Miami Vice (1985) -Whatever Works, and Out Where the Buses Don’t Run

Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas)  find more darkness under the glitz and glamour as I dive into this week’s pair of episodes of Miami Vice.

First up is Whatever Works. Written by Maurice Hurley, the episode first debuted on 4 October, 1985. Sonny’s Ferrari Daytona Spyder gets seized by police administration, so he recruits Izzy (Martin Ferrero) to help him get it back.

Castillo (Edward James Olmos), Crockett and Tubbs are drawn into a mystery when a pair of cops, far outside their jurisdiction, turn up dead surrounded by relics and iconography of a religion that both Tubbs and Castillo recognise. Consulting with a Santeria priest (Eartha Kitt) they attempt to discover what is really going on.

The team find themselves in a violent and dangerous mess, and that the victims may have been dirty cops. And like Crockett says, where there’s two there’s more, and he and Tubbs are determined to drag them into the light.

Tunes include Sharp Dressed Man by ZZ Top, Vice by Grandmaster Melle Mel, (Bang a Gong) Get It On by Power Station (allowing member John Taylor (also known for Duran Duran) to make an appearance), and Dark Night by The Blasters.

miamiwhatever

Out Where the Buses Don’t Run was written by Joel Surnow and Douglas Lloyd Mcintosh, who also penned the teleplay with John Mankiewicz. It first aired on 18 October, 1985, and featured Bruce McGill as ex-Vice detective, Hank Weldon, who seems to be a little unstable, and also knows more than he should about a case Crockett and Tubbs are working on.

McGill always seems to go overboard in his performances, and his voices. He’s not quite chewing the scenery, but he gets awfully close, and he’s so manic that he seems completely out of place in Miami Vice. But it pays off at the end of the episode, making this one of the best of the season if not the series.

Crockett and Tubbs investigate Weldon to see what he knows, if he can be trusted, and what the man is all about. It even means chatting with his old partner, Marty (David Strathairn), who warns them about dealing with Weldon, and his obsession with a dealer.

There are some great shots, and set-ups in this episode, the drug bust out on the water amidst stilt houses is done really well, the driving scenes, everything about the production of this episode works. I just think McGill is a little too over the top through the course of the episode, the ending is a great payoff, but if McGill had made some different choices throughout the story, it may have been even more powerful.

The musical guest appearances continue, Little Richard shows up as a preacher! And speaking of music, songs in this episode include Baba O’Riley by The Who, and Brothers in Arms by Dire Straits (wonderfully used at the climax of the episode).

There’s more next week when Crockett and Tubbs prowl the streets of Miami Vice…

Out Where The Buses

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