I’ve been lax in posting Miami Vice! Other projects have been taking up my time but I really want to get through season one before I take an actual break, so let’s get to it!
I’d accidentally skipped episode 19, The Home Invaders, and went straight to Nobody Lives Forever, so let’s play catchup. Vice and Robbery have to work together to stop some, surprise, home invasions. Lessons about life are learned along the way.
For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “The Home Invaders”
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.
Look at this cute, rich, household. I’m honestly including the following screencap because it has Rainbow Brite, who was awesome.
Man, bolster pillows, though. I’ve never been a fan of complicated bedding and dang was this era full of it.
And yes, this child looks like a demon-posessed hacker from some 80s horror film, but let’s focus on holy shit this infant has a computer. This family must be rich as hell.
The evening is going as expected for these folks, kids are late to dinner, the house has a sunken living room and a weird open floor plan, there’s a maid, etc.
But the doorbell rings for a flower delivery and things break bad, because this is Miami Vice.
From there the regular robbery stuff happens, folks are threatened, “jewels” are demanded, etc. These guys offer an extra level of menacing, however.
High profile hits like this have been happening enough that Robbery is asking Vice to help them out and add more manpower to their attempts to apprehend the bad guys. This results in a 3am meeting post what was apparently a particularly good party at Crockett’s.
It’s revealed Tubbs is in New Yawk visiting Valerie (who we met in Rites of Passage). Over at the Miami Vice wiki, they explain, “Philip Michael Thomas (Tubbs) . . . was in fact injured doing a stunt in the previous episode.” It’s interesting, from a writing perspective, because Tubbs worked Robbery for NYPD and his character’s interactions with the Robbery department and their distaste of Vice would have changed the dynamic.
Anyway, off they all go to a beautiful, Brutalist building.
Crockett started off in Robbery and gladhands about while they arrive, passing by some seriously gorgeous office gear.
We’ve seen this set a bunch before (it’s where basically all interrogation scenes take place), but I think I’d remember if they showed us that typewriter.
The guy who heads up Robbery was Crockett’s old mentor, Malone, who also boasts the most exciting suit in Robbery, in a light blue two sizes too big.
In the meeting, a slim dossier of the robberies is handed out and Castillo asks a lot of questions that makes Robbery pissy because he’s never worked Robbery before and who is he to judge?!
But what he’s asking “have you talked to known robbers to see what they know, where is the timeline of the robberies,” and so on—that’s good stuff to know that they haven’t done. He’s not pleased. Basically all they have is “similar shit happened in Chicago.”
Meanwhile, the next victim’s house is being cased.
Lots of things are photographed, the security patrol, the power box, street signs, the weird dang windows this house has. And also, this random lady living what has honestly got to be her best life.
Back at the robber hideout, we see their gear as they argue about if this latest house is too secure to risk hitting.
The overall agreement is that it isn’t worth it, a feeling backed up by Jerry, here, who you may know as David Patrick Kelly from The Warriors or Twin Peaks.
Not into the idea is Pete, there in the middle, who is a baby Esai Morales! He’s been in a tonne of stuff but I know him best in From Dusk Til Dawn TV show, because I like my trashy soaps.
I cannot get over how rich the family who opened this episode must be. Check the bonkers huge sculpture in their yard!
Crockett and Castillo are talking with the mom, who is legit shook up by the experience, which ended up with her son’s hand being damaged by the robbers and their maid in the hospital. They softly ask her some questions, but come up with no new info.
You can’t see it here, but she is absolutely using peach-coloured tissue to cry into and wow, that gave me a hell of a flashback.
They leave a questionnaire with her, one that all the victims are being asked to fill out, in hopes of finding where the pattern is in the robbers’ behaviour.
The Casa Vogue there on the table gives a glance of insight to the family they’re talking to. It’s a Brazilian architecture and style mag that’s been out since 1975 and it sounds specific as hell. The Domus beneath it is another architecture magazine, this one from Italy. So basically, this bonkers house is owned by an architect, which makes some sense.
And, cue montage sequence of Crockett and Castillo reviewing files and driving around to ask informants what they know.
Still, no luck. They go to a jeweller’s they know, to see what he knows. The place is decorated bonkers, those panels sticking out of the wall have neon behind them?!
This dame is great though. I love her look.
There is, btw, more than one pastel flamingo water colour in this office.
The proprietor wants nothing to do with the cops, not only because fuck being an informant and cops then thinking you’re their favourite source for local news, but because the guys they’re looking for are scarier than cops.
He tries to have his muscle escort them away but Crockett deflects it and they basically glare and leave of their own accord. Castillo looks better doing it.
That evening, at the bar, Castillo asks Gina and Trudy to keep an ear out for women who’ve been roughed up by their clients, since that was something that he’s learned happened during the Chicago robberies.
He also tells Crockett to make whatever excuse he wants for him not being at the Robbery meeting that evening. He plans on working on things by himself and not having to deal with their “this is how we always do it” drama. Crockett does not like mom and dad fighting.
While the cops are trying to figure out how to get the robbers, the next robbery is happening.
This time though, a cop on patrol encounters the guy on watch.
In the light of day, Crockett, Castillo and Malone scope the disarray.
Castillo asks why the area around the house wasn’t sealed off, and Malone gets defensive.
Crockett takes Malone outside and calms him down, trying to scope why he’s so defensive and why it seems like he’s doing a half-hearted job.
Back with Castillo, Crockett tries to defend Malone, but they’re both not feeling it.
Gina and Trudy have found some folks who have probably encountered the robbers.
When Crockett is brusque and dismissive while questioning them, one says “we don’t do something for nothing, we’re businesswomen.” Damn straight, girls.
With the questionnaires turned in by the folks who got robbed, Castillo joins the robbery team to try and find the connecting threads.
They determine the women of the households all went to the same hair salon. They’ve now got a lead, finally.
And we get a montage to The Glamourous Life.
(the dog is a customer as well)
Gina scopes everyone out, but nothing in the salon seems off. Plus, Trudy’s checked and they’re all licensed and above board.
The valet guy though.
The girls Gina and Trudy found are going through the mugshot books and everybody’s patience. I love their looks forever and fully expect to see the shirt on the right at Forever21 any day now.
Trudy and Gina take them to the hair salon, to see if they can ID the valet guy.
They absolutely can.
With that info, the worn-out Malone and the Robbery team can move ahead.
They set up surveillance and catch Pete making a copy of a client’s keys after he parks her car.
Nobody can nail “folks looking out a window” like Miami Vice, btw.
As it’s clear this dame is the next hit, they pull her over to warn her and set up a sting.
She assumes they’re hired by her husband to kill her (?!) and takes them on a bit of a chase before actually listening and cooperating.
The cops find and tail the robbers, as they make their way in some gorgeous cars to their next target.
When they swap to a work van, though, they lose their tail.
I think we’ve seen this motel a couple times in different episodes but I don’t stop loving it.
What kind of pizza place delivers with a van? VERY UNDERCOVER, you guys.
Anyway, now Crockett and Castillo, laying in wait at the old lady’s house, now don’t know when the robbers will show up. Crockett is a little on edge about it.
Castillo is chill though.
He’s reading a library book, btw. You can see the library stamp on the side of the pages, there.
While Gina is letting Crockett know they’ve lost the robbers, Crockett asks if maybe they have the wrong lights on, or something, any reason why the robbers haven’t arrived yet.
The old lady explains that the car she was driving that day wasn’t hers, just fyi. It was her daughter’s.
Dang, her look is complete head to toe, bless her.
Crockett and Castillo high tail it to her daughter’s house.
The robbery is already going down.
With no time to wait for backup, natch, Castillo makes a decision.
There’s a shootout, and the bad guys all get deaded.
It basically immediately cuts to champagne being poured, which is weird because this old lady’s daughter is traumatised and three dudes are dead, but they won the case, I guess?
Castillo and Malone haven’t shown up yet, so Crockett borrows a quarter from Switek (apparently up to $19.50 in borrowed quarters at this point) to give them a call.
Who in Miami got a discount on brick glass though?
As he makes his way to the phone, Crockett runs into the guys he was about to call.
Malone gives him a box, which has a fishing reel inside, confusing Crockett, understandably.
He explains that he just turned in his badge and that he plans on doing a lot of fishing, so I guess the reel is like, an invite. Malone says something about “showing [Crockett] when to draw his gun and now when to put it away,” which is a poetic way to be like “god, stop doing your job before you start sucking at it and possibly hurting others in doing so.”
Anyway, Castillo is, as always, A Mood.
And that’s it. What a weird episode.
The next post will be about the penultimate episode of the season! Woo! Almost through!! Oh no!! The next episode is heavy AS FUCK.
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).