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Top 10 ‘Miami Vice’ episodes


“Miami Vice” is one of the best shows I have ever watched in my life. It’s one of the shows I keep coming back to, and watch for hours in one sitting. As a matter of fact, I’d be happy watching any episode from any season. It is popular when thinking of influential TV from the 1980s, however, it isn’t talked about enough as far as I am concerned. The show shined a spotlight on so many great actors and actresses, and got them where they’re at today. Like Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, and Liam Neeson. Not only that, but the show opened up a new take on television that inspired modern television. If you want to feel the amazing vibe of the show, all you have to do is listen to that opening theme composed by Jan Hammer who is basically the Beethoven of the 1980s.

The show follows two cops, Sonny Crockett played by Don Johnson, and Ricardo Tubbs played by Phillip Michael Thomas, who go undercover to bust drug dealers. Crockett is a cop who drives a black Ferrari Daytona, (or white Ferrari Testarossa depending on the season) and he lives on a boat with his pet alligator named Elvis. Tubbs is a cop from New York City who went down South to get revenge on his brother’s killer.

It is an excellent show and is such a vibe to watch! It has stunning visuals that were way ahead of its time and a new episode in each story taking our characters on a new adventure. It captures the 1980s as a decade, with flashy neon lights, pastel suits, Carrera sunglasses, and amazing looking hair. But it doesn’t do all that in a way that makes the show feel too dated. As I said, it was a head of its time, and makes it still entertaining to watch.

Anyway, the point of this article is to rank my top 10 “Miami Vice” episodes, because I have seen all of them… on DVD… don’t judge me! All of the seasons were awesome, and every episode in each of those seasons were awesome too. So, it was hard to limit it to just 10 episodes, but hey, I tried! Here they are:

10. S5 E4: Bad Timing

This episode in my opinion is really great! I love how things about the show aren’t these quick things where in the next episode the characters just move on. It’s like real life, and when something serious happens, it can potentially affect the character for episodes later. That was the case at the end of season 4, when Sonny Crockett was almost killed in a attempted assassination on a boat explosion. From there, Crockett gets amnesia, and begins thinking that he actually is his alter ego (or his undercover self) Sonny Burnett. So from there, Crockett (aka Burnett) does a lot of bad things for the next few episodes, until eventually regaining his memory in the first episode of season five. So, in this episode, Crockett sees a therapist, and she tells him that he needs a vacation. So Crockett goes on vacation, and we get some cool sequences of Crockett driving a motorcycle. But eventually, things go South when Crockett encounters murderers who escaped from prison. So I think that it is a very fun episode, that kind of takes the show in a different direction, which is hard to say since every episode really tries to explore new situations. But I think that this episode really stands out, and even though the later seasons of “Miami Vice” sometimes get a bad rep, I think that they have some of Don Johnson’s best acting in the series!

9. S1 E13: Milk Run

I knew this was going to be a good episode just by the first scene. And also, for the record, this was my first “Miami Vice” episode I ever watched. The opening scenes and the intro definitely peeked my interest to stick around the rest of the episode, and man I’m glad that I did! The episode starts off playing ZZ Top, which made it automatically cool, then seeing Crockett and Tubbs confront two punks at the airport was really cool. Then there was the chase sequence which came out of nowhere! It was excellent! Season 1 has a lot of good episodes, but alongside the pilot episode, I’d say that ‘Milk Run’ was the most iconic. The end of the episode was shocking, and I didn’t see it coming at all.

8. S2 E10: Bought and Paid For

You know the best part about this episode? The freaking RACE! You got Crockett in his Ferrari Daytona chasing a Lamborghini. Enough said. This episode belongs on this list…. Okay, other than that the episode is great too. But I’m telling you, it’s all about that chase sequence.

7. S1 E16: Smuggler’s Blues

Singer/song writer Glenn Frey is in this episode, which is an immediate ‘yes’ for me. In this episode we follow Crockett and Tubbs as they go undercover to smuggle drugs from Columbia. They get a pilot (played by Glenn Frey) to fly them there in an old plain. You got to love this episode! Usually in Miami Vice, they really don’t go too into detail with smugglers and how the crime lords get the drugs. But with this episode, things get a little more real, and stuff is explained a little more which makes things in the episode, and the episodes to come that much better because you know what’s going on outside of the story, therefore less things need to be explained. But enough with all of that nonsense, as far as a story goes, you got to love this episode! It has a lot of classic moments, and some good tunes in it too. Glenn Frey even made a song “Smuggler’s Blues” to be featured in this episode.

6. S3 E1: When Irish Eyes Are Crying

This episode is good, but it kind of makes me mad too, because the Ferrari gets blown up. Luckily, within the next few episodes we do get the white Testarossa, but the Daytona is so iconic that it just hurts to see it obliterated in an explosion. I felt Crockett’s pain as he watched his baby blow up. Anyways… other than that it is a great episode. Liam Neeson is in it. One of the other cops in vice named Gina has a romance with Neeson’s character, but the problem with that is that he ends up being a terrorist… So it ends up that Gina has got to point the gun at him. Saundra Santiago as Gina always hits the nail on the head with her character. She did well in this episode. In fact, with the Ferrari blowing up… as mad as I was, she carried that episode. It’s why I like it!

5. S1 E8: No Exit

Talk about ending with a bang… WOW! I won’t spoil anything, but if you know, you know! There are so many good things about this episode, and Bruce Willis is certainly among those things. In this episode it’s not drugs, it’s missiles that are being sold. Rico Tubbs goes undercover as Rico Cooper to shoot some stinger missiles, and see what everything is all about to set up a bust. I always love when Ricardo goes undercover, because of the accent that he does. The thing I love about this episode is that there is a lot of surprises, and a lot of excitement.

4. S4 E22: Mirror Image

Here it is, one of the most intense episodes of the entire run of the show, that had my jaw on the floor the whole time. Mirror Image was the episode I mentioned earlier. The episode where Crockett gets amnesia, and ends up working in a gang. It was shocking to watch, because Sonny Crockett is usually a sensible cop who can be strict and tough at times, but doesn’t go around killing people without a care. But in this episode, when Sonny Crockett becomes his undercover ID Sonny Burnett, things get intense. It is one killing after another! There is another scene where Burnett is ordered to meet his partner, Tubbs, in an ally way and kill him. Due to Burnett’s amnesia, he shoots Tubbs several times in the body without giving it a second thought. Thank God Tubbs was wearing a bulletproof vest. But yeah, it’s an insane episode. An episode that I would have never imagined from seeing the other episodes. There is no other way to say it, but I think it is a 10/10 episode, and still it’s in fourth place on this list. Goes to show you what a good series this is. The acting is perfection, the writing is perfection, and the visuals are again way ahead of their time. A young Julia Roberts is also in this episode, which is really cool to see.

3. S1 E10: Glades

This episode was a beauty to watch! Finally the show really takes us into the Florida swamps, with gators and snakes roaming through the fog. Watching this was really exciting for me, as I got to see Crockett and Tubbs kind of taken out of their normal everyday city environment. The episode starts off with vice trying to track down a man named Ruiz that is a part of a serious drug trafficking act. They have forty-eight hours to get Ruiz to court, and figure out that he is hiding out in the swamp. So Crockett and Tubbs go undercover to bust him. Eventually after venturing out into the wilderness, they end up getting lost, which leads to them finding a family in the swamp who has had their daughter kidnapped by Ruiz’s men. In conclusion, they have to camp out in the swamp with the family, and plan a rescue mission to save her, and take in Ruiz. It is a really exciting episode, which shows more stunning Florida environments. Really great episode!

2. S1 E1: (Pilot) Brother’s Keeper

The famous pilot! It is so iconic, and set audiences up for one of the greatest shows in television history. With everything from the acting to the music included in the episode, it was all perfect. It dives deep into each character, and what their lives are like, without really giving us too much background information. The show just starts going; we are introduced to the characters, and learn a lot about their pasts by just seeing them do their thing on screen. And that is good story telling. Crockett is a stylish and hardcore undercover cop who drives a Ferrari, and he is separated from his wife due to the stresses of his job. Crockett works hard to do his job and still tries to be there for his son. Tubbs is a cop from New York who has a crime lord kill his brother. He goes down South to get revenge, and ends up meeting Crockett who is after the same guy. So they team up, and by the end of the episode we get Crockett asking, “Hey Tubbs, you ever consider a career in Southern law enforcement?” Great episode! There is so much goodness to digest. We get to meet Crockett’s pet alligator named Elvis. That scene where Crockett’s friend betrays him so he confronts him about it, talking about how he trusted him was very emotional. Then of course we have that iconic scene in the Ferrari Daytona at night as Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” plays. This episode got me hooked on a masterpiece.

1. S2 E13: Definitely Miami

Here it is, my absolute favorite episode of the series! I love it so much because I think it’s really a good example of what the show was. It captures some of the highlights of the show, and what made it so special. Not only that, but it also really embraced the Miami vibe in this one, and let the environment and the heat really shine through the entire episode, showing cool settings like the beach, fancy buildings, a pool where they serve drinks, and even a place that kind of has these sand dunes. I must also say, that Don Johnson’s acting in this episode was incredible. He usually gave a really solid performance, but this episode really showed how Sonny Crockett can be so freaking cool! This episode is one of the many reasons why Crockett is my favorite character ever. The show also has Ted Nugent as a guest star, playing the antagonist Charlie Basset who runs drugs. He gives a memorable acting performance, and even had one of his songs featured in the episode, which really goes along with the show’s 80s tone.


The show ran five seasons from 1984-1989. It ended on a high note in my opinion. The thing about the show was, that it marked a certain era; it was designed for the ’80s. So as much as I and I’m sure many others would have liked to see more episodes of “Miami Vice,” especially throughout the monster of a decade that was the ’90s, it wasn’t meant to be, and might have changed the show for the worse. I am grateful for the five seasons we’ve got, that were all masterpieces in their own ways. Season One brought a lot of style, and introduced the world to a mature and modern way of producing television. Season Two put our characters through new experiences, and really one-upped what was so great about the first season. Season Three introduced us to even newer styles, giving Crockett spiky hair, and making him drive a different Ferrari. It was weird and a bit of an adjustment, but once the season got rolling it was just as awesome! Season Four brought a lot of new elements to the table, and a more serious tone carrying on throughout each of the episodes. Season Five gave us more classic moments with our characters, and continued the struggle of Crockett’s amnesia that was caused in late season four. It also gave us what I thought was a really good send off.

So in conclusion, this was my top ten “Miami Vice” episodes. Hope you enjoyed it.

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About the Contributor
Aiden Williams
Aiden Williams, Reporter
Aiden Williams is a tenth grader who enjoys listening to music. In his free time he enjoys writing books, playing Red Dead Redemption 2, and filming YouTube videos.