Miami Vice Mondays: "Theresa"

Episode: Season Three, Episode Sixteen: “Theresa”
Original airdate: February 13, 1987
Directed by: Virgil W. Vogel
Written by: Pamela Norris, a former SNL scribe.

Crockett’s steady girlfriend Theresa (Helena Bonham Carter, baby-faced and adorable even while injecting street-grade Dilaudid between her toes), a surgeon with a nasty addiction to illicit painkillers, is blackmailed by her dealer into snooping through Crockett’s files and stealing the address of the police property warehouse. The warehouse is subsequently blown to smithereens, killing several police officers and obliterating all the evidence in Crockett’s ongoing investigation into a dangerous drug lord named Joey Wyatt (Brad Dourif, Hollywood’s favorite go-to actor for crazy-eyed slimeballs).

With a  smarmy Internal Affairs agent (Zach Grenier, who is also on Hollywood’s shortlist for crazy-eyed slimeballs) out for his blood, a suspended Crockett scrambles to salvage Theresa’s medical license and his own reputation.

Crockett successfully tricks Wyatt into confessing to the attack on the evidence warehouse, but Theresa sneaks out of rehab and overdoses. Realizing that his line of work could only get in the way of her recovery (after all, he spends most of his time hobnobbing with drug dealers), a heartbroken Crockett packs her off to a rehab clinic in Connecticut.

Iconic Moments:
This episode is famous for introducing American audiences to Helena Bonham Carter, who manages to seem very brainy and likeable even while inadvertently causing the deaths of police officers and destroying Crockett’s career.

It also features a classic opening sequence, in which a helicopter dumps a monstrous amount of cocaine into the ocean during Vice’s raid on Joey Wyatt’s mansion.

Crockett’s line of work has a nasty tendency to annihilate everything it touches, particularly when it comes to his love interests. The series is more or less bookended by his two marriages: At the start of the series, his marriage to Caroline (Belinda Montgomery) ends in divorce and estrangement, while by the close of the fourth season, his marriage to Caitlin (Sheena Easton) ends with her violent death. The space in between is filled with a series of unhappy or downright tragic relationships, most of which get scuttled to pieces by the nature of Crockett’s job.

It’s All in the Details:
Even by Miami Vice’s lofty standards, this is a visually striking and downright pretty episode, even without any special set pieces. Check out the lighting in these scenes:

Sign of the Times:
Joey Wyatt’s henchman’s entire image—his low-cut snakeskin-patterned workout tank, his slicked-back mullet, his thick gold chain, his shiny belt and wristband—is wholly, unapologetically 1987. Sir, whoever you are, I salute you.

Music Notes:
Jan Hammer’s eponymous instrumental track “Theresa” plays several times throughout the episode. “Jewel” by the German New Wave band Propaganda is also used, though the standout track is “Wasteland” by gothic rock band The Mission. IMDB lists Ultravox’s “Lament” on this episode’s soundtrack, but I don't know how it was used; either I missed it or the song was pulled from the DVD release.


Three and a half flamingos.


Unknown said…
I enjoy reading your reviews greatly of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Miami Vice. I'm going to help you out here, regarding Wyatt's henchman in Theresa. His name is Tim Capello. His profession: professional saxophonist. He played for Tina Turner in the 80s. You can catch him in some of her videos. He's an outstanding saxophonist. He was also seen briefly in the 1987 film The Lost Boys. In the film he is the muscle bound man wailing on his saxophone at the concert scene on the beach. Even Corey Haim was in awe by Capello's playing and maybe his stature too. Catch Capello's snappy song in the film "I Still Believe."
Morgan Richter said…
Unknown, that's a fantastic bit of trivia about Tim Capello. Thank you. I remember him very much from The Lost Boys--I still own that soundtrack on vinyl. Very cool.
John Portillo said…
Your welcome and thank you for creating this fun and lively site. Mmm, I see you enjoy the 80s, Miami Vice, and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. All things I enjoy too. I would like to add that The A-Team is my all time favorite TV show. With both of us liking the same things in pop culture, it makes me think,Why can't I meet someone like you?" :)
Morgan Richter said…
Thanks, John! The A-Team was my favorite show as a kid, and then I discovered Miami Vice and switched loyalties. That was a pretty amazing time for television...
John Portillo said…
Your welcome. It's funny with Vice's style of the 80s, it was U.N.C.L.E. with Iiya Kuryakin's look of the jacket with t-shirt, that seemed to start the look and Vice made the style even more popular. Don Johnson made the style look cooler, than David McCallum, but McCullum was cool nonetheless.
Morgan Richter said…
John, I hadn't really thought about Crockett's and Illya's styles being similar, but yeah, you're right. Both were damn cool characters...

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