Magic City (TV series)

Magic City is an American drama television series created by Mitch Glazer for the Starz network.[1][2] The pilot episode previewed on Starz March 30, 2012,[3] and premiered April 6, 2012.[4] Starz renewed the series for an eight-episode second season on March 20, 2012,[5] and canceled it August 5, 2013, after two seasons.[6]

Magic City
GenrePeriod drama
Created byMitch Glazer
StarringJeffrey Dean Morgan
Olga Kurylenko
Steven Strait
Jessica Marais
Christian Cooke
Elena Satine
Dominik Garcia-Lorido
Taylor Blackwell
Danny Huston
Composer(s)Daniele Luppi
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons2
No. of episodes16 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Mitch Glazer
Geyer Kosinski
Lawrence Konner (co-exec)
Ed Bianchi (co-exec)
Producer(s)Dwayne Shattuck
Todd London (sup)
Tim Christenson (co-prod)
Jennifer Jackson (assoc)
Production location(s)Miami, Florida
CinematographyGabriel Beristain
Editor(s)Christopher Nelson
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running time50 minutes
Production company(s)Media Talent Group
South Beach Productions
Original networkStarz
Original releaseMarch 30, 2012 (2012-03-30) 
August 9, 2013 (2013-08-09)
External links

Set in 1959 Miami, Florida, shortly after the Cuban Revolution, Magic City tells the story of Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), the owner of Miami's most glamorous hotel, the Miramar Playa. Evans is forced to make an ill-fated deal with Miami Jewish Mob boss Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) to ensure the success of his glitzy establishment.

Cast and characters


  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Isaac "Ike" Evans, majority owner and boss of the Miramar Playa, Miami Beach's premier resort hotel
  • Olga Kurylenko as Vera Evans, Ike's second wife, stepmother to Stevie, Danny, and Lauren Evans, convert to the Evans' Judaism, and former Havana nightclub dancer under the name "Vera Cruz"
  • Steven Strait as Steven "Stevie" Evans, Ike Evans' "bad boy" older son and the manager of the Miramar's Atlantis Lounge
  • Jessica Marais as Lily Diamond, Ben Diamond's third (trophy) wife and the secret lover of Stevie Evans
  • Christian Cooke as Daniel "Danny" Evans, Ike's straight-arrow younger son and a law school student
  • Elena Satine as Judi Silver, a prostitute who works out of the Atlantis Lounge and does occasional jobs for Ike and Stevie
  • Dominik Garcia-Lorido as Mercedes Lazaro, a Miramar housekeeper in training to be a Pan Am stewardess and Danny's love interest
  • Taylor Blackwell as Lauren Evans, Ike's teenage daughter (main, season 1; recurring, season 2)
  • Danny Huston as Ben "The Butcher" Diamond, a Jewish-American mobster and the silent minority owner of the Miramar
  • Kelly Lynch as Meg Bannock, the older sister of Ike's late first wife Molly (recurring, season 1; main, season 2)


  • Yul Vazquez as Victor Lazaro, the hotel's general manager, Mercedes' father, and a first-generation Cuban immigrant
  • Alex Rocco as Arthur Evans, Ike's father
  • Leland Orser as Mike Strauss, a labor union official
  • Michael Rispoli as Belvin "Bel" Jaffe, a bookie working for Ben Diamond out of the back room of the Sea Breeze Lingerie shop in the Miramar's shopping arcade
  • Bradford Tatum as "Dandy" Al Haas
  • Andrew Bowen as Divin' Dave Donahue
  • Willa Ford as Janice Michaels
  • John Cenatiempo as Vincent Lamb
  • Michael Beasley as Grady James
  • Karen-Eileen Gordon as Florence
  • Taylor Anthony Miller as Ray-Ray Mathis, a doorman at the Miramar
  • Karen Garcia as Inez, Arthur Evans' nurse
  • Shelby Fenner as Myrnna
  • Catalina Rodriguez as Theresa
  • Ricky Waugh as Barry "Cuda" Lansman
  • Matt Ross as Jack Klein, State Attorney for Dade County
  • Todd Allen Durkin as Doug Feehan
  • Chad Gall as Ethan Bell
  • Garrett Kruithof as Stout
  • Gregg Weiner as Phil Weiss
  • Avi Hoffman as Sid Raskin
  • Sherilyn Fenn as Madame Renee
  • Esai Morales as Carlos 'El Tiburon' Ruiz
  • James Caan as Sy Berman, a Chicago-based mob boss


Season 1 (2012)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
11"The Year of the Fin"Carl FranklinMitch GlazerMarch 30, 2012 (2012-03-30)0.295[7]
It is December 31, 1958. Isaac "Ike" Evans, the owner of Miami's most glamorous hotel, the Miramar Playa, prepares to ring in the new year of 1959 with a concert performance from Frank Sinatra, but must first deal with unrest from his employees, who want to unionize and threaten to derail his plans. Evans is forced to make an ill-fated deal with Miami mob boss Ben Diamond to ensure the success of his glitzy establishment. Meanwhile, Ike's son Stevie begins a relationship with Lily, who unknown to him at the time, is the new wife of Diamond.
22"Feeding Frenzy"Ed BianchiMitch GlazerApril 13, 2012 (2012-04-13)0.370[8]
Ike is forced to deal with the disgruntled father of Mike Strauss, who had suddenly disappeared. Meanwhile, the DA uses Danny to help him fight organized crime. Elsewhere, Stevie decides to continue his affair with Lily, despite discovering who she truly is.
33"Castles Made of Sand"Ed BianchiMitch GlazerApril 20, 2012 (2012-04-20)0.375[9]
Ike tries to bribe government officials, in hopes of them legalizing gambling for his hotel. Ben begins to worry that his wife is sleeping around. Vera has an unexpected visitor from her past. Meanwhile, Ike is forced to ask his wealthy former sister-in-law for a big favor.
44"Atonement"Simon Cellan JonesMitch GlazerApril 27, 2012 (2012-04-27)0.385[10]
While Ike has to deal with a break in at his hotel, Vera begins planning an extravagant charity function that she hopes Jackie Kennedy will attend. Elsewhere, Victor struggles to get his wife out of Cuba.
55"Suicide Blonde"Simon Cellan JonesMitch GlazerMay 4, 2012 (2012-05-04)0.503[11]
Ike is determined to save Judi Silver from Ben Diamond. Polaroids of Stevie and Lily surface. Vera tries something new to get pregnant, Danny and Mercedes' bond grows, and Klein's search ramps up.
66"The Harder They Fall"Ed BianchiMitch Glazer and Lawrence KonnerMay 11, 2012 (2012-05-11)0.429[12]
Ike and Ben Diamond bet big on a boxing match. Jackie Kennedy cancels on Vera. Danny gets blackmail photos meant for Stevie, and Klein finds something that will change Ike's life forever.
77"Who's the Horse and Who's the Rider?"Nick GomezMitch GlazerMay 18, 2012 (2012-05-18)0.474[13]
Danny confronts Stevie about his affair and uses the DA to uncover blackmail. Klein shows Ike damning evidence, and Meg refuses Ike's offer. Caught lying to Ben, Ike must make a deal.
88"Time and Tide"Ed BianchiMitch GlazerJune 1, 2012 (2012-06-01)0.498[14]
Judi Silver falls into Klein's hands, while Victor and Mercedes get bad news. Lily and Stevie's affair gets more dangerous. Juggling family, Ben Diamond, and a new partner, Ike's future is uncertain.

Season 2 (2013)

No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air dateUS viewers
91"Crime and Punishment"Clark JohnsonMitch GlazerJune 14, 2013 (2013-06-14)0.496[15]
102"Angels of Death"Terrence O'HaraStory by: John Mankiewicz
Teleplay by: John Mankiewicz and Mitch Glazer
June 21, 2013 (2013-06-21)0.338[16]
113"Adapt or Die"Ed BianchiEduardo Machado and Mitch GlazerJune 28, 2013 (2013-06-28)0.448[17]
124"Crossroads"Ed BianchiMitch Glazer and Ted MannJuly 12, 2013 (2013-07-12)0.522[18]
135"World in Changes"Simon Cellan JonesMitch GlazerJuly 19, 2013 (2013-07-19)0.338[19]
146"Sitting on Top of the World"David PetrarcaMitch Glazer and Rich CohenJuly 26, 2013 (2013-07-26)0.442[20]
157"... And Your Enemies Closer"Simon Cellan JonesMitch GlazerAugust 2, 2013 (2013-08-02)0.564[21]
168"The Sins of the Father"David PetrarcaMitch GlazerAugust 9, 2013 (2013-08-09)0.526[22]



The thing that’s really cool for me about Miami Beach is you have this dichotomy between sunlight and family and happiness and innocence and then at night, darker, stranger mob conspiracy stuff sort of comes out. It seems like a storytelling engine. You can just keep writing about how those two worlds smash into each other.

— Mitch Glazer[23]

Magic City was created by Miami native Mitch Glazer, who wrote the series around his experiences growing up there: he once worked as a cabana boy in a Miami Beach hotel, his father was an electrical engineer at the city's grand hotels in the late 1950s, and he grew up listening to stories of the exploits of hotel staff and clientele.[23][24] Many of the incidents Glazer relates in the series "are based on stories that happened, that I saw, or older brothers and sisters or my parents told me." As a journalist, he did extensive research on what was happening in the lobbies of hotels in late 1950s and early 1960s: "There’s wiretaps—tapes they’ve made public now—where the CIA gives Sam Giancana and Johnny Roselli $300,000 and poison powder to kill [Fidel] Castro in the Boom Boom Room in the Fontainebleau Hotel," he said.[23] Included in the series, Glazer states, will be Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) activities in Cuba and issues connected to the Civil Rights Movement. He first envisioned Magic City as a feature film, but said he quickly realized he had more stories to tell than would fit in a film.[24]

Glazer had written different versions of Magic City for years. He originally wrote and sold it to CBS, who eventually let it go to the Starz network. "CBS was really nice to me and generous in letting it go to Starz. It’s not a procedural, it’s not a franchise. It needs to be allowed to do the sexuality and violence and the things that were part of Miami Beach in the 1959", he said.[23] In 2007, Chris Albrecht (subsequently Starz network's president and C.E.O.) was fired from HBO and joined Glazer and some of his friends for a research expedition to Havana.[25] "It was an insane group," Glazer remembered. "Jimmy Caan and Robert Duvall and Benicio Del Toro." They were visiting a Havana hotel designed by the architect Morris Lapidus when Glazer remarked to Albrecht, "You know, I grew up in this kind of hotel. My father worked with Morris Lapidus on the Fontainebleau Hotel and Eden Roc Hotel as an electrical engineer." In 2009, after Albrecht became president and C.E.O. of Starz, Glazer recalled, "I sent him a script I had written years before, and he called me literally hours later and said, 'This is amazing, let's do this.'"[25]


Critical reception

The first season received mixed reviews from critics. Review aggregator Metacritic calculated a score of 56/100 based on 27 reviews.[26] Glenn Garvin of the Miami Herald said of the series: "The sordid ugliness that festers inside Magic City's voluptuously beautiful wrappings makes irresistible television."[27] The Contra Costa Times’ Chuck Barney praised the cast and visual style. He said in his review: "Through the early episodes, nothing really happens that you couldn't see coming. Still, the setting is so seductive, the period details so vivid and the acting so stellar, that it's as intoxicating as a potent mojito."[28] criticized the gratuitous nudity ("Hey, boobs!") in many dressing room scenes.[29]

Awards and accolades

2013 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor – Series, Miniseries or Television Film Danny Huston Nominated
2013 Young Artist Award Best Performance in a TV Series - Supporting Young Actress Taylor Blackwell Nominated [30]

Movie spin-off

A feature film is in the works and is set to be directed by Mitch Glazer. Stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Olga Kurylenko, Danny Huston, and Kelly Lynch are set to reprise their roles. Bruce Willis and Bill Murray will also have starring roles.[31]

Home media

The entire Magic City series was released by Starz and Anchor Bay in Blu-ray and DVD formats on May 13, 2014.[32]

See also


  1. Munzenrieder, Kyle (December 7, 2010). "Starz Orders Magic City TV Show Set in 1960s Miami Beach". Miami New Times. Village Voice Media. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  2. Vallejo, Stephanie (December 6, 2010). "Starz Picks Up Sixties-Era Drama Magic City". New York. New York Media Holdings. Retrieved March 15, 2011.
  3. "Shows A-Z - magic city on starz -". Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  4. "Miami in the '50s is Starz's 'Magic City'". January 24, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  5. "Starz Renews 'Magic City' Ahead of Period Drama's April Premiere". Retrieved March 31, 2012.
  6. Andreeva, Nellie (August 5, 2013). "Starz's 'Magic City' To End Run After Two Seasons; Series Finale Airs Friday". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 5, 2013.
  7. Andreeva, Nellie (April 9, 2012). "Starz's 'Magic City' Off To Very Slow Start In Official Premiere, Boosted By Previews". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 20, 2012.
  8. Andreeva, Nellie (April 18, 2012). "Starz's 'Magic City' Ratings Up In Week 2". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
  9. Kondolojy, Amanda (April 23, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NBA Basketball, 'Friday Night Smackdown', 'Storage Wars', 'Fairly Legal' & 'In Plain Sight'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved April 28, 2012.
  10. Bibel, Sara (April 30, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NFL Draft Wins Night, 'WWE Smackdown', 'Storage Wars', 'Fairly Legal', 'In Plain Sight', 'Ultimate Fighter Live' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
  11. Kondolojy, Amanda (May 7, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs Lead + 'WWE SmackDown', 'In Plain Sight' Finale, 'Neverland Pirates', 'Storage Wars' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
  12. Bibel, Sara (May 14, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings:NBA Playoffs Win Night, 'WWE Smackdown', 'Common Law', 'Storage Wars', 'Dream Machines' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 16, 2012.
  13. Kondolojy, Amanda (May 21, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs + 'Sportscenter', 'Common Law', 'Fairly Legal', 'Storage Wars' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 2, 2012.
  14. Kondolojy, Amanda (June 4, 2012). "Friday Cable Ratings: NBA Playoffs, + 'SportsCenter', 'WWE Friday Night SmackDown', 'Common Law', 'Fairly Legal', 'House of Payne' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 5, 2012.
  15. Yanan, Travis (June 17, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: "WWE Smackdown," U.S. Open Top Charts". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 17, 2013.
  16. Yanan, Travis (June 24, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: "WWE Smackdown" Tops Demos, "Jessie" Leads Viewers". The Futon Critic. Retrieved June 25, 2013.
  17. Yanan, Travis (July 2, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: Disney Originals, "WWE Smackdown" Top Charts". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 3, 2013.
  18. Yanan, Travis (July 15, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: "WWE Smackdown," "Treehouse Masters" Lead Demo Race". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  19. Yanan, Travis (July 22, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: Disney Dominates with "Teen Beach Movie," "Liv and Maddie"". The Futon Critic. Retrieved July 22, 2013.
  20. Yanan, Travis (July 26, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: "WWE Smackdown," Disney Lead Demos, Viewers". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 2, 2013.
  21. Yanan, Travis (August 5, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: Disney Originals Top Viewers, "Gold Rush: South America" Leads Demos". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  22. Yanan, Travis (August 12, 2013). "Friday's Cable Ratings: Disney Originals, "Gold Rush: South America" Lead the Pack". The Futon Critic. Retrieved August 13, 2013.
  23. Villarreal, Yvonne (March 30, 2012). "Creative Minds: Mitch Glazer talks 'Magic City' and 1950s Miami". Los Angeles Times. Show Tracker. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  24. Serjeant, Jill (April 4, 2012). "TV's 'Magic City' revels in glamour, grit of 1950s Miami". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  25. Hogan, Michael (April 5, 2012). "'Magic City': Mitch Glazer Talks New Starz Show Starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan". The Huffington Post. HuffPost TV. Retrieved April 5, 2012.
  26. "Magic City - Season 1 Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved April 1, 2012.
  27. Garvin, Glenn (April 1, 2011). "Set-in-Miami 'Magic City' delicious, depraved". Miami Herald. Retrieved April 4, 2012.
  28. Barney, Chuck (April 4, 2011). "Chuck Barney: Shonda Rhimes' 'Scandal' goes inside the Beltway". Contra Costa Times. Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  29. Kuperinsky, Amy (2012-04-16). "It's not a dirty word: Here's the explanation of 'sexposition'". Retrieved 2019-02-11.
  30. "34th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 2013-03-31.
  31. "'Magic City' Becomes Feature; Bruce Willis & Bill Murray Join Original Starz Cast". October 31, 2014. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  32. Lambert, David (March 17, 2014). "Magic City - Blu-ray Disc, DVD Releases for 'The Complete Series'". Archived from the original on March 18, 2014. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
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