Miami Vice (1986) – The Fix, and Payback

Detectives Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) investigate a dirty judge in The Fix. Written by Chuck Adamson, the episode first aired on 7 March, 1986.

When the Vice team busts a dealer, in a buy that goes bad, the judge, Ferguson (Bill Russell), overseeing her case sets a paltry bond, and she’s in the wind. The pair of cops think that there is something going on with the judge and investigate.

They learn that the judge has a bit of a gambling problem and is in deep. He is able to keep his head above water by letting criminals off. But now they have upped the pressure on him, and are forcing him to make his son, Matt (Bernard King), a promising athlete to ruin his own future by throwing a major playoff college basketball game that may get the judge clear once and for all.

Harvey Fierstein, Paul Greco, and Micheal Richards show up in guest starring roles, and even cooler is the fact that the episode is directed by famed character actor Dick Miller.

Music for this episode includes the instrumental remix of Madonna’s The Gambler, p.Machinery’s Propaganda and The Water’s Too Deep by Jim Gilstrap.

As always, I do like the way the series handles stories like this. You can empathize with the character of the judge, even as he does troubling things. It’s an easy to see how he tumbled down the path he has.

And of course, because of the series, it has to end sadly for the judge.


Payback was written by Robert Crais and first debuted on 14 March, 1986. This is another episode that sees Sonny being investigated for supposed criminal actions.

When a jailed dealer kills himself in front of Crockett, the vice detective goes undercover to take down a dealer, Mario Fuente (music legend Frank Zappa) that lives out beyond the twelve mile marker on his boat.

Fuente makes all his deals through his middle man, Rueben (Dan Hedaya in his second Vice appearance, as a different character).

Accusations begin to fly when IAD gets involved and it’s suggested that Crockett is taking the dealer’s money and keeping it for himself.

Crockett has to get himself out of trouble, prove he’s been set up, and bring down Fuente, and in typical Vice fashion, it isn’t going to be easy.

Tunes in this episode include Bass and Trouble by Sly and Robbie (the second time it has been used), Soul Kitchen by X, Chris Isaak’s Dancin’, and INXS’ Three Sisters.

Next week we close in on the end of season two, as I continued to cruise the streets of Miami… Vice.



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