Heart of Darkness
2 (2nd Overall)
September 28, 1984
April 19, 1985
"Brother's Keeper" (Pilot)
Crockett and Tubbs, posing as pornographic film distributors from New Jersey, visit the set of a film starring newcomer Penny McGraw, who is fresh off the bus from Kansas and possibly underage. She expresses reservations about performing sex on camera to producer Jimmy Conway, who convinces her to continue by plying her with free cocaine. As production continues, Jimmy takes Crockett and Tubbs into a warehouse full of porn film canisters to discuss a meeting with his boss, Artie, about moving product in bulk. Before they can conclude a deal, Switek and Zito raid the warehouse and take everyone to jail, including Crockett, Tubbs and Jimmy.
Artie bails Crockett, Tubbs and Jimmy out of jail, sending a car to pick them up. The Vice cops express their frustration at having to deal with Artie to Jimmy, having been told the man to see about pornography in Miami is Sam Kovics -- Jimmy tells them Kovics is Artie's boss, and that they don't get to see him until Artie has checked them out. Suddenly the meeting is cut short when the driver notices a car tailing them, and after losing their pursuers, Crockett, Tubbs and Jimmy are dropped off. Jimmy tells them the man behind the wheel had in fact been Artie all along.
Back at OCB, Rodriguez informs Crockett and Tubbs that Penny was also sprung by Kovics. Later, FBI Agents Doyle and Russo stop by and try to arrange a file exchange, as they are also after Kovics, but won't reveal why. When it becomes clear the Feds have no intention of sharing their own information, Crockett politely tells them to get lost. He also asks Trudy to do a check on Artie Rollins. Penny is later found dead, having drowned in a pool after taking a large amount of drugs; the house is found to be rented by a Kovics holding company. Rodriguez informs Crockett and Tubbs that Penny was just 16 years old, and had run away from home with dreams of becoming a model in Miami. Trudy enters, having discovered that Rollins is in fact Arthur Lawson, an undercover FBI agent.
Rodriguez makes inquiries with the FBI to find out more about Lawson, but is told to "butt out". Instead, he suggests Crockett and Tubbs try to use an FBI contact that Switek knows. They go to see Switek at a new sting operation he and Zito are setting up to catch people trying to fence stolen goods, and Switek explains that the agent owes him a favor because he cut his nephew a break after arresting him in a drug bust at a UB40 concert. However, he is reluctant to hand over his contact, until Crockett reminds Switek that he knows about a patrol car that he crashed into the Bal Harbor canal. Meanwhile, Tubbs uses his New York street knowledge to give Zito some tips on how to improve their sting. Crockett and Tubbs go to meet with Switek's contact, Calman Clayburn, who tells them that Lawson is one of the best agents they have, but that the Bureau thinks he may have gone over -- he has severed all contact with the agency and disappeared. Before leaving, Calman asks the cops to tell Switek they're even.
That night, Crockett and Tubbs meet with Jimmy, Artie and Sam Kovics at a restaurant. After dinner, Artie goes outside to meet Renny, who is making a late payment. After initially seeming to accept Renny's apology, Artie proceeds to violently beat him until Crockett and Tubbs pull him off. Artie screams at Crockett and Tubbs to never interfere with him again, before suddenly becoming friendly once more, informing them that they should get their money ready for tomorrow so he can check it.
Crockett has trouble getting the money for the meet, as Rodriguez refuses to hand it over until they can prove Artie hasn't crossed over. They go to see Artie's wife, who to their surprise informs them that Artie in fact requested to be brought in -- his superiors said no, insisting he stay under until they had nailed Kovics. She begs the Vice cops to bring her husband back to her. Crockett and Tubbs return to Miamarina and discover from dock master Will Fields that Elvis has wreaked havoc, apparently upset that Crockett has been spending so much time away from the St. Vitus Dance. As Crockett berates his guard-gator, Agents Doyle and Russo stop by to inform the Vice cops that Kovics is moving his operation to Mexico, but is cleaning up shop first -- Crockett and Tubbs are buying Kovics' entire inventory.
The Vice cops go to see Artie, who bluntly reveals that he knows they are police officers, telling the shocked cops that. When they question why he has not yet busted Kovics, Artie reveals that he is trying to gather enough evidence to ensure he goes away for good -- not for the relatively minor pornography charges he can prove thus far. Unconvinced of Artie's motives, Crockett presses him on Penny's murder -- Artie claims to know nothing. He says he will call them later in the day to arrange the bust of Kovics. Meanwhile, Gina and Trudy pick up Artie's "girlfriend", a porn star who shows them tickets to Mexico for herself and Artie, for when Kovics relocates. Convinced that Artie has gone over, Rodriguez asks Crockett and Tubbs to bring him in, but the Vice cops insist he is their only chance to get Kovics. Against his better judgement, Rodriguez authorizes the buy money. However, when Crockett and Tubbs go to meet Artie at his apartment, they find he has cleared out and disappeared.
Back on the St. Vitus Dance (where Elvis has destroyed Crockett's entire Buddy Holly record collection), Artie calls to arrange the Kovics meet for that night. Tubbs is set up with a wire, but due to Lester not being available, another techie fixes up the bug. In the limo with Artie and Kovics, Tubbs' wire starts picking up music from local radio, blowing their cover. The limo takes off, losing the Metro-Dade backup by jumping a raising drawbridge, and heads to a remote dockyard. Once there, Kovics orders Artie to shoot Crockett and Tubbs; he appears to consider it, before throwing Crockett his gun and turning on Kovics' men. During the shootout, Artie grabs a sub-machine gun and empties it into Kovics' limo, killing him.
In the aftermath, Doyle and Russo arrive to take Artie in for debriefing; before he leaves, he maintains to Crockett and Tubbs that he had nothing to do with Penny's murder and tells them he does not known if he can go back to his married life after "living an adrenaline high" during the Kovics operation. While the Vice squad enjoy a few drinks at a bar that evening, Rodriguez steps in to tell Crockett and Tubbs that Artie hung himself in the men's room during a break in the debriefing.
- 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
- Ed O'Neill as FBI Agent Arthur Lawson/Artie Rollins
- Paul Hecht as Sam Kovics
- Cheryl Giannini as Mrs. Arthur Lawson
- Suzy Amis as Penny McGraw
- Ted Zurkowski as Jimmy Conway
- Brent Jennings as Jiveman
- Julian Byrd as FBI Agent Dennis Doyle
- Mal Jones as FBI Agent Calman Clayburn
- Julio Oscar Mechoso as Metro-Dade Policeman Lester Kosko
- Gary Richardson as FBI Agent Marc Russo
- In a way, this is a ripped from the headlines episode given that in 1984 there was a police sting operation in South Florida that was exactly like Zito and Switek's sting, down to the camera in an old TV and the use of images of women to make the suspects look up. It was called B&T Operation. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z_3iffE5fAs.
- The instrumental track that begins playing from Tubbs' wire when it malfunctions in Kovics' limo is not an outside piece of popular music, but rather an untitled Jan Hammer composition written for the scene. This kind of "fake" song would become more prevalent in season 5, when the show's new composer Tim Truman would compose several such pieces for use in various episodes.
- The end credits feature clips taken from the episode itself instead of the usual stock footage of Miami landmarks used in virtually every other episode of the series. Among the footage is an alternate angle of the bridge jump stunt not actually seen during the episode proper. This is one of only four episodes from the series not to feature the usual stock footage during its credits, the others being "Down for the Count (Part II)", "Leap of Faith" and the series finale "Freefall".
- This episode marks the first appearance of Julio Oscar Mechoso as Lester Kosko, a Metro-Dade electronics expert who helps the team with their surveillance tech. Kosko would go on to appear in five further season 1 episodes before the character was fazed out in favor of having Switek and Zito handle all of the unit's surveillance equipment.
- Jan Hammer's "Rain" music (later used prominently in "Milk Run") is used when Artie is speaking to Crockett and Tubbs before the FBI takes him for debriefing.
- This episode is arguably a loose interpretation of the novella from which it takes its name, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. In both cases, the principle supporting character (Kurtz in the novel and Artie in this episode) has used questionable methods to accomplish the aims of a large organization that employed them, and has rooted himself successfully in a new culture, before ultimately being killed. The novella was famously adapted as the Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now (with Laurence Fishburne). Artie's angry rebuke to Crockett in the episode, "Don't question my methods!" parallels Kurtz' questioning, "Are my methods unsound?" in the book and film. Coincidentally, Ed O'Neill, who plays Artie, is friends with John Milius, who wrote the screenplay for Apocalypse Now.
- The expression "buying radio time", meaning to "broadcast", or give out information, has been used twice since the pilot episode. In Brother's Keeper, Sonny uses it during briefing by Rodriguez to explain why he didn't give the lieutenant any progress reports on the case, as he felt that whatever he reported was being leaked from within. In this episode, Jimmy Conway uses it saying that Sam Kovicks needs to bail Penny out fast, for fear she might snitch. Other expressions that have a similar meaning will be used in future episodes, such as "you're making too many phone calls" (Gabriel, Prodigal Son), and "you've been running up a big phone bill" (Philippe Sagot, One Way Ticket).
- Among the suggestions Tubbs gives Switek and Zito to improve their stolen goods sting operation is that they raise the counter and place a centerfold near the fake TV containing the video camera to get their perps to look up at it. In the following episode, "Cool Runnin'", we see that they have taken this advice on board.
- This episode features Suzy Amis' acting debut. She later appeared in the high-profile 90's films The Usual Suspects and Titanic before marrying director James Cameron in 2000; she has not acted since.
- The car dealership the police pass when they are trying to save Crockett and Tubbs from being killed by Kovics, Tropical Chevrolet, is still in business at the same location.
- Another Miami landmark shown (when Zito and Trudy join in the tail after Kovics' limo) is Pumpernick's Deli, which is where retired CNN reporter Larry King got his first celebrity interview, with 50s singer Bobby Darin. Pumpernicks no longer exists, having been demolished later.
- Many of the closeups of Crockett's Daytona seen while he and Tubbs drive to their first meeting with Artie are recycled from the famous "In the Air Tonight" scene in "Brother's Keeper".
- This is the first episode of the series to end on a freeze frame, a stylistic technique that would become one of the show's hallmarks (although roughly one-fifth of episodes do not end on a freeze frame).
- When the Switek, Zito and the other officers bust the porn studio at the beginning of the episode, Crockett is seen putting his hands behind his head. However, when the camera cuts to a frontal shot, he is holding his hands up in front of him, before putting them behind his head at Zito's insistence.
- The version of the "Miami Vice Theme" used in the opening credits is incorrectly mixed and is missing the distinctive synthesised guitar hook. The problem occurs in every episode up to "Calderone's Return (Part I)".
- In the scene where Kovics' limo jumps the bridge, it is clearly visible that the normal barrier arms have been removed and replaced with a fake fixed to the road for the limo to crash through. In the subsequent shot of the limo landing, the barrier on the far side of the bridge can be seen raised, when it should be closed if the bridge is opening.
- At least two of the limo's hubcaps fly off when it lands, yet in the next scene of it arriving at the docks all four hubcaps are in place.
- During the shootout at the docks, Tubbs fires seven rounds from his Model 38 revolver, which only holds five (as seen when he is loading it up earlier in the episode).
- Filmed: July 12, 1984 - July 25, 1984
- Production Order: 2
- Production Number: 59501
- 6300 Indian Creek Drive, Miami Beach (Duncan/Artie in car with Crockett/Tubbs)
- NW 13th Street /NW 6th Avenue, Miami (Artie/Duncan drop Crockett & Tubbs off after being tailed)
- Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami-Dade, near MacArthur Causeway (Crockett/Tubbs meet Clayburn)
- La Carreta Restaurant, 3632 SW 8th Street (Crockett/Tubbs have lunch with Artie)
- 1000 Venetian Way, Miami Beach (Artie's apartment)
- Bridge 63rd Street, Miami Beach (Car stunt at end)
- "She's a Beauty" by The Tubes (Penny on set)
- "Missing You" by John Waite (during opening credits)
- "Going Under" by Devo (Crockett and Tubbs driving to meet)
- "This Masquerade" by George Benson (end sequence at bar)
- Cadillac Sedan DeVille Limousine (Kovics' Limousine)
- Ford Mustang Convertible (Jimmy's car)
- Ford LTD (two of these tail Artie, Jimmy, Crockett and Tubbs)
- Lincoln Town Car (Artie's Car)
- "If all else fails, we can pop 'em for felony bad dialogue!" -- Crockett to Tubbs on the porno set
- "Don't you EVER interfere with me again!!" -- Artie to Crockett and Tubbs after they stop him beating Renny
- "I don't know who you guys are, but you're dead!'" -- Kovics to Crockett and Tubbs after their cover is blown