Miami Vice: Season 1, Episode 7 – No Exit

Miami Vice episode 7, No Exit

Ah, the episode “No Exit”, besides being named after a fabulously depressing play, has an actor that you may know now, but who got his first credited role here as the abusive Tony Amato.

Heads up, I’m keeping the mention light in this summary, but if you watch this episode there is some heavy emotional/physical spousal abuse.

For a full summary of this episode, see the Miami Vice wiki entry for “No Exit

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’re starting with a stakeout again, but this one is (if I may) more high stakes.

I get that he's bored, but what a great spot to be bored in

The whole gang’s all here, waiting around at what I guess is a retirement community?

The boombox!

They’re about to call things off when Suspicious Van trundles up.

A Not Suspicious Van

A Very Serious Man

A couple of goons stumble out and proceed to do their weapons deal. Of no consequence, this is one of my favourite blazers of Crockett’s.

It's got like, a semi-marled linen yarn, I think?

Things break bad, as they are wont to do here in the fine city of Miami.

I think you're going to make your own trouble when you tripod mount a machine gun in your van.

There’s a whole assload of machine gun firing by the goons, and wild firing back by the vice team. Nobody is hit, thanks to the quick work of Tubbs, but oh man.

In-ear head phones have sucked forever

See, as Tubbs forcefully explains to the one goon they were able to catch, he hates machine guns. See, when he hears them, he gets scared and “when I get scared I get angry.” Bro, same.

They take the captured goon and interrogate him, and this boy easily gives up his pals, Gentile (pronounced “Gentle”) and Ramone.

This doof doesn't even get a character name

The lot of them are all just middle men for the big fish, Tony Amato. Crockett and Tubbs call in my favourite third-tier member of the vice team, Lester, to bug the hell out of the house.

Like, you've been noticing the "NO SMOKING" signs all over the place where people smoke, right?

Just dig on the two other probably-tech-or-admin folks here. There’s a lady who found her look about six years ago and is fine with that, and this tan dad that is 100% listening to a baseball game on a transistor radio.

Anyway, to another gorgeous, rich person house in Miami. First though, there’s a dame.

On the first shot, we know her life sucks


Man, when isn’t there a dame? Anyway, Lester gets them in and they have thirty seconds to find the alarm and shut it off. Will they find it in time? Is that even how this shit works?!

The warren-like aspect of this layout I'm really into, for some reason

Of course, Lester being awesome means they find the alarm and shut it off. It’s very science, I’m sure you wouldn’t even understand what he’s doing.


Now it’s time to bug things! Also Lester is wearing a calculator watch. Did you know you can still buy those watches? Did you know I have one on my wishlist?

I did literally have to stop myself from looking up exactly what watch this is

While Lester works, Tubbs and Crockett browse through Amato’s life, including a magazine that is like a Sears catalogue of weaponry.

What a weird magazine. I couldn't catch the title, but I'm 100% sure it exists for real.

That big ol’ bay behind them means the headquarters for their snooping will be on Crockett’s boat.

Now, let’s enjoy height differences.

Little dude

Taller dude

They’re watching a lady exercise, btw. That never stops being a gag. But it’s also a great way to look at exercise clothes of the era.

I still don’t get exercising in tights. This look is fab tho.

I'm seriously concerned for all Jazzerciser's crotch health

But, who watches the watchers?! Some square.

What a creep, spying on people

Ah, the Feds.

"Do you have any Grey Poupon?"

After an awkward moment with Elvis, the Feds agree to work with MDPD on getting Tony Amato, because he is super full of guns. Specifically, shoulder mounted ground-to-air missles. Oof.

Shit, I should have used the Grey Poupon joke here

Here’s a moment of calm, with dark wood and big ol’ tape recorders, before we get into the next bit.

I absolutely love this eavesdropping rig of Lester's

We’re introduced to Tony Amato, the young and barely tried Bruce Willis, by him verbally abusing his wife, Rita, for how she is dressed to go out.

It's not fun

This pool is kind of whack and I'm worried for their long term foundation stability

After throwing Rita into the pool, and telling her he’ll never divorce her, Amato gathers up his bodyguard and goes out for whatever evening he had planned. As one would suspect, Crockett’s cowboy spurs are up.

I do like that Tubbs is right there to help him calm down

While they listen, helpless, Rita calls a friend and finally sets up “a meeting.” It’s pretty clear her only way out is with Amato’s death.

I'm way more curious about her friend who knows a hitman

Later, at the office, Crockett is angry and the Feds are telling him they don’t have time for his “passion plays.” Like dudes, I get you, but this is a shitty situation.

I know serious stuff is going on, but I really want this t-shirt

The Feds let the vice team know that there’s a Jamaican buyer for the missiles arriving at the airport that day. They have an agent they’ll drop in his place, so they can meet with and catch Amato. Crockett doubts his skill.

You know he can't do it because he is wearing a tie

I’m realising this is literally the setup of The Fifth Element, with Major Iceborg seeming like the totally logical choice for the situation. Oh god, that has Bruce Willis in it. What a world we live in. Anyway, the obvious choice is Tubbs. You’re now going to get some 1980’s airport and flying looks. Can you imagine thinking a jumpsuit is the right thing to fly internationally in? Lord.

That woman is going to explode if she doesn't get to the toilets soon

I just realy like their dresses

I’d like to imagine that the Miami Dade airport has Argento gels going on. Why not. Anyway, the real Jamaican guy is picked up on the one from Jersey is put in his place, to meet Moustache the Muscle at pickup.

I'm super covetous of this car

And they’re off, with the Feds trailing. Was any airport this not-busy at any time when the sun is out, even in the 80s?

If I sound bitter, I am

While crimes are being caught, Crockett is tired of cooling his heels and goes for a walk.

I'm really curious to check out Miami's public park spaces, if this is the kind of infrastructure they're working with

Of course, his walk direction happens to be where Rita is meeting the hitman.

The graffiti in this episode is weird and random

Crockett casually scares the hitman off and lets Rita spill her heart a bit (she can’t go through with it, she realises) before telling her he’s a cop. Because cowboys aren’t good people, honestly. God, poor Rita.

Fuck, she is trying so hard to live

He takes her into the station and Rita gives them the whole fucked up story. What it comes down to is: when she finally tried to get a lawyer, the lawyer’s family was seriously harassed and now that’s on Rita’s conscience as well.

That poster says "Life on the streets is a dead end"

Because of the whole Tubbs-undercover and house-bugged situation, Rita has to go back to Amato, so he doesn’t get suspicious. She has to go back! Why take her in at all?! Just to give her empty reassurances that you’re “Gonna get him and put him away forever.” Lord. Castillo’s face here is me.

To be fair, 85% of Castillo's faces are me

Time for the missile meet. Gentile and Ramone are absolute doofuses. The weapons they got though, those are bad news.

Just your average, knock-an-airplane-from-the-air, shootie bullets

Amato is jumpy through the whole thing, he just wants the missiles sold but here’s this dude who wants to see that they actually work, ugh.


As explained by Gentile, “any knucklehead with a GED can light one up.”

I love this shot

And light one up he does, while Amato continues to look like a jerk in the background.

That rock says "STOP"? What are you up to, production team?

During post-missile drinks, Gentile lets slip that him and Ramone lifted the Stingers while they were on National Guard duty. That’s a bit of a relief, at least, this load is a fluke and once they get this bunch there aren’t more to deal with.

I do appreciate Gentile and Ramone being totall dummies while everyone else is stressing, though

Not everything is so easy, though. Back on the boat, Crockett has to listen to Amato try to make nice with Rita.

Worse than listening to This American Life

If it seems like I'm rushing some scenes, I am

The scene plays out exactly as you’d expect, and Rita has to play nice with this monster while she knows the cops are listening.

This adds even more fuel to Crockett’s jets when the Feds say they want to pick up the missiles now, instead of at a meet, which would be enough of a situation and evidence to bring everybody in and lock them up good.

Just noting: Castillo's desk is still pristine as hell.

Here’s a mental refresher. Switek getting swindled by a tiny pool shark.

He makes Zito pay part of it

Back on the boat, the mood is much darker.

Fuck this


Angry at a phone call and being a kind of guy who deals with that well, Amato throws his phone and, in doing so, finds the bug. What a fuck pile.

A pile of fucks

Thinking quick, Tubbs calls Amato and tells him that he’s being bugged too, so they need to move the meet up to right the hell now.

Thank god for Tubbs

They agree to meet where they first met up, which means more shots of this amazing airport.

That neon in the background, those chairs!

This can’t be the actual bathroom, though. If so, I hope the tile is still there.

I mean, some airports have pockets of space that never get updated, maybe these bathrooms are one.

They frisked each other, btw

With Tubbs, Amato and his crew head to the docks (because everything goes down on the docks) to finish the hand off to I Don’t Care Anymore.

Thing is, I think they DO care

Switek and Zito are waiting for backup when Crockett arrives and grabs Switek to follow Amato into the ship, so he can keep tabs on the situation and his best buddy.

I love that their default unmarked car is a van. That's just who they are as people.

Switek is far less comfortable on these steps and I am there with him

In the bowels of some giant ship, Amato brings Tubbs to the missiles.

How does he keep these on the ship? It's weird.

Crockett gets as close as he can, as cinematically as he can.

I would own a print of this, honestly

Satisfied with the exchange, Tubbs takes a moment to be lit spectacularly well.

Maybe I should paint this

Then, the Feds show up too soon and it all goes to shit.

On brand, Federales

Just, shit.

Amato tries to run with the money, Gentile is distracted because Ramone just died

Tubbs can handle shit, though. He gets that gun off of Gentile after he knocks him out and I have no idea where he got that tiny gun from. That thing looks like it would blow up in your hand.

Tubb's gun choices never fail to make me laugh, honestly

Rita gets a courtesy call that her husband has been picked up.

What plant is that?

The next morning, she goes off on what I’m sure is a totally innocuous errand.

I love this shot so much, it's just so fucking perfect

Our dudes bring Amato into court, but oh shit, here are the Feds again.

The clothes on display here! Take a moment to enlarge the image and drink it in.

And they got some kind of paper freeing Amato, because he can bring them bigger fish.


Castillo had a feeling bullshit like this was going to happen, but he has to let Amato go.

His moustache can't wait for vengance

Everyone feels like fried shit except Amato.

He is fried shit, so he feels right at home

And then Rita shows up.

Jesus, that single tear

I mean, you knew it was coming, but.

He didn't. God, abusers are idiots.

BTW, the episode ended on this frozen frame and then ran credits.

Like the previous episode, the thing Crockett was trying to help just went to hell in a handbasket.

Ugh, what a bummer of an episode. The next one is fun, though.

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.