‘Magic City’ Series Finale Review

Published 2 years ago by

Jeffrey Dean Morgan Magic City Sins of the Father Magic City Series Finale Review

In the world of television (the business side, especially), the future is rarely certain. Showrunners often have to make critical creative choices with regard to their storylines simply because the decision on whether or not said story will continue officially arrives after the season has already been put to bed.

Now, although Mitch Glazer’s ’60s-set Miami-mob story with a hotel twist, Magic City, failed to receive the go-ahead for a third season, at least word came early enough that viewers were aware that the season 2 finale, ‘Sins of the Father,’ would serve as the concluding chapter to the series. This offered fans a sense of closure going into the finale that would not have been there otherwise (see: the cancellation of Boss and the longstanding, but recently refuted, rumors of a two-hour movie to wrap up dangling plot threads and, hopefully, answer why Kitty’s wardrobe wound up on Kathleen Robertson in SEAL Team Six).

Still, even if their runs are brief, most shows on Starz have it pretty good in the beginning. Magic City, like Boss before it, was given an extremely early second season order (before the series premiere, actually), and even the as-yet unaired, Michael Bay-produced pirate-drama, Black Sails, will see its life as a series extended until 2015 at least. Now, a lot of this has to do with the business side of things: It makes sense for the network to extend the run of these shows and make them more attractive (and therefore more lucrative) on the foreign market. And while that decision may also be seen as an indicator of the network’s impressions of the series, that early second season order can sometimes cause the writers to delay the progression of the storyline in an effort to save something for the next batch of episodes.

Steven Strait and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in Magic City Sins of the Father Magic City Series Finale Review

At times, this certainly seemed to be the case with Magic City. This series was, by all accounts, riding the coattails of the period-drama craze started back in 2007 by Matthew Weiner and his existential ad men and women over at AMC. And while the sun-soaked bodies, classic cars and white sandy beaches of 1960s Miami held a certain aesthetic allure that certainly ticked all the boxes in terms of how a prestige, period-set cable drama should look circa 2012, at just eight episodes a season, the narrative of Magic City could be, at times, as devoid of actual content as Don Draper’s bottle of rye on a Friday afternoon.

As far as those narrative dry spells are concerned, they may have been the result of having too singular a story to tell and too much time in which to tell it. For all the subplots of Danny interning with D.A. Jack Klein, Stevie carrying on an affair with Lily Diamond – while trying to get out from under his father’s shadow – and all the things (political and otherwise) going on with Victor Lazaro and his daughter Mercedes, Magic City was only really interested in Ike Evans’ quest to regain complete ownership of the Miramar Playa and prevent Ben ‘The Butcher’ Diamond from orchestrating the legalization of gambling in Florida.

To that end, the finale does bring some closure to the overall narrative in that Ike sees his professional life made whole with the reacquisition of the Playa, but it opens a whole other can of worms when his family life crumbles around him. While it appears he’s lost Danny, Stevie and Vera (to Stevie, no less), Ike’s accomplishments are further tempered by the death sentences being handed out like mojitos at a poolside cabana. Characters from Sy Berman to Bel Jaffe and Judi Silver wind up meeting their maker, while Ben Diamond’s twisted voyeurism nearly costs him his life – but Jack Klein’s assurances at Ben’s hospital bedside suggest ‘The Butcher’ may be awaiting a fate worse than death.

Shalim Ortiz and Dominik Garia Lorido in Magic City Sins of the Father Magic City Series Finale Review

No, it’s not a complete ending in the truest sense of the word, too much is left undeclared and underdeveloped, likely to have been picked up in the third season that will never be. But as far as unplanned conclusions go, it’s not altogether unsatisfactory either.

When you take into consideration how significant the progression had been in the last few weeks, it’s clear Glazer and his writing staff were equipping the ‘Sins of the Father’ to work as a finale for either the season or the entire series. But more importantly, it illustrates just how single-minded the series could be, and how, unlike other shows that excel in their single-mindedness (e.g., Breaking Bad), Magic City could sometimes be unsure of when to incorporate important plot points or major developments.

In that regard, although plenty is left unsaid (which will certainly be a sore point for devoted viewers), there was a great deal of heavy lifting required for a single episode, and the finale should be commended for managing to focus and shore up as much as it did. In the end, it’s just a shame the series only managed to find that sense of purpose and progress in its final hours.


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  1. I guess I should watch this show now… Oh! Jeffrey Dean Morgan is all freed up for Batman. ;)

  2. Mr. Glazer: do what you need to do, shop the series around, FX or TNT, this show MUST go on. Screw the critics, the only thing their small minds can focus on is the glory that is Mark Burnett, and not the quality of writing, direction, photography and casting, that is Magic City. Please don’t let the fools of Starz destroy a remarkable show such as this. It’ll be sorely missed, but grandly recieved when some studio head with a mind and eye for a hit that isn’t reality will back you 100%. You’ve a lot of fans out here. Don’t let us down

    • I totally agree….this was the “Best” series ever on T.V. I am stunned and saddened to see them cancel this GREAT show!!!!
      Boss to me was never believable…the writing was very scattered, Kelsey
      Grammer is and always will be “Fraser” and the fact that the re-runs are
      on all day did’nt help.
      Magic City was the greatest…..I hope and pray that it will be picked up
      by another network…..I for one will cancel STARZ…they don’t give a show
      a chance to get off the ground and they cancel. Also, waiting a year for 8 episodes didn’t help…..Friday night in the summer? I don’t think so.
      How is the petition going? Anyone know?

  3. To the cast and crew. You did a great job here. And I thank you for the entertainment. The show was engaging and seductive. And I am sorry there will not be a next season. As I am sure many fans of the show will agree…

    • I am currently on a feature with 4 of the crew from the show including the the two ADs and the production sound team and they’re told that the creator is trying to shop it around for either another network to pick it up or at least a movie to wrap it up. I hope so because the amount of work and stress these guys go through is insane and it’s a great show!

  4. I agree, Bob. Great job re the cast and crew. Too bad the show at times meandered and didn’t seem to know where to go with some of the story lines. I doubt there will be a follow up with the series continuing elsewhere, especially since this finale really did seem to be a total series wrap up in a lot of ways. I will miss Magic City a lot, but at least can pull out the dvd’s every so often to enjoy it once more.

  5. i think that if you put this show somewhere like FX or AMC it would be quite successful. I just think that Starz has the lowest subscriptions of all the pay cable networks.There hasnt been really HBO shows that have been cancelled other than HUNG that I watched regularly and Showtime just cancelled the BORGIAS but none of my other shows on there. Starz has cancelled two shows BOSS and MAGIC CITY which are high quality tv because people werent watching. well then take it to FX and AMC because a larger number of people have those channels already. I would keep watching for sure.

  6. I’m just about done with Starz, might cancel the channel and not watch it anymore.

    Boss, Camelot and Magic City. I can live with Camelot getting killed cause it wasnt great but Boss and Magic City were great shows that fans invested in and after two seasons they get s*** on by the network.

    Why should I even watch Black Sails? We know it will get two seasons and then get axed by the network leaving the story unfinished.

    Sucks cause season 3 would have been interesting, the whole Stevie/Vera thing, Ben on trial,looking to beat the case and then going after Ike. What Mercedes is doing with that guy, did she get an abortion? Cause he asked if she wanted the baby and then they call Vera and say she lost it. I think she got rid of it to be with that guy instead of Danny.

    Then you have Ikes relationship with Danny and Stevie, would Vera sleep with Stevie, would Ike find out, how would that play out. Then his relationship with Meg.

    Just sucks that good shows get axed and terrible shows keep getting picked up.

    • SO TRUE. Axe this show and then bringing on The White Queen. Who gives a f – - k about this stupid show and, like you said, why even bother watching it, they will just cancel anyway. MORONS, TOTAL MORONS!

  7. To the folks who made Magic City – please don’t leave it and us devoted fans out in the cold. Put it on a REAL tv station that everyone has and watch the ratings soar! There are so many questions to be answered. Did Ben Diamond survive and go to jail? Did Lily get everything, including Stevie, or did Vera and he get together? Did Meg get the man she has loved all her life, her brother-in-law Ike? COME ON GUYS, DONT LEAVE US ALL HANGING!

    • Ok. Great show. Over. Not just canceling Starz (MC reason I subscribed) but Dish altogether. Very disappointed.

  8. Hey guys…do you really think that Vera was really going to sleep with Stevie? im stuck trying to figure out how on one hand she could be professing to Mercedes how much she loves Ike and then on one hand *potentially show up to Stevie’s house to screw him? i dont get that? is it b/c she was caught in a trance simply b/c Stevie told her how much her beauty froze him? it’s not like she was a woman seeking to find her self esteem through some twisted romance/fling -ie, she no longer felt alive or wanted in the marriage.

    It’s not like Ike made her feel ignored or undesired???they always seemed to have super chemistry. Is she really that shallow of a character to run to Stevie (after professing be IN love with Ike) simply b/c Ike failed her pop quiz and chose to protect the hotel?

    Out of all the foreshadowing and inferences being drawn, this one bugs me the most. WTF could stevie do for Vera that Ike hadnt already done or was doing? And wht would Stevie need vera to ‘come back for him’ per se?

    It’s like one minute she is his concerned step-mom and the next we are left to think she is gonna f* her step=son who is currently in a tif with daddy.

    We know Stevie likes to play with fire as he continued to bang the butchers wife but IF this series or movie picked up – one of the first things we should see is Vera drive off in a moment of CLARITY.

    PS – Meg’s kiss to Ike was a tad aggressive. i get the weird chemistry and see Ike trying to hold on to any memory of his wife through Meg but on a larger scale even if he wants to bang Meg one good time or even get with her, what is the end game here – she is now gonna be the *potential new step-mom of our beloved Lauren????…and Danny…..and Stevie (who ***could be with Vera)

    i LOVE the sexual energy of the show but C’mon – dont make it weird. at least let a *couple of the characters know when to pull back or show retraint OR show retraint for them ie – lets at least show Vera driving away from Stevie’s window; that way we are left to think that they do care for each other as family and not potential F* buddies.

    good day

    • @j2.0 -
      You’re thinking too far into the whole Vera/Stevie thing.. She has the adrenaline and emotions built up throughout the last 2-3 episodes, the betrayal from Ike sleeping over Megs house and choosing to ask Meg for help over hurting her, plus seeing him clearly not care about losing the only people that should matter in his life because of a hotel, and then losing the baby on top of that. I can definitely see her impulsively doing something she will regret in the morning. I’ve heard of more messed up stories, but that’s just me.

      I also think she was trying to say all the ‘right’ things to Mercedes just to get her to have the baby, clinging onto the hope that maybe she can still make things right with Ike, because she failed to mention ANYTHING in the conversation about her doubting Ike’s intentions, even after Mercedes comment about her trusting Ike.

      And Ike did not kiss Meg, she kissed him.. quit forcefully. I completely agree it was weird, but after seeing Ike not kiss her back and the look on his face while she walked away, I think it was clear that Vera was right and he truly did not think Meg had further motives up until that point.

      I’m really gonna miss this show.. Olga Kurylenko is the main reason I got hooked on it, she’s one of the sexiest women alive!

      • @John – i totally agree about Olga. sexiest thing….

        See above – i said that “meg’s kiss to ike…”…i never felt while watching that Ike was ok with the advance from Meg. he was clearly taken aback so to speak.

        Re: Vera regretting ‘it’ in the morning…I think its perfectly OK for stevie press the issue b/c it’s clear he has disregard for many things. he is a young gangster per se.

        But what olga’s character rep’s doesnt/shouldnt really allow for those types of mistakes. everyone knows that Ike is all about the hotel and trying to clean up a mistake to let the mob into his business but im trying to see where getting some late night d* from stevie levels the playing field for her character.

        I guess i really like her character so im a little over protective over it.

        think about it – with Klein pulling back danny will eventually see that his dad is not *so bad and his dad got his hands a tad dirty – he can come back home once things blow over.

        Stevie could see that the butcher was a threat and maybe with him out the pic he and his dad can mend things. Ike gets hotel (partnered with Meg) -fights off weird energy from Meg but still LOVES Vera. Steve and Lily continue being f* buddies.

        except for one thing – ‘hey dad – i banged your wife (my young step mom) while i was mad at you’

        hey ike honey – slipped and fell on your sons d* b/c i was hurting inside and jealous of aunt Meg.

        Again – i get that she would show up to Stevies in form admittance that Ike chose the hotel over her feelings, have a stiff drink, cig, cry together and leave OR jsut drive off once they realize they ‘see’ each other.

        i may be over-thinking it BUT at the end of the day but all im saying is please (show writers) dont reduce Vera to one of the Mira Mars resident whores. there’s no coming back from that.

        i hope the show does get picked up in some way so the story can continue. we just cant whore out VEra b/c her feelings got hurt. Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe if she slept with someone else in a moment of weakness BUT NOT one of the evans boys if you feel me.

        its funny – i never posted anything in my internet life but this one got me riled up…im around televison writers everyday and i know that no matter how ‘tested’ there are certain things a character just can not do…push the line. be suggestive, but dont cross the line.


        • @jerry 2.0 Hahaha I can see what you mean about every “burned bridge” between the Evans family could be mended at the end of the day except for something as bad as “Hey I just f***ed my step-son”. Like I said, maybe it’s just me that gets that vibe from Vera. The second Stevie slammed the door and got in her face her reaction to it was not what I expected. Her body language and voice, how she stared at his lips instead of his eyes, I actually took a bet with my friend at that second that she was going to go back there I could just feel it. Maybe it’s from her background of being an exotic dancer in a foreign country and her past f*** buddy relationships popping up, but I always felt like she was trying to fit this “good girl” role that really wasn’t her and that she was going to do something “bad” and show her real character(although this may be over the top). Plus her story about being forced into sex at the age of 12. Combine all that with the tragedies occurring, the sexual attraction, and Stevie’s history of not thinking anything through before acting, I could see them doing at least something wrong.

          With that being said, it would absolutely “cross the line” as you say, and it would be very hard to come back from, even if they tried to just hide it from everyone like he did with Lily. I do believe she would go upstairs tho, maybe kiss him and then realize “what the hell am I doing?”. Or maybe even Stevie shows a change of character and stops her knowing that this would officially destroy everything in both of their lives. After all, that is the one good quality that Stevie kept up with throughout the series, his loyalty to his family.

          PS- I just found out Olga is actually dating Danny Huston in real life?? What in the hell is this world coming to lol, props to that dude!

          • @John

            how’s it going. Glad you wrote back. I still haven’t gotten this out of my system yet, LOL – I suppose it’s worth a few more exchanges or at least keep this dialogue going son the dang writers catch wind and know what their marching orders are.

            I will caveat this by saying that the writers must be really good or really Sh*tE but they have us talking about this and being around writers and producers – this is exactly what they want!!!

            Here is the other sad part – if this show never gets picked up or if they don’t’ give into the viewer demand to make good on some sort of mini series to tie up loose ends, WE WILL NEVER KNOW AND BE LEFT WITH THIS NAST TASTE IN OUR MOUTHS – sick!

            Oh – one more thing. I’ve seen several characters from shows (female) who have went out and f* or about to f* someone else b/c they were in some distant emotional place and figured they could reel it in while getting the d* from some other dude.

            Breaking Bad
            Mad Men
            Sons of Anarchy

            I don’t want you to think I have something against seeing stuff like this play out in a script. 1. None of these women are Olga (I mean Vera lol) and I know that stuff like this happens in real life.

            Its just super stupid to let that type of character even consider getting busy with the step son. Writers are tricky so I could very well see them in a moment of emotional support of each other as opposed to letting us think they were gonna screw each other. I could totally see them misdirecting us. BUT others on other posts or season recaps seem to think that Ike has lost Vera to Stevie.

            One of the main issues for me is that they did not do a great job in visually expressing the hardship this was causing on the marriage – It just seemed like Vera was casually expressing her concern. I never felt like she drew a line in the sand and dared Ike to cross it. Even after she left Stevie the first time she wen and cuddled up with Ike on the couch I think.

            My response is getting long winded so let me knock down some of the points real quick:

            Question – who were the f* buddies that popped up besides that one dancer dude? Case and point Vera – go f* one of them if you really need to – NOT the guy you been trying to establish a pseudo step mom relationship with as the new woman of the Evans house. Duh!

            To your point, if Vera wants to show her ‘bad b*tch’ side, how about do so while going hard at Meg behind Ike’s back. Handling business her own way to get even for Meg trying to over step he ‘bounds’. Thts what the kate bundy character does from Sons of Anarchy (she goes behind Clay and handles her shiznit).

            She is also the character who almost F* one of Clay bikers buddies – BUT she is a biker chick. Vera represents regalness. Setting aside some of her passions to be mrs Ike Evans etc etc. im rambling…..

            I just thought of this but it would be super funny IF after a few beats, we saw Lily come up behind stevie at the Window so emotionally he knows Vera broke down but Vera sees Lily and understands that she was about to make a HUGE STUPID A$$ bone head tramp mistake. The only thing she was really doing was driving over there to get some tissue from Stevie to wipe her eyes and to admit that she realizes she will not ALWAYS be first. Ie , the hotel business is who Ike is.

            I hope that Stevie would show some restraint in the end but I expect that from Vera. Ie – stand strong. Keep your legs closed. Uplift your husband in the tough time and make stevie realize that his d* does not get access to every slit and although he was right about Ike’s decision, going forward he made the righ move to rid the family of the mob even though there may be MANY other issues coming.

            *****How the hell did you find out that Olga was dating the butcher? Do you have intel about if the dang show will get any more traction.

            Kudos to the butcher indeed. I bet he could give a shi* about his character now that he bagged the real prize.

            Jerry 2.0

    • Get her pregnant. Ike could not get Vera pregnant. Stevie will get her knocked up. That is what he is good at.

  9. Well, that sucks. A tv movie would be nice. The finale was ok.


  10. I read that they considered a two hour episode to wrap the series up but someone at Starz put the kibosh on it. Too bad, because an extra hour wouldn’t have felt like they were rushing to jam so much material into a short time frame. I’m wondering if they had an entirely different ending planned, more suited for a season finale as opposed to a series finale, and then substituted it with this final product once they knew the plug was being pulled.

  11. PLEASE PLEASE….. I AM BEGGING bring this series back…… i feel robbed

  12. I’m still upset about the cancellation of Boss. Is The Stars Network run by people who cannot furnish a complete through. If Magic City does not return. I will cancel the Stars Network forever!!!!!

  13. Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Batman ? Sure, he could do it. Personally, though, I’d like to see him as a leader type in a really good military film. He was in “The Losers” and “Red Dawn” remake, but deserves way better. If they ever did a “Dirty Dozen” remake, I think he’d be a great Major Reisman.

  14. A fabulous show, first rate cast, plenty of subplots, gorgeous scenery, interesting time in the history of this country, so many directions it COULD have taken. What a shame, what might have been, much like the too early demise of “Deadwood.” Big, big mistake.

  15. Man, really upset the show was canceled. Great show, it was starting to increase with quality like every episode to.

    Also, so upset Judi died. She didn’t deserve that. One of the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.

  16. I enjoyed the season finale. Sad to see it go. I thought all the actors were beyond superb on this show and a few of them I had never heard of before. I was hoping when Vera showed up infront of Stevie’s pad, that she wouldn’t even consider sleeping with her stepson. That is so messed up that the writers would even attempt to go there. No, no, no. Eeew. Stevie is a walking, talking, disease infected pimp. Gross as hell! I’m glad The Butcher survived, but wtf happened with Lily? Why are STevie and Lily still alive? I wanted them dead. RIP Judy. You were one of my favorite characters. RIP Sy, Bel and other mobsters. I have a feeling it was either Ike or Meg that had someone put the bomb in Sy’s car. I was hoping the Chicago mob would come and kill Ike. Ike is a dirty bastard. Meg is a dirty whore. Didn’t understand the whole Madame Renee’s WhoreHouse if they weren’t going to go further into it. Guess it made for a good backdrop to kill poor Judy. Danny is as bad as Ike and Stevie. PRaying Lauren takes after her deceased mother. Mercedes and that Cuban guy running off together and lying to Vera about the miscarriage was like whatever. I think they could have ended it better and finished a few of the stories. Fingers crossed another cable channel will pick it up.

  17. Great show. Well crafted. Passionate. Best subplots around.

  18. I loved this show and hate that it’s been cancelled! I also enjoyed reading all these posts. My big question about the ending is what did the drawings in the sand that Ike made mean?

  19. Not sure, but I think the drawing was his hotel, especially when he drew the circular shape that kind of looked like the Miramar Playa logo. Sad, with both sons gone and his wife going off the deep end, looks like that’s all ‘ol Ike has left. Love the symbolism that the series ends with him on the beach, alone, with his hotel in the background.

    • @Lina & John…

      yup….that’s exactly what he was etching in the sand…


      • Save this show!!!!

        Move the night from friday night and viewing audience will go up by 30+%!!!

        Its better than anything else on tv!!! Don’t drop it.

  20. Magic City is definitely one of the best dramas in recent history. It should have had at least one more season!

  21. What did Ike write in the sand at the end of the finale? Thanks.

  22. I loved this show it would be a shame that it doesn’t continue. It really didn’t have a fair run. Please try to save it. Loved the actors, the era, the clothing….:)

  23. Please try try try to get Magic City on another network. The cast, crew and OMG the set – the best show on tv. Tried to cancel Starz, but in a bundle package we have – so not watching the channel at all. So many questions, so many roads each character can go down – so frigging mad that this show was cancelled. I agree with other comment, a show that was not reality, that had excellent writers. Come on people – please us. Will never give up hope

  24. Such a great show. I wish it wasn’t cancel. What an awesome show… I love the fashion… Please don’t cancel this show

    • It really is pretty incomprehensible that Magic City and Boss would be nixed by a company that would keep producing Sleeper Cell to the point of a slapstick. Re. magic City, It must have been expensive to produce but it was quality work. I would have at least liked a comprehensive closer.
      Well, suits are all about $, art is all about art. Im glad a feature will be in production.

  25. I loved Magic City and Boss. The fact that Starz is forever canceling it’s good shows, just makes me not want to start watching anymore of their series. Why bother?