[[quoteright:323:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/wiseguy09m_1510.jpg]]

A U.S. television series that ran on CBS for four seasons, 1987-1990, centered around Vincent "Vinnie" Terranova (played by actor Ken Wahl), an undercover agent for the OCB (Organized Crime Bureau), a [[GovernmentAgencyOfFiction fictional division]] of the FBI. A major theme was the constant ethical dilemmas faced by the protagonist, who had to befriend criminals with the eventual intention of betraying them.

Created by veteran hit producer Creator/StephenJCannell and Frank Lupo (yes, the same pair responsible for ''Series/TheATeam''), ''Wiseguy'' veered from the traditional "bad guy of the week" {{police procedural}} by breaking the drama into multi-episode {{Story Arc}}s that followed an [[TheInfiltration infiltration]] -- and its charismatic criminal target -- to its logical conclusion, no matter the cost to criminal, innocent civilian, or cop (though there were standalone {{Breather Episode}}s in later seasons, mostly dealing with the personal lives of the characters). The show influenced writers like Creator/ChrisCarter, Creator/JossWhedon, and Creator/DavidSimon to build on the trope of showing both sides of the morality play in humanizing detail.
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!!Tropes in this series include:

* AbsurdlyHighStakesGame: Isaac Twine bets his record company against $10 million of Winston Newquay's money in a single hand of poker. [[spoiler:He loses, and later discovers that the game was rigged.]]
* AbusiveParents: Eli Sternberg is emotionally abusive to his son David.
* AffablyEvil: Sonny Steelgrave, Susan Profitt, Knox Pooley, Albert Cerrico, and Don Aiuppo.
* TheAlcoholic: Jenny [=McPike=].
* AllJustADream: "Romp."
* AmoralAttorney: Roger Totland, Peter Alatorre, and Winston Chambers III.
* AntagonistInMourning: [[spoiler:Winston Newquay]] is crushed by [[spoiler:Isaac Twine]]'s death.
* ArmoredClosetGay: [[spoiler:Admiral Strichen.]]
* ArmsDealer:
** Renaldo Sikes in the pilot episode.
** Mel Profitt, although his drug business gets more attention.
* AsYouKnow: Starting in Season 2, Vinnie, [=McPike=], and the OCB honchos have a habit of gathering every few episodes to tell each other the broad strokes of their current investigation and the identities of the major players (of which they are all already well aware) for the benefit of those in the audience who came in late.
* AtTheOperaTonight: In "Battle of the Barge."
* AuditThreat: In the Eli Sternberg arc, [=McPike=] is trying to get some information from a company that does business with the group that they are investigating. They refuse, until [=McPike=] says "If you don't let me in, I will call my friends at the IRS. They eat guys like you for breakfast". The company lets him in immediately.
* AwLookTheyReallyDoLoveEachOther: Winston Newquay has a monologue expressing how much he really did love Claudia (all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding) in "Living and Dying in 4/4 Time."
* TheBarnum: Knox Pooley.
* BeardOfSorrow: Vinnie grows one during both of his {{Heroic BSOD}}s.
* BecomingTheMask: Vinnie's OCB [[TheHandler handler]] Frank [=McPike=] often has to remind him that his job is to lock up the bad guys, not be their friend. It doesn't help that Vinnie is regarded as a trusted associate by the criminals, and a scumbag lowlife by the police.
* BeingGoodSucks: A hallmark of the series.
* BelligerentSexualTension: Between Santana and Hillary Stein.
* BetterToDieThanBeKilled: [[spoiler: Sonny's]] demise, when confronted by the prospect of a humiliating death by lethal injection.
* BigBrotherIsEmployingYou: [=McPike=] has a tendency to bug any place Vinnie is likely to be. Played for laughs when Vinnie is in bed with his LoveInterest Amber Twine.
-->'''Amber''': "Aren't you going to tell [=McPike=] about this?"
-->'''Vinnie''': "Don't you know? [=McPike=]'s already listening '''(shouts at bedstead)''' HEY MCPIKE!"
* BigDamnHeroes: Prescott Wilson does this at the end of the Counterfeit Yen arc.
* BigFancyHouse: Mark Volchek's estate, Gorslava.
* BigNo: [[spoiler:Martinez-Gacha]] has one after being convicted.
* BiggerBad: Martinez-Gacha, head of TheCartel, in the Miami arc.
* BondOneLiner: After killing [[spoiler:Harriet Weiss]] with a golf club:
-->'''John Kousakis:''' [[spoiler:Harriet]] can't come to the phone right now. She's in the rough.
* TheCaligula: Mel Profitt.
* TheCartel: Cuban-American crime lord Armando Guzman, investigated by Vinnie's [[SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute replacement]] Michael Santana.
* TheCastShowoff: [[{{Music/Blondie}} Deborah Harry]], [[{{Music/Eagles}} Glenn Frey]], and Creator/TimCurry all get opportunities to show off their musical talents during the Dead Dog Records arc.
* TheCharmer: Isaac Twine.
* ChronicBackstabbingDisorder: Amado Guzman. As he puts it, he is "the archangel of betrayal."
* CIAEvilFBIGood: Played dead straight in the Mel Profitt arc ''and'' the Miami arc.
* CigarChomper:
** Vinnie plays one during the Lynchboro arc.
** Jack Bishop, which helps to bring him down.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Harriet Weiss and Charlie Boden make a recalcitrant goon talk by breaking his toes with a bowling pin.
* ConvenientlyUnverifiableCoverStory: Averted as Vinnie uses his own identity, including an eighteen-month prison sentence to establish his credentials as a criminal. Unfortunately this alienates him from his own mother, who doesn't know he's a federal agent.
* CorruptCorporateExecutive:
** Winston Newquay and Isaac Twine, record company owners who make bootlegs of their own artists' albums, sell them under the table, and pocket the cash. (Newquay also has his artists invest their money with a firm that he secretly controls, allowing him to embezzle from them.)
** Amado Guzman, whose empire of airlines, jewelry stores, and banks conceals a money laundering operation for TheCartel.
** Harriet Weiss, owner of a carting company that illegally disposes of medical waste.
** Jack Bishop, a defense contractor who makes bogus airplane parts and has a whistleblower killed.
** The new generation of mafiosi style themselves like this, particularly Rick Pinzolo, who uses his garment industry connections to work a massive stock scam.
* CorruptHick: Mark Volchek.
* CutShort: Only one episode of the last story arc was filmed before the show was canceled.
* DaChief: [=McPike=] is this to Vinnie in the first season. Once [=McPike=] and Vinnie start to actually like each other, Paul Beckstead is brought in to fill this role for both of them.
* DaddyIssues: Mark Volchek has a bundle of them.
* DarkActionGirl: Renaldo Sikes's "secretary" Raya Montenegro, who turns out to wield a mean machine gun.
* DawsonCasting: Eddie Tempest is repeatedly referred to as a "teenage rock star." His actor, Billy Wirth, was 27 at the time he appeared.
* DeadpanSnarker: [=McPike=], all the way.
* DiabolicalMastermind: Mel Profitt. According to story editor Eric Blakeney, he was conceived as "a Film/JamesBond villain."
* DigitalPiracyIsEvil: In the Dead Dog Records arc, the OCB treats record bootlegging the same way they previously treated drug smuggling, weapons trafficking, stock fraud, and extortion. (Ironically, this is the arc most subject to piracy since the show's original run, since disputes over the music rights have prevented it from being rebroadcast or released on DVD.)
* DiplomaticImpunity: After the fecal matter hits the windmill on his criminal dealings, Amado Guzman takes refuge in the El Salvadoran consulate, where the FBI can't touch him, and then arranges to be smuggled out of the country.
* DirtyOldMan: Mike [=McPike=].
* DissonantSerenity: [[spoiler:Susan Profitt]], after she completely loses her mind.
* DoNotCallMePaul: Winston Newquay was born Samuel Fishbein, and the easiest way to get under his skin is to call him "Sammy."
* DomesticAbuser: Winston Newquay verbally abuses his wife Claudia, and she physically abuses him right back.
* TheDon: Don Baglia and Don Aiuppo.
* DownerEnding: The Rag Trade arc. [[spoiler:Eli Sternberg is bankrupted, David and Carole Sternberg are killed, and Raglin flips out, murders Pinzolo, and resigns from the FBI.]]
* TheDragon:
** Roger Loccoco, to Mel Proffit.
** Calvin Hollis, to Knox Pooley.
** Richard Bickel, to Winston Newquay.
** Carlo Spoletta, to Joey Grosset.
** Admiral Strichen, to General Masters.
** Sheriff Stem, to Mark Volchek.
** Charlie Boden, to Harriet Weiss.
** Dagoberto Machado, to Amado Guzman.
** Axel Whitman, to Jack Bishop.
* DragonInChief: Calvin Hollis.
* DragonTheirFeet: [[spoiler:Carlo Spoletta.]]
* DragonWithAnAgenda: Roger Loccoco.
* DrivenToSuicide: [[spoiler:Sonny Steelgrave]], [[spoiler:Mel Profitt]] (although he gets someone else to do the deed), [[spoiler:Herb Ketcher]], Johnny Coke Bottles, and Kay Gallagher (although she fails).
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Vinnie is abducted and apparently killed offscreen at the beginning of Season 4. [[UnexplainedRecovery He got better]] in time for the reunion movie.
* EccentricMillionaire: Prescott Wilson, although he's actually a ''billionaire''.
* EngineeredPublicConfession: [[spoiler:Winston Newquay]] falls prey to this old chestnut.
* EpiphanyTherapy: [=McPike=] and Loccoco use this on Mark Volchek.
* EvilAlbino: TheCartel's chief courier in Miami.
* EvilBrit: Winston Newquay.
* EvilDuo: International ArmsDealer Mel Profitt and his sister Susan. As teens they killed their foster brother (by hanging him upside down until he passed out, then throwing him in the swimming pool) when he found out about their [[BrotherSisterIncest incestuous relationship]]. Together they form a "psychotic critical mass", as [=McPike=] describes it.
* EvilOldFolks: Don Baglia, "No Money" Mahoney, Don Aiuppo, General Masters, Harriet Weiss, Charlie Boden, and Amado Guzman.
* FakeNationality: Austrian actor Maximillian Schell as the ''very'' Cuban Amado Guzman.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Roger Loccoco. Also the prosecutor Vinnie 'kills' to prove himself to Sonny, though an ambitious prosecutor willing to hide for years just to uphold an agent's cover is [[FridgeLogic a bit unlikely]].]]
* FamilyValuesVillain: Albert Cerrico.
* FatBastard: "No Money" Mahoney.
* FauxAffablyEvil: "Pat the Cat" Patrice, Rick Pinzolo, Admiral Strichen, and Amado Guzman.
* FireForgedFriends: Vinnie and [=McPike=].
* {{Frameup}}: The Counterfeit Yen arc is this for Vinnie and Kay Gallagher.
* FixingTheGame: [[spoiler:Winston Newquay rigs his AbsurdlyHighStakesGame with Isaac Twine.]]
* FourEyesZeroSoul: Sid Royce.
* FreakOut: Sid Royce has a doozy of one when his wife leaves him in "To Die in Bettendorf."
* FriendlyEnemies: Isaac Twine and Winston Newquay.
* TheGamblingAddict: Isaac Twine.
* {{Gaslighting}}: Roger Loccoco does this to Susan Profitt after [[spoiler:Mel's death]].
* GoAmongMadPeople: In "White Noise," Vinnie checks into a hospital for a physical and, due to the machinations of Daryl Elias, ends up committed to the psychiatric ward, where he is kept physically restrained and drugged at all times.
* GoodShepherd: Father Pete Tarranova and Father Pat.
* GovernmentConspiracy: A secret group within the Washington D.C. hierarchy plans to use Mel Profitt to finance a coup against a communist regime in the Caribbean. When Vinnie causes this plan to fail [[WronglyAccused they frame him]] as the mastermind behind another conspiracy to destabilise the Japanese economy with [[CounterfeitCash counterfeit yen]].
* GrumpyOldMan: Mike [=McPike=].
* HairTriggerTemper: Sonny Steelgrave, Mel Profitt, Calvin Hollis, Joey Grosset, and Albert Cerrico all suffer from this.
* HammerSpace: In the first episode TheMafia [[spoiler:is surprised to see an ArmsDealer bring a woman to their meeting. As things go badly we see her casually unbuttoning her skirt (how she does this [[NotDistractedByTheSexy without attracting attention]] is not explained), then she somehow produces an [[CoolGuns Ingram MAC-10]] and starts blazing away. Now admittedly the MAC-10 is quite small for an SMG, but it's still a large chunk of metal to be hiding [[TrouserSpace between your legs]] while wearing a tight skirt. It's worth noting that this was based on a scene in ''The Underground Empire'' where the narrator noticed two women at an arms deal were concealing firearms between their legs just from the way they sat down.]]
* HauledBeforeASenateSubcommittee: Happens twice to Vinnie regarding the above conspiracies; first as a witness, then as a suspect.
* HelloAttorney: Hillary Stein.
* HeroicBSOD: Vinnie considers resigning after his first target (Atlantic City mob boss Sonny Steelgrave) commits suicide rather than face prison; when the suicide of another target reminds him of this event he suffers a complete breakdown and flees the OCB. The protagonist of the Garment Trade Arc, retired agent John Henry Raglin, suffers PTSD from an earlier case where two whistleblowers were murdered.
* HollywoodHeartAttack: [[spoiler:Isaac Twine]] suffers two of them in "Living and Dying in 4/4 Time."
* HookerWithAHeartOfGold: Lacey Versailles, madam of the Corvette Club brothel in the Lynchboro arc.
* HouseboatHero: Michael Santana lives on a broken-down houseboat after he gets disbarred.
* HumiliationConga: [[spoiler:Winston Newquay]] experiences an epic one. [[SanitySlippage He does not handle it well]].
* IHaveNoSon: Said by Carlotta Terranova after her son goes to prison. [[spoiler:He eventually tells her about his double life, and all is forgiven.]]
* IOwnThisTown:
** Mark Volchek, through his ownership of Volchek Mining and Volchek Lumber, controls the town of Lynchboro, Washington with an iron fist.
** Prescott Wilson literally does own an entire town in Utah.
* IdenticalGrandson: Vinnie Terranova's dad (in an episode based around his father's diary). But they gave him a moustache.
* IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten:
** In the first episode Sonny Steelgrave, already partly suspicious of Vinnie, declares the only way he can prove himself is to [[spoiler:shoot a prosecutor who's been hounding him.]]
** Roger Loccoco has Vinnie join him on a hit before bringing him into the Proffits' business.
** Humorously subverted in the Lynchboro arc: Vinnie thinks Volchek is testing him this way when he tells him to "get rid of somebody," but Volchek is really just telling him to throw him off the property. When Vinnie shows up with an urn ostensibly containing the troublemaker's remains, Volchek is shocked.
* ImmigrantParents: Both Terranova and Santana.
* IncrediblyLamePun: After loan shark Johnny "Coke Bottles" (for his thick glasses) is DrivenToSuicide, the next day's headline reads "Bottles Cashes In"
* InitiationCeremony: Played for humor when Vinnie becomes a made man -- Sonny thinks it's no longer relevant in this day and age, while none of the old-time mobsters can agree on what the correct procedure is.
* InsufferableGenius: Mel Profitt and Johnny Medley.
* IntrepidReporter: Mark Rogosheke.
* JewishMother: Hillary Stein's mother, Rachel.
* KarmaHoudini:
** [[spoiler:Knox Pooley]] avoids prosecution, gets to keep most of the money he made, and is last seen selling condos in Florida.
** [[spoiler:Charlie Boden]] is never even suspected of wrongdoing, let alone charged with anything.
** Subverted with [[spoiler:Winston Newquay]], who wriggles out of criminal charges but nevertheless sees his entire life utterly destroyed.
* KarmicDeath: [[spoiler:Amado Guzman, the self-proclaimed "archangel of betrayal," is murdered with the aid of his manservant, who was secretly loyal to the death squad Guzman ratted out.]]
* KickTheSonOfABitch: Rick Pinzolo really deserves what Raglin does to him.
* KillerCop: Detective Jack Phillips, [[spoiler:Sheriff Stem]], and Assistant Commissioner Charlie Boden.
* LadyMacbeth: Gina Grosset.
* LighterAndSofter: The Dead Dog Records arc is this to the rest of the show. The crimes under investigation are copyright evasion, embezzlement, and tax fraud; violence is almost nonexistent and on one occasion PlayedForLaughs; and the only deaths are two accidents and a heart attack.
* MadnessMantra: Mel Profitt's "Only the toes, knows".
* TheMafia: Sonny Steelgrave, Garment Trade and Mafia War arcs.
* MakeItLookLikeAnAccident: Daryl Jenkins is dealt with this way in "Dead Right."
* ManOfWealthAndTaste: Winston Newquay, Charlie Boden, and Amado Guzman.
* MissionControl: Daniel Burroughs, AKA "Lifeguard", a disabled agent who communicates mostly via telephone (posing as Vinnie's "Uncle Mike"). Vinnie calls him daily to pass on and receive information; he also has codewords for when he's in trouble.
* MobWar: [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Mafia War arc]].
* MorallyBankruptBanker: Amado Guzman.
* MrExposition: This seems to be Mark Sirmac's role in the OCB.
* NeverMyFault: General Masters is pathological about this, even to the extent of claiming that the disturbing dreams he's had were actually Admiral Strichen's.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Prescott Wilson is based on Howard Hughes.
* ObliviouslyEvil: Mark Volchek.
* OrderliesAreCreeps: The head orderly in "White Noise" certainly is.
* OutWithABang: [[spoiler:Eddie Tempest and Claudia Newquay.]]
* OverlordJr: Aldo Baglia tries mightily to be this, but fails. Rick Pinzolo does a better job of it.
* PermaStubble: Vinnie sports one whenever he's not working a case.
* PetTheDog: Most villains have these moments at one time or another, leading to {{Wangst}} on the part of the hero. It's Vinnie's own mother who points out that Adolf Hitler and Attila the Hun had moments of genuine compassion too, but that didn't offset the evil that they did.
* PointyHairedBoss: Dewitt Clipton and Winston Chambers.
* PoliceBrutality:
** During the Pilgrims of Promise arc, the NYPD thinks Vinnie killed an off-duty cop and they beat nine kinds of hell out of him before [=McPike=] and Elias manage to spring him. When the real killer is arrested, he's last seen antagonizing these same cops...and is later [[TheCoronerDothProtestTooMuch reported to have hanged himself in his cell]].
** During the Rag Trade arc, Raglin pistol whips Pinzolo and breaks his jaw. [[spoiler:At the end of the arc, he guns Pinzolo down in cold blood to protect Vinnie's cover.]]
* PoliticallyIncorrectVillain:
** Knox Pooley and his follower Calvin Hollis, leaders of the white supremacist group [[ThoseWackyNazis Pilgrims of Promise]]. [[spoiler:Pooley turns out to be a ConMan just in it for the money, while Hollis suffers a VillainousBreakdown after Pooley rejects him.]]
** Mel Profitt has a tendency to hurl ethnic slurs at Vinnie when he's upset with him.
** In "Sins of the Father," a sting is blown because Carlo Spoletta refuses to do business with black people.
** The corrupt CIA agent White has a few choice things to say about "Latin males."
* PopCulturedBadass: Dagoberto Machado.
* ProfessionalKiller: Roger Loccoco [[spoiler:who turns out to be a DeepCoverAgent for the CIA.]]
* ProperlyParanoid: In his intro episode, Mel Profitt causes a gang war by insisting that an associate's fiancee is a DeepCoverAgent for the federal government. Despite the fact that his only "evidence" is that her family is from Virginia, he turns out to be right.
** Sonny Steelgrave becomes suspicious of Vinnie when he's told that among a number of driving licenses Vinnie has, is one from Quantico (also in Virginia).
-->"So, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_Corps_Base_Quantico he was a Marine]]."
-->"Quantico is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FBI_Academy where they train federal agents]]."
* PsychoForHire: Cruz Machado.
* RewardedAsATraitorDeserves: "Pat the Cat" Patrice plans to have Vinnie killed after Vinnie helps him assassinate Sonny Steelgrave, because "I despise a betrayer."
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: The Mel Profitt arc (and the pilot episode where Sonny Steelgrave gets into a hotel gunfight with a weapons dealer) draws from the non-fiction {{doorstopper}} ''The Underground Empire'' by James Mills.
* RunningGag: People love to make fun of Rick Pinzolo's juicer. When [[spoiler:David Sternberg]] finally loses it, he takes great pleasure in destroying the contraption in front of Pinzolo.
* SanitySlippage:
** Mel Profitt wasn't exactly a paragon of rationality to begin with, but he starts to come completely unglued in the second half of his story arc. [[spoiler:His sister Susan loses her mind after his death.]]
** [[spoiler:Winston Newquay]] has a complete mental breakdown and ends up institutionalized.
* ScaryBlackMan:
** The machete-wielding ex-Ton Ton Macoute boss in the Guzman arc. When he makes the fatal mistake of insulting Guzman's manhood, however...
** Hilariously subverted when music mogul Newquay is locked up in a cell with a ScaryBlackMan who's twice as big as he is. Newquay clearly [[PrisonRape fears the worst]], only to have his fellow inmate join him in an enthusiastic duet of "Soul Man".
* SchrodingersCat: Ken Wahl returned for a reunion movie in 1996, with no explanation of what happened to him in the Guzman arc.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveConnections:
** Winston Newquay has heavy political pull and isn't afraid to throw it around.
** Amado Guzman's drug and money laundering operations have been bulletproof for decades because of his involvement in CIA covert ops in Latin America.
* ScrewTheRulesIHaveMoney: Prescott Wilson rolls like that. And it works, too: he muscles his way into a closed-door session of the Senate, tells everyone off without even bothering to be sworn in to testify, and walks right back out. No one bothers to stop him.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: Amado Guzman pulls this on both Santana and Dagoberto Machado. [[spoiler:Santana passes, but Machado fails.]]
* SerialKiller: The Stun Gun Killer in the Lynchboro arc.
* SesquipedalianLoquaciousness: Mark Volchek likes to indulge in this.
* SmugSnake: Rick Pinzolo, Winston Newquay, and Amado Guzman.
* TheSociopath: Rick Pinzolo and Jack Bishop.
* SpicyLatina: Dahlia Mendez.
* StarMakingRole: The Mel Profitt arc put KevinSpacey on the map.
* TheStarscream:
** John Kousakis, to Harriet Weiss.
** Dagoberto Machado, to Amado Guzman.
* StuffedInTheFridge: [[spoiler:Karen Maloy]] and [[spoiler:Dahlia Mendez]].
* SubordinateExcuse: [[spoiler:Admiral Strichen]] is having an affair with his ''aide-de-camp''.
* {{Superdickery}}: The promos for "The One That Got Away" showed Vinnie threatening to shoot Bobby Travis and Winston Newquay, neither of which happened in the actual episode.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: After Ken Wahl broke his ankle in an on-set accident, he was replaced by Anthony Denison (playing John Henry Raglin). This was WrittenInInfirmity as Vinnie having his leg broken by loan-shark Johnny "Coke Bottles". After a dispute with the producers Ken Wahl was replaced by actor Steven Bauer, playing disbarred Cuban-American prosecutor Michael Santana. Vinnie had ostensibly been killed by a death squad while investigating the smuggling of Salvadorean refugees.
* TeethClenchedTeamwork:
** Vinnie and [=McPike=] ''really'' don't like each other at the start of the series.
** Santana and [=McPike=] despise Winston Chambers (and vice versa).
* TookALevelInJerkass: Daryl Elias, in the episode "White Noise."
* TownWithADarkSecret: Lynchboro, Seattle; run as the personal fiefdom of Mark Volchek [[spoiler:and unknown to him, harbouring a SerialKiller.]] It turns out that Volchek is actually an IneffectualSympatheticVillain. [[spoiler:He suffers from a phobia of death, so intends to build a [[HumanPopsicle cyrogenic storage hospital]] for the entire town so no-one will ever die.]] Frank [=McPike=] and Roger Loccoco [[EpiphanyTherapy snap him out of it]] though.
* TheTriadsAndTheTongs: They show up in the Mafia Wars arc, where they are portrayed as RuthlessForeignGangsters who supply bombs to terrorists.
* TrophyWife: Claudia Newquay.
* TroubleEntendre: Mark Volchek orders Vinnie to "get rid" of a teenager who tried to shoot him, and is shocked when Vinnie returns with a jar [[FakingTheDead supposedly containing the boy's ashes]]. They decide on a codeword to avoid future "misunderstandings".
** In the Mafia Wars arc, Don Aiuppo tells Vinnie that Cericco is planning to have him killed, so Vinnie is to follow him and see who he meets. "They will be the assassins." Vinnie reports this to Frank [=McPike=].
--->'''Vinnie:''' Aiuppo wants me to follow Cericco.
--->'''Frank:''' He wants you to ''kill'' him.
--->'''Vinnie:''' He didn't say that.
--->'''Frank:''' He doesn't have to.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Exploited by Santana in "Dead Right."
* VigilanteMan: After white supremicists murder his brother Pete (a Catholic priest) Vinnie considers killing the man responsible. Vinnie eventually decides to bring him to justice [[spoiler:only for the villain to be killed in custody by local police for his role in the death of a black officer.]]
* VillainWithGoodPublicity: General Masters and Amado Guzman.
* VillainousBreakdown: Happens at least once per story arc, usually in epic, scenery-chewing fashion.
* VillainousIncest: Mel and Susan Profitt are shown as strongly as possible (given late-'80s standards and practices) to have an incestuous relationship.
* VisionaryVillain[=/=]WellIntentionedExtremist: Mark Volchek.
* TheVoiceless: Cruz Machado, who had his tongue cut out in prison.
* WealthyYachtOwner: Mel Profitt lives on a mega-yacht with its own helipad.
* WhyAreYouNotMySon: Amado Guzman starts to feel this way about Santana, even to the point of referring to him as "son" after a while.
* WickedCultured: Winston Newquay and Albert Cerrico.

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