By Hooker by Crook
20 (64th Overall)
March 20, 1987
May 13, 1988
Crockett romances a businesswoman who is really a madam, with a girl in her stable that is a murder witness.
Crockett and Tubbs (as Burnett and Cooper) are attending a charity function, and Crockett chats with Christine Von Marburg, who is looking for new business contacts. Tubbs says the man they are there to see is getting ready to leave, and Crockett reluctantly breaks off the conversation, promising to call her, though Christine looks doubtful and says she's not listed. The man they are looking for, Symington, has gone to a hotel with a woman named Ali Ferrand while Crockett and Tubbs wait. At Symington's room, there are two goons waiting inside. They grab Symington as he opens the door and one chases Ali, but she slips into the elevator just in time. Crockett and Tubbs are waiting for Symington to leave the hotel when he is thrown off the balcony and comes crashing down in front of them.
Ali frantically gathers some clothes and gets out of her room, leaving behind a newspaper headlined by Symington's death. Symington was a suspected money launderer, and the squad figures he had some unhappy customers; presumably Ali left without checking on him. Crockett runs Christine through the system and finds her unlisted number, then goes to see the host of the previousnight's party. The goons that killed Symington report to their boss, Kenneth Togaru who sends them to kill Ali before the police find her. Crockett and Tubbs see the party's host who is surprised about the turn of events; she provides Ali's name but has no other info, other than that she had some risque pictures of herself made at DeLa Moreno-- Izzy's latest scam. They go to see Izzy at his Boudoir Photography studio, where they get Ali's address, and they find her room cleaned out. Crockett calls Christine and invites her to dinner at a restaurant which she says she knows all too well.
Crockett (as Burnett) asks her her history with the restaurant, and she discloses that it is where she broke up with her significant other, with whom she was together for a year. She asks Burnett about his business, and Crockett is cagey. Crockett asks her about her business, and she responds that she owns CVM Enterprises and is an entrepreneur. When he asks what that means, she is equally cagey and uses Crockett's response, "A little bit of this, and a little bit of that." They return to her apartment, where she mentions she graduated from Brown with a minor in Theater and has a thing for Shakespeare. She then turns to Crockett/Burnett and thanks him for the evening. He is disappointed and makes light of it, and she responds with a chaste kiss. After Crockett leaves, Christine is met by a terrified Ali, who tells her they killed "Chuckie" (Symington).
Castillo wants the squad to continue their investigation of the Symington murder, while Togaru's goons rough up Izzy to get a line on Ali. Izzy reveals that Ali is a hooker that works for Caprice Escort Service, and Crockett asks Switek to have Gina and Trudy run it down. Switek is on stakeout at Ali's apartment complex but she hasn't returned. Christine asks Ali for a little privacy for the evening's date with Crockett, and Ali lets her know she's going to get out of town. She returns to her apartment wearing a wig, and from a distance Switek doesn't recognize her. Crockett and Christine make love in her apartment, while Togaru's goons await Ali at her apartment; they tie her up and strangle her to death.
Trudy determines that Ali was not turning tricks in her apartment and Crockett and Tubbs go to check out Caprice. Crockett notices that Christine's business is in the same building as Caprice. When they arrive they find a bunch of women talking dirty on the phone to callers, and the receptionist declines to provide a list of Ali's recent contacts or the owner's info, so Crockett asks her to have the boss contact him before he gets a warrant. After Crockett and Tubbs leave, the receptionist picks up the phone, presumably to call the boss. Crockett and Tubbs (as Burnett and Cooper) stop by to see Christine, who is visibly upset but passes it off over a land deal falling through. Tubbs notices a newspaper article stating that she was selected as "Businesswoman of the Year"; Crockett (as Burnett) offers to celebrate with pizza and champagne that evening, which Christine first declines but then accepts. Later in bed, Christine starts to question Crockett/Burnett's caginess. When he offers his birthday is July 29, he asks Christine to give in turn. Christine offers that she is appearing on a TV show, Miami at Midday, the next day about her award. Burnett promises to watch.
The TV host does his segment while Crockett watches, and Trudy comes in with a report for Crockett which he asks her to wait. The host discusses her wealthy and prestigious family and blindsides her with the news that a good portion of her money comes from the Caprice Escort Service, and that she is a madam. Christine is left floundering in the interview, and Crockett is stunned that he didn't see it coming.
Trudy has found that the Caprice Escort Service is run by a foreign corporation with ties to a domestic corporation whose principal stockholder is Christine, and Castillo gets a request from downtown to pick up a madam - Christine. Gina and Trudy are sent out. Crockett requests phone records on Christine and Symington, which reveal that Christine called Symington 42 time in the past three months, with eight calls before his death. She also had calls to Togaru, whom Symington worked for as Chief Financial Officer.
Crockett stops by to see Christine in the interrogation room. She is surprised to see his badge, and after dismissing her lawyer, she asks if she was setup. Crockett says he had no idea who she was, and asks what her excuse is. Christine explains the madam job started as a joke on her highly-respected family, then became a job, then the money was too good to be true, but that she herself never hooked. She admits to setting up Symington with Ali, and letting Togaru know about it. She explains that Symington was skimming some of the money he was laundering for Togaru, and Ali was and innocent bystander in all of it. Togaru was a client who became a very good friend and her mentor in the corporate world. Crockett offers Christine a chance to clear her name by setting Togaru up with a meet between Cooper and Burnett - who are offering to take over Symington's role - and to help her get money to leave the country, since her assets have been frozen. She tells Crockett it may get messy, since Togaru was in love with her at one point.
With a bug in her purse, she meets with Togaru while Crockett and Switek are listening in the Bug Van. Togaru reminds her of the first rule of business, and she offers to be a "good friend" to him. He says they can do better than that, and she reluctantly agrees to spend the night with him. The meet and plan is set at Togaru's house, but Togaru figures out that they are cops and gives a nod to his heavies. Two other shooters appear and start firing; Crockett tosses Christine behind the sushi bar, and he and Tubbs kill the baddies. Christine pops up from behind the bar with a gun and kills Togaru, who was about to shoot Crockett.
With her record cleared, Christine stops by to see Crockett on the St. Vitus Dance to say good-bye, as she's leaving the country to get away from all the negative press. She sits next to Crockett, and jokes that the publisher of the newspaper and the commentator on Channel 8 were both big clients of hers, and that they are all bastards. Crockett asks if that goes for him as well, and she says he's probably the biggest bastard of them all. She then kisses him softly, a kiss he doesn't refuse but doesn't return, and leaves.
- 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
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- Melanie Griffith as Christine Von Marburg
- Vanity as Ali Ferrand
- Martin Ferrero as Isadore "Izzy" Moreno
- Veronica Cartwright as Society Dame
- Capt. Lou Albano as Goon #1
- Afa Anoai as Goon #2
- Bill Boggs as TV Host
- George Takei as Kenneth Togaru
- The character "Christine Von Marburg" was named for Dick Wolf's then-wife, Christine Marburg, to whom he was married from 1983-2005 and had three children with, whose names he used for characters in his Law & Order franchise; Olivia (played by Mariska Hargitay) in the Law & Order: SVU series, Elliot (played by Christopher Meloni) who appeared in SVU from 1999-2011 and again in 2021, then returned in the series Law & Order: Organized Crime in the same year, and Sarina, changed to Serena (played by Elisabeth Rohm) for his ADA from 2001-05 in the original Law & Order series and also the name of Olivia's mother in SVU.
- The prefix "von" denotes a descendant of German or Austro-Hungarian nobility and is still used today in last names in Germany. However, there is or was no noble house of von Marburg in Germany. Coincidentally, it is customary in German-language television to use fictitious names of nobility as well.
- Once again, this episode features one of the leading duo becoming involved in a romantic relationship with a woman linked to the case that inevitably ends in heartbreak by the end of the episode, a recurring plot point in the series. Yet again, it is Crockett who falls into this trap, falling for Christine before discovering she is actually a madam. Crockett's line, "First a junkie, now a hooker," refers to his recent luck with romances.
- Crockett uses a Commodore Amiga computer when looking up Christine's information, which was a major PC player during the mid 1980s.
- Crockett uses his famous line, "I will clear my desk of all my other cases and make your life one living hell," for a third time in this episode. He would use the line a total of four times over the course of the series -- the other three occasions being in "One Eyed Jack", "French Twist" and "Miami Squeeze". Ironically, he uses the line on Susu, the secretary at the Caprice Escort Service, who is played by Janet Constable; Constable also played Barbara Carrow in the season 1 episode "One Eyed Jack", in which Crockett first used the line. In fact, in "One Eyed Jack" he says the line to Vincent DeMarco, who killed Carrow.
- This is the second of four episodes of Miami Vice to be directed by star Don Johnson. He would direct one episode in each of the show's final four seasons.
- There are some creative moments of direction in this episode, including the lengthy tracking shot over dozens of actors as the show opens, the shot through the peephole of Izzy's apartment to see a distorted Crockett and Tubbs, the shot of Crockett looking up Christine's phone number then standing up to show Tubbs worriedly watching him, and the light only on Crockett's eyes, slowly sinking into shadow as Christine leaves the room to sleep with Togaru.
- Also a noteworthy camera effect utilized are the colors being used in the death scene with Ali. The entire screen is green with the exception of the cloth used for her mouth, which is red.
- Izzy has some of his best lines in this episode, including his explanation of his imitating classic director Erich von Stroheim -- "It's a grand illusion!" (the title of a classic European film). He also affects the pose from Rodan's famous sculpture, "The Thinker", after the robbery.
- Christine complains about the hypocrisy of men in power, stating, "They're bastards, all of them." When Sonny asks if that includes him too, she says, "You might be the biggest one of all." Considering that he literally sat by while she was forced into sex with Togaru -- and that he set up that entire scenario knowing that could happen -- she could be right.
- Many episodes rely on Don Johnson's reaction shots to close the episode, but this episode has an extended one that allows him the opportunity to fully show Crockett's reaction. Sonny starts to turn his head to look back at, perhaps call back, the retreating Christine, but then changes his mind.
- It is interesting to note that Tubbs has very few lines in this episode (none at all during the two scenes involving Izzy) and, aside from the climactic gunfight, does nothing of any real importance.
- This episode originally had a longer sex scene between Crockett and Christine, but NBC deemed the sequence "too hot for television" and ordered it cut back when repeated. This edited version is the only one to appear since, including in syndication, on the DVD releases, on NBC.com, and on Peacock. The uncut scene runs almost two minutes, while the revised version runs 1:12. A similar incident occurred in the first season episode "Rites of Passage" involving a sex scene with Tubbs and Valerie Gordon (played by Pam Grier).
- During the intro scene next to the yacht, the shadow from the camera truck can clearly be seen on the right side of the screen.
- The goon with the rubber bands in his facial hair clearly gets to the elevator Ali is attempting to escape in before the doors have closed and could quite easily stop it leaving by reaching through, but he fumbles around until the doors have shut and the lift has gone, allowing Ali to escape.
- When Crockett and Tubbs visit Izzy's photography studio, the sign outside of his studio misspells the word "boudoir" as "BOUDIOR". Also, Izzy's sign reads "Intimate moments captured tastily..." instead of the correct "tasteFULLY". However, it is likely these are intentional mistakes made by Izzy's character, particularly with regards to the latter error.
- After Christine shoots Togaru, the slide on Crockett's Smith & Wesson switches from being forward, indicating the gun is still loaded, to locked back, indicating it is empty, to forward again between shots.
- Christine shoots Togaru with a semi-automatic handgun, but sets a revolver down on the bar.
- Filmed: January 26, 1987 - February 4, 1987
- Production Code: 62026
- Production Order: 63
- 1000 Venetian Way, Miami Beach (Symington pushed off balcony)
- Biscayne Blvd near Everglades Hotel, 244 Biscayne Blvd (Izzy's studio)
- South Bayshore Drive / Mary Street Coconut Grove (Exterior of Christine's apartment)
- "30,000 Feet" by Broken Homes (opening sequence at party and Symington's death)
- "Lavado" by Bill Bergman (on society dame's yacht)
- "Split Decision" by Steve Winwood (Crockett & Christine make love while Ali is killed)
- "Holding Back the Years" by Simply Red (ending with Crockett and Christine on boat)
Jan Hammer Music
- "Crockett's Theme" (throughout episode)
- "Crockett's Return" (Crockett and Christine have dinner)
- "Is it Symington?" "Well, it isn't the bluebird of happiness."--Tubbs and Crockett after Symington plummets to land next to their car
- "Would've done him more good if he could've used it for a parachute!" -- Crockett referring to Symington's MBA
- "Murder is just so--lower-class! Do forgive me. Sometimes I'm such a princess."--Rich hostess of the party at which Symington was killed
- "The only way she (Ali) could have killed him was in the bed!" -- Tubbs
- "The only way he got to any of these places was through extradition!" -- Crockett about Izzy's list of cities for his photography studio
- "You're defecating the First Amendment!" -- Izzy to Crockett
- "Open this door or I'm gonna pull you through this peep-hole." -- Crockett to Izzy
- "Oh I get it, kind of like a monk? The only difference is, the monastery you're gonna go back to doesn't believe in chastity... or abstinence." -- Crockett threatening Izzy
- "How many times do I have to tell you?! I photograph beautiful women, not meatballs!" -- Izzy to Crockett and Tubbs after he's roughed up
- "The next time you withhold information from me, pal, I'm gonna have a little chat with your parole officer, and then you get to play "Hide The Soap!" -- Crockett to Izzy