Miami Vice (1988) -The Cows of October, and Vote of Confidence

If there was any doubt that season four of Miami Vice showed that the series had lost its edge, The Big Thaw, Missing Hours, and this episode, The Cows of October definitely cemented that into fact.

Written by Ed Zuckerman, the episode first debuted on 5 February, 1988, the story follows a canister of bull sperm that causes trouble for Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson), Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) and the vice team, along with the government, as it seems a Cuban spy Rojas (Geno Silva) is interested in obtaining the canister as well.

The episode for the most part largely pairs Tubbs and Switek (Micheal Talbott) together which is pretty cool. Unfortunately horrible dialogue and a poor story makes this episode almost insufferable.

It’s hard to believe that this episode is from the same series that gave us episodes like Evan, Prodigal Son, and The Golden Triangle… not to mention so many iconic uses of popular music… In the Air Tonight anyone?

The episode features a bunch of cowboy hats, Harry Shearer as a government agent and an overall bland look at Miami and a series that once helped define modern television, with its music video style look.

The music used in this episode, alongside Jan Hammer’s and John Petersen’s score are western themes from some classic films, like the Theme and Wagon Train from Red River by Dimitri Tiomkin, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly by Ennio Morricone, and The Theme from The Magnificent Seven by Elmer Bernstein.

Just wow. You have to wonder what happened in the writers’ room, that allowed the fourth season to start sliding away from relevance to just another procedural. There are still exemplary episodes in this season and the next but you can also see that at this point the end is inevitable.

At least Izzy (Martin Ferrerro) seems to be having a good time.

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Vote of Confidence gets the series a little bit back more on track. Written by John Schulian the episode first aired on 12 February, 1988.

The Vice team ends up involved in politics when they bust a prostitution ring being run from a train and one of the johns is a candidate for governor, Tom Pierce (Larry Pine). They deal with corruption in the government and the criminal underworld when Pierce goes missing.

Sonny has had a bit of a haircut since the previous episode, also suggesting that they are leaving behind the problems of the previous episode. I have an issue (something that has come up previously) with the fact that some of the people who are busted would no doubt love to expose Crockett and Tubbs’ cover, and yet nothing ever seems to come of that.

The episode features Stand and Deliver by Mr. Mister, another sign that the series isn’t at the forefront of music and images like it was when it started. There used to be a number of songs by popular artists per episode, but as the series progressed there were fewer and fewer tunes used, and the series got away from its music video style storytelling.

Still, the cases continue next week as we patrol the streets of Miami Vice, and we are going to see all of them, right to the end!

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