Ken Tucker
January 09, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

Wiseguy: Mel Profitt

Current Status
In Season
Ken Wahl, Kevin Spacey

We gave it an A-

WISEGUY: Mel Profitt Ken Wahl, Kevin Spacey 10 hrs., 4 discs, 1988 (StudioWorks)

This is the legendary 1988 story arc in which Ken Wahl’s central undercover agent graciously ceded screen time to allow a star to be born. Kevin Spacey’s Mel Profitt was a cuckoo crime boss: paranoid and prone to quoting 18th-century economist Thomas Malthus and playing Russian roulette. He is soothed only by the incestuous caress of his sister, Susan (a willowy Joan Severance), who shoots drugs with a ”little extra surprise” into bro’s feet — thus Mel’s muzzily uttered motto, ”Only the toes knows.” EXTRAS Good, blunt interviews with the stars and producers Stephen J. Cannell and David Burke — for example, the latter casually refers to his previous boss Michael Mann as ”tyrannical,” and Spacey reveals that folks still come up to him and repeat Mel’s immortal, wacky mantra.

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