I accidentally skipped episode 19 and went straight to 20, but the relationship between Crockett and his lady in Nobody Lives Forever is a nice continuation of the themes in Made for Each Other. Turns out, yuppies playing at love can be controlling and shitty too! More so than other folks, even!
For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “Nobody Lives Forever”
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.
Before anything, we’re introduced to some real rough riding scumbags. They like comics though.
They also like harassing a random dude into driving off the road and through what I guess is a flamingo yard ornament sale. All to the tune of Bad to the Bone, natch.
They’re a weird bunch of dudes, basically yes-anding their way through destruction.
What drugs could they be on to be like this?! Or maybe they’re just high on the most dangerous drug of all, life. Turns out though, they let you know right off what they’re into:
It’s a gateway drug to life, you know.
Fucking around with the ‘nocs, they spot a bookie doing some money stuff over by that cute hot dog cart, which is very exciting. More exciting is seeing someone on TV with normal-ass skin that’s broken out.
That’s Frank Military in his first credited role, who ended up writing two episodes for Miami Vice and then went on to do a shitload of writing and producing while acting in small bits here and there because Miami Vice is like the mother of all sorts of people you didn’t realise you knew.
Anyway, hot dog moneybags gets got.
Don’t you worry, Crockett and Tubbs are on the case! If Crockett can get off the phone with his new girlfriend, anyway. When Tubbs asks if it’s love, Crockett explains it’s “LWP.” “Lust with potential.”
The trouble dudes have abandoned their car, which is a mess. They’re like terror locusts, using things up and moving on.
Let’s check out that LWP.
Oooh, well I know that’s how I feel about this house. It still exists and it charmingly overgrown and must be a righteous bitch to clean.
Now, the lady Crockett is seeing, on the other hand.
I mean it is Kim Griest, who is great in Brazil and a bunch of other stuff, but even as an architect Brenda who owns a gorgeous house, will she last out an episode with Crockett?
Meanwhile, the trouble dudes steal another car and continue their rampage.
Everything about their various looks, though. What a range of characters.
Speaking of looks, Gina is in one of the handful of long sleeved collared dresses with full skirts that look awesome and I want to find a pattern for.
She’s also straight asking about Crockett (who’s late to work, again) and his current fling and how serious it is. Remember, Crockett and Gina have been on again-off again for the whole season.
Equally important to their relationship, to me anyway, is Zito’s shirt. Only lack of folding cash keeps me from recreating all these patterns.
They get word of a stolen car, so it’s off to try and track the trouble dudes, but they’re not the only ones looking for them. APPARENTLY, the hot dog carts are fronts for a bookie business and I honestly think that’s a great business plan.
They’re gonna totally murder the trouble dudes for what they did because you don’t fuck with bookies. And that is absolutely Giancarlo Esposito, who played a totally different dude in episode 11, because old shows reused people more than modern movies about Vietnam use the same three songs.
Crockett and Tubbs track the trouble dudes to a club and Tubbs pops in for a look, with Crockett following up once he is done letting Brenda know he’ll be late.
“No, you hang up first.”
Crockett is properly mocked by some new wave kids, bless them.
Ohhhhhhhhh, shitty tho. He took so fucking long talking to Brenda (like, longer than he took talking to his wife before he thought he was going to be killed in the second episode) that the trouble dudes escape out the club, shooting and causing a bullety ruckus.
Don’t worry Brenda, the phone booth got shot but Crockett didn’t, no thanks to you dragging the convo out.
Crockett is doing well enough to describe the guy to a sketch artist, even.
Familiar face? Hell yeah that’s Michael Carmine, who was Carlos in Batteries Not Included!
While he’s paging through mugshot books, Gina asks Crockett about his new lady.
It becomes pretty dang clear that although Gina didn’t think they were exclusive, she though they were the kind of friends who bone who like, tell each other when they might be falling monogamously for someone else. You know. She thought he thought of her as a person.
“You just keep me around for the occasional pit stop until something better comes along,” she tells him.
“That’s not fair,” he whines.
“No,” she agrees, “it’s not.”
Just gonna say from experience, being Latinx and knowing this guy you like does most of his public partnering with blonde ladies is like extra trash on top of that garbage feelings sundae.
But hey, he can go have his feelings in a pool.
Brenda’s conversations with Crockett clearly keep poking at needing to be the first thing in his mind, not just because their relationship is new, but because that’s how she thinks things should be.
Ugh, I am absolutely biased against people who try to fuck with a person’s balance between self and relationships.
How about a palate cleanser?
Fuck yeah, Izzy selling “Italian leather” shoes. Of course, he can’t be left be, and Crockett and Tubbs corner him to demand he use his connections to find out where the trouble dudes are.
Izzy, is of course, overjoyed to put his life on the line for the cops.
The openwork embroidery on this shirt is just bonkers, btw? At least, I think it’s openwork. It’s great design, whatever it is.
Tubbs takes a moment to tell Crockett that maybe he should take the weekend off and just hang with Brenda and get it out of his system, because his mind is not on his work. And, since his work involves tracking down dudes who have killed folks and are running around with guns, that would be ideal.
So, Crockett does take the weekend and we get a montage.
At the end of their trip she grills him on various stuff, and his job. She asks about Gina and he says she’s a good cop and a good friend and that yeah, they’d totally boned in the past. Brenda says, “I just want this to be the beginning of falling in love,” which is nice enough, I guess.
The hunt for the trouble dudes is back on and Izzy and his “Italian leather” shoes have found them. He gives them the hard sell.
They say no thanks.
After some laffs, Izzy gets threatened with a shotgun and rightly backs off.
Just like, look at their booth? I’ve known folks like this. It’s like, they’re Hell’s whirlwind and everything they touch is turned inside out.
Izzy makes a phone call in an alcove that is SO Miami Vice. Glass blocks and coloured gels? Yes.
He absolutely is not calling Crockett, btw.
These hot dog bookies think they’ll be able to scare some sense or non-life into these dudes, because that’s how things always work. But folks like these dudes just don’t care. They’re you on a throwaway save of GTA, just fucking around.
They take the time to compliment the waitress in the most terrifying way possible (while holding weapon) and run out whooping and giggling. But what of Izzy, who may have got shot?!
It’s just ketchup, of course, and we won’t think of implications of him just straight tasting what might be his own blood.
Of course, Crockett and Tubbs show up, angry he didn’t call them first.
Izzy figures he was doing them a favour, if the bookies had successfully scrubbed out the trouble dudes, then the whole thing would be over. As Crockett and Tubbs head off, Izzy yells “You can’t kill them, they’re already dead.” Which is just, dang. A great line.
In the morning, Tubbs goes to pick up Crockett from Brenda’s place.
I love that if you take away the broad expanses of glass and white details, honestly houses like this are Brutalist af.
The amount of concrete and white enamelled pipe inside and outside this home is bonkers.
Listen, no judgement on the upper class (haha, jk, totally judgement), but I’ve yet to see a modern rich person’s home that uses space in any logical way. It’s always “soaring ceiling in entry way and living room that reduces usable space on the second floor by 40%” or “unfortunate kitchen-to-dining-nook design that is like a mental torture waltz to navigate.” I guess, joke’s on them because they have to fucking live in it, but lord.
Still love that house even if I’d murder somebody over the kitchen.
Anyway, while Crockett puts on a shirt, Tubbs basically tells Brenda that she doesn’t know what normal life is. He asks her to picture other tired cop wives hanging out with her and going to their baseball games. She basically reacts badly, saying Tubbs is calling Crockett middle class.
Which wouldn’t be an insult if you thought people in other economic classes were human, BRENDA.
Tubbs isn’t saying Crockett is too poor to be with Brenda, he’s saying she’s too rich and privileged to actually share and support someone not exactly of her class.
She takes it well.
Fuck me, that table is a horse.
Tubbs tries to be polite about Brenda later to Crockett, playfully framing her being too good for him in that way folks do to soften their true feelings.
Hot tip friends: I’ve learned it’s worthwhile to be honest about your friend’s partners, you bring it up once and be truthful and if they tell you never to bring it up again you don’t. But shit, don’t never say anything.
Anyway, IZZY. He is wearing wooden clogs this time and we actually get a full like, minute of him painfully shuffle-walking up to the car. It serves nothing, story-wise, to show that. I love this show.
After getting some info, they decide they’ll stakeout the hot dog bookies, in hopes the trouble dudes will try to get cash from more hot dog bookie stands. HOT DOG BOOKIES.
They wait all day and nothing happens, because that’s what stakeouts are like.
They plan to meet at 6am and Crockett goes off to Brenda’s to play house with his heart. However, she’s been stewing on what Tubbs fed her all day and start asking him about what their future would be like. It starts to break down when she asks where they’d go on vacations without their kids and if it’d be Paris.
Crockett reacts like most folks and says “I don’t think I could get the time off.” Which Brenda can’t process. She literally gapes like a fish and asks if all their friends would be other cops and cop wives. Like, BRENDA?! You can make your own friends, babe. You are only obligated to be polite to your partner’s friends and understand they’re important to your partner. The conversation ends on a poor note, of course.
I get that this isn’t all Brenda, it’s partially the times and the weird, weird ideas straight people have about relationships. But this is honestly no different than Darlene telling Switek that he can get another job, when his job gets in the way of what she wants. As an example, here’s Tubbs waiting for Crockett to show up at the stakeout the next morning.
Why was he all alone? Well, Brenda thought Crockett needed the sleep and turned off his alarm.
What the fuck.
Crockett is horrified and runs downstairs, throwing on clothes, when he gets to the door, though,
Brenda basically created a situation that could have killed Tubbs. WTF!
It definitely makes the planning for their next move more uncomfortable for everybody. But! Luckily, since the hot dog bookies beat up a cop, Vice is in a position to borrow one of their hot dog carts for an undercover stakeout.
Crockett does not get to go, because he’s been shitty at his job lately.
He takes a montage on his boat and we go over various beats from the episode we literally just watched. But it’s to the tune of Heartbeat, so that’s nice.
Next morning, everybody not fucking up their jobs over new-love-vibes gets to work.
I’m not literary enough to know if Gina reading this play has any symbolic meaning, even though I looked up what it’s about. I’m sure it was, though.
Crockett goes to Brenda’s to basically tell her that they’re on different paths and should go on a break. She takes it well and agrees they should both figure themselves the fuck out first, but insists he keep her house key. Don’t worry, we never see her again. We do get to see the house, though!
Meanwhile, trouble dudes are sad because they’re out of money.
But! They remember the hot dog bookies!
Which is great, because the undercover stakeout was about to wrap up for the day.
Gina gathers all the humans to safety, leaving Tubbs to check something in a duffel bag and go back to playing his sax.
Just a totally normal, totally abandoned hot dog stand.
Trouble dudes sneak up and the guy who goes on to write Miami Vice episodes makes the money demands.
He makes his demands with a gun and Tubbs ends up shooting him with the gun he had readied in the duffel bag, precisely for this situation.
The second dude gets got as he’s about to get Tubbs, but that leaves one more dude, the one waiting in the car.
Some admirable car-handling is performed as he chases Tubbs through the park, slaloming between trees. Crockett ends it all by of course showing up though uninvited, because this is a pretend story and things work out.
He faces off the last trouble dude.
The kid screams “Nobody Lives Forever” and is promptly shot.
It’s a weird episode, friends.
So, next week I’ll do the episode I skipped on accident, which works out well because it’s a bummer.
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.