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Miami Vice

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Title: Miami Vice  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: WikiProject Spam/LinkReports/, Edward James Olmos, Sonny Crockett, 43rd Golden Globe Awards, Brother's Keeper (Miami Vice)
Collection: 1980S American Television Series, 1984 American Television Series Debuts, 1989 American Television Series Endings, American Crime Television Series, American Drama Television Series, Culture of Miami, Florida, English-Language Television Programming, Fictional Portrayals of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Florida Film and Television, Gma Network, Gma Network Shows, Miami Vice, Nbc Network Shows, Neo-Noir, Police Procedural Television Series, Suspense Television Series, Television Series by Universal Studios, Television Series by Universal Television, Television Shows Filmed in Florida, Television Shows Set in Miami, Florida, USA Network Shows
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Miami Vice

Miami Vice
Genre Action, Crime drama
Created by Anthony Yerkovich
Starring Don Johnson
Philip Michael Thomas
Saundra Santiago
Michael Talbott
John Diehl
Olivia Brown
Gregory Sierra
Edward James Olmos
Theme music composer Jan Hammer
Opening theme Miami Vice Theme
Ending theme Miami Vice Theme
Composer(s) Jan Hammer (S1–4)
Tim Truman (S5)
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 5
No. of episodes 111 (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Michael Mann
Anthony Yerkovich (exec: S1)
George Geiger (Co-exec: S4)
Dick Wolf (Co-exec: S4)
Robert Ward (Co-exec: S5)
Richard Brams (Co-exec: S5)
Producer(s) John Nicolella (S1-2)
Richard Brams (Co-prod: S1-2)
Dick Wolf (Co-prod: S3)
Running time 48 minutes, plus three 96-minute episodes
(excluding commercials)
Production company(s) Michael Mann Productions
Distributor Universal Television
NBCUniversal Television Distribution
Original channel NBC, USA Network
Picture format SDTV
Audio format Mono (season 1)
Stereo (seasons 2–5)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD)
Original release September 16, 1984 (1984-09-16) – May 21, 1989 (1989-05-21)
External links

Miami Vice is an American television crime drama series created by Anthony Yerkovich and produced by Michael Mann for NBC. The series starred Don Johnson as James "Sonny" Crockett and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs, two Metro-Dade Police Department detectives working undercover in Miami. The series ran for five seasons on NBC from 1984 to 1989. The USA Network later began airing reruns the next year, in 1990, and broadcast an originally unaired episode during its syndication run of the series on January 25, 1990.

Unlike standard police procedurals, the show drew heavily upon 1980s New Wave culture and music. The show became noted for its integration of music and visual effects. It is recognized as one of the most influential television series of all time.[1][2][3][4] People magazine stated that Miami Vice was the "first show to look really new and different since color TV was invented".[1]

Michael Mann directed a film adaptation of the series, which was released on July 28, 2006.


  • Conception 1
  • Production 2
    • Casting 2.1
    • Locations 2.2
    • Music 2.3
    • Fashion 2.4
    • Firearms 2.5
    • Cars 2.6
    • Boats 2.7
  • Episodes 3
    • Cancellation 3.1
  • International broadcasters 4
  • Cast 5
    • Main characters 5.1
    • Recurring characters 5.2
    • Guest appearances 5.3
  • Reception 6
    • Awards and nominations 6.1
    • Ratings 6.2
    • Criticism 6.3
    • Impact on popular culture 6.4
  • Home releases 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The head of NBC's Entertainment Division, Brandon Tartikoff, wrote a brainstorming memo that simply read "MTV cops",[1][5][6][7] and later presented it to series creator Anthony Yerkovich, formerly a writer and producer for Hill Street Blues.[6] Yerkovich, however, indicates that he devised the concept after learning about asset forfeiture statutes that allowed law enforcement agencies to confiscate the property of convicted drug dealers for official use.[8] The initial idea was for a movie about a pair of vice cops in Miami.[6] Yerkovich then turned out a script for a two-hour pilot, titled Gold Coast, but later renamed Miami Vice.[1][6] Yerkovich was immediately drawn to South Florida as a setting for his new-style police show.[6] Miami Vice was one of the first American network television programs to be broadcast in stereophonic sound. It was mixed in stereo for its entire run, but not actually broadcast in stereo until 1985.


In keeping with the show's namesake, most episodes focused on combating drug trafficking and prostitution. Episodes often ended in an intense gun battle, claiming the lives of several criminals before they could be apprehended. An undercurrent of cynicism and futility underlies the entire series. The detectives repeatedly reference the "Whac-A-Mole" nature of drug interdiction, with its parade of drug cartels quickly replacing those that are apprehended. Co-executive producer Yerkovich explained:

The choice of music and cinematography borrowed heavily from the emerging New Wave culture of the 1980s. As such, segments of Miami Vice would sometimes use music-based stanzas, a technique later featured in Baywatch. As Lee H. Katzin, one of the show's directors, remarked, "The show is written for an MTV audience, which is more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character and words."[6] These elements made the series into an instant hit, and in its first season saw an unprecedented fifteen Emmy Award nominations.[6][9] While the first few episodes contained elements of a standard police procedural, the producers soon abandoned them in favor of a more distinctive style. Influenced by an Art Deco revival, no "earth tones" were allowed to be used in the production.[6] A director of Miami Vice, Bobby Roth, recalled:


Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges[10][11] were considered for the role of Sonny Crockett, but since it was not lucrative for film stars to venture into television at the time, other candidates were considered.[12] Mickey Rourke was also considered for the role, but he turned down the offer.[13] Larry Wilcox, of CHiPs, was also a candidate for the role of Crockett, but the producers felt that going from one police officer role to another would not be a good fit.[14] After dozens of candidates and a twice-delayed pilot shooting, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas were chosen as the vice cops.[6] For Johnson, who was by then 34 years old, NBC had particular doubts about the several earlier unsuccessful pilots in which he had starred.[6] After two seasons, Johnson threatened to walk from the series as part of a highly publicized contract dispute. The network was ready to replace him with Mark Harmon, who had recently departed St. Elsewhere, but the network and Johnson were able to resolve their differences and he continued with the series until its end. Actor Jimmy Smits played Eddie Rivera, Crockett's partner who is killed early in the pilot episode.


Before production started, the idea was to do all or most of the exterior filming in Los Angeles, and pass it off to viewers as urban Miami—an approach put into practice two decades later during the filming of CSI Miami. Many episodes of Miami Vice were filmed in South Beach[15] section of Miami Beach,[15] an area which, at the time, was blighted by poverty and crime. Some street corners of South Beach were so run down that the production crew actually decided to repaint the exterior walls of some buildings before filming.[6] The crew went to great lengths to find the correct settings and props. Bobby Roth recalled, "I found this house that was really perfect, but the color was sort of beige. The art department instantly painted the house gray for me. Even on feature films people try to deliver what is necessary but no more. At Miami Vice they start with what's necessary and go beyond it."

Miami Vice is to some degree credited with causing a wave of support for the preservation of Miami's famous Art Deco architecture in the mid-1980s to early 1990s;[15] and quite a few of those buildings, among them many beachfront hotels, have been renovated since filming, making that part of South Beach one of South Florida's most popular places for tourists and celebrities.[16]

Other places commonly filmed in the series included scenes around Broward and Palm Beach counties.


Don Johnson with Glenn Frey (right) in the episode "Smuggler's Blues", one of many guest appearances made by musicians and celebrities throughout the series.

Miami Vice is noted for its innovative use of stereo broadcast music, particularly countless pop and rock hits of the 1980s and the distinctive, synthesized instrumental music of Jan Hammer. While other television shows used made-for-TV music, Miami Vice would spend $10,000 or more per episode to buy the rights to original recordings.[6] Getting a song played on Miami Vice was a boost to record labels and artists.[17] In fact, some newspapers, such as USA Today, would let readers know the songs that would be featured each week.[18] Among the many well-known bands and artists who contributed their music to the show were Roger Daltrey, El Debarge, Devo, Sinéad O'Connor, Russ Ballard, Black Uhuru, Jackson Browne, Kate Bush, Meat Loaf, Phil Collins,[19] Bryan Adams, Tina Turner, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, The Tubes, Dire Straits, Depeche Mode, The Hooters, Iron Maiden, The Alan Parsons Project, The Ward Brothers, Godley & Creme, Corey Hart, Glenn Frey, U2, Underworld, Frankie Goes to Hollywood,[6] Propaganda, Foreigner, The Police, Red 7, Ted Nugent, Suicidal Tendencies, The Damned and Billy Idol. Several artists even guest-starred in episodes, including Collins,[19] Miles Davis,[20] Power Station,[21] Frey,[22] Suicidal Tendencies, Willie Nelson,[23] Nugent,[24] Frank Zappa,[25] The Fat Boys,[26] Sheena Easton, and[27] Gene Simmons. An iconic scene from the Miami Vice pilot involves Crockett and Tubbs driving through Miami at night to Phil Collins's song "In the Air Tonight".[28][29]

Jan Hammer credits executive producer Michael Mann for allowing him great creative freedom in scoring Miami Vice.[6] The collaboration resulted in memorable instrumental pieces, including the show's title theme, which climbed to the top of the Billboard charts in November 1985.[30] The Miami Vice original soundtrack, featuring the theme song and Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City" (a No. 2 hit), stayed on the top of the U.S. album chart for 11 weeks in 1985, making it the most successful TV soundtrack at the time. The theme song was so popular that it also garnered two Grammy Awards in 1986.[30][31] It was also voted No. 1 theme song of all time by TV Guide readers. "Crockett's Theme", another recurring tune from the show, became a No. 1 hit in several European countries in 1987.[32]

During the show's run, three official soundtrack albums with original music from the episodes were released. Hammer has released several albums with music from the series; among them are Escape from Television (1987), Snapshots (1989), and after many requests from fans, Miami Vice: The Complete Collection (2002).


Don Johnson epitomizing the dress style that became a hallmark of the series.

The clothes worn on Miami Vice had a significant influence on men's fashion. They popularized, if not invented, the "T-shirt under Armani jacket"-style,[33] and popularized Italian men's fashion in the United States.[6] Don Johnson's typical attire of Italian sport coat, T-shirt, white linen pants, and slip-on sockless loafers became a hit.[6][34] Even Crockett's perpetually unshaven appearance sparked a minor fashion trend, inspiring men to wear a small amount of beard stubble, also known as a five o'clock shadow (or "designer stubble") at all times.[33] In an average episode, Crockett and Tubbs wore five to eight outfits,[1][6] appearing in shades of pink, blue, green, peach, fuchsia, and the show's other "approved" colors.[6] Designers such as Vittorio Ricci, Gianni Versace, and Hugo Boss were consulted in keeping the male leads looking trendy.[1][6] Costume designer Bambi Breakstone, who traveled to Milan, Paris, and London in search of new clothes, said that, "The concept of the show is to be on top of all the latest fashion trends in Europe."[6] Jodi Tillen, the costume designer for the first season, along with Michael Mann, set the style. The abundance of pastel colors on the show reflected Miami's Art-deco architecture.[34]

During its five-year run, consumer demand for unstructured blazers, shiny fabric jackets, and lighter pastels increased.[6][34] After Six formal wear even created a line of Miami Vice dinner jackets, Kenneth Cole introduced Crockett and Tubbs shoes, and Macy's opened a Miami Vice section in its young men's department.[6] Crockett also boosted Ray Ban's popularity by wearing a pair of Ray-Ban Wayfarer (Model L2052, Mock Tortoise),[35] which increased sales of Ray Bans to 720,000 units in 1984.[36] In the spring of 1986, an electric razor became available called the Stubble Device, that allowed users to have a beard like Don Johnson's character. It was initially named the "Miami Device" by Wahl, but in the end the company wanted to avoid a trademark infringement lawsuit.[37] Many of the styles popularized by the TV show, such as the T-shirt under pastel suits, no socks, rolled up sleeves, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, have today become the standard image of 1980s culture.[33][36] The influence of Miami Vice's fashions continued into the early 1990s, and to some extent still persists today.[33][38]


Miami Vice also popularized certain brands of firearms and accessories.[39][40] After Johnson became dissatisfied with his gun holster, the Jackass Leather Company (later renamed Galco International) sent their president, Rick Gallagher, to personally fit Don Johnson with an "Original Jackass Rig", later renamed the Galco "Miami Classic".[40]

The Bren Ten, manufactured by Dornaus & Dixon, was a stainless-steel handgun used by Don Johnson during Miami Vice's first two seasons.[39] Dornaus & Dixon went out of business in 1986,[39] and Smith & Wesson was offered a contract to outfit Johnson's character with a S&W Model 645 during season three.[39][41][42]

Several firearms never before seen on TV were featured prominently for the first time in the show including the Glock 17 pistol. In addition firearms not well known to the public including the Steyr AUG and the Desert Eagle were showcased to a wide audience on this show.


The Ferrari Testarossa as seen in the series finale, "Freefall"

Two automobiles drew a lot of attention in Miami Vice, the Ferrari Daytona and Testarossa. During the first two seasons and two episodes of the third season, Detective Sonny Crockett drove a black 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4,[43] kit replica based on a 1980 Chevrolet Corvette C3 chassis.[44] The car was fitted with Ferrari-shaped body panels by specialty car manufacturer McBurnie Coachcraft.[45] Once the car gained notoriety,[44] Ferrari Automobili filed a lawsuit demanding that McBurnie and others cease producing and selling Ferrari replicas, because they were taking his name and styling.[44] As a result, the vehicle lasted until season 2, at which point it was blown to pieces in the season three premiere episode, "When Irish Eyes Are Crying".[43][45] The fake Ferraris were removed from the show, with Ferrari donating two brand new 1986 Testarossas as replacements.[46]

The series' crew also used a third Testarossa look-alike, which was the stunt car.[46] Carl Roberts, who had worked on the Daytona kitcars, offered to build the stunt car.[46] Roberts decided to use a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera, which had the same wheelbase as the Testarossa and thus was perfect for the body pieces.[45][46] The vehicle was modified to withstand daily usage on-set, and continued to be driven until the series ended.[46]

Sonny was also seen driving a black 1978

Crockett's partner, Ricardo Tubbs, drove a 1964

External links

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  2. ^ "Top 50 TV Shows of All Time". UGO Entertainment, Inc. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  3. ^ "The Influential Crime Series That Revolutionized the Television Drama and Launched a Worldwide Cultural Phenomenon of Fashion, Architecture and Music". PR Newswire. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 
  4. ^ Stransky, Tanner (September 23, 2008). "15 TV Shows Where the Music's a Costar". Empire Weekly, Inc. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  5. ^ Janeshutz, Trish (1986). The Making of Miami Vice. New York: Ballatine Books. p. 12.  
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae  
  7. ^ Boyer, Peter J. (1988-04-19). "Guiding No. 1: The Man Who Programs NBC". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  8. ^ Miami Vice: Season One, Featurette: Making the Perfect Vice. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Advanced Primetime Awards Search". Academy of Television Arts and Science. Retrieved 2007-11-03. 
  10. ^ "Jeff Bridges Biography". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  11. ^ "Miami Vice (1984–1990) : Trivia". Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  12. ^ "E! True Hollywood Story: Miami Vice".  
  13. ^ "Mickey Rourke Biography".  
  14. ^ "E! True Hollywood Story: Miami Vice".  
  15. ^ a b c Schmalz, Jeffrey (1989-05-18). "Miami Journal; Sun Sets on Show That Redefined a City". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-08. 
  16. ^ "The Vice Effect: 30 years after the show that changed Miami", by Andres Viglucci, The Miami Herald, September 28, 2014
  17. ^ Millman, Joyce (1998-11-09). "Dancing with the television". Salon Entertainment. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  18. ^ Breznican, Anthony (2006-07-26). Miami Vice' makes series of changes"'". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  19. ^ a b c d "Phil the Shill". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 11. 1985-12-13. NBC. 
  20. ^ a b "Junk Love". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 6. 1985-11-08. NBC. 
  21. ^ a b c "Whatever Works". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 2. 1985-10-04. NBC. 
  22. ^ a b c "Smuggler's Blues". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 15. 1985-02-01. NBC. 
  23. ^ a b "El Viejo". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 7. 1986-11-07. NBC. 
  24. ^ a b "Definitely Miami". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 12. 1986-01-10. NBC. 
  25. ^ a b c "Payback". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 19. 1986-03-14. NBC. 
  26. ^ a b "Florence Italy". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 16. 1986-02-14. NBC. 
  27. ^ a b c d e "Prodigal Son". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 1. 1985-09-27. NBC. 
  28. ^ Murray, Noel (August 2, 2012). "How Miami Vice launched the ’80s on TV, then died with its decade | TV | A Very Special Episode".  
  29. ^ Bowles, Scott (2006-07-27). "'"Too much 'Vice,' not enough 'Miami. USA Today. Retrieved 2008-07-31. 
  30. ^ a b Friedman, Roger (2006-07-25). Miami Vice' Theme: Axed, but Alive"'". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  31. ^ a b "Grammy Award Winners". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 2007-11-05. 
  32. ^ "DE NEDERLANDSE TOP 40" (in Dutch). Radio 538. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  33. ^ a b c d e f Trebay, Guy (2006-07-20). "Roll Up Your Sleeves and Indulge in a Miami Vice". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  34. ^ a b c Hunter, Stephen (2006-07-28). Miami Vice': Way Cool Then, Now Not So Hot"'". Washington Post (The  
  35. ^ "South Beach and 'Miami Vice,' past and present". USA Today. 2006-09-29. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  36. ^ a b c Leinster, Colin (1987-09-28). "A Tale of Mice and Lens". Fortune Magazine (CNN). Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  37. ^ Augustin Hedberg, David Lanchner, Tyler Mathisen, Michele Willens (1986-09-01). "Hair's the Look That's in These Days". Money Magazine (CNN). Retrieved 2008-08-28. 
  38. ^ Janeshutz, Trish (1986). The Making of Miami Vice. New York: Ballatine Books. p. 65.  
  39. ^ a b c d SOF Staff (October 1986). "Hollywood Heat in Miami: New Hardware Muscles in on the Action".  
  40. ^ a b "The History of the Galco Miami Classic Holster Rig used in the TV series Miami Vice". Galco International. Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  41. ^ a b c Cole, Tim (May 1986). "The Machines of Miami Vice: The car, the boats, the guns that make it TV's hottest show".  
  42. ^ Janeshutz, Trish (1986). The Making of Miami Vice. New York: Ballatine Books. p. 72.  
  43. ^ a b Spaise, Kevin (September 1987). "Twice as Vice". Kit Car: 13. 
  44. ^ a b c d Spaise, Kevin (September 1987). "Twice as Vice". Kit Car: 14. 
  45. ^ a b c d e f g Gromer, Cliff (July 1987). "The Cars of Miami Vice".  
  46. ^ a b c d e Spaise, Kevin (September 1987). "Twice as Vice". Kit Car: 15. 
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  52. ^ "Miami Vice Original Race Boat up for Auction" (Press release). PR Web/ 2006-11-15. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  53. ^ Tunca, Han (2014-08-29). "Chris-Craft Stingers History". Retrieved 2014-08-29. 
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  57. ^ a b Friedman, Jack; Cindy Dampier (1990-05-28). "With Kurt Russell and Chuck Norris in Tow, Don Johnson Risks His Neck on a New Miami Vice—superboat Racing". People Magazine 33 (21): 101, 102. 
  58. ^ a b "When Irish Eyes Are Crying", aired September 26, 1986.
  59. ^ "Golden Triangle Pt. 1", aired January 22, 1985.
  60. ^ a b "God's Work", aired November 6, 1987.
  61. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue".  
  62. ^ "Miami's brightest star fades".  
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  73. ^ Kelley, Robin D. G. (2001-05-13). "Miles Davis: The Chameleon of Cool; A Jazz Genius In the Guise Of a Hustler". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-02. 
  74. ^ "Buddies". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 5. 1985-11-01. NBC. 
  75. ^ a b c "Out Where the Buses Don't Run". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 3. 1985-10-18. NBC. 
  76. ^ a b "Missing Hours". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 7. 1987-11-13. NBC. 
  77. ^ "French Twist". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 17. 1986-02-21. NBC. 
  78. ^ a b "No Exit". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 07. 1984-11-09. NBC. 
  79. ^ a b "Sons and Lovers". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 22. 1986-05-09. NBC. 
  80. ^ "Back in the World". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 10. 1985-12-06. NBC. 
  81. ^ "Stone's War". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 2. 1986-10-03. NBC. 
  82. ^ "'"Liddy in 'Miami Vice. New York Times. Associated Press. 1985-10-31. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  83. ^ "The Fix". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 18. 1986-03-07. NBC. 
  84. ^ "Down for the Count Pt. 1". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 12. 1987-01-09. NBC. 
  85. ^ "Down for the Count Pt. 2". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 13. 1987-01-16. NBC. 
  86. ^ a b "Bushido". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 30. 1985-11-22. NBC. 
  87. ^ a b "Rites of Passage". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 16. 1985-02-08. NBC. 
  88. ^ "Too Much, Too Late". Miami Vice. Season 5. Episode 21. 1990-01-25. NBC. 
  89. ^ "The Dutch Oven". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 4. 1985-10-25. NBC. 
  90. ^ a b "Amen...Send Money". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 02. 1987-10-02. NBC. 
  91. ^ "One Eyed Jack". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 6. 1984-11-02. NBC. 
  92. ^ "Lombard". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 22. 1985-05-10. NBC. 
  93. ^ "World of Trouble". Miami Vice. Season 5. Episode 18. 1989-06-14. NBC. 
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  95. ^ "Contempt of Court". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 1. 1987-09-25. NBC. 
  96. ^ "Blood and Roses". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 19. 1988-04-01. NBC. 
  97. ^ " 
  98. ^ "Child's Play". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 5. 1987-10-30. NBC. 
  99. ^ "Red Tape". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 19. 1987-03-13. NBC. 
  100. ^ "Heart of Darkness". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 02. 1984-09-28. NBC. 
  101. ^ "Mirror Image". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 22. 1988-05-06. NBC. 
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  103. ^ "Knock Knock...Who's There?". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 21. 1987-03-27. NBC. 
  104. ^ "Freefall Pt. 1 & 2". Miami Vice. Season 5. Episode 17. 1989-05-21. NBC. 
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  106. ^ "Free Verse". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 20. 1986-04-04. NBC. 
  107. ^ "Home Invaders". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 19. 1985-03-15. NBC. 
  108. ^ "Bought and Paid for". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 9. 1985-11-29. NBC. 
  109. ^ "By Hooker By Crook". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 20. 1987-04-03. NBC. 
  110. ^ "Afternoon Plane". Miami Vice. Season 3. Episode 17. 1987-02-20. NBC. 
  111. ^ "Victims of Circumstance". Miami Vice. Season 5. Episode 16. 1989-05-05. NBC. 
  112. ^ a b "Trust Fund Pirates". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 21. 1986-05-02. NBC. 
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DVD name Ep# Release dates Special features
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 21 February 8, 2005[122] April 25, 2005[130] July 13, 2005[131] "The Vibe of Vice", "Building the Perfect Vice",
"The Music of Vice", "Miami After Vice"
Season Two 22 November 22, 2005[123] July 24, 2006[132] July 20, 2006[133]
Season Three 24 March 20, 2007[124] May 14, 2007[134] July 5, 2007[135]
Season Four 22 March 20, 2007[124] August 13, 2007[136] December 4, 2007[137]
Season Five 21 June 26, 2007[125] December 26, 2007[138] July 29, 2009[139]
Seasons One & Two 43 N/A November 27, 2006[140] N/A
The Complete Series 111 November 13, 2007[129][141] October 8, 2007[142][143] TBA Same special features from season one.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released all Miami Vice seasons on DVD for regions 1, 2, and 4. Seasons 1 & 2 were released in 2005, and seasons 3 through 5 were released in 2007.[122][123][124][125] The DVD release of the series had been significantly slow due to one of the signature features of the show: the heavy integration of 1980s pop and rock music. The music was difficult to source the rights to and acquire permission to use.[126] In the November 2004 announcement for the DVD release of the series, Universal promised that all original music in the series would be intact.[122][127][128] On August 21, 2007 Universal announced the November 13, 2007 release of the complete series, with all five seasons on 27 single-sided DVDs.[129] The seasons will be in their own Digipak-style cases, and the set is housed in a faux alligator-skin package.[129] Seasons 1 & 2 contained six single-sided discs, rather than the three double-sided discs in the initial release.[129] The Region 2 version has different packaging, does not use double-sided discs, and although there are no special features stated on the packaging they are contained within the season 1 discs.

The US Miami Vice Complete Series DVD Box Set

Home releases

The show also had a lasting impact on Miami itself. It sparked a revitalization of the South Beach district of Miami Beach, as well as other portions of the Miami area, and increased tourism and investment. The fact that Crockett and Tubbs were Dade County officers and not City of Miami police represented the growing notion of metro government in Miami. In 1997, a county referendum changed the name from Dade County to Miami-Dade County. This allowed people to relate the county government to recognized notions and images of Miami, many of which were first popularized by Miami Vice. The Dade County Sheriff's Office now became the Miami-Dade Police Department.

"It has built an awareness of Miami in young people who had never thought of visiting Miami."

William Cullom[6]
Former President of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce

Many of the fads and trends popularized by the TV show, such as fast cars and speed boats, unshaven beard stubble, a T-shirt under pastel suits, no socks, rolled up sleeves, boat shoes and Ray Ban sunglasses symbolize the stereotypical image of 1980s fashion and culture.[33][36]

The show has been so influential that the style of Miami Vice has often been borrowed or alluded to by much of contemporary pop culture in order to indicate or emphasize the 1980s decade. Its influence as a popular culture icon is still seen today, more than 20 years after appearing. Examples of this includes the episode "The One With All The Thanksgivings" from the American sitcom Friends. Flashback scenes from the 1980s in this episode shows the characters Ross and Chandler in pastel colored suits with rolled up sleeves like that of Sonny Crockett. Another example would be the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which was published by Rockstar Games in 2002 and is set in a stylized 1980s Miami.[121] Two undercover police officers appear in a police sports car within the game when three felony stars are obtained by the player. The two officers, one white and one black, resemble the two leading characters of Miami Vice. One of the main characters, Lance Vance, was actually voiced by Philip Michael Thomas. In the prequel, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, there are two officers in the multiplayer mode named Cracker and Butts, a parody of Crockett and Tubbs; these characters share the same role as the undercover cops in Vice City. In the film Boogie Nights, the movie takes place in the 1970s. The movie progresses into the 1980s and closes with Mark Wahlberg wearing a white linen jacket, sleeves rolled up, and a bright pink shirt tucked into white linen pants. This informs the audience the year is now somewhere in the mid-1980s due to the massive popularity of Miami Vice from 1984–1986.

Miami Vice was a groundbreaking police program of the 1980s, and one of the best-known shows of that decade.[120] It had a notable impact on the decade's popular fashions[6][33] and set the tone for the evolution of police drama. Series such as Homicide: Life on the Street, NYPD Blue, and the Law & Order franchise, though being markedly different in style and theme from Miami Vice, followed its lead in breaking the genre's mold; Dick Wolf, creator and executive producer of the Law & Order franchise, was a writer and later executive producer of Miami Vice.[120] Parodies and pastiches of it have continued decades after it aired, such as 2015's Moonbeam City.

Replica 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder (actually a modified Chevrolet Corvette), one of the cars driven by Don Johnson in Miami Vice.

Impact on popular culture

At the 1985 Emmy Awards Miami Vice was nominated for 15 Emmy Awards,[6][9] including "Outstanding Writing in a Dramatic Series", "Outstanding Film Editing", "Outstanding Achievement for Music Composition for a series (dramatic underscore)", and "Outstanding Directing".[9] At the end of the night, Miami Vice only won four Emmys. The following day, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner could only conclude that the conservative Emmy voters (at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences) simply refused to recognize an innovative new series that celebrated hedonism, violence, sex, and drugs.[119]

Critics have objected to the show's usage of violence by dressing it with pretty photography.[6] Others complained that the show relied more on visual aspects and music than on coherent stories and fully drawn characters.[6] Civic leaders in Miami have also objected to the show's airing of the city's crime problems all across America.[6] Most civic leaders, however, have been placated due to the show's estimated contribution of $1 million per episode to the city's economy and boosting tourism to Miami.[6] Gerald S. Arenberg of the National Association of Chiefs of Police criticized the show's glamorous depiction of vice squads, saying "no real vice cops chase drug dealers in a Ferrari while wearing $600 suits. More often than not, they're holed up in a crummy room somewhere, wearing jeans with holes in them, watching some beat-up warehouse in a godforsaken part of town through a pair of dented binoculars".[118]


Final Airing on NBC: 16.1 million viewers/11.1 rating (June 28, 1989) China Beach drew 10.8 million viewers/8 rating.

Series Finale: 22 million viewers & a 14.7 rating on May 21, 1989 from 9-11pm. Competition: Everybody's Baby: The Rescue of Jessica McClure (22.9 rating) & Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer: Murder Takes All (12.8 rating)

  • 1984–1985 season: #31[116]
  • 1985–1986 season: #9[116]
  • 1986–1987 season: #27[64]
  • 1987–1988 season: #41[117]
  • 1988–1989 season: #61[117]


Awards and nominations


Future notable comedians included: John Leguizamo,[79][110][111] David Rasche,[86] Ben Stiller,[90] Chris Rock,[76] Tommy Chong,[112] Richard Belzer,[112] and Penn Jillette.[27]

Most of the show involved guest appearances from up-and-coming actors and actresses. These include: Laurence Fishburne, Viggo Mortensen, Dennis Farina,[91][92][93] Stanley Tucci,[94][95][96] Jimmy Smits,[97] Bruce McGill,[75] David Strathairn,[75] Ving Rhames,[49][98] Liam Neeson,[58] Lou Diamond Phillips,[99] Bruce Willis,[78] Ed O'Neill,[100] and Julia Roberts.[101] Additionally Michael Madsen,[102] Ian McShane,[103][104] Bill Paxton,[105] Luis Guzmán,[27][106] Kyra Sedgwick,[19] Esai Morales,[60][107] Terry O'Quinn,[102] Joaquim de Almeida,[108] Wesley Snipes,[105] John Turturro,[87] Melanie Griffith[109] and Annie Golden to name a few.

Notable actors of that time included Dean Stockwell,[86] Pam Grier,[27][87][88] Clarence Williams III,[89] and Brian Dennehy.[90]

Other notable personalities included auto executive Lee Iacocca[79] and Watergate conspirator G. Gordon Liddy.[80][81][82] Athletes included Boston Celtics center Bill Russell, Bernard King,[83] racecar driver Danny Sullivan,[26] and boxers Roberto Durán,[25] and Randall "Tex" Cobb.[84][85]

Many notable actors, actresses, musicians, comedians, athletes, celebrities, appeared throughout the show's five season run. They played many different roles from drug dealer to undercover cops to madams. The full list can be seen at the link above, as this is just a partial list. Notable musicians include Sheena Easton, Willie Nelson,[23] Gene Simmons,[27] and Ted Nugent[24] Additionally Glenn Frey,[22] Frank Zappa,[25] Phil Collins,[19] Miles Davis,[20][73] Frankie Valli,[74] Little Richard,[75] James Brown,[76] Leonard Cohen,[77] the band Power Station,[21] Coati Mundi,[22][78] and Eartha Kitt.[21]

Edward James Olmos, Bruce Willis (center), and Don Johnson in the episode "No Exit"

Guest appearances

  • Charlie Barnett (1984–1987) as Nugart Neville "Noogie" Lamont: A friend of Izzy's and informant for Crockett and Tubbs.
  • Sheena Easton (1987–1988) as Caitlin Davies-Crockett: A pop singer who is assigned a police bodyguard, Crockett, for her testimony in a racketeering case. While protecting Caitlin, Sonny falls in love with her and they get married. Months after their marriage, Caitlin is killed by one of Crockett's former nemeses. Sonny later learns she was seven weeks pregnant, causing him further emotional turmoil.
  • Martin Ferrero (1984–1989) as Isidore "Izzy" Moreno: A petty criminal and fast talker, Izzy is always known for getting into quick money schemes and giving Crockett and Tubbs the latest information from the street.
  • Pam Grier (1985, 1989) as Valerie Gordon: A New York Police Department Officer and on-and-off love interest of Tubbs.
  • Belinda Montgomery (1984–1989) as Caroline Crockett/Ballard: Crockett's former wife who moves to Ocala, Florida to remarry and raise their child, Billy. Caroline had a baby with her second husband in her last appearance.

Recurring characters

  • Don Johnson as Detective James "Sonny" Crockett: An undercover detective of the Metro-Dade Police Department. A former University of Florida Gators football star,[70] he sustained a knee fracture which put an end to his sports career. He was subsequently drafted by the US Army, and served in the 1st Cavalry Division and in the Special Forces. He served two tours in Vietnam – or as he calls it, the "Southeast Asia Conference". In 1975 he became a Metro-Dade uniformed patrol officer and later an undercover detective of the vice unit. Crockett's alias is Sonny Burnett, a drug runner and middleman. His vehicles include a Ferrari Daytona Spyder[45] (later a Ferrari Testarossa),[44] a "Scarab" offshore power-boat,[54] and a sailboat[51] on which he lives with his pet alligator Elvis (also a veteran of the Florida Gators). The name "Sonny Crockett" had previously been used for a criminal played by actor Dennis Burkley on Hill Street Blues in 1983, where creator Anthony Yerkovich was a writer. Coincidentally, Gregory Sierra who later played Crockett's boss on "Vice" appeared in the same episodes.
  • Philip Michael Thomas as Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs: A former New York police detective[70] who travels to Miami as part of a personal vendetta against Calderone, the man who murdered his brother Rafael.[70] After temporarily teaming up with Crockett, Tubbs follows his friend's advice and transfers to "a career in Southern law enforcement", fearing that after his serious violations of NYPD codes of conduct in the pilot episode, he would not be able to resume his job in New York. He joins the Miami department and becomes Crockett's permanent partner. He often poses as Rico Cooper, a wealthy buyer from out of town.
  • Edward James Olmos as Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo: He replaces the slain Rodriguez as head of the OCB. A very taciturn man,[71] Castillo lives a reclusive life outside of work. He was formerly a DEA agent in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia during the late 1970s. During his time as an agent, he opposed the CIA in endorsing the trafficking of heroin to finance their overseas operations. Some of Castillo's habits, such as his desk always being free of paperwork and his request that anyone entering his office should knock first, were suggested by Edward James Olmos during filming.
  • Saundra Santiago as Detective Gina Navarro Calabrese: A fearless female detective, who after Crockett's divorce, held a brief romance with him. Even after their relationship did not progress, they still have a strong friendship.
  • Olivia Brown as Detective Trudy Joplin: Gina's patrol partner. Though tough, "Big Booty Trudy" sometimes struggles to face consequences of her job, such as when she shot and killed a man. Later in the series she has an encounter with a UFO and an alien portrayed by James Brown.
  • Michael Talbott as Detective Stanley "Stan" Switek: A fellow police detective and good friend to Larry. Although a good policeman, later on in the series he falls prey to a gambling addiction. He is also a big fan of Elvis Presley.
  • John Diehl (1984–1987) as Detective Lawrence "Larry" Zito:[72] A detective and Switek's surveillance partner. He was killed in the line of duty when a drug dealer gave him a fatal overdose.[72] Diehl enjoyed being on Vice but wanted to leave the show, opting for a more creative opportunity in theater.[72]
  • Gregory Sierra (1984) as Lieutenant Lou Rodriguez: A police lieutenant who serves as commander of the Vice Unit. He is killed in the fourth episode by an assassin hired to kill Crockett.

Main characters

Name Portrayed by Occupation Seasons Duration
1 2 3 4 5
James "Sonny" Crockett Don Johnson Detective Sergeant Main 1x01–5x21
Ricardo Tubbs Philip Michael Thomas Detective Sergeant Main 1x01–5x21
Gina Navarro Calabrese Saundra Santiago Detective Main 1x01–5x21
Stanley "Stan" Switek Michael Talbott Detective Main 1x01–5x21
Lawrence "Larry" Zito John Diehl Detective Main 1x01–3x13
Trudy Joplin Olivia Brown Detective Main 1x01–5x21
Lou Rodriguez Gregory Sierra Detective Lieutenant Main 1x01–1x04
Martin "Marty" Castillo Edward James Olmos Detective Lieutenant Main 1x06–5x21
The cast members of Miami Vice (from left to right): (top) John Diehl, Michael Talbott, Saundra Santiago (middle) Edward James Olmos, Olivia Brown, Philip Michael Thomas (bottom) Don Johnson.


Internationally, the show airs on MBC Action in the Arab World, TRT 1 and Star in Turkey, Iris in Italy, Viasat TV6 in Sweden, Viasat 3+ in Denmark, TV7 in Bulgaria, TV3 in Estonia, ZDF in Germany, and 111 Hits in Australia.

In 1984, the show was also aired on GMA Network every Wednesday night at 7:00 PM after News at Seven replacing GMA Balita in 1986. Reruns of the series later aired on the FX from 1996–1999. Then in 2006 the cable network TV Land aired episodes for about a year. The same year the series began airing on the Sleuth network in the United States until 2008 as well as Centric. As of 2015, reruns air on the El Rey and Esquire Networks.

International broadcasters

In May 1989, NBC aired the two-hour series finale, "Freefall". Despite its status as the "series finale", there were three episodes that didn't air—"World of Trouble", "Miracle Man", and "Leap of Faith", which appeared during the June re-runs as "Lost Episodes". A fourth, previously unbroadcast episode, "Too Much Too Late", was aired for the first time in 1990, on the USA Network. It has since been run by other networks in syndication with the fifth-season episodes.

Before leaving the series to work on his new television series, Crime Story,[65] Michael Mann handed the role of executive producer to future Law & Order creator Dick Wolf[66] prior to the third season (1986–1987).[65] Wolf had the show focus on contemporary issues[65] like the Troubles in Northern Ireland and capital punishment.[65] The fifth season (1988–1989) the show moved to it original timeslot, 10PM on Friday nights and took the show on a more serious tone,[67] with storylines becoming dark and gritty – enough so that even some of the most loyal fans were left perplexed.[67] As the fifth season began, Olivia Brown recalled, "The show was trying to reinvent itself."[68] Dick Wolf said in an interview for E! True Hollywood Story, after the fifth season, it was all just "...kind of over",[69] and that the show had "run its course".[69]

By Season 4, the original writers had left the series. Stories included a courtship and marriage between Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Caitlin Davies (Sheena Easton), and a plot in which Crockett developed amnesia (during which he mistakes himself for his drug dealer alter ego, and becomes a hitman). Jan Hammer departed from the series at the end of the fourth season and was replaced by Tim Truman.

For its third season in 1986-87, the show moved from its traditional time slot of 10PM on Friday nights to 9PM, which now put it up against perennial Top 10 show Dallas. This began the show's decline, and in March, 1987, TV Guide ran a cover story entitled, "Dallas Drubs the Cops: Why Miami Vice Seems to be Slipping." [63] Miami Vice's season ratings slipped from #9 in Season 2 down to #27 by the end of Season 3.[64]

"Don Johnson is keen to move on and take up the film career that is knocking at his door and to begin a new career as a producer of films and television, while Mann is keen to return to movies. Philip Michael Thomas — the egotistical but likeable young actor – wants to explore other TV and movie roles, while Edward James Olmos, after his tour de force performance in Stand and Deliver is in hot demand for movies. And NBC, the network that runs Miami Vice in the U.S., says that with slowing ratings, and newer hip cop shows like Wiseguy & 21 Jump Street, it is time to call it quits down in Miami and move on."

—The Sunday Mail[62]


In the first seasons the tone was often very light, especially when comical characters such as police informants Noogie Lamont (Charlie Barnett) and Izzy Moreno (Martin Ferrero) appeared. Later the content was usually dark and cynical, often bordering on the existential, with Crockett and Tubbs fighting corruption, and storylines emphasizing the aspect of human tragedy behind a crime. Typically, the darker episodes had no denouement, each episode ending abruptly after a climax involving violence and death, often giving the episodes (especially in later seasons) a despairing and sometimes nihilistic feel, despite the trademark glamor and conspicuous wealth. Given its idiosyncratic "dark" feel and touch, Miami Vice is frequently cited as an example of made-for-TV Neo-noir. Michael Mann, who served as executive producer for the majority of the show's five-year run, is often credited with being one of the most influential Neo-noir directors. In 1997, the second-season episode "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" was ranked #90 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time list.[61]

Personal issues also arose: Crockett is separated from his wife Caroline (Belinda Montgomery) in the pilot and divorced in the fourth episode, and later his second wife Caitlin Davies (Sheena Easton) is killed by one of his enemies. In the three episodes "Mirror Image", "Hostile Takeover", and "Redemption in Blood", a concussion caused by an explosion caused Crockett to believe he was his undercover alter ego Sonny Burnett, a drug dealer. Tubbs had a running, partly personal vendetta with the Calderone family, a member of which had ordered the death of his brother Rafael, a New York City police detective.

Episode scripts were loosely based on actual crimes that occurred in Miami over the years.[1] The series also took a look at political issues such as the Northern Ireland conflict,[58] the drug war in South America (e.g. "Prodigal Son"), several episodes drawn on the Miami River Cops scandal (a real police corruption ring that involved narcotic thefts, drug dealing and murders), as well as several episodes of Cuban exile guerrillas, drug trafficking (for which real-life Miami was a main hub and entrance point into North America in the early 1980s), and U.S. support of anti-communist generals and dictators in Southeast Asia and South America.[59] Social issues like child abuse, homophobia, and the AIDS crisis were also covered.[60]


[57]. Johnson won the Offshore World Cup in 1988 and continued racing into the 1990s.Chuck Norris and Kurt Russell including stars Hollywood Joining him were [57].Team USA team, called offshore powerboat racing His interest in boat racing eventually led Johnson to start his own [56] Overall the boat cost $300,000 with each engine amounting to between $60–$70,000.[56] The Don Johnson Signature Series was powered by twin 650-hp [56] Don Johnson also designed the Scarab Excel 43 ft, Don Johnson Signature Series (DJSS), and raced a similar one.

As a result of the attention the Scarab 38 KV garnered on Miami Vice, Wellcraft received "an onslaught of orders", increasing sales by 21 percent in one year.[51] In appreciation, Wellcraft gave Don Johnson an exact duplicate of the boat. Afterward, Johnson was frequently seen arriving to work in it.[51] Altogether, one hundred copies of the boat (dubbed the "Scarab 38KV Miami Vice Edition") were built by Wellcraft.[55] The Miami Vice graphics and color scheme, which included turquoise, aqua, and orchid, was available by special order on any model Scarab from 20–38 feet.[41]

In the pilot episode, and for the first season,[52] Crockett pilots a Chris Craft Stinger 390 X - a 39-foot deep-v offshore racing boat. According to T. Rafael Cimino,[53] marine director for Miami Vice, a total of 5 Stinger 390 Xs were used on the show. A white 390 X was selected for the pilot episode as it would show up better for the night scenes. For the other 4 Stingers, Chris-Craft showed the production crew a color scheme that included the color red - however, since Michael Mann decided that the color red was to never show up on the show, a blue color scheme was instead chosen. The Stingers used on the show were not free from Chris-Craft. In fact, the boats had some serious warranty issues. These issues caused the production team to switch to using Wellcraft 38 Scarab KVs for the remainder of the show.[41][51][54] The Scarab 38 KVs were a 28-hued, twin 440-hp boat that sold for $130,000 in 1986.[51]

Throughout the series, Sonny Crockett lived on an Endeavour sailboat named the St. Vitus' Dance,[51] while in the pilot episode, Crockett is seen on a 38-foot Cabo Rico sailboat.[51] In season 1, he is seen living on an Endeavour 40 sailboat while in the rest of the series (seasons 2 to 5), he is seen living on an Endeavour 42 sailboat (priced at $120,000 in 1986). The allure of the sailboats was such that the Endeavour 42 used for the 1986 season of Miami Vice was sold to a midwest couple, while the Endeavour 40, was sold to a chartering service in Fort Lauderdale. At the same time, Endeavour was building a new 42 for the 1987 season of Miami Vice.[51]


[50][45] also made appearances.Buick Grand National, Plymouth Barracuda, Plymouth GTX or a Chevrolet Camaro, Mustang, Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, GTO, such as the muscle cars American [50].Corvettes, and Porsche, DeLorean, Lotus, Maserati, BMW, Mercedes-Benz AMG [50]

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