From the Blog: There’s something fishy in Miami

BY ELLEN HARRIS | JULY 20, 2009 7:15 AM

Across the globe, there are several cities I don’t believe I’d survive in.

Oh, not for lack of creature comforts — or a sense of adventure and personal intuition — but the simple I-would-be-the-first-one-offed-in-a-slasher-film lack of survival.

I’m not really down with the sex trade, so Bangkok is off the list. Should I be lucky enough to make it to the Green Zone, I’d have a slim-to-none chance in Baghdad. My next vacation destination definitely won’t be Norilsk, seeing as the Russian city has been closed to foreign visitors since 2001.

Also on that list of Ellen-Don’t-Go’s is the beachy keen Miami. Surf, sun, sand — the perfect escape until you turn on the telly and realize that, though New York City may have been the birthplace of crime, Miami is its unmarked mass grave.

Showtime’s “Dexter,” CBS’ “CSI: Miami,” and USA Network’s “Burn Notice” prove that it’s not just the ’gators that’ll get me — it’s the vigilante serial killers, the gang shoot-’em-ups, and the Beretta-toting drug smugglers.

“Dexter,” the hour-long drama about the blood-spatter analyst who chops up non-convicted murderers in his spare time, will return this fall for its fourth season. The title character masquerades a perfectly normal bloke, which makes me wonder: How many perfectly normal-bloke serial killers are out there walking around in the world, much less Miami? But in terms of, er, waste disposal, Miami has glades, bays, and a large number of brightly colored foreclosures to choose from.

At least the show’s cinematographers are honest in their interpretation of Miami — much of the time, cast members are pitting out, dripping with sweat in the sweltering Florida humidity.

As for “CSI: Miami” — which lays claim to network television’s worst dialogue — Miami is depicted as a mass of exploding cars. Once every couple of weeks, a big fireball shoots into the sky, throwing everyone at the crime scene onto the ground, with the exception of Lt. Horatio Caine (played by the quickly aging David Caruso — in recent episodes, a filter has been used to blur the lines on his craggy face). Just finishing its seventh season with the inevitable cliffhanger, the “CSI” people are always sweat-free and irresponsibly attired.

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