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MAGIC CITY 1.05 ‘Suicide Blonde’

Ike fears for Judy's life while Klein sets plans in motion to make Danny his Miramar Playa mole.

Episode Title: 'Suicide Blonde'

Writer: Mitch Glazer

Director: Simon Cellan Jones

Previously on "Magic City":

Episode 1.04: "Atonement"

Story:

Ike (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) wakes up from a startling nightmare in which Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) shoots Judi Silver (Elena Satine) while she's in bed with Stevie (Steven Strait). He rushes to Stevie's room to ask if he's seen her. Stevie tells Ike she's probably on a date before returning to his room where Lily (Jessica Marais) is waiting for him. Meanwhile, the man who stole the pictures of Stevie and Lily watches as his girlfriend develops them in a darkroom.

The next day, Ike tries to convince Judy to leave town, but she refuses and blames him for setting her up with Mike Strauss. Now that he's warned her, Judy tells Ike his conscious is clear. Later, Ike discusses a pending CBS deal with his business partners, who are concerned about the hotel's profits. Afterwards, Ike tells VIctor (Yul Vazquez) about the trouble he's had getting Maria out of Cuba. Victor informs him that his cousin's friend is handling the situation.

Ike learns that his security team has yet to apprehend the man breaking into rooms. After making a hefty payment to the bank, Jack Klein (Matt Ross) stops by to question Ike about Mirna's death. He warns Ike that he plans to get a subpoena to lock Judy up again until she talks. Ike, in turn, threatens to use his political connections to interfere with Klein's re-election.

After learning from her doctor that she won't be able to have children, Vera (Olga Kurylenko) decides to take part in a Santeria ritual at Mercedes urging. Meanwhile, Klein brings Danny (Christian Cooke) in to offer him a summer internship. When questioned about the illegal gambling and prostitution at the Miramar Playa, Danny says his father is the best man that he knows.

Ike meets with Meg's lawyers about her potential investment in the hotel. When questioned about the various shell companies involved, Ike becomes defensive and takes the deal off the table. After he leaves, Meg (Kelly Lynch) emerges from behind a closed door and tells her legal team, who are uncomfortable with the deal, to dig deeper into Ike's business dealings.

At the salon, Judy spots Stevie with Lily and immediately catches on to their affair. Stevie denies the relationship and urges Judy to leave town, but just like with Ike, she tells Stevie that she won't run.

That night Vera has sex with Ike in hopes of getting pregnant. Ike is called away soon after when Steve tells him that Judy left the bar with a John wearing expensive shoes. Ike realizes the man is Jimmy Shoes, Ben Diamond's thug. He hops in his car and follows Jimmy to a deserted locale. Jimmy prepares to shoot an unconscious Judy when Ike arrives and offers to double the money Diamond is paying him if he'll her go. Jimmy agrees but when Ike goes to pay him, he uses an old trick from his days as a nightclub bouncer and knocks Jimmy out. He then puts Jimmy inside the car and lets it roll into the water.

Stevie says goodbye to a bitter Judy, as she prepares to leave the country. Meanwhile, Ben gets a call about Jimmy Shoes unknown whereabouts.

Breakdown:

With a title like "Magic City," you might think this show takes place in some sort of fantasy world of make believe, not the very real Miami of the late 1950s. Of course, all TV shows ask us to "make believe" on some level but in the case of this Starz newcomer, is beginning to take it a little too far.

In 'Suicide Blonde' Ike and Stevie attempt to convince the now endangered Judy Silver to skip town before Ben Diamond's boys can get to her. Despite Ike's deal with Diamond to give the mobster a large share of the Miramar Playa's profits, he's convinced Judy's a goner. And from what we've seen of Diamond, we know he's probably right.

But like the afterthought of Ike's childhood bond with the late Mike Strauss, it seems odd the hotel boss would make Judy, whom he claims to care deeply about, a pawn in Diamond's play to take out the union leader, even if he thought the thugs would do little more than rough him up.

What's more confounding is Ike and Stevie's affection for their pet prostitute. Yes, the Miramar Playa is a place where men come to spend money on booze, gambling and sex. Judy Silver is clearly a part of that equation and Ike won't hesitate to use her to do his bidding. And yet he has almost a fatherly affection for Judy, whom he tells Jimmy Shoes is "like family" to him.

It's not that the notion of Ike and Stevie caring for the hotel's marquee call girl is so far-fetched. A character like Judy Silver makes perfect sense in this time and place. But at the end of the day, she's a hooker and Ike is "the hotel guy," as he reminded Jack Klein. Why do he or Stevie, who is caught up in his own absurd affair with Lily, care about this woman? And more importantly, why do we care?

Another wrinkle in the show's believability is the situation between Danny and D.A. Jack Klein. I'll buy that Danny is oblivious to what goes on behind the many closed doors at his father's hotel (though he knows whatever it is, the off-duty vice detectives who the work there don't seem to mind.) In fact, it doesn't even matter what Ike's younger son knows. What does is that Klein's partner made it clear to Danny that he's got it out for Ike.

Klein plays good cop, shutting his partner up and appealing to Danny's need to "matter" by offering him a position on the front lines in his war for justice. Obviously, that war is against Ike and Ben Diamond. How exactly Klein plans to corrupt Danny's relationship with his father, whom he considers the best man he knows, should be interesting. Right now, Danny has no reason to turn against Ike, which makes the whole setup feel a bit dubious.

I'm not even going to get into the situation between Stevie and Lily, with the pictures and the now rather public flaunting of their death sentence of a relationship. Like Judy and Danny's storylines, it's equally far-fetched. At this point, I'm just hoping the payoff is better than the setup.