Miami Vice (1986) – Streetwise, and Forgive Us Our Debts

Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) deal with a strung-out undercover cop, Vic Romano (Bill Paxton!) and the hooker he is in love with,  Carla (Deborah J, Adair).

Written by Dennis Cooper this episode first debuted on 5 December, 1986. It also features Wesley Snipes as Silk, a pimp running his women, and causing problems for Gina (Saundra Santiago) and Trudy (Olivia Brown).

Castillo (Edward James Olmos) wants to bust him, and take away Romano’s shield, but Crockett sees a way of using him to lead the team to the dealer that gave them the cocaine they had on their person when they were arrested.

As the story unfolds we learn Romano has a wife, and even though he knows there is a separation between his cover and his real life, Carla blurs that line for him, and consequently he’s willing to do anything to help her.

As the team closes in on Silk, who is the distributor as well as the pimp, things take a dark but predictable turn, and as we race towards the last shot of the episode, we’re not quite prepared for what we will see. But considering the cynical view the show tends to present, maybe we shouldn’t be.

Music for this episode is all of one song (excluding Jan Hammer’s score), used at the beginning and the end of the episode, is Don Johnson’s Streetwise, from his album Heartbeat.

The real thing I liked about this episode is that it reminded me, once again, of how much I miss Bill Paxton.


Forgive Us Our Debts was written by Gustave Reininger, and first aired on 12 December, 1986. The last show of the year.

Crockett gets involved in Death Row politics when new evidence comes up that may clear an inmate, Frank Hackman (Guy Boyd) of an impending death sentence, for the murder of Sonny’s partner back in 1980. But the DA, Thomas Walden (D.W. Moffett) is on the political band wagon, because it’s almost election time and he is pushing for the death penalty.

Crockett is dubious to start with, but slowly as new leads are followed, and a church confession is given, the seeds of doubt begin to take root. But someone out there is now cleaning up loose ends to make sure Hackman fries.

The further Ricardo and Sonny investigate the more walls they come up against, like someone is determined Hackman dies. Is it only political or is there something more going on? Something more devious that is going to leave Crockett gutted.

Tunes this time out include Peter Gabriel’s We Do What We’re Told, Morir Sonando by Fernando Villalona and Standing on the Outside by Meatloaf.

Next week we plunge into a two-parter that sees the departure of one of the show’s supporting players as I continue to investigate Miami Vice.


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