Xander Berkeley: One Man's Journey Through Pop Culture Television

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6. Miami Vice - 1987 - "Like a Hurricane"

Miami Vice - 1987 - "Like a Hurricane"
Xander was in an episode of Miami Vice with Sheena Easton, playing her music manager, in which he gets killed by cassette tape. He gets killed in a lot of his episodes of television! "I'm warning other actors, I think there are a few of them out there who think they have more, but I am working on a definitive death reel, and I just want to say that there is a lot of material to go on!"

The fellow who directed "Like a Hurricane" just won an Emmy for directing an episode of Fargo. "I remember when he came up to me, a very bone-dry Brit, and he leaned into me, and he said 'so, you put the cassett into the cassett player and the car blows up. Do you suppose there's anything you might say prior to putting the tape in? Maybe we need to draw a little attention to the fact there is something strange about this tape, something that doesn't sit quite right with you? Hmmm? Not quite right before you put it in, a qualm you might have?'

And I said, 'What if I pick it up, wave it around like it's heavy, and say, 'What is this, heavy metal?' I always like a pun. He says, 'I love it,' and he walks away. We shot it, and that stayed in the picture. What is this heavy metal? Kaboom! He always called him Tommy Blow as if he was addicted to cocaine and that's why he was behaving the way that he was. Always going out to an extreme behavior."

7. The Outer Limits - 1996 - "Falling Star"

The Outer Limits - 1996 - "Falling Star"
"That's typical behavior for a music mananger. And then did you know? A little bit of pop culture puff, Sheena and I were rejoined by the fates in Outler Limits ten years later. Again for me to play her music manager, but this time as her philandering husband slash music manager. What did you think of that tangled web I wove?"

8. Miami Vice - 1989 - "Victims of Circumstance"

Miami Vice - 1989 - "Victims of Circumstance"
"And you spotted that I was not only on that double episode, but because Colin and I were pals, when he was looking for opportunities to bring me back down and hang out in Miami again, he cast me as a different character altogether in a different episode and that was kind of fun," Xander said. [After I giggled at him for wearing one of the biggest, slouchiest 80s suits I've seen on TV lately, Xander continued].

"That concept was what if this was a guy who was really good at what he does but likes to go on a bit of a bender but ends up sleeping in his suits and doesn't have the opportunity to iron it and have it all pressed before he goes to work. What do you think? Think that could work for you? And of course, I was still young, and I had just done my Sid and Nancy run, and I took that one to the bank. I ended up sleeping in the suit and taking it home, hanging out on the streets of Miami in the suit, crinkling it up."

9. The A-Team - 1983 - "The Beast from the Belly of a Boeing"

The A-Team - 1983 - "The Beast from the Belly of a Boeing"
"That began a kind of going back on the show as a different character. I remember doing that during the nadir of my career when I wasn't doing TV except for the cool shows. Miami Vice was a cool show. The A-Team, not so cool. I did a couple of them just because the casting directors liked me. I had been up for the role of Screaming Matt Murdoch. Right down to the network. And that was one of the ones I deliberately sabatoged because I knew that they wanted to make it a kind of family entertainment.

I remember Reuben, the casting director, saying. 'Just remember Xander, it's going to go into people's living rooms once a week, so don't be scary, let's not do anything, keep it funny, just do it both ways for me, and I know you want to do it the real way, but you gotta remember that people will have this in their living room, and the funny way is the way it's gonna go, and that's what they're gonna wanna see.'

And at the end of the day, at the last minute, I just made him scary crazy instead of funny crazy, and he appreciated that I was willing to sacrifice for my integrity instead of going for the big money behind Door Number 2, and when I needed a little money, he just threw these parts at me without me having to come in and read."

10. The A-Team - 1984 - "Showdown"

The A-Team - 1984 - "Showdown"
"I remember the second time I came in, and the second time Mr. T. was sitting on top of me at one point tying me up, and he says, 'Say, didn't I tie you up about five, six episodes ago?' and I said, 'Yeah, I can't lie to you, yeah you did,' and he said, 'Well I gotta talk to the producers about this! Ain't no one gets away from Mr. T!' And I explained, 'No, no, no, you have to understand, hey, I had a mustache, I was a different dude, I was a cowboy, not military. Look at me now, clean shaven Mr. Military in a uniform, and in that one I had a cowboy hat...'

'Oh, you was a different guy? Oh that's right. You was a different guy. OK. That's cool. As long as you was a different guy because ain't no one gets away from Mr. T.'"

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