Miami Vice Mondays: "Evan"

New feature! I’m going to be taking a quick look at a classic Miami Vice episode here every Monday, because Miami Vice is the greatest show ever, that’s all. First up: “Evan”. While the entire five-season run of Miami Vice is streaming on Netflix, "Evan" is mysteriously missing, probably due to some kind of numbering snafu. That's a shame, as this episode is one of the greats.

Episode: Season One, Episode Twenty-Two: “Evan”
Original airdate: May 3, 1985
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Written by: Paul Diamond

While trying to take down a weapons dealer named Guzman (Scarface’s Al Israel), Crockett and Tubbs tangle with Crockett’s volatile and dangerous former partner, loose-cannon undercover ATF agent Evan Freed, who is played with charismatic scenery-chewing brio by the nice dad from Boy Meets World (William Russ). Crockett’s increasingly frantic refusals to address the nature of his feud with Evan cause a deep, jagged schism in his friendship with Tubbs (Tubbs to Crockett, “Don’t be coppin’ no attitude, man.” Tubbs, my love, you just keep being you), which lasts almost all the way through a commercial break. Meanwhile, the entire undercover operation goes horribly, tragically, cataclysmically wrong, as everything on this show is wont to do. Look, if somebody’s not hemorrhaging in Crockett’s arms from multiple bullet wounds by the end of the episode, you’re probably not watching Miami Vice.

Iconic Moments:
Pretty much every single thing Evan does in this episode—shooting up mannequins with assault rifles, crashing cars, breakfasting on booze and cigarettes, charging onto Crockett’s boat to wave a gun at him, claiming to own a bullet with Crockett’s name on it, staggering drunkenly into Vice headquarters to cling to Crockett while sobbing, “Make me happy, Sonny!”, and, finally, dying in Crockett’s arms after waltzing in front of a bullet to save his beloved frenemy—is amazing

With his dying breath, Evan assures Crockett he’ll be next, which comes off less like dark foreshadowing and more like a cold statement of fact: Undercover work will eventually kill or corrupt or otherwise destroy Crockett, because it eventually destroys everybody.

Moments of Castillo Badassery:
If Crockett and Tubbs are the soul of Miami Vice, then Lt. Castillo (Edward James Olmos) is its cold, strange, spooky, unfathomably grim heart. While “Evan” is not especially Castillo-heavy, he sneaks in a couple of nice character bits: Once when he wins an argument with Evan’s blustery ATF boss without ever raising his voice or changing his facial expression, and again when he shoots down Crockett’s snippy request to be removed from the case due to his bad blood with Evan. Crockett: “I think I’m entitled to a little slack without having to go through confessional.” Castillo: “I don’t.” Boom! Argument over. Crockett slumps out of Castillo’s sad, sickly pink office in defeat.

It’s All In The Details:
Check out the incredibly impractical way Tubbs pours champagne, y’all.

Music Notes: Two classics from Peter Gabriel: “The Rhythm of the Heat” plays during the outstanding opening sequence, while “Biko” closes out the episode. In addition, two very pretty, melancholy instrumental pieces composed for the episode by Jan Hammer are showcased: “Evan” and “The Talk”. 

Top marks. Five out of five flamingos.

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Anonymous said…
Not a single mention of the plot of the episode? I always liked how hardcore it was about homophobia.

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