WISEGUY (TV movie)

Episodes: Season 1 Season 2 Season 3 Season 4


5/2/1996. ABC. Sunday, 9 pm. 2 hours.

Crime drama.

Code: WGM 5/1996


Vinnie Terranova returns and takes a new assignment in the high tech world of computer crime and international terrorism.


Writer: Joel Surnow.
Director: James Whitmore, Jr.


Ken Wahl as Vinnie Terranova
Jonathan Banks as Frank McPike, F.B.I.
Jim Byrnes as "Lifeguard" Daniel Benjamin Burroughs
Debrah Farentino as Emma Callendar
Ted Levine as Paul Callendar
Zachary Browne as Alex Callendar
Brian McNamara as Jason
John Kapelos as Dave Goss


Our Frank, still annoyed by bureaucratic idiots, still tongue-tied in the face of Italians telling him "I love you," still hates bad motels, and the job can still depress him to the point of suicide.


The whole first scene is great. Shoulders tense, Frank clearly loathes the budget-minded ass of a young Turk to whom he reports. Despite problems, the film is generally satisfactory on the level of Frank and Vinnie’s relationship, especially Vince’s stating "I need McPike." Sc. 5. where Frank, empty drink on table, loads two bullets and holds his gun to his head, is not sufficiently explained in the script, even though Frank had quit the bureau, which might be a sufficient motivation for depression or suicide. But, two bullets? Who was the second bullet for? Huh?


It’s those Bureau gray suits again. But there are two scenes with a bow to the San Diego venue where Frank wears a floral patterned Hawaiian shirt, chinos, and tennies. Another scene has the blue boxers and a robe. The years haven’t altered Frank’s taste in underwear. He still has the same glasses, too.


(The reviewers had a tendency to use their reviews to discuss why the original series was great, more than review this film.)

"Strongly written and acted, this reminds us why Wiseguy was such a fine series. In its brooding way, it strikes a human core." Gannett News service, 4/25/1996.

"Yes, Vinnie Terranova is more or less the same as he was... Back as his lifelines are Jonathan Banks as the surly McPike and perky Jim Byrnes as Lifeguard..." "… script needed a couple more rewrites to plug up the plot holes." "... San Diego... loses the edge and grime of New York environs. McPike says it best when he notes that things aren’t like they once were..." Hollywood Reporter, 4/25/1996.

" ...at first (the movie) is like seeing a corpse walking... Frank McPike (Jonathan Banks) is also back in Vinnie’s life. The no-nonsense point man, the stoical and cynical counterpoint to the idealistic and dreamy Terranova, he was always worried about Vinnie’s mental health and stability. McPike is now having his own problems: His head is messed up, to the point where he is considering blowing it off." "...they are still having those philosophical discussions." "Welcome back, Vincenzo." Newsday, 5/1/1996, part.II, p.B6.

"Even more than Terranova... McPike demonstrates how much the agency has changed -- for the worst." "And the career agent is thinking about retiring -- or suicide." Richmond Times Dispatch, 5/1/1996, Flair, pg.D1.

"But you can see in this entertainingly plotted feature why the series had such a loyal following. ...Wiseguy knows a thing or two, which turns out to be just enough." Boston Globe, 5/2/1996, Living, p.77.

"Wiseguy meets Home Alone. For this we need sequels?" Detroit News, 5/2/1996.

"Mr. Wahl manages to keep Vinnie not only sympathetic but even noble, in a wiseguy sort of way." New York Times, 5/2/1996, Sec.C, p.20.

"...succeeds in capturing the flavor of the (series)... But it may also succeed in thoroughly confusing those who come to it without the prerequisite fandom." "All this is dark (often to the point of grimness), stylish (including plenty of stylized violence), and complex. It’s good to have Vinnie back." St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 5/2/1996. Everyday Magazine, p. 6G.

"Wiseguy is back. More important, ‘the’ Wiseguy is back." "...lacks the panache of the first edition... Still, it is quite satisfying." "...Jonathan Banks reprises his role as Frank McPike, the hero’s extremely tolerant boss..." "On several occasions, McPike and Lifeguard serve as surrogates for fans, remarking how great it is that the three of them are working together again." "The new Wiseguy has more twists and curves than a cruise on the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s just as much fun, too." Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale) 5/2/1996, Lifestyle, p.3E.


"I’m doing the best that I can to protect you. It’s not as easy as it used to be."

"California is my problem. The ocean’s on the wrong side. I don’t like it."

"Well, enjoy the fishies."

"Well, Vince, I just had the worst nightmare. I was living in a cockroach infested motel eating burritos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner."

"Oh, Vince, when are you ever gonna realize this is not about saving the world."

"You’re way out over the edge on this, you know this, don’t you?"

"And I’ll take care of him, ‘cause it’s my job."

"Come on, Vince, we’ll both feel better when we’re back in New York."


Filmed in San Diego, California.


About 11 minutes in 9 scenes, throughout.


All the season 1-3 Wiseguy regulars. (WG 9/1987)