Miami Vice Wiki
Child's Play


5 (73rd Overall)
October 30, 1987
Repeat Airdate
March 25, 1988
TV Rating
TV-14 D-L-V
Guest Stars
Previous Episode
Next Episode

"Child's Play" is the fifth episode of Miami Vice's fourth season. It premiered on October 30, 1987, and was rerun on March 25, 1988.


Distraught after accidentally shooting a minor, Crockett reaches out to his estranged son Billy.


Crockett & Tubbs are doing surveillance for gun runners when they hear a man & woman fighting next door. When the fight escalates Crockett bursts in and finds Walker Monroe, holding a knife on his girlfriend, Annette McAllister. Monroe drops the knife when ordered, but Crockett sees a gun in another room and fires through the wall. He discovers, to his horror, he has shot a young boy.

Crockett, Tubbs, Annette, and Monroe all talk to IAD about the shooting. Annette and Monroe agree that the child thought his mother was endangered and grabbed the gun (a 9mm Belgian-Browning high power), and Monroe is repentant for hurting Annette. Crockett is agonized about the shooting. Tubbs was afraid that Crockett had been shot. Gina finds Annette has a record for prostitution arrests, but no jail time; there is nothing on either the boy or Monroe. Castillo wants Crockett to speak to a psychologist, DiTello, but he refuses, opting instead to go to the hospital and check on the boy, Jeffrey McAllister, who is alive but not yet stabilized. Crockett insists that everything possible be done for him, and for the doctors to let him know about money if needed. Outside ICU they see Monroe, who blames his outburst on Annette "turning tricks" and that he's been seeing a social worker. Crockett warns him about touching Annette again.

On the St. Vitus Dance, Crockett hears a radio report about the shooting and that "community leaders" want him suspended. While he has some alcohol to kill the pain, he looks over a picture of Caroline and Billy, who now live upstate. They find the gunrunners Crockett, Tubbs, and Switek were staking out didn't show because they were hit by the main man, Holiday, and Vice decides to shake him out. Crockett ignores Castillo, who doesn't want him working due to the shooting and has Tubbs keep an eye on him. They go see Holiday, who denies knowing of any guns; Crockett rams his head into a pinball machine and pulls his gun, but Tubbs backs him off and works out a deal with Holiday, who mentions there are some new people from Chicago who think they own the turf. Tubbs (who knows Crockett's mind is on Jeffrey) dresses down Crockett about roughing up Holiday, then reaches out to him to help through his situation. Walker gives Annette money to take care of Jeffrey's hospital bills, then tells her to "keep doing her job" and he'll keep her alive. Crockett, while driving, spins his car around and takes off.

Crockett goes to see his ex-wife Caroline and son Billy, whom he hasn't seen in three years, and is introduced to Caroline's fiance Bob Ballard. Meanwhile the "community leaders" (mostly African-Americans from Overtown where the shooting occurred) see Castillo and the Chief of Police, demanding that the officer that shot Jeffrey be identified and suspended, to "give the people something". The Chief insists the officer (Crockett) will be suspended and charged if appropriate, but not just to "give the people something". Caroline tells Crockett that Billy has missed him, and Crockett takes Billy out in the Testarossa. He tells Billy that he stayed away so that he and his mom could start a better life. Billy is distant, telling his dad that his mom is going to marry Bob and that Bob wants to adopt him. Tubbs and Switek meet Holiday with a case full of Benjamins in exchange for some CIA weapons, which is a set up for a raid. Castillo says the weapons can be linked to the new Chicago gang coming in. Trudy finds a crate full of the same Belgian Browning guns that Jeffrey used, and Castillo orders all boxes opened. Crockett returns from his time with Billy, after having a furious argument with Caroline over Bob wanting to adopt him.

Crockett is at Jeffrey's bedside again, then goes to DiTello's office, and after a long period of staring at one another leaves without saying anything, heading for OCB. Castillo calls him in to his office, asking where he was, since he didn't call and tell anyone where he went, and informs Crockett he's off the street, despite the fact the department cleared him in the shooting. Crockett's emotions finally overwhelm him and he vents to Castillo, who tells him that the shooting will eat him up - as it should - but to remember the work that he does and the people that care about that work, and about Crockett. Crockett is back at the hospital where Jeffrey is stable but unresponsive. The doctor tells him that Jeffrey's mother has been paying the bills in cash, despite the appearance of financial difficulties, and returns Crockett's uncashed check to him. Tubbs relays the find at the bust of Holiday that the numbers on the guns found there and Annette's gun were the same. The shipment was hijacked from Baltimore, though the people being investigated in Miami are from Chicago. ATF indicates the gun gangs are branching out into franchises nationwide, and the prints on the McAllister gun actually belong to someone else, not Jeffrey McAllister.

Crockett storms into an Overtown church and confronts Annette and Monroe with the fact that there is no Jeffrey McAllister, infuriating the community leaders. The prints on the McAllister gun belong to a 13 year old runaway from Wisconsin named Gordon Cavis, alias "Crossbones", with outstanding warrants for assault, burglary, and murder in Chicago; he is part of a South Side street gang, the "Bandits", who use younger juveniles to commit the more serious crimes - murder being the rite of passage - since no one will send a 13 year old to the chair. After the Chief admonishes Crockett for inflaming the situation by visiting the church, Crockett explains to the Chief that someone had to speak for the kid, regardless if he's a normal kid from Overtown or a murderer from Chicago, and the "community leaders" used him for political gain. Everyone in the room accepts this, and decide to bring Annette & Monroe in for questioning. A rage-filled Monroe viciously beats Annette, but she manages to stab him in the leg with a knife before passing out.

In the hospital, Annette admits she has no kids and that Monroe made up the whole "Jeffrey McAllister" thing. They were fighting over her telling Holiday about Monroe's guns, and she feared both Monroe and Crossbones would kill her before Crockett intervened. Tubbs tells her Monroe will kill her unless they stop him first. She tells them where Monroe can be found. The Vice team raids a storage facility where Monroe and his men are and a shootout ensues, in which Monroe's men are killed and the truck full of weapons they are moving catches fire and blows up. Monroe, fleeing from Crockett atop a storage tank, is knocked over the side by fallout from the explosion; after hesitating due to flashbacks to the situation in which Walker was threatening Annette and his shooting of Gordon, Crockett tries to save Monroe but fails. Crockett goes to see "Jeffrey" one more time at the hospital, talking about his (Jeffrey's) unknown dad, and about Crockett's relationship with Billy; the boy finally becomes conscious, squeezing Crockett's hand. Crockett goes to see Billy again and vows to be the best dad he can be to him, promising that no one is going to adopt him.


Guest Stars



"Ripped From The Headlines"

In this episode, two issues are explored: The problem of juvenile gangs expanding into guns and distributing them around the country, along with the problem of kids committing crimes without consequences, and the exploitation of people for political and/or financial gain.


  • This is the first appearance of Caroline and Billy Crockett since season 1's "Calderone's Return (Part I)". It also marks the first appearance of Parris Buckner as Caroline's future husband Bob Ballard.
  • Clayton Barclay Jones replaces Ryan St. Leon in the role of Billy Crockett for this episode. This change in casting marks one of only a few times recurring characters on Miami Vice were played by different actors between appearances. Other examples include May Ying, Ma Sek and Sal Lombard. The casting of Billy is especially notable as it is the only instance where both actors to play a given character appeared in multiple episodes each.
  • At one point in the episode (after Crockett asks Gina, Trudy and Stan for blood), Gina is seen playing with a snow globe on her desk. This may have been left by Zito, as she is sitting at his former desk and Crockett and Tubbs found out he collected the globes after his death in season 3.
  • Much like he did at the end of "Death and the Lady", Crockett again viciously attacks an unarmed suspect without provocation (Holiday). Such outbursts would have been unheard of in earlier seasons, perhaps a sign that Crockett is becoming increasingly worn down by the stress and perceived futility of his job. In fact, Crockett goes further still when he finally corners Monroe atop the large gas storage tank at the end of the episode -- in hesitating to save him after he falls over the edge, he essentially allows Monroe fall to his death.
  • Although more aggressive, Sonny's actions against Holiday is somewhat similar to Trudy's actions against the perverted sex solicitor in season 2's "The Dutch Oven". Both were distraught over a shooting, only to take their frustrations out on suspects, forcing their partners to hold them back. They also refused Castillo's suggestion to take some time off to deal with their situation because they wanted to see the case to the end.
  • The argument between Castillo and Crockett ("What does he want me to SAY?!") was shorter in early drafts of the script before it was extended to the version used in the broadcast episode.
  • Furthermore, Castillo's knowing comments in the scene give the impression he has personally experienced a similar situation to Crockett himself, perhaps during his time in Southeast Asia.
  • Tubbs was right about no one sending a minor to the electric chair -- in 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed capital punishment for anyone under 18 years of age. However, due to a real or perceived increase in the frequency and viciousness of juvenile crime, states began to adopt a "get tough" approach toward young offenders in the 1990s. This has led to many juveniles being tried as adults, and some receiving life sentences without the possibility of parole. Today (in the 2010s) the wisdom and justice of this approach is being questioned as new research indicates that the juvenile and young adult brain is not yet sufficiently developed for self-control and comprehension of long-term consequences.
  • The episode features lengthy camera shots (such as in OCB at the beginning) and close-ups on Crockett's eyes, techniques frequently used in the season 4.
  • The episode also features Crockett experiencing several flashbacks, including to scenes never actually witnessed first time around. While this technique has been used several times previously in the series with regards to Tubbs (particularly concerning the shooting of his brother Rafael in New York), this is the first time Crockett has been seen having flashbacks. Flashbacks would later become a significant and repeated plot point during Crockett's time as Sonny Burnett at the beginning of season 5.
  • Crockett once again comes under fire for his actions, but as in previous occurrences he is exonerated.
  • This episode is the first since the season 4 premiere ("Contempt of Court") to show people being shot and killed; the previous three episodes either featured no gunfire at all or someone firing harmlessly into the air (Crockett in "The Big Thaw").


  • Crockett's Testarossa is missing the lower rear portion of its bumper when Crockett does his quick street u-turn upon deciding to visit his son Billy in Ocala.
  • The explosion on the roof of the storage tank that knocks Monroe over the edge is triggered by an illumination flare, but we never see where this flare comes from. If it is intended to be a piece of burning debris from the van full of weapons that exploded earlier, then it is clearly a standard signal flare.
  • Moreover, when the explosion goes off, it is possible to see the metal tank inside which the effects fireball is triggered, including the lid over the top that causes the flames to billow outwards instead of simply shooting straight upwards.

Production Notes

  • Working Title: "All God's Children" and "The Children's War"
  • Filmed: September 14, 1987 - September 22, 1987
  • Production Code: 63508
  • Production Order: 73

Filming Locations

  • 1400 North Miami Avenue, Miami (opening with Crockett/Tubbs stakeout)
  • NW 13th Str/NW 1st Ave south to right into NW 8th Str to right into NW 2nd Ave (Crockett/Tubbs driving after shooting)
  • 1100 North Miami Avenue, Miami (Crockett/Tubbs meet with Holiday in bar)
  • Ace Theater, 3664 Grand Avenue, Coconut Grove (Crockett abruptly turns car)
  • NE 161st St / NE 21st Ave, North Miami (Final shootout with Vice and Monroe)


Jan Hammer Music

  • "Forever Tonight" (beginning with Crockett, Tubbs and Switek's surveillance)


  • "You touch her again, and you won't need a social worker!" -- Crockett to Monroe (He is right.)
  • "This is one of those absolutely, positively has to be delivered overnight situations, you understand?" -- Tubbs (as Cooper) to Holiday about his gun shipment
  • "It doesn't matter if he's a killer from Chicago or a kid from Overton. He's a child. Someone has to speak for him."--Crockett
  • "What does he want me to say?! WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO SAY?!! I'd like to see you up there. I shot the kid... I shot him, he may die, it was my gun, i can't pull the bullet back in there, and there's nothing that you say, or that anybody says, OR NO SHRINK IS GONNA CHANGE THAT!!" --Crockett to Castillo in response to DiLello calling Crockett
  • "The bullet left the gun, it was your gun, your finger on the trigger, you pulled the trigger, now, live with the responsibility. It's gonna scar you, eat you, burn you inside, and it should... but you've got work to do that you care about, people are depending on that, you've got people who care about you, Sonny, like me." -- Castillo to Crockett
Season 4 Episodes:

"Contempt of Court" "Amen... Send Money" "Death and the Lady" "The Big Thaw" "Child's Play" "God's Work" "Missing Hours" "Like a Hurricane" "The Rising Sun of Death" "Love at First Sight" "Rock and a Hard Place" "The Cows of October" "Vote of Confidence" "Baseballs of Death" "Indian Wars" "Honor Among Thieves?" "Hell Hath No Fury..." "Badge of Dishonor" "Blood & Roses" "A Bullet for Crockett" "Deliver Us from Evil" "Mirror Image"