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Back in the World


10 (32nd Overall)
December 6, 1985
Repeat Airdate
April 18, 1986
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Guest Stars
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"Back in the World" is the tenth episode of Miami Vice's second season. It premiered on December 6, 1985, and was rerun on April 18, 1986.


Crockett is reunited with an old friend from the Vietnam War and the two men tackle an ex-military officer-turned-drug smuggler now operating out of Miami.


It's April, 1975, and the Vietnam War is ending. Crockett (while serving his time in the "Southeast Asian Conference") and an Army reporter, Ira Stone, are on a carrier assigned to handle the evacuation of Saigon when Stone takes Crockett to the hold where the body bags of soldiers are stored, Stone showed Crockett the bag of a fellow soldier named Shepard that had heroin stuffed in it, as if someone put the drugs in it to smuggle them out of the country.

Ten years later, Stone and Crockett are reunited at a drug bust involving teenage kids, with Stone claiming the Vietnamese heroin is making its way onto the streets, brought in by "The Sergeant", who was responsible for all the heroin moving in Vietnam. Because wood alcohol was used in the corpses when they were returned, the heroin and the wood alcohol began decomposing creating a potentially deadly methanol/heroin mix and users began becoming sick and dying from it. Stone is writing a book detailing the Sergeant and the Vietnam connection, and invited Crockett and Tubbs to lunch when he sprang his real reason for tracking Crockett down - he wants to find "Captain Real Estate" Maynard, a former superior who was responsible for knowing the "hot spots" in Vietnam, and he is unable to locate him. Tubbs is a little suspicious but goes along with Crockett.

Crockett and Ira Stone 1975

Castillo reluctantly allows Crockett to investigate the recent death of a heroin user at the VA and determine if the drugs came from Miami. Once there, they find the vets there are silent and not willing to discuss anything, feeling burned by the government and the public for their Vietnam service. Stone and Crockett are talking about the Sergeant and Maynard on Crockett's boat when suddenly mortar fire begins raining down on them from a mysterious Asian person. Crockett manages to escape without injury. This turn of events makes Castillo allow Crockett to fully investigate Stone's claims. Tubbs and Switek go to check on a drug connection and find one dead and one almost unconscious from the bad heroin. Stone has been making mysterious phone calls to someone named Dakotah making buys of some kind. Crockett then finds Maynard and takes Stone to meet him, though Stone is reluctant to see him. Maynard invites them into his office and explains it was a Viet Cong conspiracy and other causes (OD and suicide) that caused the deaths from the bad heroin, but neither he nor his people were responsible. Stone calls Maynard a pig because of his use of assassins and other nefarious methods. Stone then storms out saying he made up everything he told Crockett, but Crockett tells him that the heroin in existence and killing people. Stone then takes Crockett's car and flees, with Maynard and the mysterious Asian man watching.

Tubbs and Switek meet up with Dakotah and try to get some of the heroin for themselves, but Dakotah says there is a journalist ahead of them wanting the same thing, and she would get in touch with her source. Gina spots Crockett's car at a rundown section of Miami where Tubbs and Crockett speak to Stone's wife, who is extremely cynical and angry about Stone bringing her to this location and is going to leave him because he has no money, is a loser, keeps getting calls from a bimbo (Dakotah) all the time, and wants a taxi to go home. Crockett and Tubbs then find Dakotah who tell them where Stone is, and they track him down where he is talking with someone about killing a story in exchange for money. The mystery man gets into a white Mercedes, while Crockett and Tubbs pursue in a van. The van stops suddenly after a trash dumpster takes the van and raises it up, forcing Crockett and Tubbs to get out and allows the Mercedes to escape. Tubbs confirms the man in the Mercedes was Maynard. The taxi finally arrives to pick up Mrs. Stone, however the driver is Maynard's Asian cohort, Hmung.

Maynard's wife tells Crockett and Tubbs that Maynard is in the Keys so they go to find him. Meanwhile, Maynard and Stone are in Maynard's home discussing pain and money, and that his manuscript disclosing Maynard's role as the Sergeant would be published in twenty minutes unless Maynard came through with the money. Mr. Hmung shows up with Stone's manuscript given to his "loyal wife" before he made her divorce "very final". Then Maynard took out a gun and shoots Stone twice in the shoulder just as Crockett and Tubbs find the house, and proceed to search the glade for the two bad guys. Crockett kills Hmung, then barely avoids shooting Tubbs before Maynard escapes in a boat. Crockett and Tubbs get Stone to a hospital to care for his injuries.


Guest Stars




The special thank you to The Doors in the episode's end credits.

  • The plot of this episode is loosely based on the well-known claim at the time that the CIA used body bags of deceased soldiers during the Vietnam War to smuggle heroin out of Vietnam.
  • "Back in the World" is notable for the number of songs that appear during the episode -- 8 in total, tying it with season 3's "Killshot" for the most songs to appear in a standard (one-hour) episode, and in fact equalling the number of songs used in the series' two-hour finale "Freefall". All of the songs are by The Doors, as their music was popular during the Vietnam Era (although they had disbanded by 1975, when the Fall of Saigon occured), which also makes the group the most-featured act in the entire series. The episode's end credits state "Special thanks to The Doors" in recognition of their contribution.
  • The opening sequence (set to "Strange Days") consists of stock news footage from the Fall of Saigon, which occurred April 28-30, 1975, and ended the Vietnam War.
  • Season 3's "Stone's War" is a sequel to this episode; instead of the Vietnam War, the main issue covered in "Stone's War" is the then-ongoing Nicaraguan Civil War between the US-backed Contras and the Sandinistas.
  • All of the pictures displayed in Maynard's office are of people Liddy served with during the Watergate era (Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, General William Westmoreland, etc.) and both he and Crockett have pictures of the infamous "General Loan" execution of a suspected Viet Cong prisoner in the streets of Saigon during the Tet Offensive.
  • Crockett's army helmet disguises his 1985 haircut in the scenes from 1975.
  • The scene where Crockett and Tubbs are in the boat and the search for Maynard and Hmung scenes (with the Doors soundtrack) are reminiscent of Vietnam's Mekong Delta and the jungles there.
  • This is the first of four episodes of Miami Vice to be directed by star Don Johnson, also his directorial debut. He would direct one episode in each of the show's final four seasons. Although Johnson directed more episodes of the show of any other member of the principle cast, he was not the first to do so -- Edward James Olmos previously directed "Bushido" from earlier in the second season.
  • As a convicted felon, G. Gordon Liddy would not be permitted to possess any real firearms, though his wife had a large gun collection.
  • Crockett's and Stone's visit to the VA shows the plight of Vietnam Vets in the 1980s, who felt betrayed by the government and forgotten by the public. The healing process slowly began with construction of "The Wall" (aka the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial) in 1982. Each Memorial Day weekend starting in 1987, thousands of Vietnam Vets make a pilgrimage to The Wall on motorcycles, known as "Rolling Thunder" (named for a bombing operation during the war), and a mobile version called The Moving Wall appears in cities across the United States.
  • This episode marks the second time Crockett and Tubbs are almost killed in a van crash. The first was in "Cool Runnin'".
  • This is one of several times that Crockett welcomes an old buddy only to meet betrayal and bullets. His compassion is shown when he offers Stone, "Whatever you need... whatever I can do." As he often would, Crockett forgives his betrayer, wrapping Stone in his arms as they wait for the "medics".
  • The episode's costs went over budget, $2 million ($4.6 million in 2019) when the budget was $1.4 million ($3.2 million in 2019), mainly due to the water scenes and other logistics issues.


  • Larry Zito's beard is suddenly gone in this episode, yet it reappears in the next. This continuity error is because the network changed the running order of the episodes when they broadcast them, and it happened several times during season 2.
  • When Stone is working outside on the hotel patio as the waitress calls Maynard, the camera looks over his shoulder to reveal his notepad with a sketch of the heroin distribution network. At the top he has written "THE SARGENT," uncharacteristically (for a combat reporter) misspelling a common military rank.
  • The rate of fire during the mortar attack on Crockett's SCARAB is far higher than one man could realistically achieve with a single mortar, especially given that Hmung would have to substantially re-adjust his aim between each shot to keep up with Crockett as he flees in his speedboat.
  • When Crockett shoots Hmung, the first round he fires is not accompanied by a gunshot sound.

Production Notes

  • Working Title: "Show Me A Hero"
  • Filmed: October 21, 1985 - October 25, 1985, November 6, 7, and 15, 1985 (possibly due to water scenes)
  • Production Code: 60023
  • Production Order: 33

Filming Locations

  • Amelia Earhart Park (Airstrip during opening credits)
  • The Carlyle Hotel, 1250 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Stone's Hotel)
  • 625 Leucadendra Drive (Maynard's home)
  • Marlin Hotel, 1200 Collins Ave, Miami Beach (Mrs. Stone's hotel)
  • NW 7th Street/NW 7th Road, Miami (Crockett/Tubbs' van picked up by the garbage truck)


Jan Hammer Music

  • "Stone's War" (Smugglers plane lands, Crockett looking at old war photos, Maynard flees in boat)
  • "Incoming" (Ira takes Crockett's car and leaves Maynard's, Crockett confronts Dakotah, Maynard shoots Stone)


  • "You know, of course, that in most parts of the world, Pain is a second language." -- Maynard to Stone
  • "Be advised you're under arrest for trafficking in controlled substances!" "...don't forget smoking in the bathroom!" -- DEA Agent & Tubbs after busting the kids at the airstrip
  • "Good news, your divorce came through. Mr. Hmung made it VERY final!" -- Maynard to Stone
Season 2 Episodes:

"The Prodigal Son" "Whatever Works" "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" "The Dutch Oven" "Buddies" "Junk Love" "Tale of the Goat" "Bushido" "Bought and Paid For" "Back in the World" "Phil the Shill" "Definitely Miami" "Yankee Dollar" "One Way Ticket" "Little Miss Dangerous" "Florence Italy" "French Twist" "The Fix" "Payback" "Free Verse" "Trust Fund Pirates" "Sons and Lovers"