Miami Vice: Season 1, Episode 11 – Little Prince

Miami Vice episode 11, Little Prince

Both the actual title (Little Prince) and the working title (White Bread) sort of prepare you for this episode’s attempt at making The Rich look like people/people we should give a shit about. Spoiler: they really do try to humanise them, like they do anybody else, but it doesn’t really work.

Buckle in, btw, because I think this has the most single images in a post yet. It was just a real looker of an episode.

This episode deals with needle drugs, but no needle-to-skin are shown, FYI.

For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “Little Prince

Miami Vice was more than just a pastel distraction. It examined some legit issues in both society and law enforcement, had awesome lady characters and people of colour, all while holding fast to Michael Mann’s glorious music video aesthetic.

These posts aren’t really plot summaries, but you’ll find links to Miami Vice wiki articles if you desire all the dirty deets. I’m just going to try and look at some visual themes I’ve picked up after watching the show a half-dozen times through.


We get the same “stock footage and b-roll of the streets” intro the last two episodes had, including the under-butt sign from last episode that I am basically in love with. By now, we’ve seen most of the gems, but here’s this bad boy.

Def thought this said "Deep Show"

The camera pans up from a pair of barefoot feet shuffling along with some sneakers and SURPRISE, BAM, it’s our faves, Trudy and Gina.

USA today literally used this logo until 2012

Trudy is giving a very good and loud show of how badly she needs a fix and it hooks a sizeable fish.

He's the guy who is standing by the ass cheek sign last episode, btw

And yes, that is Giancarlo Esposito, playing a guy named Luther, at an adorable twenty-six years old and wearing pants with a total of six pleats in the front because of course he can pull that off. Esposito had done a bunch of other work by this time and actually comes back twice to Miami Vice, but as different characters because that’s how casting on this show rolled.

Our ladies don’t trust him, Gina says he’s probably a cop (oh, the layers of this setup), but he points at the teardrop under his eye as proof that they can trust him to get Trudy high. God, look at his little baby face here.

The joys of getting to see what someone's hair is like

As Trudy and Gina are lead to whatever place this guy uses as headquarters, we get the reassurance that they have backup.

The level of loser-to-winner they give these two is a little wild

However, their back up is Zito and Switek, who are basically chumps in this season. They go to start the car and it doesn’t go and they have to chase on foot and holy shit, that’s the “Burlesque” neon letters there from the intro last episode. Ugh, I love that sign.

Anyway, our ladies are hustled off and the guys pursue and lose them.

Difficult question: staged or found set?

Time for the backup to the backup.

Crockett bitching about football

The bait and fish have reached the drug hangout and are greeted by the soulless stare of a rando manning the door. “Don’t mind Gary, he died three years ago,” says Luther, which is obviously reassuring.

Like a renaissance painting

Trudy and Gina’s game is getting played close, as they don’t know where their backup is and the point of no return is looming.

His little horn earring is amazing, tho

No worries though, as Crockett and Tubbs are hot in the pursuit of some extra-legal info-getting from some doper they know.

When I say later this episode is laid out like a comic book, I mean it

The use of shadows here

And the progression of story purely through images, just: pizza chef kiss

Gina and Trudy, meanwhile, share a look and a quick nod before exploding into action.

I love them

No fear

At that same moment Crockett and Tubbs show up because that’s how the story always goes. They’re four against a den of dopers, so they actually don’t get much aggressive pushback, but the dude Gary takes a runner out the window.

I do really love that there had to be a couple people in production who did all the graffiti. I also thought that was a Bosch print on the left there but that just seems too on the nose.

The use of just a green gel, so as not to worry about staging, is so great

Crockett goes to see what way Gary took after going down the fire escape.

FORESHADOWING?!?!

Turns out: there was no fire escape.

Take a moment and make note of this guy, ‘cause the camera did. Also, somebody in production likes their Keith Haring, good for them!

Bless Haring

Doot, doot, now we’re at the police station and, having been informed that the khaki boy nodded out in the earlier shot is Mark Jorgenson Jr., and some fun facts about him are his dad is a fucked up rich stockbroker and this is Mark Jr.’s second offense in eight months. CANDY for cops.

The amount I've looked for a Henley like Crocketts is embarassing

Mark Jr. is barely tracking their convo, but it is conveyed to him that now would be a good time to give up names of dealers. When he resists, not wanting to name his friends, Tubbs points out, “those people are not your friends.”

I mean, they aren't

Tubbs also makes time to do the classic, “you have such a bright future ahead of you, etc. etc.” and Mark Jr. finally decides to name some names.

He's still so smashed, like, CAN he remember names?

Oop, nevermind. Lawyer and judge favour time, he’s released.

SRS LAYER

I actually have a nicer looking cap of this moment but you can see the lawyer’s glasses better here and really, that’s what I’m about. Look at the size of these fucking things.

Speaking of fashion, Tubbs adjusts his socks and explains to Crockett that he wasn’t playing good cop. He just thinks uptown junkies are super sad because they do drugs because they’re hurting inside. He also says “so what else is new, Gucci Class slips through the cracks,” so I’m not 100% on what his feelings are.

Like, those have to be a rayon or silk blend

I like that they took time to show Trudy removing her makeup from her and Gina’s street show. Please also: Crockett’s jacket.

It's like a moto jacket, but busier

Anyway, whether rich junkies are humans or not, permission is given for Crockett to “rattle the cage” of Mark Jr. in hopes of scaring him into spilling his suppliers. Which means Crockett has to go see polo. The horse kind.

A place he is clearly comfortable

Now let’s enjoy some fashion choices of the pastel elite and look at horsies.

WTF this neckline

Horsies

Picnic, Fancy Picnic

One of the players falls and it’s Mark Jr. who is just not having a great week.

Did you know, this guy later directed Teeth

The dude who caused him to fall basically tells him he’s a piece of shit and rides off.

All but spat on him

Bummed Mark Jr. wanders up to a lady we saw earlier, among the polo-watchers. He brings his horse.

Horse is bored but chill with the situation

Jeez, look at that Rolls Royce. Oop, also to the right and back of it, an incoming downer.

Haha, not as much of a downer as learning that the guy who dissed on Mark Jr. is Mark Sr. This dame is Mary, his girlfriend.

Cool fam polo times

Crockett, of course, makes up a charming reason for knowing Mark Jr. and wanders off, his task of fucking up the kid finished.

We’re then treated to a long and loving shot of a fancy mansion and an opulent room, but this foyer is what got me:

Love me a foyer

You look at that, you do not expect the next room over to be full of Baroque frames and that extra-layered “here are all the things I own” of old money sitting rooms.

Not that any of this matters as we swiftly are panned to a far less fancy bedroom.

This is a dresser like rich people I know had. The drawers never stuck.

My cousin had a TV like that! It was black and white and I saw a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode on it once.

She did NOT have a bathroom connected to her bedroom, however. Mark Jr. totally does and is taking a bit of a drug nap post-polo.

UGH CARPET THO

Now, I’ve encountered carpeted bathrooms. But it’s been in wildly dry places like Wyoming, not the damp and tropical swamps of Florida. Who does this. WHO DOES THIS!? That’s how you get rot, folks.

Mary calls around the house for Mark Jr. and finally goes to his room. I did try and GIS this painting but it just gave me “cartoon”.

I really wanna know where they got all this art.

Mary, of course, finds Mark Jr.

Surprised/not surprised

The sweat level in this scene made me uncomfortable

Mary asks Mark Jr. what is up, as she’d thought he’s moved past this. Mark Jr., in response, talks a bit about interior design and the colour white. Okay, Mark Jr.

Mary sees Mark Sr. arriving and goes to run interference.

This is a well-dressed bathroom set, btw

PS: this "painting" is obvs a print, see how the light shines on it?

It does not work and Mark Sr. angrily goes to do his stock business times out on his palatial lawn.

I think rich Miami houses all have lawn offices

Mark Jr. comes out and is told some options to erase what he did, record-wise. It includes a six month stint at a rehab program, which he refuses to do because that’s as bad as jail. It doesn’t appear that he has a lot of choice. All this is due to happen after he finishes this semester AND the polo season, tho. Priorities.

Obviously

At the station, Trudy (who does all the best and most reliable research for the entire team) has got some deets on the Marks. Mostly on Mark Sr. who has multiple times been like thisclose to getting into trouble but always has cash to fix things.

PS: Green pearls, different coloured adonised metal earrings

They get enough to get a warrant to wire the Jorgenson’s house, which nets them some useful audio.

Also tried to search this print

With the sharp ear of this tech who is frustratingly uncredited, they’re able to pinpoint discussion of a warehouse (for some “inventory”) between Mary and Mark Sr. to a location by a church and train tracks.

Tubbs gets some info from a hot dog vendor who spends a chunk of his discussion with Tubbs conferring with his dog about which warehouse they saw a van at.

Lovingly framed hot dog

This shirt is a good shirt

Tubbs tracks the warehouse down and casually picks the lock. Man, look at the type on the sign behind him.

He ditches the hot dog in a dumpster, because he is from New Yawk and knows a dog

Warehouse level: unlocked.

Love this shot

Some muddy footsteps, or dirty ones, I honestly don’t know why someone would have muddy shoes in this situation, lead Tubbs to the loot.

The double-breasted makes movement like this so interesting

That's a lot of drug

Reinforcements are called in, could we take a moment to appreciate how well the silhouettes of these folks say who is who?

The key to costuming, honestly

The team sets up at the mission across the way, let’s montage.

How rarely do you see a folding chair without some shit stencilled to the back of it?

First though, I just want to say that the kind of goofy and simplistic design of this lamp is such a well-thought placement in a mission/YMCA environment, it’s the kind of mid-century lamp that a business donated a dozen of to the mission as a tax write off.

Back to montage. Montage to Turn Up The Radio.

The sign is probably in hopes of saving bedding

This is apparently a nice camera to choose for this scene

Using magazines to steady the coffee maker, nice

Between the stakeout setup, Crockett goes to learn what he can about who owns the warehouse in question. Look at this console computer. Man. Man!

HEART EYES

More montage. The shape of underwear has really changed over the decades. I wonder if there is a pictograph?

Maybe I should make said pictograph

I wonder if the change happened due to fabric technology or just style?

Underwear also reflects the outer clothing and expectations

I did really hope this bit would end with Gina and Trudy putting up a foldout of their own. There’s a great Herb Ritts photo of Don Johnson standing in the surf, his clothes practically transparent. I guess that’d be a fourth wall breaker (and wasn’t shot until like a year later) but still.

In the search for the warehouse’s owner, over two days, Crockett and the researcher find an excess of shell companies and whoever is at the nexus of them is impossible to find.

Love her

These phones always were and always will be intimidating

This fucking look!

After all that waiting, the stakeout crew finally hits their jackpot. I’m proud of myself because I accurately called that these limos were Lincolns.

Also, be reassured this camera view is accurate

Brick phone, brick phone, brick phone

I know I’ve been kind of montage-y here, but a good Miami Vice episode is like a comic book, the visuals do as much work (if not more) than the words, and this episode in particular is a stunner.

That said, how is the team gonna get past the door muscle?

Very intimidate

Two shmucks walking back from the gym, talking about how to sell a lie. . .

I am, admittedly, distracted by this car

The door dudes stiffen up but relax once they actually get an eye on these two and realise they’re no threat.

OR ARE THEY?!

COOL DOWN

Scope Crockett’s car there in the background, perfectly framed!

Anyway, they shush the guards and then:

"What a good business deal we have done"

"Oh no"

"Oh dear"

You fucked, Mary

Tubbs drives Mary back to the station and tries to get her to talk but she holds by her demand for a lawyer.

Fair

Mark Sr. is not stoked on the situation, though he seems more upset about the money (75 million!!) lost than Mary getting picked up.

This is, btw, the most unused-looking desk

Well, time to go yell at the son you don’t like, I guess.

That always fixes things

Mark Jr. is upset about Mary getting picked up and knows right away that his dad isn’t going to do shit about it for her, that he “can’t be connected.” So he sends Mark Jr. to check on her, tell her to not come back to the house, etc. Classy stuff, basically.

HIGHBROW

Transition scene tailored realness. God, the costuming on this show. The consistent use of clean lines for Tubbs and refined sloppiness for Crockett is so on.

You're lucky I'm not innundating you with pics of cars from this parking lot, they were ALL CUTE

Our dudes get word that Mark Jr. is at the station to pick up Mary and try to explain the whole deal (his dad dealing drugs via Mary, so he has a middleman-fall guy). Mark Jr. is just basically overwhelmed and reactive.

I love Mark Jr. put on a sweater vest to go pick Mary up

He huffs off, and grabs Mary to take her to her apartment. Well, they both go in the chauffeured car to her apartment.

Mary, for her part, seems mostly amused by the whole booking procedure. She’s practically trilling about how quaint the whole process is, how “antiseptic” and “almost polite.” Well no shit, lady, you’re rich and white. WTF.

"Life touches me not at all"

Mark tried to convey to her that he is mad about his dad abandoning her, but she agrees, it’ll be best if she stays separate for a bit, to protect him. What a fucking romp this is for her.

Like, when Mark Jr. is more worried than you, re-evaluate

Mark Jr. is dropped off at the house and the car drives off to take Mary to her apartment. Only, you know. Not really. Because this locks before they’re out of the Jorgenson’s driveway.

Fuck, I hated these kind of locks.

Yup. You figured it out, Mary.

Yup

The very next shot is a gorgeous pan down an overpass to this whole mess.

Jeez, they even have discarded gloves on the ground

It’s Mary, or was, and although it’s very suicide-looking, it just as obviously isn’t. Nobody is feeling good about this situation. But it gets worse.

Also, I think kind of illegal

It’s been arranged for Mark to show up at the scene. He does not take it well, OBVIOUSLY.

OBVIOUSLY

Neither of our dudes are stoked, because this is manipulative as shit, even for them. Castillo says it’s the Jorgensons who wrote the plays they’re following.

On a better note, the choice of mis-matching stripes on Crockett is nice. Shades of grey indeed.

In-fucking-deed

They get Mark Jr. to agree to wear a wire by basically looking at him.

On top of all of this, I think he's also going through withdrawl

Mark Sr. got the sad drinks on in his office, staring at a picture of him and Mary together, but he’s moved to the yard by the time Junior rolls up.

One office to another

There’s some convo that I guess is supposed to be sad. Mark Sr. talks about how he was raised with “Jorgensons never cry” as some sort of mantra, and thought that just being who he was would put him above the law. Really, really, not sure if that was supposed to humanise him or ???

He turns, eyes full of those tears he’s never cried and says he killed Mary.

Yup, still no pity

Mark Jr. reacts about how you’d expect after your dad sort of maybe tells you he loves you and is proud of you, right before he confesses to murder while you’re wearing a wire.

In short: not well

Welp, can’t put that back in the bottle. Dad is arrested, Junior loses his shit about it, literally stomp-running away from Crockett after he tries to help him chill out.

To be fair, Crockett tends to comfort when it helps him feel better

Crockett and Tubbs, later that evening, go back to the house and check in with the housekeeper about where the hell Mark Jr. is. She’s got no clue and Tubbs tells Crockett that he won’t be coming back.

Like, did he take NO assets with him on this trip? He just assumes this will work out? THAT'S THE SAME THINKING HIS DAD HAD.

Tubbs asks Crockett, “what we did today?”

Crockett replies, spitting out the words around his unfiltered cigarette “good, routine, police work.”

Sometimes I worry that how I feel about law enforcement unfairly influences how I portray actions on this show, but then I remember, Miami Vice is well ahead of me there.

As much as I’d love to write monographs on this show, I’ve really only got time and energy to cap the shit out of it and share the things I’d be yelling at the TV about anyway. If you like this and want more, become my Patreon supporter to access to posts like these first and also get zip files of the first cull of caps (which is about twice what is used in a post).

 

 


Also published on Medium.

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