‘Mad Dogs’ Comes Out With Guns Blazing

Don’t shoot the messenger — major spoilers ahead.

Earlier this week, we wrote about why you should be watching Mad Dogs, Amazon’s newest original series that premieres Friday, January 22nd. And with the snowstorms expected pound the U.S. all weekend, we can’t really think of a better series to binge watch, if you can stand the fact that it’s shot on Belize’s bright and beautiful Caribbean coast.

And speaking of shots, we’re still reeling from a dramatic violent act at the end of the series premiere, one that might explain why much of the publicity photos promoting Mad Dogs were missing a certain actor, the same actor whose representation repeatedly ignored our requests to profile him in connection with the show (at least that’s what we are telling ourselves.) 

[Warning: Mad Dogs spoilers to follow]

Yes, Billy Zane, the reason we were excited about Mad Dogs in the first place, whose character is responsible for putting the story in motion, does not make it past the first episode. And Zane’s final moments are brutal in more ways than one: He’s taken out by a midget hitman in a terrifying AF cat mask, in the middle of dinner with his so-called closet friends, immediately after he’s gone around the table telling each of those friends why they are useless losers who have wasted their lives. And before the night is over, one of those losers can add killer to his resume.

It was devastating to see Zane go out like that, especially since he’s long overdue for a career resurgence (even though we’ll be seeing him again real soon in Zoolander 2.) Still, the more Mad Dogs episodes you watch, the more the brutality starts to make sense on a broader scale, and it paves the way for a perfectly thrilling, and almost equally shocking, season finale. 

It’s a ballsy, but not unprecedented, move to knock off a character of top billing early on: Alfred Hitchcock famously killed off Janet Leigh 30 minutes into Psycho. In the case of Mad Dogs, the remaining four actors — especially Michael Imperioli — do a bang-up job of carrying the rest of the show. Eventually you almost forget the tragedy of Billy Zane. Almost.