9 (53rd Overall)
November 21, 1986
June 5, 1987
A load of illegally smuggled children leads the Vice squad to a black market international adoption ring, as well as a Colombian mother desperate to locate her child.
In San Cristobal, Colombia, a bus full of women and children is stopped by a luxury car full of gunmen and an adoption lawyer, Howard Famiglia, who snatch all the babies. One of the mothers tries to escape but is caught and her baby is taken, when she tries to get the baby back the gunman knocks her out, then only to have the baby returned because "you're too homely". In Miami, the Vice squad is waiting on a plane to arrive with rumored contraband. When the plane arrives the pilot and co-pilot are killed by the police, a woman falls out of the plane, and the contraband turns out to be crates of babies, some of which are dead.
In the hospital, Gina and Trudy find out the woman that fell from the plane, Maria Escobar, stowed away in the unheated, unpressurized cargo hold looking for her baby, who was taken 16 months ago, and INS is more interested in her status than her baby's. Crockett and Tubbs have no information on who was behind the flight. Her baby has a birthmark on the back near the left shoulder blade which would show up on a medical report. At OCB, Castillo will do what he can about INS, but is concerned about Vice being involved in this. Gina and Trudy want to follow up and check on who's behind this smuggling and adoption ring. Castillo asks them to have Switek and Zito check Social Services for any paperwork on recent Colombian adoptions, and Crockett and Tubbs will coordinate through the Consulate. At the Consulate, Crockett and Tubbs speak with the Consul Eduardo Vasquez and wants to see their adoption records, but he insists his government's approval is required for that. After Crockett and Tubbs leave, Vasquez makes a phone call. At Social Services, Switek and Zito speak with Miss Fisk who refers them to Angela Mitchell, the normal contact for Colombian adoptions, but she was out, and agrees to run the report for them "being happy to cooperate". They find 111 babies that match the profile of Maria's baby (though Vasquez only mentioned a couple of dozen). Another oddity is that most of the adoptions were handled by the same lawyer, known only as "S-579". Switek calls Fisk who tells him that "Daddy Babybucks" is Famiglia. They take Maria to some of the possible matches to her son, but have no luck. One of the adoptive parents said Famiglia claimed to work for the Colombian government to get people their babies. Gina and Trudy then visit Steven DeMarco who mentioned the first baby Famiglia adopted for them, Davey, died, then he got his daughter, Andrea, for $50,000 (though the record says $20,000), and agrees to testify before a grand jury about what he knows because he is disgusted with Famiglia.
At OCB, Switek and Zito linked Famiglia with 102 other adoptions, and won't take any new clients without a financial statement. Castillo agrees to have a tap put on Famiglia's phone, though he has no evidence of a crime being committed, the fact he's on 102 adoptions at $50K per is a little strange. Zito found a really good match for Maria's baby at the Kaplan home. Gina and Trudy take Maria there and find it is her baby, now named Alex, but his real name is Jose Daniel. His adoptive mother Moira Kaplan asks the detectives to leave, then makes a call to Famiglia, who is meeting Crockett and Tubbs. Famiglia denies any involvement in the adoption scam, including the planeload of babies they are currently investigating. Angela Mitchell returns to the office and Fisk fills her in on the visit from Vice and what they requested. Angela denies knowing anything about the planeload of babies, and is upset that Fisk cooperated with the police freely. Angela calls Famiglia requesting a meet on the beach (the call was intercepted by Switek and Zito, who accompany them there, but have trouble picking them up on their mic) and they discuss the turn of events. Famiglia shocks Angela when he refers to dead babies as nothing more than a "spoilage factor", and tells her to keep her mouth shut, and he's taking care of the parents that are willing to testify to his deeds by threatening to take their kids away if they follow through, including DeMarco.
With a week before the grand jury, Crockett and Tubbs go see Angela, who is served with a subpoena to appear in court. Famiglia's assistant Hector calls him to let him know about the subpoena. Famiglia and Vasquez are having dinner, Vasquez rejects Famiglia's request to make a speech in Washington about the embarrassing nature of the baby-plane situation to cover their tracks, and is returning to Colombia the next day. Famiglia indicates he will take care of Angela, who Famiglia now considers a "weak link". Hector has Vasquez tied up in the trunk of his car, taken to Angela's place and both are killed, set up like a murder-suicide.
Detective Patterson from Homicide is prepared to close the case, but Crockett gets authorization from Castillo to re-investigate the crime scene, because it is "too convenient" that this event took place. They find prints from Hector at the scene, who is Famiglia's chauffeur, and they go to see him. They find his body strung up in a closet and the door wired to a bomb; Crockett and Tubbs barely make it out. There is no evidence tying Famiglia to the murders or the baby plane, so Crockett baits a trap for Famiglia, using Maria. Trudy and a reporter friend run a story on Maria's plight and indicate she is an eyewitness to "a prominent local attorney's" (Famiglia) involvement in the baby plane and the murders, and is hospitalized at St. Anne's. The Vice squad act as hospital personnel when Famiglia shows up, Switek follows him up to the fifth floor, where he is holding an unwed mothers' seminar. While he plays a film about the miracle of birth, he sneaks out a second exit (Switek is watching the main exit) into a ventilation system, looking for Maria's room. When he arrives in Maria's room, the Vice cops are waiting and shoot him dead, his body hanging from the vent. Maria goes to pick up Alex from the Kaplans, but Alex doesn't want to leave, and his sadness causes Maria not to separate him from the family he has known for two years, and decides to let him stay with the Kaplans.
- Don Johnson as Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett
- Philip Michael Thomas as Metro-Dade Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
- Saundra Santiago as Metro-Dade Detective Gina Calabrese
- Michael Talbott as Metro-Dade Detective Stan Switek
- John Diehl as Metro-Dade Detective Larry Zito
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- Patrice Martinez as Maria Escobar
- Hallie Foote as Moira Kaplan
- Stanley Tucci as Steven DeMarco
- Jane Brucker as Angela Mitchell
- Brian Brucker O'Connor as Det. Patterson
- Tommy Koenig as Howard Famiglia
- Unknown as Jose Daniel Escobar/Alex Kaplan
- Lori Creevay as Mother #1
- Darcy Shean as Mrs. DeMarco
- Unknown as Hector
- Tom Kouchalakos as Physician
"Ripped From The Headlines"
In this episode, illegal adoptions of children stolen from Third World countries and smuggled into the United States is explored.
- Instead of their usual Bug Van, Switek and Zito instead use a pink and blue Boyertown Merchandiser van for their surveillance in this episode. It's never explained why they have switched to a different vehicle in this episode.
- Philip Michael Thomas' stunt double, Ernest Robinson (who also played Tubbs' brother Rafael in "Brother's Keeper"), was hospitalized after he burned his legs performing the stunt where Tubbs jumps out of Hector's exploding apartment. The footage was left in the episode - if you watch closely you can see 'Tubbs' catch fire as he exits the bottom right of the screen after crashing through the window. This ended Robinson's stunt career.
- Stanley Tucci returned in season 4's opener "Contempt of Court" and again in "Blood & Roses" as Crockett's mob nemesis Frank Mosca.
- The hotel where Angela Mitchell and Eduardo Vasquez were found dead in still exists today, though the name was changed from the Waldorf Towers to The Room Mate Waldorf Towers.
- The ventilation duct Famiglia crawls through in the hospital is grossly oversized -- in reality, air vents are very small conduits. No building would have ventilation shafts so large, as it would mean making the walls infeasibly thick to accommodate them.
- Filmed: July 24, 1986 - August 1, 1986
- Production Code: 62017
- Production Order: 53
- Armando Tapanes Farm, 15902 NW 122nd Ave, Miami (Colombia Scenes)
- Opa-Locka West airstrip, 14201 NW 42nd Avenue, Opa-locka (Airstrip where baby plane lands)
- Wolfberg / Alvarez and Associates, 5960 SW 57th Ave, Miami (Social Services, Colombian Counsulate, and Famigila's office)
- 2025 Brickell Ave, Miami (Switek and Zito visit Social Services) (exterior)
- 6301 Pinetree Drive, Miami Beach (DeMarco's house)
- 9th Street/Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Beach scene where Angela/Famiglia walk)
- 6001 SW 116th Street (Kaplan house, Interior of Angela's bedroom)
- Waldorf Towers Hotel (now Room Mate Waldorf Towers), 860 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Dinner scenes with Famiglia/Vasquez, Angela's apartment) (exterior)
- 701 Meridian Avenue Apt15/16, Miami Beach (Hector Borges' apartment)
- "Movin' and Groovin'" by Redds & The Boys (at beach where Mitchell and Famiglia meet)
- "Stop & Think" by Michelle Goulet (at beach where Mitchell and Famiglia meet)
- "Hanging by a Thread" by Mike + The Mechanics (looking for Hector)
- "Love by You" by Joan Armatrading (end sequence with Maria and Alex)
Jan Hammer Music
- "Colombia" (pre-credit sequence)
- "If they're landing here you can bet it ain't carrying Sunday School books!" -- Crockett over radio while waiting for plane to land
- "Whoever is adopting these kids is making a fortune, at $20,000 a kid!" -- Zito
- "Babies are like any other business, there's a spoilage factor! -- Famiglia to Angela after discussing the dead babies on the plane
- "You look good as a nurse..." -- Zito to disguised Trudy
- "Shhh!" -- Trudy's response