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A Review of Magic City: 4 Stars For Florida Sexy But Shortlived

Magic City Miami Florida

Magic City is a 2012 mini-series set in the late fifties which chronicles the world of the Miramar Playa, a luxury Miami Beach hotel. It was created by Mitch Glazer and it ran for two seasons, before being canceled. With a gritty period setting evocative of Mad Men, but with the tension of a classic gangster movie, there was enough plot and intrigue in Magic City to captivate an audience.

“The period chronicles the very Jewish world of the last-1950s Miami Beach.” said Florida’s Scott Cooper Miami, “Gangsters are speaking Yiddish, ordering sable at the pool, and playing the role of the anti-stereotypical tough Jew.”

A movie spin-off of the series was on the cards, with Bruce Willis and Bill Murray both set to star in it, although this is yet to see the light of day.

Mitch Glazer

Mitch Glazer may not have been a household name, however, he had written and worked as a writer on a whole bunch of major releases, from Scrooged in the eighties through to The Recruit. I more recent years, he was working as a producer on the Sofia Coppola classic, Lost in Translation. Glazer was the showrunner for the Magic City and managed to pull in a decent cast and create a sumptuous period that really defined the series.

Glazer is a native of Miami, so he wanted to create a piece of work that was based around his experiences of growing up in the area. As a young man, he had worked as a cabana boy in one of the city’s hotels, and his father had also been employed in the hotel industry in the late nineteen fifties. It is this injection of authenticity that helps to carry the series. Many of the goings-on that occur in the series are based on things that actually happened. The city at the time was a hub of activity surrounding plots to kill Castro.

The Plot of Magic City

Set in and around Miami Beach, Florida in 1959, just after Fidel Castro’s Cuban Revolution has taken place, Magic City follows the story of Ike Evans (played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan). Evans owns one of Miami Beach’s most glamorous hotels, the Miramar Playa, however, he is forced to make a deal with the Jewish mob moss, Ben “The Butcher” Diamond (played by Danny Huston).

Magic City, Florida, Miami
Credit: Tumblr

The story also follows Evan’s two sons as they move onto two very different paths, one into the mouth of the criminal world, the other working for the state attorney’s office.

Magic City is about how much Ike Evans is prepared to do to keep hold of his beloved hotel, the Miramar Playa. As the stakes get raised, it pushes him further and further, while stretching him between all of the different powers at play in the area.

At times, there is a lot going on in Magic City. But as the world of Ike Evans opens up, we get to untangle a whole web of connections that pull the plot in some surprising directions.

There are many different real-life anchor points that ground Magic City into its place in history, with plotlines focusing around the unions and also the building tensions with neighboring Cuba, there is a lot to keep audiences interested in the history of the era, in addition to the plot. 

Easy On The Eyes With Some Good Acting

It might be very easy to compare the look at feel of the series to Man Men, and Boardwalk Empire, however, it is important not to overlook the link. The demand for gritty period dramas that provide tension and a link to real historic events is high. Magic City did not disappoint in aiming squarely at this demand. While it did not attempt to be quite as serious as Mad Men, and it could at times be a bit more playful than other big-hitting mob series’ such as The Sopranos, it still managed to retain the seductive charm of the era, while exciting viewers.

The series had a very strong ensemble cast, led by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who audiences may recognize as staring as Negan in The Walking Dead, as well as featuring in The Good Wife, Supernatural, and as Denny Denny Duquette in Grey’s Anatomy.

The Takeaway From Magic City

The real shame of Magic city is that it only got to run for two seasons. It never got to explore the world of Ike Evans and the Miramar Playa. The second season had taken everything that was built up in the first season and raised the stakes even higher. While a third season is really worth the wait, there are still some loose ends left dangling which did inevitably disappoint some viewers who were left waiting for more. 

Read Eva’s Review of Miami Connection

A Review of Magic City: 4 Stars for Florida Sexy But Shortlived
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A Review of Magic City: 4 Stars for Florida Sexy But Shortlived

Magic City is a 2012 mini-series set in the late fifties which chronicles the world of the Miramar Playa, a luxury Miami Beach hotel. It was created by Mitch Glazer and it ran for two seasons, before being canceled. With a gritty period setting evocative of Mad Men, but with the tension of a classic gangster movie, there was enough plot and intrigue in Magic City to captivate an audience.

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