Miami Vice Mondays: "No Exit"

Episode: Season One, Episode Seven: “No Exit”
Original airdate: November 9, 1984
Directed by: Actor/director David Soul, best known as Hutch on Starsky & Hutch
Story by: Charles R. Leinenweber
Written by: Maurice Hurley

Summary:
Crockett and Tubbs are on the trail of notorious arms dealer Tony Amato (Bruce Willis), who’s looking to unload a supply of stolen surface-to-air stinger missiles. While Tubbs poses as a prospective weapons buyer, Crockett keeps Amato’s house under constant secret surveillance. After Crockett discovers that Amato has been regularly mistreating his wife Rita (Katherine Borowitz, who, quite awesomely, has been married to John Turturro since 1985), he reveals his identity to Rita to prevent her from hiring a hitman to off her husband.



Tubbs and Crockett successfully bust Amato for attempting to sell the missiles, but the arrest is scuttled by federal agents looking to keep Amato in place in order to go after his powerful client list. Distraught that her husband will be free to keep abusing her, a gun-toting Rita shows up at the courthouse and kills Tony.

Iconic Moments:
Bruce Willis! We’ve got Bruce Willis in his very first credited performance, pre-Moonlighting, pre-Die Hard, pre-stardom. In stark contrast to the kinds of easygoing, wisecracking characters that soon will make him famous (this episode aired in late 1984; Moonlighting will make him a household name by early 1985), Willis plays Amato as a cold, ruthless, humorless dick. It’s a good choice: Amato is downright scary and awful.

Themes:
Vice can’t win: Their clear-cut, solid case against Amato is effortlessly demolished by the Feds, who have their own agenda. This is bad news for Vice; it’s catastrophic for poor Rita. We’ll see this sort of thing happen time and time again on this show.

Moments of Castillo Badassery:
This is only Castillo’s second appearance on the show—Edward James Olmos joined the cast in the middle of the first season, replacing Gregory Sierra’s Lieutenant Rodriguez—but all his soon-to-be iconic character traits (his grimness, his aura of perpetual sorrow, his reluctance to make eye contact, his fundamental weirdness) are already firmly in place.

It’s All in the Details:
Dig the way Switek bulldozes right into this poor little kid while discreetly trailing a prospective weapons buyer through the Miami airport.

Also, it was just super lucky for Vice that the aforementioned weapons buyer happened to look a whole lot like Tubbs, thus allowing Tubbs to easily saunter in and take his place.

Music Notes:
At some point, pretty much every single Phil Collins song made its way onto a Miami Vice episode; this week, it’s “I Don’t Care Anymore”’s turn. Also, while Tony is beating Rita, Teddy Pendergrass’ soulful, sexy “Stay With Me” plays in the background (ironically, one hopes).

Rating:
It’s probably a three-flamingo episode, but Bruce Willis bumps it up an extra flamingo, just for being Bruce Willis.

Comments

DKoren said…
Okay, you got me on this one, and I have now watched my first Miami Vice! It was the cold and ruthless Bruce Willis factor that I couldn't resist. LOL! And I quite enjoyed the whole thing. I will definitely be watching more. My favorite part was the smirk Bruce Willis sported when he knew he was getting turned loose at the end. Quite cracked me up.
DKoren said…
(Also... David Soul and Maurice Hurley got me too. David Soul cuz Hutch rocks, and Maurice Hurley just because this psat Sat night, we randomly watched a Star Trek:TNG episode and I happened to note his name, and then bam... here's his name again! Weird when that happens. I expect his name to pop up a third time in the next couple days, cuz that's the way it always seems to work.)
Morgan Richter said…
Awesome! I've won you over. Speaking of David Soul and Starsky & Hutch, Paul Michael Glaser also directed a few Vice episodes, which is delightfully random.
DKoren said…
Ooh! Neat! He directed some of the best eps in S&H, so I'd love to see what he directed over here.

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