Miami Vice (1989) – Too Much, Too Late, and Freefall

Valerie (Pam Grier) is back, in this, the penultimate episode of Miami Vice, and the fourth and final of the ‘lost’ episodes, which aired after the finale. Written by Jack Richardson from a story by John A. Connor, this episode finally debuted on television on 25 January, 1990. Valerie returns to Miami to help out a friend, and goddaughter, but while she’s there, she bumps into Tubbs (Philip Micheal Thomas) who is eager to rekindle their romance.

There are some dark things going on in this episode including the subject of child molestation and rape. Yvonne (C.C.H. Pounder), is an addict, and is trying to score a hit, but her daughter, Lynette (Malinda Williams) may fall right into the dealer’s hands.

Tubbs and Valerie team up to try to help Yvonne out, but Valerie may be keeping a rather dark secret from Tubbs.

Music includes Help Me Through the Night by Tim Truman and Phil Perry, Mixed Up, Shook Up Girl by Mink DeVille and You Gonna Get Yours by Public Enemy.

The episode’s opener feels like a callback to the beginning of the series, and it just works from the go. It’s also nice to see Valerie and Tubbs together again. Course, we know that can’t end well for our vice detective, and it will actually add to his motivations for his actions in the finale.

We also see Switek (John Talbott) still dealing with his gambling addiction, and Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) is starting to get worn out with his time on the force. They tie off a lot of story threads in this episode, setting the stage for the last story.


Freefall was written by Ken Solarz and William Conway from a story by Frank Holman, Scott Shepherd and Solarz. It aired on 21 May, 1989, and brought Miami Vice to a close, as Crockett and Tubbs elect to leave the force.

The pair are recruited by a government agency for one last undercover mission. They are to go to Central America and bring back a dictator that has information on any number of dealers, connections, and players in the underworld. But not everyone on the side of the right can be trusted…

Playing out with a feature length runtime, the duo are in deep, and this may be their final assignment in more than one way. It also features a great guest cast, Ian McShane playing General Manuel Borbon, the asset Crockett and Tubbs are supposed to extract, Robert Beltran plays his aide, Captain Jimindez. The episode also features Sherman Howard, and Martin Ferrero’s final appearance as Izzy.

The tunes to close out the series include King Swamp’s Year Zero, Lyle Lovett’s Cryin’ Shame, No Way out by Tim Truman and Don Johnson, Bugle Call Rag by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Robert Plant’s Ship of Fools, Genesis’ Land of Confusion, Bad Attitude by Honeymoon Suite, and Tell Me by Terry Kath.

Considering how solid the first three seasons were, it’s too bad that the series got as shaky as it did towards the end. With the right stories, production, and music, it could have continued to kick ass, and finish on a high note.  I do like how the characters became worn down, and grew tired of the job, but that doesn’t mean the show couldn’t have continued to be gritty, edgy, and relevant.

Doesn’t change the fact that I do love this series…

Tune in next week to see what classic 80s series I take on next.

miami vice finale



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