Martina Finch as Theresa Baglia

LINES

"Let’s not get all dewy-eyed here, Vince. You’re dealing with a snake."


Episode 9. "No One Gets Out of Here Alive." Thursday, 9 pm. 11/12/1987.

Writer: David J. Burke.
Director: Robert Iscove.

PLOT

Sonny fights to save his empire as mob warfare breaks out on his wedding day, and the final countdown begins between Vinnie and Sonny.

CAST

Nathan Davis
Robert Mangiardi as Aldo Baglia
John Jackson as Daryl Elias

COMMENTS

The incredibly powerful payoff to Vinnie and Sonny’s relationship also contains some superb scenes for Frank. In the car to the country club, Frank screams out the window of the car, then laconically calls it a "two-minute warning." He gets knocked down by Theresa Baglia, and later whacks Sid Royce on the head. He’s very tense, angry, and worried while waiting for news of Vinnie. When he arrests Vinnie to protect Vinnie’s cover after Sonny’s death, and after Vinnie has yelled at him, he’s philosophical, but his voice breaks when he warns the cop to be careful cuffing Vinnie. His glasses are badly smudged and he's been too concerned to clean them—a subtle and perfect character touch.

LINES

(About video of Sonny killing Patrice) "Light’s a little flat, but you guys are gonna love the action."

(To Elias, who is trying to call off the search) "You're a good bureaucrat; heavy action for you is watching the whirlpool in the agency toilets. This is a mop-up operation in a war zone. You be a good guy and leave it to the warriors."

"This all stinks sometimes, Vince."

"You did the right thing. In spite of the money and the women and the power, you did the right thing. A lot of guys we work for and with, they would have caved in to the seduction. I don’t know that I wouldn’t have myself."

"Don’t look back, Vinnie."

*Episode 10. "Last Rites For Lucci." Thursday, 9 pm. 11/19/1987. (Non-arc episode)

Writer: Stephen Kronish.
Director: Bill Corcoran.

PLOT

Father Pete hears the confession of a man with a contract out on his life, and is torn between his vows and the consequences of keeping silent.

CAST

Gerald Anthony as Father Pete Terranova, Vinnie’s brother.
James Andronica as Nick Lucci
Matt Landers as Mike Stowiecki
Ricardo Gutierrez as Joe Matthews

LINES

"You got me confused with someone who gives a damn."

"And I would rather have your head shrunk than cut off and sent back to me in a box."

Profitt arc, episodes 11-21.

ARC GUEST CAST

William Russ as Roger Lococco
Joan Severance as Susan Profitt
Kevin Spacey as Mel Profitt
David Spielberg as Herb Ketcher
Melanie Chartoff as Lillah Warfield
Clyde Kusatsu as Kenny Sasusha (sp?)
Will Zahrn as Charles Shagrass

Episode 11. "Independent Operator." Monday, 10 pm. 1/4/1988.

Writer: Stephen J. Cannell.
Director: Aaron Lipstadt.

PLOT

Vinnie joins up with a hit man whose bosses run a worldwide crime ring.

CAST

Terry Bozeman

LINES

(Meeting Vinnie on the beach after V. giving him a bogus address) "There ain’t no 1658 Ocean Road."

"The R.D. says to me, Frank, he says, what’re you running out there, a field program or an a cappella boy’s choir?"

"I was Batman in the third grade, but that seems to have passed."


Episode 12. "Fascination for the Flame." Monday, 10 pm. 1/11/1988

Writer: Stephen J. Cannell.
Director: William A. Fraker.

PLOT

It's a question of price and payoff when an Argentine dope runner declares war on the Profitts.

CAST

Franklyn Seales as Paco Bazos
Rene Levant

COSTUME

In an undercover meet, Franks wears a dentist’s coat.

LINES

"Well, he can honcho whatever he wants as long as he reports to me first."


Episode 13. "Smokey Mountain Requiem." Monday, 10 pm. 1/18/1988.

Writer: David J. Burke.
Director: Neill Fearnley.

PLOT

Vinnie is wise to the Profitts munitions racket and accepts an offer to run their worldwide drug operation.

CAST

Fred Asparagus
Lou Hancock
Rance Howard (Ron Howard’s father)
Mark Pillow as Russell Haynes

LINES

"Vinnie, Vince, don’t do this. Don’t pick up strays."


Episode 14. "Player To Be Named Now." Monday, 10 pm. 1/25/1988.

Writer: Stephen Kronish.
Director: Don Rapiel.

PLOT

Profitt schemes to buy a baseball team from an old enemy who is unwilling to sell, and he'll go so far as to compromise and ex-girlfriend, and Vinnie.

CAST

Jon Polito
Jane Bruckner as Jacqueline Devries

LINES

"You know, you pay $150 for a suit, you expect the buttons to stay on."

"It is not just a button. We’re talking about the collapse of national pride here."

"We’ll find something, Vince. As I recall, the third letter in FBI stands for investigation."

(About missing Drake’s concert) "There’ll never be a first concert again. I think he and I got cheated out of a memory."


Episode 15. "Merchant of Death." Monday, 10 pm. 2/1/1988.

Writer: Carol Mendelsohn.
Director: William A. Fraker.

PLOT

Mel blackmails a foreign minister to fund a Third World revolution, and Vinnie fights his own battles - against Susan's charms.

CAST

Michael Ensign as Pierre Coscare
Paul Verdier as Jacques Lizot
Bill Ontiveros as General Batista

LINES

"You better stand under the ice-cold shower of reality."

(What do you do when you're 3000 miles from your wife and the urge hits you?) "I watch Billy Graham and pray for salvation."

(Do you speak French?) "Perrier."


Episode 16. "Not For Nothing." Monday, 10 pm. 2/8/1988.

Writers: David J. Burke, Don Kurt.
Director: Bill Corcoran.

PLOT

Vinnie's life is hanging by a thread when he's shot by a butcher who was axed from the Steelgrave mob, and meanwhile Lococco is suspicious of Vinnie. Lifeguard and Vinnie meet for the first time in Vinnie’s hospital room.

CAST

Robert Mangiardi as Aldo Baglia
Joe Shea as Mack Mahoney

COMMENTS

A very strong episode for Frank. He gripes about his undercover position versus Vinnie’s just as Vinnie is shot. He has a very long wait in the hospital, worrying about Vinnie, and meets Lillah, Shagrass’ replacement from State. When she learns he is more concerned about Vinnie than the case, she admires him as "a man among moles," and later goes to his hotel room. Out of mutual loneliness, they begin a relationship. Frank’s soul-baring speech to Lillah is one of his best moments in the series, and the kiss that follows is great, as he pulls her to him by her belt.

COSTUME

When Lillah goes to his hotel room, he’s wearing blue boxer shorts, a blue bathrobe, and a white undershirt.

LINES

"Well, there you are in a nine hundred dollar a day suite at the Georges Cinque and here I am in the naugahyde room of the Karl Marx Pavilion. This is great. When I was undercover it was pockmarked prostitutes."

"I don’t care what gets raised right now. Vince’s cover couldn’t mean less to me."

"Lillah, Lillah, please don’t take this as a personal thing. I used to go home before Mel Profitt, now I haven’t been home for a weekend in more than three months. I know the strain’s beginning to show. I’m hurting in places I don’t wanna hurt. And Vince… Vince. You know, I stood right here buying a hamburger when he took it. And I looked out there and there he was in the blood and the pain… You know, I’d just been bitching about how lucky he’s had it…. And my wife left me. I hadn’t talked to her in a week. We kept missing each other. This morning I got a recording telling me that the phone had been disconnected at the customer’s request. She put my dog in a kennel and took my kid to her mother’s. Now you tell me where the hell that’s at—my dog is thirteen years old and he’s gonna stay in a kennel ‘til I get back or I exceed my credit card limit. In which case I don’t have any idea what happens to him. Vinnie’s dying and she tells me I’m doing this to her? Actually, her mother tells me ‘cause she won’t talk to me. She says that if she were dying I’d say, go ahead and go on without me, Hon, ‘cause I have no idea why (sic) I’ll be home. So here I am, standin' here in my nightie, telling this to a practically absolute stranger. A very nice stranger. Because-- Because, Lillah, I want to be touched. I want to be loved. Because-- 'Cause I'm an ass."


Episode 17. "The Squeeze." Monday, 10 pm. 2/15/1988.

Writer: Gina Wendkos.
Director: Bill Corcoran.

PLOT

Mel's munitions operation blows up in his face, and he moves into the mob's cocaine trade to regain financial power. Roger learns that Vinnie works for the OCB.

CAST

George O. Petrie as Don Aiuppo
Elsa Raven as Carlotta Terranova
Vita D'Ambrosio
Clayton Corzatte as Henry Halpert

LINES

"They’re MBA gangsters. They don’t honor thy father, they honor the leveraged buyout."

"Vinnie, no hidden agendas."

(About his wife) "She came back home. Probably to get away from her mother as much as anything."


Episode 18. "Blood Dance." Monday, 10 pm. 2/22/1988.

Writer: Eric Blakeney.
Director: Mim Manners.

PLOT

Roger spins Mel into a deal to overthrow a Third World leader, but when Mel gets obsessed with a voodoo curse, Vinnie comes up against black magic.

CAST

Richard Portnow as Louis Cabra
Charlaine Woodard as Iemanja
Mabel King as Mae Nina

LINES

"…We were whisked off to Washington, D.C., where we were told in no uncertain terms to back the hell off."


Episode 19. "Phantom Pain." Monday, 10 pm. 3/14/1988.

Writer: Stephen Kronish.
Director: Dennis Dugan.

PLOT

After Susan's arrest, Vinnie finds himself off one job and facing another - impending fatherhood.

CAST

Ron Dean
Ben Halley, Jr. as Henri LaLonde
Terry Moore as Dr. Leitner

LINES

(about his wife) "We live in the same house, we’re not on the same planet."

"We are long past the lecture stage. Now I guess it’s pretty obvious when it comes to separating job performance from hormonal urges, I’m on pretty shaky ground myself."

"Look, Vince, I am doing everything I know how to get you out of here. But it’s gonna take some time."


Episode 20. "Dirty Little Wars." Monday, 10 pm. 3/21/1988.

Writer: David J. Burke.
Director: Robert Iscove.

PLOT

After the shutdown of the Profitt empire, Vinnie tracks Lococco in hopes of uncovering the CIA's links to the planned overthrow of Isle Pavot.

CAST

Ben Halley, Jr. as Henri Lalonde
Dennis Arndt as Walker
Frank Megna
Christopher Thomas

COMMENTS

Lococco kidnaps Frank (in his boxer shorts) and has him taped up.

LINES

"Vince, I would sleep a lot better at night if you would make your call-in schedule."

"Vinnie, the guys you’re looking for are daisy-chaining men in high places. They are invisible. They want to stay that way… You’re sure Lococco isn’t going to hurt you, I’m just as sure these guys will."

(You haven’t been in the trenches for years.) "Oh, ho, ho, but when I was…"

"You know, it’s amazing how places stay the same. I bet when I was a field operative I musta spent about a thousand nights in places like this."

"You’re scum, Lococco."


Episode 21. "Date With an Angel." Monday, 10 pm. 3/28/1988.

Writers: David J. Burke, Stephen Kronish.
Director: Les Sheldon.

PLOT

Vinnie and Roger are subpoenaed to testify at the Senate hearing concerning Isle Pavot, but Vinnie balks at McPike's suggestion he testify as a hood and not as an agent. At the end of the case, Vinnie resigns, and Frank turns it into a six-month leave.

CAST

Robin Gammell as Senator Delaney
Stephen Joyce as Admiral Strichen
Ben Halley, Jr. as Henri Lalonde
Georgeann Johnson as Senator Janet Getzloff
Ray Stricklyn as Senator Pickering
Jerry Wasserman
Traci Lords

LINES

"Last time I asked the R.D., his exact words to me were, Frank, we’re the Bureau. Lococco’s an Agency man. We do not cross-pollinate."

"…and I will bet you dollars to donuts she’s gonna ask you what it felt like to pull the trigger for Sonny Steelgrave."

(To Lifeguard) "Thanks for coming down, Uncle. I needed the support. You carry more weight with him than anybody."