Elisha Cook's character "Wilmer" is undoubtedly a nod to one of his more famous roles, Wilmer Cook in 1941's The Maltese Falcon. Cook turned in a sinister performance as Kaspar Gutman's henchman in this film.
Annie Potts's character Tracy Spencer is a nod to Spencer Tracy, arguably one of the finest actors ever to practice the craft. Tracy lived from 1900 to 1967; between 1930 and his death he acted in nearly 80 films.
Joe Ashour plays a detective clearly meant to be Theo Kojak, the bald, lollipop-sucking NYPD Lieutenant from Kojak (1973)
Ken Spina's character is an homage (or a send-up, if you like) to Peter Falk's character Lieutenant Frank Columbo, star of Columbo
, whose rumpled trenchcoat and self-deprecating mannerisms concealed a genius for puzzling out the identities of murderers.