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Hard Knocks


8 (98th Overall)
January 20, 1989
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Guest Stars
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"Hard Knocks" is the eighth episode of Miami Vice's fifth season. It premiered on January 20, 1989.


Switek's gambling problems result in him asking his friend's son, a star college quarterback, to throw a big game.


Switek makes a call to a guy named Chi-Chi regarding some gambling debts. He then goes to watch his friend Mac Mulhern's son Kevin's football practice when a rolling gambling den heads into town. The driver is alerted to the presence of a waiting phalanx of Metro-Dade police and the bookmakers try to eliminate the evidence, but are stopped by the cops.

Chi-Chi escapes, but Castillo congratulates the team on dismantling his gambling operation, and getting 10 of his bookies. Crockett feels someone tipped Chi-Chi off, but doesn't know who. Castillo decides let the bookies off on low bail, hoping they will lead them to Chi-Chi. He calls Switek into his office after the meeting to let him know he's been turned down again for a promotion to sergeant -- not because of his abilities (for which Castillo commends him for being "the best we've (OCB) ever had at what you do"), but because of a "lack of funding". A disappointed Switek lets Castillo know he is getting frustrated at his lack of progress and suffering from a mild case of burnout. Chi-Chi and Marvin Goodman are meeting about the recent raid, and it's implied that Goodman tipped the cops off. Switek goes to a casino where he runs into Kevin and his "agent" Jerome Horowitz. Switek Isn't thrilled Kevin and Horowitz are there, and leaves. While Kevin racks up $100,000 in gambling debts, Chi-Chi is killed by Goodman's muscle.

Mac is frustrated by Kevin's lack of a work ethic; Switek tells him he's being too hard on his son, which angers Mac to the point that he calls Switek a jerk. At OCB, they find Chi-Chi has a number of people, including competitors, who would have a reason to kill him; Castillo orders everyone to check it out, while Crockett and Tubbs cover for a missing Switek (his second missed day in the week). They feel it's due to his being passed over for promotion, and plan to talk to him. Meanwhile, Goodman's muscle is now after Switek for his debts with Chi-Chi, and want him to arrange for Kevin to throw the game that coming Saturday to make things right.

Switek's excessive gambling and drinking begins to take its toll

Goodman's muscle is after Kevin for his now $200,000 in gambling debts; Kevin goes to see Horowitz, who refuses to help him, and his performance on the field starts to suffer under the pressure. Later, Mac and Kevin have it out in the locker room over his poor playing. Switek's attitude has soured considerably because of his job frustrations and his gambling debt, much to the concern of his girlfriend Holly. He gets a call from Goodman's muscle demanding that he either pay up or arrange to fix the game; otherwise, they will harm Holly. Kevin and Switek go to a bar, where Kevin talks about his gambling problems and Switek suggests he throw the game Saturday to make it right.

Crockett and Tubbs talk to Izzy, who informs them Chi-Chi was being courted by Goodman, who himself works for the Capiletti mob family, and Chi-Chi was killed when he refused their offer to merge. Castillo wants them to watch Goodman. Meanwhile Goodman gets a visit from Horowitz, saying he feels bad for setting up Kevin like he did because of his immense potential; Switek, having bugged the house (without a warrant), overhears this and is horrified. He tries to drown his sorrows with a night of drinking, poker, and losing, while Holly waits for him to have dinner. She finally leaves in disgust while Switek gets into a bar fight, which is stopped when Crockett and Tubbs step in and take him to Tubbs' car to find out what's wrong. He tells them Holly is the problem, but Crockett and Tubbs see through him; Switek angrily tells them to butt out. Mac is caught by Goodman's goons leaving a bar, knocked out and thrown in a trunk, while Switek wakes up at his place to find Goodman and his goons waiting, who threaten to kill him and Kevin if Kevin doesn't throw the game.

Kevin follows the game plan, performing badly. Switek questions Horowitz to find Mac, who is at Chi-Chi's. Horowitz tries to kill Switek and in the struggle, Horowitz ends up dead at the bottom of an aquarium. Switek calls Crockett and Tubbs to tell them he's going in to get Goodman and save Mac. The three of them storm in and shoot down Goodman and his goons. Crockett is surprised Switek bugged Horowitz' place without a court order. Kevin's coach benches him as Mac and Switek arrive; with their encouragement, Kevin goes back in and wins the game. Switek and Kevin both vow to break their gambling habit; Kevin plans to attend Gamblers' Anonymous meetings, but Switek declines. Crockett stops by Switek's place to check on him, and to let him know about his name being in Goodman's book. Switek insists he's a good cop; Crockett tells him he believes it and gives Switek the book. He tells him he has to live with what went down, and vows to help him through his gambling problems. Switek breaks down in tears.


Guest Stars



  • Switek's gambling problems would arise again in "Freefall" and "Too Much, Too Late".
  • This episode contains another example of a "fake" song composed by Tim Truman filling in as popular music in one or more scenes -- specifically, the track playing in Woody's strip club. Such tracks would appear quite frequently throughout the final season, no doubt indicative of the show's shrinking music budget.
  • Switek has now had two girlfriends in the series; his first was Darlene from "Made for Each Other".
  • The football scenes were filmed at the Orange Bowl, where the opening drug deal scene from "Indian Wars" took place.
  • The day this episode aired was Inauguration Day for the 41st President of the United States, George H.W. Bush.
  • The plot of this episode is similar to the season 2 episode "The Fix". In both cases, a person of influence with a connection to a talented sports player is pressured to coerce them into throwing a game as a result of gambling debts.


  • Kevin is shown to have an agent while playing college football; in reality, college players are forbidden from using agents under NCAA rules, and are declared ineligible if they have one.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: November 23, 1988 - December 5, 1988
  • Production Code: 63910
  • Production Order: 98

Filming Locations

  • Orange Bowl (Football scenes)
  • Sasson Hotel, 2001 Collins Ave, Miami Beach (Switek walking)
  • Woody's on the Beach 455 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Switek/Kevin in bar)
  • Club Deuce, 222 14th street, Miami Beach (Mac's bar)


Tim Truman Music

  • "Over the Line" (Crockett/Tubbs talk to Switek after his night of losing)


  • "All right, girls, come on out. I'm laying 8-to-5 your next phone call is to your lawyers!" -- Crockett to the occupants of the gambling truck
  • "I know you're a good cop, Stan, and we'll help you. Hell, we're partners!" -- Crockett to Switek
Season 5 Episodes:

"Hostile Takeover" "Redemption in Blood" "Heart of Night" "Bad Timing" "Borrasca" "Line of Fire" "Asian Cut" "Hard Knocks" "Fruit of the Poison Tree" "To Have and to Hold" "Miami Squeeze" "Jack of All Trades" "The Cell Within" "The Lost Madonna" "Over the Line" "Victims of Circumstance" "Freefall" (Series Finale)

The "Lost" Episodes:
"World of Trouble" "Miracle Man" "Leap of Faith" "Too Much, Too Late"