Subscribe to our newsletter


Revisiting Leonard Cohen's fantastic cameo appearance in 'Miami Vice'


Leonard Cohen’s vast and expansive career was as unpredictable as it was incredible. The late musician remained active for 60 years after beginning life as a poet, exploring themes of isolation, sexuality, politics and religion in all aspects of his art. For many, Cohen remains one of the finest creative minds to ever come from Canada.

While his love for the arts remained unparalleled, Cohen did often like to switch things up in his life and, back in 1986, be made the interesting decision to star on camera as the villain in ‘French Twist’, the seventeenth episode of Miami Vice’s second and highly popular season.

The bizarre turn saw Cohen take on the role of Francois Zolan, a character who was working with Interpol in a bid to assist in the search for a rogue freelancer. Working alongside Lisa Eichhorn and a rogue and random alligator which appears in the scene, Cohen’s appearance was cut short to just two scenes—both of which feature him dressed in all black and speaking French on the phone.

While Cohen’s decision to take the cameo role surprised many of his fans at the time, the musician later revealed that he opted to take the chance to seemingly impress his son who has a huge fan of the show. However, the plan didn’t exactly go perfectly well.

“In truth, I had a much bigger part. I went down there and did my first scene and the assistant director rang me up and said, ‘You were really great, truly wonderful’,” Cohen once explained in an interview with Q Magazine.

“And I said, ‘OK, thanks a lot.’ Then the casting director from New York called me up and said, ‘You were fantastic, truly wonderful!’ And I said, ‘You mean I’m fired.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, we’re cutting all your other scenes and giving them to another guy.'”

Enjoy the quite wonderfully random appearance, below.