Episode: “Cool Runnin’,” season 1, ep. 3
Original air date: Oct. 5, 1984
Plot Synopsis: New partners Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) ease tentatively into their budding relationship with a late-night stake-out that, predictably, progresses into a high-speed chase in dueling molester vans and ends with Tubbs and Crockett being fired upon by machine pistols and crashing their van into a bulldozer.
The pair must turn to Nugart Neville “Noogie” Lamont, a fast-talking, zany, two-bit thief to be their informant and help them get close to the violent drug ring responsible for said chase and a series of similar shoot-ups in the city. Things really heat up when a pair of the vice squad goons get blown to pieces during an undercover sting gone awry and Crockett takes it upon himself to catch the cop killers (who, spoiler alert, are the same thugs who took those shots at Crockett and Tubbs).
Episode Highlights/Lowlights: This episode introduces several of season one’s most bothersome recurring characters; Rico Cooper and Noogie.
Rico Cooper is Tubbs’ undercover persona which nearly always involves Tubbs affecting a very broad Jamaican accent; think, less Kingston, and more Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. “Cool runnin’, mon, bobsled!”
Meanwhile, Noogie is so over-the-top in his motor-mouth street talk, bug-eyed zeal and frequent outbursts of song that the performance morphs into something of a Reagan-era minstrel show. Either the show’s producers were hopelessly oblivious to the implication of Noogie’s cartoonish antics or Noogie (played by Charlie Barnett) was actually a tongue-in-cheek comment on a white, paternalistic authoritative figure (represented by Crockett) asserting ownership over a disenfranchised and powerless black youth. My money is on shitty writing.
Outmatched Opponent(s): A trio of merciless Jamaican drug dealers with an arsenal of automatic weapons and at least one Rastafarian hat.
Style Report: You know the difference between hipsters today and Don Johnson in ’84? He made eyeliner, sleeveless turquoise T-shirts and boat shoes look good. Tubbs is no slouch; he turns heads with a shirt unbuttoned to the navel and a gold medallion with his crisp white linen pants. Me-ow.
Crockett’s Loose-Cannon Cop Flag Really Flies When…: He catches another officer beating up on a suspect in the shooting death of two of his fellow vice cops. Crockett grabs the abusive cop by the collar and shakes him around a bit—a favorite move in the Sonny Crockett repertoire—all-the-while snarling and spitting about doing things by the book, “Pal.” Which, from a guy who routinely corners his female co-workers in the locker room and blasts through downtown Miami at 90 mph is pretty rich.
Quotable Quotes: “If his story was any more lame, it would be on crutches,” Crockett.
“That woman was so fine she could kick start a 747,” Tubbs.
“We have de stuff, mon,” – The nameless Jamaican madman with the hat.
At Least He’s Honest About It: While putting the moves on Det. Gina Calabrese (Crockett’s on-again, off-again plaything), Crockett invites her back to his houseboat for some crabs.
Series in a Nutshell: “He’s definitely Haitian. I really thought they were Jamaican.” – Tubbs
Important Life Lessons: When Miami’s vice squad loses two men in the line of duty, none is more affected by the news than Crockett. Never mind the girlfriends or widows or mothers, everyone waits with bated breath to see how Crockett will take it. Oh, he’ll be stoic and suffer in silence, but don’t let that tough exterior and salmon colored sleeveless tunic fool you; no one feels feelings more deeply than Sonny Crockett.
Rental Rehab review by Tricia
Editor’s note: MacGyver Monday is taking a brief hiatus in lieu of Miami Vice Monday. We’ve temporarily swapped out Mac’s smug, goody-goody lecturing for the hedonistic, palm-tree strewn streets of the magic city. Hooray for alliteration! MacGyver Monday will resume at its regularly scheduled time in the very near future.