Miami Vice Mondays: “Prodigal Son”

Episode: Season Two, Episode One: “The Prodigal Son” (parts 1 & 2)
Original airdate: September 27, 1985
Directed by: Paul Michael Glaser, aka Starsky on Starsky & Hutch
Written by: Daniel Pyne

After Gina is badly injured in a retaliatory shooting following a big drug bust, Crockett and Tubbs head up to Manhattan to infiltrate and take down the Revillas, the New York-based Colombian crime family responsible for the attack. While back in his old stomping grounds, Tubbs tries to rekindle a romance with his shady ex-lover, NYPD cop Valerie (Pam Grier), whose current undercover assignment puts her at odds with Tubbs’s mission. Crockett hooks up with Margaret (Susan Hess), a bad-news party girl who: a) steals his gun (Crockett, love, do not let your one-night stands steal your gun), b) falls in love with him, and c) betrays him to the bad guys. After blowing up warehouses and wreaking general chaos and shooting down helicopters and ending up with most of Manhattan trying to murder them, Tubbs and Crockett finally manage to neutralize the Revilla family, though they’re unable to do much about the great sweeping corruption surrounding them. Oh, and there’s some nonsense about Tubbs maybe thinking about moving back to New York to be with Valerie, except of course he doesn’t.

Iconic Moments:
Guest stars! This episode is all about the guest stars! We’ve got KISS frontman Gene Simmons as a yacht-dwelling drug dealer:

We’ve got Penn Jillette as the hapless and ill-fated go-between who brokers the deal between Crockett and Tubbs and the Revillas:

We’ve got theater legend Julian Beck, who died a few days before this episode premiered, as a shadowy, evil, strings-pulling Wall Street tycoon:

We’ve got Pam Grier, Foxy Brown herself, in her recurring role as Valerie:

We’ve got Charles S. Dutton as a foul-tempered NYPD detective:

We’ve got that dude who played Chilton in Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Heald, appearing in a single scene as a foul-tempered NYPD commander:

We’ve got James Russo as a powerful Manhattan crime lord:

And we’ve got Luis Guzman as one of the feared Revilla brothers:

Corruption, corruption, and more corruption: Pretty much everyone Crockett and Tubbs run into in New York tries to destroy them in one way or another.

It’s All in the Details:
There’s a certain unsubtle “we shelled out a lot of cash to film on location in Manhattan, and damn it, we’re going to shoehorn as many big-name landmarks into each shot as possible” charm to the cinematography:

Sign of the Times:
This episode was lampooned in a classic 1985 Bloom County strip:

I’d object to “stylized garbage”, because this episode is awesome, but… yeah, Crockett does growl “Major uncool” to Margaret after she steals his gun.

Music Notes:
There are so, so many songs in this double-length episode. First and foremost, there’s “You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey, which gets used twice. Here’s the Miami Vice-themed official music video:

In addition, there’s Billy Ocean’s “Caribbean Queen”,  there’s Huey Lewis & the News singing “Do You Believe in Love?”, there’s the Neville Brothers with “Tell It Like It Is”, U2’s “In the Name of Love”, there’s the System’s “The Pleasure Seekers”,  there’s “White Stuff” by Fashion, there’s Brian Ferry’s “Windswept”, there’s Joe Cocker’s “Many Rivers to Cross”, and there’s Phil Collins’s “Take Me Home” 

Five flamingos. Anything less would be major uncool.


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