As they’re wont to do, Miami Vice follows some bummer episodes with the mostly goofy Made for Each Other. This time around, we follow the C team, Switek and Zito. Antics definitely ensue.
For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “Made for Each Other”
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.
It starts off normal enough. Crockett and Tubbs are undercover, buying counterfeit money and being cool dudes in a cool 80’s television show about vice cops.
I got all nostalgic over old bills. Look at these frilly little things.
They talk shop about the paper a bit, making nice business chat, like you do.
Artie, the counterfeiter, is a weird and nervous dude who explains they just sell it by weight and don’t bother counting it any more.
Our dudes’ backup includes Switek and Zito, done up like an old guy and his caretaker and parked at the home across the street.
They’re casually arguing about Switek’s choice to move in with his girlfriend, Darlene. See, Zito used to date Darlene and thinks she’s bad news. Switek won’t hear it because he figures Zito is just being a sore loser.
As one would expect, once the calvary rushes in to capture Artie, things break bad—this time involving fire sprinklers full of gasoline and a lighter.
Artie fingers Crockett and Tubbs as cops and there is some shooting, in which our dudes hide behind a god-awful huge stack of money.
Crockett and Tubbs escape the fire, dragging Artie with them, but all their evidence is about to go up in smoke, so Zito runs into the fire to grab a stack of the fake cash. Switek has to be held back before he runs in after him and they think Zito is goner.
Of course, he isn’t.
Zito’s hands are all burned up, so Switek gives him a ride home. He’s got a souvenir fake hundred for his troubles, something Switek thinks is bad luck.
Zito disagrees. See, he thinks that your life is either “in whack or outta whack.” And he feels like his life is currently “in whack.”
Aaaaaaaaaand they drive up to his street filled with firetrucks and a house on fire. His house.
Some sort of localised gas fire and all Zito’s stuff is gone up in smoke. Except his mailbox, which still has his mail in it.
It’s the gas bill.
Switek offers to let Zito stay with him, even though Darlene is moving in, because they’re best dang friends and that’s what friends do.
Speaking of Darlene moving in, as they walk up they find a lot of Switek’s stuff moved out.
We saw a little of Switek’s love of Elvis (the dude, not the gator that lives on Crockett’s boat) in Give A Little, Take A Little, when he does some bad impressions in a stand up bit. The depth of his love we learn in just a moment.
First, he’s got a picture of The King hanging up in his bedroom.
Which Darlene changes out for something a bit more her.
Darlene, as she fills the closet, cheerily informs Stan that he’ll have to hang his clothes in the garage.
Switek points out his apartment doesn’t have a garage.
This wall texture is too real. The hard-to-clean sculpted plaster wall was absolutely a part of my life and fuck whoever thought that was a fun thing to do.
While Switek and Darlene argue over Zito sleeping on the couch until he can find a place, we see the pure and intense extent of Switek’s Elvis shrine.
There’s a neon, guys. This is so sweetly and thoroughly arranged.
Zito parks it on the couch with his mailbox while the argument continues and the place fills up with Darlene’s things (how big was her last place?!).
Is that sculpture hers or Switek’s? I must know.
At the station the next day, Zito basically volunteers him and Switek to shake down a fence they know in an attempt to get an in with Costelada, a big time stolen goods dealer. Switek isn’t stoked.
He’d been looking forward to a few days off after settling the counterfeiter case, so he could settle in with Darlene. Zito though, I think Zito just wants to keep working.
Gina and Trudy pitched in to get him a new goldfish to replace the one that died in the fire. Zito names it Harriet. Harriet’s bowl is way too small.
For real, that poor goldfish.
Anyway, off they go to talk to a guy that could get them a meet with Costelada.
It’s BONZO BARRY, an audio-visual salesman. He’s in the middle of recording a commercial and dang, just drink in this shop. Just the entryway to this place. The neon.
Switek and Zito are gonna be presenting themselves as dudes with stolen merch to sell. Along with the bug van bit, fake fencers is one of their regular gigs.
Problem is, Switek is certain that the lady next to Barry is someone they’d busted in the past, but Zito is certain she isn’t.
Oh, btw, the commercial involves a seal wearing headphones and several puns.
Switek and Zito get to work selling Barry on their loads of imaginary merchandise, listing brands and products that are time machine of what was cutting edge.
As it turns out, they did totally bust that lady before and she outs them as cops.
I absolutely made earrings like that during my early-90’s jewellery making phase. Cheap faux pearl drops for the win.
With that avenue closed, Switek and Zito decide to enlist the help of some dudes they know who already have full histories as established fences. Here’s one, Noogie, first introduced in episode three.
He’s having his bachelor party, since he’s getting married to Annie, the dancer in the background there (she’s a legit catch, btw). He tells Switek and Zito: “I’m gonna be flying the friendly skies, flying United.” Pretty cute use of a commercial catchphrase, honestly.
Noogie is an informant and, as is the M.O. with cops, even cops on Miami Vice, they bully him into helping them, even though Costelada is not a dude you fuck with. Noogie ain’t too pleased.
Now for the other half of the equation, my eternal fave, Izzy (first introduced in episode eight).
He was breaking into a flower or bird shop to steal money from the register, which is incredibly on-brand for him. He’s an informant too, and so is also bullied into helping, though the crowbar helped.
What the fuck is this store, though. It’s just several birds and some plants. It doesn’t really matter though, Switek and Zito have collected who they need to get Costelada.
We finally meet this dude, in a sort of Doctor Claw way.
He’s doing deals on his phone and in a later call makes some basic threats about payment. Normal hustler of stolen goods stuff.
Costelada has a bit of an accent and a simple-mindedness that makes his character work, particularly in later scenes. So I looked up who this rando character actor was. Turns out: Johnny “Vatos” Hernandez, the drummer from Oingo Boingo. He plays a part in next season too, since Miami Vice loved reusing bit actors. Anyway, what a gift.
Not a gift is Zito staying at Switek’s while Darlene is living there. Also, having only one bathroom in your apartment can’t help.
Darlene and Switek try to get romantic, with her talking him up about how he could rise in the ranks (especially if he maybe got a new partner) but Zito is watching TV at volume and I guess Darlene needs the apartment perfectly quiet to perform.
Switek makes a plea to his pal.
Even mid-romancing, Switek cannot resist the king.
He does return to his lady, after being refreshed by his idol. The relationship Switek and Darlene have is weird, because she seems to hate most of what he does and only appreciates him when he’s catering fully to her needs. But he’s just happy she exists. Is this a normal relationship people end up in? Why would you do that.
Look at this dang kitchen. This may be an actual apartment (doorframe says yes), or it’s a hastily built set. Honestly, not much difference between the two in terms of care at the wall/floor line, or lifespan.
The breakfast Switek makes for Darlene is ruined by the presence of Zito and then very quickly destroyed by the intrusion of Noogie and Izzy, arguing over who is in charge of this bullshit task the boys put them on. They are always so dang eager to help but get so bullied.
After Darlene gets up from the table, Izzy takes her place, to watch some TV, despite being in the middle of a conversation. “This is where Ward comes down hard on the Beav,” he says solemnly, sipping Darlene’s abandoned coffee.
My cousin had a 90s version of this TV, btw. Also, just noting: black tape on the left there is probably covering a brand name they didn’t want to deal with.
Zito gets the TV off and Izzy and Noogie focused. They make plans for how they’ll get in with Barry, so they can make a meet with Costelada.
Is that, is it a diamond shaped window there above Izzy’s head?! I actually was able to find interior shots of this apartment building, but it’s been heavily renno’d on the inside so who knows. WHO KNOWS, not me, the person who spent ten minutes doing that.
Switek and Zito get the goods for Noogie and Izzy, telling our dudes that no, they totally don’t need backup and yes, this is absolutely for them and not just some informants they’ve bulled into the job.
Noogie and Izzy were fully handcuffed while waiting in the bug van, since they do have a solid history of stealing anything they can. The heel on Izzy’s boots is like a solid inch and a half, which makes me like him even more.
Fancy clothes on and loaned stolen goods loaded up, Noogie and Izzy win over Bonzo Barry.
They’re amazing, affable weirdos who just don’t stop talking. Barry is worn down and agrees to see about getting them a meet with Costelada, since they got more inventory than he can personally deal with.
Barry lets Costelada know. I think Costelada just lives on a yacht, which is kind of a baller life.
Comparison time, at the vice headquarters, late at night:
Zito is giving his best friend a night to just be romantic and alone with Darlene. He’s a good dude.
Zito, sitting alone in the conference room and making instant soup with hot water from the coffee maker, is not the only person there so late. There’s the cleaning guy, and there’s Crockett.
He has a good chat with Zito, and offers a place on his boat for the night, but Zito is fine just hanging out at work, in the clothes he keeps hand-washing. Crockett seems sceptical, but lets him be.
Hopefully, when he gets a new place, he can also get Harriet a better bowl.
Meanwhile, the bedroom window of Switek.
We get an awkward little radio play of him not being able to focus on being romantic because he’s worried about his best friend. And like, there is plenty in this episode to be like “they secretly love each other romantically” but hell, let’s normalise having a friend you love this much.
The next day, Castillo comes down on them for using informants to work cases, since that’s ABSOLUTELY NOT how you are supposed to treat informants.
Switek and Zito go to tell Noogie and Izzy the news that they’re off the case. They’re hanging out at Noogie’s fiance’s bar an she spends a good amount of time telling him how they are going to Disneyworld for their honeymoon, dammit. Hell yeah, Annie, that sounds fun as heck.
But clearly, she’s a hella fun person.
I’ve said it before, but floor/strip/burlesque shows on Miami Vice are so weird and I know it’s because of Television Laws reasons, but I do hope there were shows like this out there.
Noogie doesn’t want Disneyworld as much as Annie does, but you know he’s going to lose this one.
Switek and Zito deliver the news that they’re off the case and Noogie and Izzy take it straight to heart.
Haha, no they don’t, they go scope something Izzy’s wanted to steal forever.
Yeah, they’re still in the game.
Izzy and Noogie work Barry, because they’re schemers above all, and their plotting is justified by being asked to help the law once.
More importantly, the art in Barry’s office is banging and I got no idea who made it.
He gives Costelada a call and lets him know that these guys have a cement truck they want to offload. Turns out, that’s exactly the kind of thing Costelada has always wanted and he’s amped as hell about it.
So, now they gotta steal this truck. I’ll let the pictures tell the tale.
Cement truck in hand, Noogie and Izzy ride off.
Not knowing they’ve decided to freelance, Switek and Zito rough up Barry and basically out Noogie and Izzy which, if they’d not continued the ruse, would have been fine.
But, they kept it up and are meeting with the big guy now.
He loves the truck, btw.
Which isn’t much help when Barry gives a call about Noogie and Izzy being cops.
We cut to Darlene on the phone with a friend, saying how noooo, Switek is just a pal, she’s totally not two-timing him. Class act, lady.
She’s interrupted mid-chat by Switek, who literally sweeps her off her feet.
Fate is like, 100% determined this is never gonna work though, as Zito busts in a couple moments later to let Switek know that Noogie and Izzy are in trouble.
Darlene is not into this. She literally tells Switek to just let it be! When he tells her it’s his job, to be a cop and do this shit, she tells him he can have another job. And, since she’s absolute trash at reading people, she adds the classic “if you go I won’t be here when you come back.”
Switek is fine with that.
How are our faves doing? Not well, very tied up and absolutely ready to tell Costelada anything he wants, but more because that’s their nature (I mean, they do talk to cops) than any external pressure.
For not knowing they were cops, Barry gets thrown in the mix too.
But, Switek and Zito have totally arrived in time to shoot some bad guy goons.
When they get to the cabin Noogie and Izzy are in, though, they don’t have to lift a finger.
Because those two are resourceful beyond mortal means.
The rest of this post is just caps from Noogie and Annie’s wedding and yes, it’s the best thing ever.
Switek thanks to Zito, as they watch the ceremony, for saving him from getting into a situation where he’d end up marrying Darlene.
Though, the wedding they’re attending is amazing enough to make the institution seem almost palatable, even to me.
Next episode: getting too deep into the criminal mind, almost as if it were a modern network television show.
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.