Leonard Cohen Guest Stars On – And Is Fired From – Miami Vice (1986)

Leonard Cohen As Francois Zolan In French Twist

Leonard Cohen’s appearance on the February 21, 1986 “French Twist” episode of Miami Vice is periodically (and enthusiastically) rediscovered by fans. This entry is a republication of a post that first appeared March 13, 2007 at the late, lamented 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.

In 1986, Leonard Cohen, at the urging of his son, Adam, who was a fan of the show, guest-starred on Miami Vice, playing Francois Zolan, a senior executive in the French Secret Service engaged in an illegal operation to blow up Greenpeace boats. He appeared in two very short sections on the end of a telephone, speaking in French.1

As Cohen himself explained in an interview with Adrian Deevoy,2 his performance turned out to be more iconic than talented,

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. 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.”



Note: I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted June 29, 2015.


  1. Diamonds in the Mine; Celebrating the film and television recordings of Leonard Cohen []
  2. Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy, The Q Magazine, 1991. Accessed at LeonardCohenFiles []

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