There’s an interesting, thoughtful article that touches on the image of the Vietnam veteran in TV cop shows and film in the August 31 The Phil Nugent Experience blog. Titled “In Country,” (where have we heard that one before?), Nugent’s essay begins with his take on the new AMC-TV conspiracy thriller series “Rubican,” and then morphs into his analysis about “the way Vietnam began to be used [on TV and in the movies] in the early 1980s.”
Nugent talks about early Nam vet TV characters, including Thomas Magnum (Tom Selleck, below), Sonny Crockett (portrayed by Don Johnson, above) and Lt. Castillo on Miami Vice, and the gang on the original A Team. Then he makes the point that most Vietnam veteran TV characters in the previous decade “were less likely to be chasing crooks than to be the crooks.” And he is right; it seemed like every week in every Kojak or Hawaii Five-O episode the crazed psycho killer was–you guessed it, a disgruntled, disturbed Rambo type Nam vet.
Nugent then goes on to give his take on the execrable Rambo movies, as well as Platoon, Missing in Action, Uncommon Valor,The Green Berets, and the movie M*A*S*H, as well as what he calls “grubby little exploitation movies” such as The Losers and Deathdream.
It’s well worth a perusal.