Miami Vice is an American action television series created by Anthony Yerkovich and executive produced by Michael Mann and Dick Wolf about two Metro-Dade Police Department vice detectives working undercover in Miami.
The series aired in the USA on NBC from 28 September, 1984 to 25 January, 1990. There are 111 hour-long episodes in five seasons.
Miami Vice originally aired in South Africa on TV4, a forerunner to SABC1, from 15 March, 1986 to 10 October, 1991. It was dubbed into Afrikaans and known as Misdaad in Miami, and simulcast on Radio South Africa in English. It was the first television programme to be simulcast on radio in South Africa.
The series later aired on DStv's The Series Channel (the forerunner to M-Net Series), StarSat's (formerly TopTV) FOX Retro channel and on SABC3. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 3 originally aired on TV4 from 7 January to 16 June, 1988, on Thursdays at 22h30. New episodes broadcast weekly.
Season 3 later aired on FOX Retro from 5 May to 6 October, 2011, beginning with a double bill on Thursday 5 May 2011, at 19h40. Thereafter new episodes broadcast weekly at 20h30, preceded by a repeat of the previous episode at 19h40. There are 24 episodes in the third season.
From executive producer Michael Mann comes the explosive, ground-breaking detective show that redefined the word "cool." Emmy-nominee Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas are Crockett and Tubbs, two mismatched vice detectives who team up to catch drug smugglers in Miami.
Set against the seamy and steamy South Florida underworld, Miami Vice is an iconic Emmy-winning series that set the standard for style and sophistication for all future crime dramas.
Sunny Crocket, an undercover policeman for the Miami Vice Department lives on a yacht in the Marina with an alligator named Elvis. He is estranged from his wife Caroline and their six year old son Billy, due to the pressures of working Vice and his drinking.
Crockett started out with all the ideals and the world in front of him. Fresh out of college, he had a promising career in professional football until he damaged his knee in Vietnam.
However, he finds he loves undercover police work. The action on the street has replaced the action on the field. He is a hard-partying player and a survivor and has kept his sense of humour throughout the many character changes, the ugliness of the street and the devastating effect it had on his personal life.
Ricardo Tubbs is a New York street cop, in Miami on an unscheduled mission to revenge the murder of his brother, also a policeman.
Tubbs is a single-mined, hardworking, honest individual with strong family ties. He is a finely-tuned machine: slick and handsome, yet dangerous, lethal and wild. He strives for perfection in his work.
Crockett and Tubbs finally meet. Tubbs takes on the identity of his brother for the benefit of the Miami police and they unwillingly team up on assignment to apprehend a cocaine smuggler.
The shared experiences bind these two dissimilar characters together to make a first-rate undercover team which takes them through the labyrinths of South Florida corruption: drugs, prostitution, gambling, money laundering, pornography, weapon sales, political terrorism, extortion and graft.
They share the police precinct with a menagerie of individuals. Zito and Switek are somewhat eccentric under-cover vice detectives who have their own unique method of getting the job done.
While working on their own assignments, Trudy Joplin and Gina Calbrese, two female undercover policewomen, help Crockett and Tubbs with research and background information on their current case.
They must answer to the precinct Lieutenant, a fair and honest man who becomes frustrated at Crockett and Tubbs' unorthodox habits, yet who has confidence in their ability to get the job done.
Filmed on location in Florida, Miami Vice aims to stark realism, yet retains a youthful approach. An ensemble piece, it is a police show with a different rhythm.
Originally, Brandon Tartikoff of NBC had an idea for "MTV cops" which he presented to Anthony Yerkovich who had been a writer and producer on Hill Street Blues. Yerkovich turned out the pilot and a few scripts and he conceived the idea of Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs.
While the series had many regulars, it focused primarily on two lead characters. James "Sonny" Crockett is a former college football star, who became a police detective after a shattered knee and 2 tours in the Vietnam War.
As the series begins he is a vice officer with the Metro-Dade Police Department's Organized Crime Bureau using an elaborate cover named "Sonny Burnett."
Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs, a former New York police detective, travels to Miami on a mission involving a personal vendetta against Calderone, the man who killed his brother, and after teaming up temporarily with Crockett in the pilot episode, follows his advice to transfer to "a career in Southern law enforcement", joining the Miami department and becoming Crockett's permanent partner.
Michael Mann, who executive produced Miami Vice, brought to the show a high production value more typical of movies rather than TV. Unlike any show before, Miami Vice had a "look."
Mann saw the colours of Miami, the beautiful art deco buildings, the ocean and waterways and made an edict. No earth tones. This applied to the clothes the actors wore, the buildings which were repainted with pastels, the cars.
Mann's visual eye scanned everything in a scene looking for the dreaded reds, beiges and browns.
He watered the streets for night scenes so they would look slick and reflect the night lights and moon.
Miami Vice was unique in the use of music. Using first tier artists such as Phil Collins, Glen Frey, Peter Gabriel and U2, the music added something dramatically beyond just background. The lyrics and tempo contributed to the storyline of the scene and often spoke for the characters.
The pounding score by Jan Hammer was the first of many backgrounds he would do in a distinctive style.
Mann also saw the underbelly of Miami, the flamboyant drug dealers, the murders, and the pervasively corrupting influence of so much coke money – all of which Miami Vice took seriously.
The actors were little known before Miami Vice but soon became megastars. Don Johnson blew across the American consciousness, changing everything in his path.
Men began sporting three day stubble, espadrilles and loafers without socks, Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, no belts, Italian blazers over tee shirts, linen pants... and in pastel colours too.
Miami Vice in Popular Culture
In the movie The Wedding Singer, the character Glenn Guglia, dressed in Crockett's trademark white linen suit over a pastel blue T-shirt, and sporting a six-o'clock shadow, says he's not worried about his summer wedding interfering with seeing Miami Vice because they will be showing reruns.
Later, he is shown driving and listening to the Miami Vice Theme.
In one of the first episodes of The Sopranos to feature Steve Buscemi, he is just getting out of prison (which he had been in since the 1980s), and wears his only clothes, a white suit with a blue pastel t-shirt underneath; to which a mobster asks him, "Hey, where's Tubbs?"
Buscemi also guest starred in a Miami Vice episode.
Note: broadcast details for the run of the show on The Series Channel are not available, although the pilot episode aired on 1 April, 1998 when the channel debuted.
Season 1 (23 episodes)
Channel: TV4 | Premiere: 15 Mar 1986 | Finale: 16 Aug 1986 | Sat, 21h00
Channel: FOX Retro | Premiere: 6 May 2010 | Finale: 7 Oct 2010 | Thu, 20h30
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 22 Jan 2014 | Finale: 25 Jun 2014 | Wed, 12h00
Season 2 (23 episodes)
Channel: TV4 | Premiere: 3 Jan 1987 | Finale: 6 Jun 1987 | Sat, 21h00
Channel: FOX Retro | Premiere: 14 Oct 2010 | Finale: 17 Mar 2011 | Thu, 20h30
Season 3 (24 episodes)
Channel: TV4 | Premiere: 7 Jan 1988 | Finale: 16 Jun 1988 | Thu, 22h30
Channel: FOX Retro | Premiere: 5 May 2011 | Finale: 6 Oct 2011 | Thu, 20h30
Season 4 (22 episodes)
Channel: TV4 | Premiere: 6 Jul 1989 | Finale: 30 Nov 1989 | Thu, 22h30
Channel: FOX Retro | Premiere: 13 Oct 2011 | Finale: 8 Mar 2012 | Thu, 20h30
Season 5 (21 episodes)
Channel: TV4 | Premiere: 16 May 1991 | Finale: 10 Oct 1991 | Thu, 23h00
Channel: FOX Retro | Premiere: 21 Jun 2012 | Finale: 8 Nov 2012 | Thu, 20h30