Miami Vice (1986) – Shadow in the Dark, and El Viejo

Chuck Adamson pens the script for the first episode up this week, Shadow in the Dark, which plunges Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) into an unusual burglary case that puts Sonny into the mind of a cat burglar, known as The Shadow (Vincent Caristi), a trip that may cost him his sanity.

First airing on 31 October, 1986, this is a different kind of dark episode for Miami Vice, and fits with its Halloween airdate. To help with the case, Crockett goes to see George T. Wyatt (Timothy Carhart), a former burglar, to get some info.

However, there’s a hothead cop, Gilmore (Jack Thibeau) who has been working the case for too long, and may have gone around the bend trying to get inside the burglar’s mind, and the case is beginning to affect Sonny in the same way.

He is drawn in by the art The Shadow leaves on the walls, and the items he takes. He’s building to something, and Sonny’s mind may not be able to follow him there, but there may be a number of lives on the line if he doesn’t. And what if it pushes him far enough that he becomes The Shadow?

This is a solid episode,and puts the character under some serious stress. The character gets pushed further and further to the edge of sanity and one has to wonder how much longer it will be before the character breaks.

Music includes Two Rapid Formations by Brian Eno, and Tierra Dura by Ruben Blades, as well as Jan Hammer’s appropriately unnerving score for the episode.


El Viejo was written by Alan Moskowitz and first aired on 7 November, 1986.

Crockett and Tubbs, and the rest of the team get involved in trying to take down a Bolivian drug dealer named Mendez (Anwar Zayden), but things get a little more messy than they needed when an old man, Jake Pierson (Willie Nelson) gets involved.

As things play out, we learn that Pierson isn’t just some cranky old-timer, he was a Texas Ranger. With dead marshals and rangers piling up, vicious dealers, and time running out, Crockett and Tubbs race to take Mendez down and keep Pierson safe.

Steve Buscemi also guest stars in the episode, and oddly enough, the Daytona Spyder shows up. That is due to the production order versus the broadcast order.

This is a solid episode, and was originally meant to be the season opener (explaining the presence of the Spyder) but due to behind the scenes problems, it ended up being pushed back further in the season, the creators felt that blowing up Crockett’s car would be a great way to open the season

Music includes Wanted Dead or Alive by Bon Jovi, State of Emergency by Cactus World News, and Depeche Mode’s Fly On the Windscreen.

The cases continue next week, as I continue to patrol the streets of Miami Vice.

El Viejo

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