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Cuba Libre


14 (58th Overall)
January 23, 1987
TV Rating
TV-14 V
Guest Stars
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"Cuba Libre" is the fourteenth episode of Miami Vice's third season. It premiered on January 23, 1987.


Crockett and Tubbs stumble onto a plot to assassinate a Cuban diplomat scheduled to speak in Miami.


Crockett and Tubbs are attending a black tie party hosted by Armando Rojas when they run into Metro Vice cop Jerry Pedroza, who is also angling for a deal with Rojas. Crockett and Tubbs have already gotten farther than Pedroza, but promise to call him when Rojas goes down. Meanwhile, a group of people show up in a boat; one changes from a wetsuit into a cocktail dress and joins the party. She alerts the others to Rojas' location and they storm into the room where Rojas is meeting with Crockett and Tubbs. With guns drawn, they demand that Rojas open the safe. Pedroza, concerned, heads up to the room and is shot through the door. Rojas can't open the safe fast enough and is killed; Crockett and Tubbs are about to get theirs when Pedroza reflexively fires a shot, distracting the gunmen long enough for Crockett and Tubbs to start shooting. One of the men is killed, but the others escape.

Switek jimmies Rojas' trunk and finds his buy money ($400K) hidden in the spare. Pedroza's partner is scheduled to see Crockett and Tubbs later. The shooters are deemed too professional (CIA-like) in their entry to be cheap thugs, but clearly not government, as they had no idea Pedroza was a cop. Tubbs compiles a list of the big names at the party. Pedroza's partner Ralph would have been at the party but was celebrating his wedding anniversary, and gives them his snitch's name -- Roqui Flores, who they find at a country club. Crockett puts in a request for $400K to use in the Rojas investigation before meeting Flores, who tells Crockett and Tubbs that two men, Vasquez and Zamora, were going to rip-off Rojas, but no one was expected to get killed.

Trudy ran both names through NCIC; Vasquez' jacket has restricted access, while Zamora has a record of minor offenses relating to protesting. They are the only suspects, as none of the other high rollers at the party had a beef with Rojas. Crockett asks Switek to speak to a woman at Justice he knows to try and get hold of Vasquez' jacket, but Switek is hesitant, as it seems his "woman" was really a man before the operation. Crockett and Tubbs meet Jack Slade, Federal Agent in counter-terrorism, who tells them Vasquez aided the CIA in the Bay of Pigs invasion and other covert operations in Havana; any attempt to speak with Vasquez is out of the question due to "ongoing Cuban-American operations". Castillo is determined to investigate and fight any injunctions, ordering Crockett and Tubbs not to put their names on any reports relating to the case, and wants Vasquez run down and an offer made. Crockett (as Burnett) calls Vasquez to arrange a meet regarding the cash (Vasquez subsequently calls someone to tell Zamora "there's a problem"), which Tubbs (as Cooper) has, and he wants what they gave Flores. Vasquez and Zamora discuss his offer; during the discussion it becomes apparent that Vasquez' family is being used for leverage. Tubbs finds Flores killed, execution-style, and asks Crockett to stop by.

Ballistics shows the bullet that killed Flores was a NATO-issued 7.62 casing, and a boot print was found near the club. Crockett's request for $400K is denied when Slade interferes. Castillo wants them to use the Rojas money (knowing it could cost him his badge), as it hasn't been impounded yet. At a training camp, Vasquez reads about Flores' death and is concerned the "operation" is getting out of hand. Zamora wants the money in two days so they can map out a limo route (he is running an operation training commandos), and orders Vasquez to check out Burnett, if he wants to see his family again. Vasquez stops by the St. Vitus Dance and Crockett arranges for a meet with Tubbs (as Cooper) as soon as he gets the call, since Tubbs will be working with a launderer, and Vasquez can pick up his money then. Vasquez insists it has to be in the next two days. Switek finds photos of Vasquez and Slade together during the Cuban Revolution, meaning they have had a working relationship. Castillo wants the meet for the money at the safe house, with a transmitter in the case. Crockett is heading for a meet with Vasquez, who takes him in a van to the training camp, where a video is playing about the anti-Castro movement. Castro's Deputy Prison Commissioner will be in Miami the next day, and his commandos (called La Segunda Brigada) will be ready to take him out. Vasquez doesn't want any violence, as he had enough of it at the Bay of Pigs. Tubbs has the rigged attache case with the $400K and plans to attend the meeting with Vasquez. Crockett is taken by Zamora to a wooded area, and learns of a change in plans - Zamora plans to kill Tubbs and take the money.

Zamora's forces bust into the safe house, but Tubbs isn't there - he's outside in the woods. The commandos turn the house upside down but find no money. They threaten Crockett, who takes them to the money - in Tubbs' trunk. They take the cash and Crockett with them. Waiting in a car is Vasquez and Slade, who plans to frame Vasquez for the murder of the Deputy Commissioner and take all the money. Zamora takes the money out and throws the case in the woods. Switek and Tubbs find the case and begin a search. Crockett recognizes Slade and rams Zamora's van into Slade's car, then flees into the woods as Slade's men shoot at him. Crockett knocks one of the commandos out and takes his gun, but is caught by Vasquez at gunpoint.

Vasquez wants to make a deal with Crockett, after admitting Zamora killed Pedroza and filling Crockett in on the plan to kill the Cuban diplomat. All Vasquez wants is to save his family. Crockett escapes and notifies Tubbs of the operation from a trailer park, and is picked up by Switek. Slade failed to provide air support during the Bay of Pigs operation for Vasquez' team and in turn Vasquez tried to get Slade fired, which explains Slade's actions. They knock out the commandos guarding Vasquez's family and rescue them, learning that the hit on the diplomat is in Key Biscayne, but no further info can be gotten without Slade knowing about it. The limo is en route; Slade is busted by Switek, and Metro SWAT moves in on the commandos, who briefly put up a fight but then surrender. Zamora escapes and stops the limo with a rocket launcher, but is killed by Crockett and Tubbs (who were driving the limo). Vasquez, mistakenly shot by a SWAT team member, survives and is reunited with his family.


Guest Stars



"Ripped From The Headlines"

In this episode, the festering anti-Castro feelings among Cuban-Americans (especially after the Mariel boatlift) are explored.


  • The opening credits still show Saundra Santiago's name over the Testarossa driving by and Michael Talbott's during the first ocean view. The second shot of the ocean (previously with John Diehl's name) is simply blank.
  • The Cuban exiles' plight would be visited again during the season 3 finale, "Heroes of the Revolution", when Gina Calabrese learns her mother was killed by a jealous Castro soldier.
  • This is one of only three season 3 episodes in which Tubbs is shown brandishing his shotgun; the others are "Forgive Us Our Debts" and "Viking Bikers from Hell". Despite its appearance in these episodes, he never fires the weapon once in the entire third season.
  • The house used for Rojas' party at the beginning of the episode is also the house used for the final fight with the Russians in the season 2 episode, "Bushido".
  • The helicopter used by Castillo during the arrest of the commando team appears to be the exact same aircraft he used when stopping Bunny Berrigan and Eddie Kaye in "When Irish Eyes Are Crying".
  • This is one of several episodes that does not end on a freeze frame.
  • The aerial shot at about 21 minutes into the episode is the same as in the beginnig of The Muppet Movie of 1979, when Kermit the Frog sings his song "Rainbow Connection".
  • When Zamora hands Slade his payment for betraying the diplomat's route, in the chaos just before the final shootout, he says "Inflation, eh! 30 pieces of silver are now worth over a million dollars!", a reference to Judas betraying Jesus.


  • When Crockett, Tubbs and Rojas enter the bedroom, it appears the door is unlocked as Rojas (while both hands are occupied with champagne and glasses) opens the door with ease. Although no one shuts the door behind them, it can be heard closing. However, when Pedroza tries to open it, the door now appears to be locked. After Rojas is shot, Pedroza, with his dying breath (while in a sitting position holding his weapon with both hands) somehow opens the door.
  • When the Segunda Brigada commando at the training camp is practising with the M72 LAW, the safety cable that tethers the limousine's hood to the car and prevents it from flying away dangerously can clearly be seen as the vehicle explodes.
  • When the commando with the rifle smashes the glass door to the safehouse, it visibly moves, revealing it was not only unlocked, but actually open all along.
  • During the final scene, in one shot Castillo can be seen in the background getting out of a squad car and opening the back door for Vasquez's wife. The next shot shows him doing exactly the same thing.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: November 10, 1986 - November 18, 1986
  • Production Code: 62015
  • Production Order: 59

Filming Locations

  • Deering Estate 16701 S. W. 72nd Avenue, Palmetto Bay (location of party in opening)
  • 4000 Towerside Terrace in Miami Shores (Crockett/Tubbs at Country Club)


Jan Hammer Music

  • "Turning Point" (opening)
  • "Russian Story" (Vice team speaks with Slade in OCB)
  • "Crockett's Return" (Crockett/Vasquez on St. Vitus, commandos hit Safe House, Vasquez reunited with family)
  • "Crockett's Theme" (Crockett put into van by commandos)


  • "Ya gotta know the rules before you can break them!" -- Crockett to Tubbs
  • "Show me a dealer who keeps cash in his safe, and I'll show you one that pays his taxes!" -- Switek to a Metro-Dade cop asking why Rojas' money wasn't in his safe
  • "You boys might want to invest a quarter next time...might keep you from getting lead poisoning!" -- Crockett to Victor and Paco after boarding the St. Vitus Dance unannounced
Season 3 Episodes:

"When Irish Eyes Are Crying" "Stone's War" "Killshot" "Walk-Alone" "The Good Collar" "Shadow in the Dark" "El Viejo" "Better Living Through Chemistry" "Baby Blues" "Streetwise" "Forgive Us Our Debts" "Down for the Count (Part I)" "Down for the Count (Part II)" "Cuba Libre" "Duty and Honor" "Theresa" "The Afternoon Plane" "Lend Me an Ear" "Red Tape" "By Hooker by Crook" "Knock, Knock... Who's There?" "Viking Bikers from Hell" "Everybody's in Showbiz" "Heroes of the Revolution"