Best TV Shows Set in Miami
by Kim Potts, posted Feb 22nd 2011 2:30PM
The 'Golden Girls' lived there (and even penned a song about their hometown), everyone from Crockett and Tubbs to Michael Westen and Sam Axe have battled the city's bad guys and even the 'Jersey Shore' gang left Seaside Heights behind to spend a season on its sunny beaches.
Yes, we're talking about Miami, the sunny Florida city that has been the backdrop for plenty of primetime TV action. With the latest Miami-set series set to debut this week -- Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of Miami' (Feb. 22, 10PM ET) -- we're counting down TV land's 10 best Miami-based shows.
10. 'Empty Nest'
Miami nice: Don't let the title fool ya; there was no empty nest, a situation all too familiar to many a Miami resident. The 'Golden Girls' spin-off featured 'Soap' Emmy winner Richard Mulligan as Dr. Harry Weston, a Miami pediatrician who, after the death of his wife, shared his home with two of his grown daughters (Kristy McNichol and Dinah Manoff). Two grown daughters -- one a tough cop, one a neurotic divorcee -- who were needy and still referred to him as Daddy, leading Harry to turn to St. Bernard/Golden Retriever Dreyfuss as his confidant.
9. 'Jersey Shore'
Miami nice: The shenanigans were the same: The Situation trying to avoid grenades when picking up, ahem, ladies, to take back to the hot tub ... Ronnie filling his schedule with Sammi fights and creepin' on girls at the clubs ... Snooki snookin' for love ... Angelina being wooed by a Fossil watch ... and the whole lot of them being less than model employees, this time at a gelato shop. But for the show's second season, which moved the action from Jersey to South Beach, at least the beaches were sandier, the water was bluer and the muscular beachgoers were less gorilla juicehead-ian.
8. 'Real World: Miami'
Miami nice: Swanky house? Check. Castmates from backgrounds so diverse that they were certain to clash? Check. Skanky behavior among the castmates and their various hookups? Check. And there was something new for this fifth season of 'RW": the cast members had a job. In this instance, they were given $50,000 in seed money to launch a business, one which, predictably, never really got off the ground. But we did get to see lots of Miami's beautiful locales in between memorable moments like the vicious verbal smackdown between Dan and Melissa, Melissa and Mike's alleged shower fling and crazy Flora threatening to sue Sarah's friend Hank for filming her as she flashed his camera. Good times. 'RW: Miami' trivia: SallyAnn Salsano, the producer famous (or is that infamous?) for creating 'Jersey Shore,' was a finalist for the Miami season of 'The Real World.'
Miami nice: If Lassie lived in the ocean, he would have been Flipper, the super genius pet dolphin of the Ricks family. The Ricks were led by papa Porter, the chief warden at the fictional Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve, but it was Porter's youngest son Bud, a freckle-faced boy given to finding trouble, who was closest to Flipper, who lived in one of the Marine Reserve's lagoons and saved Bud (as well as strangers, and in one memorable episode, a puppy floating in the ocean) from many a scrape. Bonus points for the show's catchy theme song: "They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning/No-one you see, is smarter than he ..."
Miami nice: They ended up in Los Angeles, but before plastic surgeon partners Sean McNamara and Christian Troy were sprucing up the men and women of Beverly Hills, they were helping the citizens of SoFlo get their bods into a beach-ready state ... and dealing with a serial killer named The Carver, as well as an impressive line-up of guest stars, including Vanessa Redgrave, Jill Clayburgh, Kathleen Turner, Brooke Shields, Rosie O'Donnell, Larry Hagman, Melissa Gilbert and the queen of plastic surgery herself, Joan Rivers.
5. 'Golden Girls'
Miami nice: Not only were Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia among the best TV representatives of Miami, the women even penned and sang a little ditty about the city in season two's 'Big Daddy's Little Lady.' Remember these lyrics: "Miami, Miami, you've got style/Blue sky, sunshine, white sand by the mile/When you live in this town, each day is sublime/The coldest of winters are warm and divine"?
4. 'CSI: Miami'
Miami nice: The original series has the glitz and glamour of Vegas, and there's plenty of NYC excitement in the Big Apple spin-off, too, but no procedural makes better use of its locale than 'CSI: Miami.' Blue skies and even bluer water provide pretty backdrops for some pretty gruesome crime scenes, be it the dude who was decapitated during a street race or the financial bilker who ended up floating in a sea of blue ... blue water in his private jet's toilet, that is.
Miami nice: Though we see a lot of Miami swampland on 'Dexter,' our favorite serial killer Dex (Michael C. Hall) has explored a lot of the city in the pursuit of bad guys (and while finding places to hide the evidence of his own extracurricular activities). In fact, Dexter and all of his Miami Police Department cohorts, from sis Deb to fellow crime scene investigator Vince Masuka, spend a lot of time in Miami's beautiful scenery, though they're usually too busy looking at gruesome crime victims to notice.
2. 'Burn Notice'
Miami nice: Burned covert ops agent Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) and his pals Sam and Fiona doesn't have a lot of cash, but they make the most of their sunny surroundings and always seem to find themselves in Miami's coolest locations while trying to thwart some of the city's evildoers. Michael's Dodge Charger takes the team to Miami beaches, warehouses, and tree and pastel building-lined streets while they're on the job, which has also led them to Miami club hot spots and other locales where Sam's beloved mojitos are served. In fact, Sam Axe portrayer Bruce Campbell says the city is practically a 'Burn Notice' cast member.
1. 'Miami Vice'
Miami nice: One of the grittiest, most stylish cop dramas ever owed much of its flavor to its Miami setting. Undercover Miami PD detectives Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Rico Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) traversed the entire city in their hot Ferraris and hot suits, in hot pursuit of the city's baddest drug dealers and killers. And, with the use of Crockett's speedboats, they regularly covered even more Miami scenery than their Miami TV brethren.