Calderone's Return (Part I)
4 (4th overall)
October 19, 1984
May 24, 1985 (as part of a two-hour movie)
"Calderone's Return (Part I)", also known as "The Hit List", is the fourth episode of Miami Vice's first season. It premiered on October 19, 1984, and was rerun on May 24, 1985 (combined with "Calderone's Return (Part II)" as a two-hour movie). The episode features the return of Esteban Calderone and the death of Lieutenant Lou Rodriguez (Gregory Sierra).
Crockett and Tubbs, on surveillance detail for a dealer Felix Castranova, are relieved early in the morning by Switek and Zito, as Crockett has to appear in court with his soon to be ex-wife Caroline. Meeting outside the courthouse, the Crocketts make a reconciliation of sorts, and (after firing their lawyers) decide to give it one more try. Meanwhile, Castranova leaves his apartment to visit the tailor, but is shot dead outside -- along with his bodyguard and chauffeur -- by an unidentified assassin. The shooter flees the scene in a waiting Camaro, which quickly loses the Metro-Dade units that give chase. The car is later traced to a motel in the city, but before the building can be surrounded, a squad car siren alerts the suspects. They escape, but leave behind $20,000 in cash, two pistols and a small memo-book containing a hit list. Crockett and Caroline spend the afternoon in bed together, but are interrupted by Tubbs and Rodriguez, who inform Crockett of the shooting and the hit list. They go on to tell him that six of the eight names on the list are already dead -- and that his name is one of the remaining two.
At OCB, Gina pulls DEA files on the hit list names, and finds that all of them (with the exception of Crockett) were mid-level dealers trying to expand. Prints found in the getaway car bring up a match at INTERPOL, identifying the shooter as an international hitman linked to a long list of high-profile assassinations around the world -- but the file contains no name, and no photograph. However, paperwork found in the motel room provides a link to a Carlos Mendez. Rodriguez orders Crockett to join his family at a safe house until they can locate Mendez, and when Crockett resists he elects to escort him there personally. They swing by the St. Vitus Dance so Crockett can pick up some clothes. Meanwhile, Trudy pulls surveillance photos of Mendez and deduces that he's linked to Calderone, a major dealer who previously escaped and now seeks revenge on Crockett, the cop who nearly busted him. A sheet of paper recovered from the getaway car also contains the address of the St. Vitus Dance -- to their horror, Tubbs and Trudy realize the assassin knows where Crockett lives. In fact, he has already set up in the nearby Freedom Tower, passing the time with doughnuts and coffee. Seeing Crockett on the boat, he takes aim and fires -- Rodriguez shoves Crockett aside at the last second, but in the process takes the bullet meant for him.
While Rodriguez is undergoing surgery, the Vice cops learn that all six dead dealers had ties with Calderone, but were branching out on their own (much like a certain Corky Fowler did previously -- only to suffer a similar fate). They track down the final name on the list, a nightclub owner and dealer named Linus Oliver. Crockett and Tubbs corner Linus and have him arranged up a meet with Mendez at Linus' club. After Linus leaves, Crockett claims not to be worried by the bounty on his head, but his true feelings are revealed when he pulls his gun on a civilian who stops him to return his dropped cigarettes. Crockett finally agrees to get off the streets and goes to see Caroline and Billy at the safe house, reassuring them that everything will be okay.
The rest of the Vice unit sets up in Linus' club and waits for Mendez to arrive. While they wait, two men attempt to get Trudy to dance, becoming aggressive when she turns them down. Zito steps in and the confrontation escalates into an all-out brawl on the dance floor. During the chaos Linus spots Mendez in the crowd and the cops move in and bust him, unaware that the real assassin -- a man named Ludovici Armstrong -- is watching them from the crowd. Thinking he and his family are safe now that Mendez has been busted, Crockett, Caroline and Billy head home. Meanwhile, Tubbs intensely questions Mendez, but the man stays silent. The interrogation is interrupted by a report that Linus has been found found shot dead in front of his apartment, leading Tubbs to realize that the shooter is still on the loose, and likely going after the final surviving name on his list -- Crockett.
Tubbs takes Crockett's Daytona and speeds across Miami to warn him. Arriving at Caroline's house with his family, Crockett notices Armstrong's trademark doughnut and coffee spilled on the living room floor, and pulls his son out of the way just as the assassin comes out shooting. Tubbs storms in to help Crockett, and Armstrong shoots his way out through a window, emerging to find a phalanx of Metro-Dade officers waiting for him; he goes down firing. Realizing what Crockett's life as a cop entails, Caroline reluctantly tells him that things cannot work out with between them, and Crockett agrees to reschedule the divorce hearing. Meanwhile, Tubbs receives a call on Crockett's car phone informing him that Rodriguez has died from his injuries. He tells a shocked Crockett that Mendez has finally broken down under questioning and revealed that Calderone is in The Bahamas, and the two Vice cops prepare to go after the dealer.
- 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
- Gregory Sierra as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Lou Rodriguez
- Jim Zubiena as Ludovici Armstrong
- Ron Taylor as Linus Oliver
- Belinda Montgomery as Caroline Crockett
- Jim Borelli as Felix Castranova
- Tara King as Susan Castranova
- Tito Goya as Carlos Mendez
- Raymond Forchion as Don
- Will Knickerbocker as Will Fields
- Ken Little as Monahan
- Ryan St. Leon as Billy Crockett
- Bobby Harwell as Civilian Who Found Crockett's Cigarettes
- William Wolff as Policeman
- This episode was called "The Hit List" when it originally aired, but the name was changed to "Calderone's Return (Part I)" when it went into syndication, presumably to better link it with the following episode, which continues the story. This second title is now its official one, and has been used on the show's VHS and DVD releases, and online.
- The original 1980s VHS home video release of Calderone's Return was not split into two parts. Also, there is no freeze frame at the end of what is part one on other releases. Instead, the camera just pans over and follows Crockett and Tubbs as they drive off Caroline's driveway and down the street.
- This marks the final appearance of Gregory Sierra as Lou Rodriguez. Sierra had requested to be written out of the show because he didn't like living in Miami.
- The episode was pre-empted one week due to NBC airing Game 3 of the 1984 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Diego Padres.
- Belinda Montgomery would return as Caroline Crockett in season 4's "Child's Play" and again in season 5's "To Have and to Hold".
- The Jan Hammer track "Crockett's Theme", arguably the most famous piece he composed for the show after the "Miami Vice Theme", makes its debut in this episode, in the scene where Crockett talks with Caroline on the beach at the safe house. The piece would become one of the hallmarks of the series, often featuring prominently, appropriately enough, in Crockett-centric episodes.
- Jim Zubiena, who played hit-man Ludivicio Armstrong, was a shooting expert in his own right. Genuine proficiency with firearms is one of the most noteworthy aspects of Michael Mann's productions, and Zubiena uses several expert shooting techniques in this episode, including the "Mozambique Drill" (shooting a victim twice in the chest and once in the head in order to absolutely guarantee a kill). This technique also features in Michael Mann's films Thief, Heat and Collateral.
- Jim Zubiena is also one of several Miami Vice guest stars to appear in Michael Mann's 1986 film Manhunter, alongside Garcelle Beauvais (from "The Maze"), Bill Cwikowski (from "No Exit"), Chris Elliott (from "Down for the Count (Part II)"), Dennis Farina (from "One Eyed Jack", "Lombard" and "World of Trouble"), Kim Griest (from "Nobody Lives Forever"), Michele Shay (from "Theresa" and "Badge of Dishonor") and Bill Smitrovich (from "Brother's Keeper" and "The Prodigal Son"). Miami Vice regular Michael Talbott also had a small role in the film, although his single scene was deleted from the theatrical cut of the movie.
- During the shootout in Crockett's home, the blank adapter fitted on the AC556 assault rifle used by Zubiena came loose and was propelled form the barrel at considerable speed directly towards the camera crew shooting the action; fortunately they were protected by a thick perspex screen. Zubiena, however, was not so lucky, as the adapter ricocheted off of the screen and struck him in the shoulder with enough force to spin him around and knock him to the floor. Fortunately, he suffered no long-term injuries.
- Another accident during the same scene almost injured Don Johnson. One of the electronically-triggered squibs that simulate bullets impacts was fired too early (originally, the squib in question was supposed to go off after Johnson had backed away from where it was attached to the wall) and the explosive detonated in Johnson's face. While he was fortunately uninjured, the squib blew the face out of an expensive watch he was wearing. The shot is included in the episode.
- Many characters in this episode wear "Members Only" jackets, such as Carlos Mendez, Ludivicio Armstrong, and a few members in the club.
- The hotel identified as the "Desiree Hotel" where Armstrong and Mendez were located after the Castronova hit is actually the Nassau Hotel, which was renovated and upgraded after its appearance on the show and is now called the "Nassau Suite Hotel".
- Tubbs drives Crockett's Daytona in this episode, the only time in the series he would drive one of Crockett's Ferraris. The footage of him speeding through the night to save Crockett from Ludivicio Armstrong is recycled from "Cool Runnin'", and would be used again in "Give a Little, Take a Little".
- We see Crockett in a tie for the first time at his divorce hearing in this episode, one of the few times he would wear one in the series. He also wears one at Robbie Cann's son's baptism in "Buddies", at Angelina Madeira's funeral in "Sons and Lovers", at Zito's funeral in "Down for the Count (Part II)", and for his wedding to Caitlin Davies in "Like a Hurricane". He would be seen with a tie more frequently during his time as Sonny Burnett in seasons 4 and 5.
- Tito Goya, the actor who played Mendez, the Argentinean hitman's handler, was charged with murder shortly after his appearance on Miami Vice, for his alleged involvement in a homicide together with his brother in 1978. Goya died in 1985 before he could be tried, but his brother was found guilty of the murder in question and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.
- The version of the "Miami Vice Theme" used in the opening credits is incorrectly mixed and is missing the distinctive synthesized guitar hook. This is the final episode where this occurs.
- When Ludovici Armstrong is confronted by Nicky the chauffeur, he raises his hands -- and the shotgun he is holding -- in a gesture of surrender. In a subsequent closeup of Ludovici, we see him raise his hands again.
- Immediately after this, when Ludovici shoots Nicky, the wiring for the squibs that simulate the bullet impacts can clearly seen coming from the bottom of Nicky's pants leg.
- The amount of sweat on the back of Tubbs' jacket dramatically increases from shot to shot when he is chasing Ludovici through the motel.
- When Tubbs points out Calderone to Trudy in the FBI surveillance photo Zito hands him, he points to the wrong man. Calderone is actually to the left of the man Tubbs identifies.
- When Linus Oliver is being tailed by OCB, we see his limo driving down the street. Trudy then complains that Linus has made a U-turn to shake his pursuers, but when we see his car again, it is still driving in the same direction down the same street (the same construction equipment is visible in the background in both shots).
- The Daytona's left rear light repeatedly switches between working and not working from shot to shot when Tubbs is rushing to save Crockett.
- At the end of the episode when Tubbs says, "Calderone's in The Bahamas," the movement of his lips does not match the dialogue.
- Filmed: August 7, 1984 - August 15, 1984
- Production Number: 59504
- Production Order: 4
- Dade County Courthouse, 73 West Flagler Str, Miami, Downtown (Crockett, Caroline and their lawyers meet)
- Atlantis Building, 2025 Brickell Avenue, Miami (Castranova killing)
- Brickell Avenue (Hitman car chase)
- Nassau Suites Hotel, 1414 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach (Armstrong's hotel)
- Miami Beach Marina, 300 Alton Road, Miami Beach (Marina where St. Vitus Dance is located)
- Freedom Tower, 600 Biscayne Boulevard (Tower where Armstrong shot at Crockett, hit Rodriguez instead)
- Biscayne Boulevard, Miami and Lincoln Road Mall, Miami Beach (chasing Linus Oliver)
- Cape Florida Lighthouse / Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne (Safe House for Crockett's family)
- Disco 'Heaven' in Fort Lauderdale (Linus Oliver's Bar/Mendez arrested)
- Brickell Ave, Julia Tuttle Cswy, Rickenbacker Cswy (Tubbs racing to save Crockett--footage re-used in other episodes)
- 100 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne (Exterior of Crockett's house).
- "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters (playing in club)
- "Tush" by ZZ Top (during bar fight)
- "In the Night" by Russ Ballard (Tubbs rushing to Crockett's house)
Jan Hammer MusicEdit
- "Chase" (officers chase Ludovici Armstrong and Carlos Mendez)
- "Crockett's Theme" (Crockett and his family at the safehouse)
- Buick Regal (Unmarked police car, chasing Mendez and Armstrong in the Camaro)
- Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta (Owned by Mendez, getaway car for Armstrong)
- Cadillac Sedan DeVille Limousine (where Castranova is shot)
- Ford LTD Country Squire (Caroline's car)
- Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL (Linus Oliver's car)
- "You speak to Caroline like that again and I'll wrap you around your endangered species briefcase." -- Crockett to Caroline's lawyer
- "I figure you'll be out sometime in the 21st Century!" -- Crockett to Linus Oliver
- "You move, even breathe, you're dead!" -- Tubbs to Mendez
- "Where is he, Gina? He's goin' after number eight! He's goin' after Sonny!" -- Tubbs realizes Crockett is next on Armstrong's list
- "(The Bahamas) are only sixty miles away, when can you be ready?" "I'm always ready!" -- Crockett and Tubbs after Rodriguez' death
| Season 1 Episodes:|
"Brother's Keeper" (Pilot) • "Heart of Darkness" • "Cool Runnin'" • "Calderone's Return (Part I)" • "Calderone's Return (Part II)" • "One Eyed Jack" • "No Exit" • "The Great McCarthy" • "Glades" • "Give a Little, Take a Little" • "Little Prince" • "Milk Run" • "Golden Triangle (Part I)" • "Golden Triangle (Part II)" • "Smuggler's Blues" • Rites of Passage • "The Maze" • "Made for Each Other" • "The Home Invaders" • "Nobody Lives Forever" • "Evan" • "Lombard"