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MTV Cops: Celebrating 40 years of Miami Vice

The quintessential pop culture icon of the 1980s turns 40 years old this year – and its impact is still being felt to this day

It’s 1984. There’s a black Ferrari driving through the streets of Miami. The only light on the car comes from the street lights overhead. Phil Collins’s song In the Air Tonight is blasting through the speakers. Audiences are witnessing TV and cultural history unfolding before their very eyes. They’re watching the pilot episode of Miami Vice.

“I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord.”

Miami Vice made an impact on the world like no other drama series had and it would go on for 5 seasons. Its impact would change the way television is produced and it would be one of the only television programmes that would create a genuine fashion craze. When people talk about the fashion of the 1980s, they will point to the pastel colours, suit jackets over T-shirts, shoes with no socks. All of this was created in the show. The colour palette was designed by series producer, Michael Mann. Mann had a single edict on the colour palette of the show, no earth tones, this meant that the production design leaned into the lighter pastel colours that defined the series look.

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