- "The Savage" redirects here. For the character, see Savage.
Duty and Honor
15 (59th Overall)
February 6, 1987
June 26, 1987
Castillo and an old acquaintance from Vietnam investigate a series of brutal prostitute murders bearing an uncanny resemblance to similar killings in Saigon fifteen years before.
In Saigon, 1972, Castillo (then a DEA agent) investigates the murder of a prostitute with a Saigon policeman, Nguyen Van Trahn and they discover "VC (Viet Cong) Whore" written in blood on the wall behind the body. This makes six such murders in the city, with the connecting thread that none of the victims were actually VC. Trahn believes Castillo's superiors will do nothing about it, while Castillo is concerned the local police aren't interested enough in catching the killer. In 1987, an identical scene has appeared in Miami -- same writing, same MO. Castillo wants the Vice team in ASAP, and informs Homicide on the particulars, because he knows they will be the same: no signs of assault besides a broken neck; no fingerprints; murder weapon was a military issued Ka-Bar; knife wounds that are both pre and post-mortem.
Crockett and his girlfriend, Dr. Theresa Lyons are on the St. Vitus Dance when Crockett is called in and has to leave, very reluctantly (he got the call at a rather inopportune moment). Castillo is convinced the Vietnam killer is in Miami - even though the victim was not Vietnamese, they fit the profile: a woman with long, dark hair slashed up with Ka-Bar, a military knife used in Korea and Vietnam. Castillo attends a meeting with Jack Colman, a freelance security consultant. He is currently working for Juan Espinoza, a guest speaker in Miami (considered by some a Communist). Castillo speaks with Captain Conley of Metro and requests Vice be taken off this detail to work on the hooker killings, fearing more will occur without investigation; Conley agrees to this. Crockett and Tubbs go to the VA and speak with Dr. Morris, who refuses to voluntarily disclose patient information, so Castillo will provide them with a court order. Crockett is upset because, as a Vietnam Vet himself, he understands how the vets will feel about being questioned.
They get a tip from a cabbie that someone is at the crime scene, and they find a someone who claims he used to be Inspector Trahn (pronounced "tran" or, more roughly, "trang") and is asked to be taken to Castillo. Trahn stopped by the crime scene to see for himself if this murder ties into the Vietnam murders, which he believes they do. Trahn indicates there were six more murders spread over nine days in Thailand in 1973; just as in South Vietnam, they stopped abruptly. Crockett and Tubbs get their court order for the VA, while FBI files show no similar murders of this type in the country. Castillo orders all days off cancelled until they find the killer, and Crockett and Tubbs begin their VA interviews. Meanwhile, the killer leaves a hotel room and goes out for the night; he picks up his next victim, stabs her to death and writes "VC Whore" on the wall in her blood.
Crockett and Tubbs have yet to find anyone of interest at the VA and Castillo orders them to work faster. Trudy gets files from INTERPOL and find several clusters of six killings in a two week period in several countries - including Thailand, Belgium, Laos, and others - dating back more than ten years. No leads were ever discovered and the killings all stopped as abruptly as they began. Trahn was in a refugee camp at the time of the Thailand killings and remembered that the day after the last killing took place, a Communist leader named Ling Lao was assassinated. Castillo asks Trudy to check the State Department to confirm if the other sprees were followed by an assassination. While Crockett and Tubbs continue their VA interviews (without success), Trudy confirms that in all cases except one (Copenhagen in 1984, which a Czech military attache was killed) the killing spree was followed by an assassination. Castillo and Trahn go to request that Espinoza cancel his speech due to the threat, but Espinoza refuses to cancel, not wanting to disappoint his followers. Castillo orders all team members to the streets, with a close eye on Gina and Trudy, who are working as prostitutes. Crockett gets a feeling about a man, and has Gina proposition him in Vietnamese. He becomes violent upon hearing this but flees as Crockett moves in. A car chase ensues, but when Crockett catches up the man has torched his car and disappeared.
Gina provides a description of the man she saw, and it is distributed to the police and media. At the VA, Crockett speaks to a vet involved in Operation Phoenix who mentions a man called "The Savage," credited with over 40 VC kills behind enemy lines, about half of them in their sleep. The vet says he heard The Savage was emasculated by a hooker, after which he killed her, recuperated in Japan and immediately returned to Vietnam in 1970, fueled by his violent hatred of women. Castillo and Trahn meet with ex-CIA agent Felix Lawson, asking him to dig up anything he can on The Savage. At the hotel where The Savage is staying, the desk clerk sees his picture on TV, turns it off before he arrives at the desk to get his key, then calls the police. The Savage, however, sees his composite on his room's TV and kills the clerk before escaping.
Over the phone, Colman asks Castillo to be kept up to date, then hangs up and asks The Savage to pass him the ketchup for his hamburger. The Savage, who has been contracted to kill Espinoza, is hiding out in Colman's hotel room. In response to Colman's berating him for the prostitute murders, The Savage simply responds that he tried, but his hate got the better of him. He becomes violent when Colman calls him sick, threatening him with unsaid secrets he knows about Colman. Lawson finds that The Savage and his handler, Colman, were cut from the CIA after the hooker killings in Saigon. Castillo and Trahn confront Colman in the lobby of his hotel about The Savage; he believes that Espinoza, like all the others, is a dangerous adjutate, and is indifferent about the prostitute murders. Trahn notes that Colman doesn't seem surprised when Castillo says that Espinoza won't make his speech the next morning. Castillo calls Espinoza but the line is dead; realizing The Savage must be acting now, he and Trahn speed over. Trudy finds out that the man with Castillo is not Trahn; the real Trahn was killed in the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam.
Castillo and "Trahn" arrive at Espinoza's to find his bodyguards dead; Castillo fires two shots to awaken Espinoza. As they work their way through the house, The Savage blindsides and stabs Castillo but is then shot by "Trahn," who leaves before backup arrives, but makes certain Castillo will be all right before he does and bids him farewell. Colman is talking with someone on the phone, telling them The Savage won't be taken alive and that he's leaving immediately. He hangs up and turns around to be confronted by "Trahn," who throws The Savage's ka-bar into his chest before leaving. Coleman falls lifeless to the floor.
Crockett and Tubbs cannot locate the man, nor does INS have any info on him, but he left Castillo a note which explains all: he assumed the name Trahn, and was really a North Vietnamese soldier, now a colonel in the unified Vietnamese army. He hunted The Savage and his handler (Colman) because it was his handler that was the real Savage; the killer was only a victim of war, and the true savages are people in both the US and Vietnam that nurture and create men like him. He hopes that Castillo could still be his friend and prays for a better world, where they can be friends in an opened way and closes without revealing his real name.
- 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
- Haing S. Ngor as Inspector Nguyen Van Trahn
- Helena Bonham Carter as Dr. Theresa Lyons
- Judith Malina as Harriet, the Sunrise Hotel Clerk
- Gary Basaraba as Dr. Morris
- Brad Sullivan as Jack Colman
- Michael Wright as The Savage
- Joel Goodman as CIA Agent Felix Lawson
- This episode was called "The Savage" when it originally aired, but the name was changed to "Duty And Honor" when it went into syndication. This second title is now its official one, and has been used on the show's VHS and DVD releases, and online. Unlike most other episodes that received name changes (to link two parts of a single story together), the reasons behind this alteration are unknown.
- The opening credits now appear as they will for the remainder of the series: no name credit when the Testarossa passes in the night, Saundra Santiago's in the first ocean pass, and Michael Talbott's in the second.
- In the series NCIS eighth season, the "port to port killer" was similar to The Savage in this episode (both killers were trained by the CIA for different missions), except the "P2P Killer's" victims were military personnel and he had a vendetta against Leroy Jethro Gibbs, whereas The Savage killed female prostitutes due to his being emasculated by one.
- Edward James Olmos wore a ponytail and did not have his mustache in the opening scenes from Saigon. While the subject of Castillo's work in Southeast Asia has been mentioned several times on the show, this is the first time we have actually witnessed anything of it.
- This is the second and last time Castillo is stabbed in the line of duty during the series. Previously, he was stabbed in the back by Laura Gretsky in "Bushido".
- Helena Bonham Carter makes her first of two appearances as Crockett's girlfriend, Dr. Theresa Lyons. Her second is in the following episode "Theresa".
- The scene in the outside bar includes a brief shot of the game show "Scrabble", hosted by Chuck Woolery that ran on NBC from 1984-90 and again in 1993.
- The Park Central Hotel (where Castillo and Trahn meet Colman after finding out about The Savage) still exists in South Beach, as a luxury Art Deco hotel.
- The Phoenix Program (a.k.a. Operation Phoenix) was a counter-intelligence operation done by the CIA from 1967-1972 (though some sources indicate portions of the operation continued until the Fall of Saigon in 1975) designed to obtain intelligence on North Vietnamese operations.
- Like "Back in the World," this episode dealt with unresolved tension between the public and Vietnam veterans.
- Much like many Vice episodes, this one features a twist ending.
- The featured part of former CIA Agent Felix Lawson was played by an uncredited Joel Goodman, who would go on to play two very different roles on Vice -- that of the radio station bomber Carl Becker in "Amen... Send Money", and the artist Sigmar Motherlant in "The Lost Madonna". His later characterizations are quite different and may not be recognizable as the same actor to even many Vice aficionados. Edward James Olmos was impressed with Goodman and suggested that he reprise his performance as Lawson as a continuing background character for Castillo, but Olmos' increasing dissatisfaction with Vice following this episode ended his desire to get more involved with the show as a writer and director.
- This is one of Haing S. Ngor's few acting credits. He is most famous for winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dith Pran in The Killing Fields, a true story centred on the brutal genocide perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge regime in Ngor's home country of Cambodia. During their time in power, one of the Khmer's policies was to execute all intellectuals (doctors, students, lawyers etc.), forcing Ngor to hide his status as a doctor. During their time in the Khmer's concentration camps, Ngor's wife began hemorrhaging during child birth, but she did not call upon her husband to help for fear that he would be discovered and killed. She died as a result. Ngor survived the genocide and emigrated to the United States in 1980. He is one of only two non-professional actors to ever win an Oscar in an acting category. He was murdered in Los Angeles in 1996 by muggers.
- Crocketts "police intuition" appears again in this episode when he immediately notices the Savage out of all the people on the street and tells Gina to speak to him in Vietnamese.
- The best-known role of Judith Malina (Harriet, the Sunrise Hotel Clerk) would be as Grandma Addams in the first Addams Family film.
- There is a certain irony in Trahn killing Coleman with the Savage's K-bar, as Coleman was the Savage's operator and is therefore at least partly responsible for the latter's atrocities.
- During the chase between Crockett in his Testarossa and The Savage, when Crockett reaches the end of the alley just as the Savage's car explodes, the lower portion of the rear bumper on the Testarossa is missing.
- When "Trahn" shoots The Savage, the bullet holes in the door do not align with where his gun is aimed. Moreover, for the bullet holes to appear where they are, "Trahn" would have had to miss The Savage entirely.
- When The Savage is shot and falls to the floor, his ka-bar is visible in his left hand. When "Trahn" leaves, he picks the knife up from a spot near Castillo's left shoulder.
- When the narrator reads out the contents of "Trahn"'s letter, he says that he is now a colonel in the "Army of the Republic of Vietnam". This is the former South Vietnam, whereas the military of the North Vietnam and therefore the current unified Socialist Republic of Vietnam was the People's Army of Vietnam.
- Alternate Title: "The Savage"
- Filmed: December 2, 1986 - December 10, 1986
- Production Code: 62019
- Production Order: 60
- South Pointe Park, 1 Washington Ave, Miami Beach (Castillo/Conley meet about killings)
- Orlando Urra, Allapattah Community Center, 2257 NW North River Drive, Miami (Crockett/Tubbs go to the VA and speak with Dr. Morris)
- Kenmore Hotel, 1050 Washington Ave, Miami Beach (Savage talks to Harriet in hotel lobby and Crockett finds Harriet's body)
- Park Central Hotel, 640 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Savage's hotel room and Colman's meeting in lobby with Castillo)
- 3351 Poinciana Avenue, Coconut Grove (Castillo's home)
- Big Fish car park, 55 SW Miami Avenue Road, Miami (Tranh arrested)
- Bridge South Miami Avenue/SE 7th Street to Collins Avenue to Washington Avenue-1st Street to 6th Street (Miami Beach) (Crockett car chase with Savage)
- Beach at Park Central Hotel, 640 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Castillo reads letter from "Tranh" in ending)
- "White Rabbit" by Jefferson Airplane (at Veterans Admistration Rehabilitation Center)
- "Blood and Roses" by The Smithereens (The Savage on the streets while Crockett does VA interviews)
- "Anything" by The Damned (Crockett chases The Savage in the Testarossa)
- "He (Colman) can freeze hell!" -- Lawson to Castillo