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Indian Wars


15 (83rd Overall)
February 26, 1988
Repeat Airdate
June 24, 1988
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Frank Coffey & Carl Waldman
Teleplay:Michael Duggan, Peter Lance, Robert Palm, Carl Waldman & Frank Coffey
Guest Stars
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"Indian Wars" is the fifteenth episode of Miami Vice's fourth season. It premiered on February 26, 1988, and was rerun on June 24, 1988.


Tubbs infiltrates a Native American tribe defending their homeland from the drug dealers trying to muscle in.


Castillo is working undercover with a dealer named Anthony Acosta, who doesn't trust anyone but Latinos, which is why he is involved. Acosta, who works for a man named Levec, is hoping nothing interferes with their deliveries. That night, Castillo & Acosta meet at the Orange Bowl. A helicopter arrives to make a delivery when, suddenly, the stadium lights come on and a group of Native American commandos storm the meet, shooting down several of Acosta's & Levec's men before hijacking the helicopter and the drugs.

Trudy finds one of the dead commandos is a LRRP (Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol) agent and a Miccosukee Indian, so Castillo has Tubbs get in touch with Sergeant Pine at Metro, a Seminole Indian, for assistance. Commander Pursley from Metro expresses his concern about Castillo working undercover, for fear of his getting hurt, but Castillo vows to stay on until Acosta and Levec are brought down. Pine says the Miccosukees have no drug runners on their reservation, but Tubbs goes to see Chief Jumper who has relaxed some of the old customs to allow bingo halls and other things. Jumper refers Tubbs (as Cooper, an doctoral student investigating the Miccosukee way of life) to see Becky Wells to give him some insight on the culture. Levec and Acosta are working on another drop, and assure Castillo (as Melendez) that security will be better the next time. Acosta complains that the Indians are disrupting his business schedule, but Levec refuses to let him take action against them. Tubbs has nothing on the tribe that ties into the commando raid, but will continue investigating. Becky holds tours of the reservation and takes Tubbs to see alligator wrestling. Levec meets with Chief Jumper about the recent commando activity; as he has personally funded all the improvements to tribal lands, Levec demands the Chief hold up his end of the bargain and keep his braves under control.

Crockett gets the list of ex-LRRPs in the area; all are at the Miccosukee reservation, including Joe Dan Jumper, the Chief's son. Joe Dan & his father argue about the Chief misleading the tribe concerning where all the money for improvements has been coming from. Tubbs & Becky take a boat ride around the reservation, before Joe Dan shows up and asks why Tubbs is exploiting his people for a book. After a discussion about race relations in the US, Tubbs asks to see more about the Miccosukee people. Castillo meets with Acosta again and a meet is set for 30 keys at Big Cypress, in Miccosukee land. Castillo is reluctant until Acosta mentions having enough firepower to stop them (and 5 points per key). Castillo cannot reach Tubbs on his car phone and Crockett hasn't heard from him either. Crockett wants to assist, but Castillo orders Crockett to remain at OCB. Joe Dan takes Tubbs out on the bayou, where the cocaine bags taken from the Orange Bowl are cut open and dumped. Castillo's meet goes down, but as Acosta's men leave their shipment explodes, killing them.

Tubbs has concluded Joe Dan wants to stop the pushers, whom the Chief is in league with. Trudy gets the DOD files on Joe Dan and finds he was wounded in the Grenada conflict, taking a Section 8 discharge after being in the VA hospital. Chief Jumper holds a tribal council and again Joe Dan confronts his father on the use of drug money to finance the tribe's improvements, vowing to deal with the pushers himself. Castillo tells Levec he won't deal with Acosta again; Levec reveals he's taken care of his "perceived security problem" by drowning Acosta in an aquarium. Castillo fears the Chief is next; Tubbs will speak with Becky & Joe Dan to cut down the body count, but before he can, the Chief is kidnapped from the reservation.

While Joe Dan and his men prepare to find the Chief, Trudy gets the VA report on Joe Dan, which shows he is suffering from PTSD. Crockett finds his SSI checks are being sent to a very expensive condo in Boca, not the reservation. Castillo calls Tubbs' car phone and reaches Becky, who tells him Tubbs went with Joe Dan to Levec's place, armed with crossbows and other weapons, to rescue the chief. The Indians, however, are really there to kill everyone, including Levec; they spare Tubbs because he isn't a dealer. Castillo arrives too late, but Tubbs has figured out that Joe Dan kidnapped his own father and is holding him at the penthouse, with Levec's drugs (the drugs dumped before were fake). Tubbs & Castillo arrive to arrest him, but Joe Dan declares it's "better to die a hero, than live on your knees" and jumps off the condo balcony, killing himself.


Guest Stars



  • The Orange Bowl hosted 68 Orange Bowls and five Super Bowls (the final one being Super Bowl XIII) and was home to the University of Miami Hurricane football team before closing in 2008. It was then demolished to build a new retractable-roof baseball stadium (Marlins Park) for the Florida (Miami) Marlins, which opened in 2012.
  • The Miccosukee Reservation still exists. Currently, they have a resort and casino on the site that has sponsored a NASCAR Sprint Cup car.
  • Acosta is seen driving a DeLorean in a scene with Castillo. The DeLorean was made famous in the 1985 movie Back To The Future. One previously appeared in "Glades" from season 1.
  • The "Lurps" mentioned throughout the episode refer to Long Range Reconnaissance Patrols (LRRPs), special forces units that specialise in penetrating deep into enemy territory.
  • A "Section 8" discharge from the Army refers to a discharge due to being "mentally unfit", a method attempted (unsuccessfully) by Maxwell Klinger in the classic series M*A*S*H. Section 8s are no longer used in the Army, as a similar condition would be handled under other applicable regulations.
  • At five, this episode has the highest number of credited writers for any episode of Vice.
  • This is one of very few "Tubbs episodes" from season 4, which otherwise focuses heavily on Crockett (leading some fans to christen the season "The Don Johnson Show").
  • While Castillo quite often gets involved with cases, this is the first time he operates in an undercover capacity. He does so again, albeit very briefly, in season 5's "Borrasca."
  • Castillo carries a Colt 1911 while undercover, marking only the third time in the entire series he is shown using a semi-automatic handgun, instead of the revolvers he usually carries. The other occasions were both from season 2 -- he briefly uses a Detonics Scoremaster in the swamp shootout from "The Prodigal Son", and uses the same weapon again in the closing firefight from "Whatever Works".
  • Joe Dan kills himself in front of Tubbs by leaping from the penthouse balcony. Throughout season 2, Crockett witnessed several suicides. The following episode, "Honor Among Thieves?", would also feature the main villain leaping to his death.
  • In the penthouse showdown, Tubbs brandishes a SIG-Sauer P230 instead of his usual Smith & Wesson Model 38 "Bodyguard".
  • The ending with a Native American leaping to his death with open arms resembling a flying bird is similar to a scene from the music video of Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly" which came out a little earlier than this episode's filming during the fall of 1987.


  • When Joe Dan meets his father, he gets off of a boat with red seats and accents. When we see him talking with this father, in the background the boat has yellow seats and accents. and when he leaves, he is on a boat with yellow seats and accents.
  • When Joe Dan kills Levec with his crossbow, the bolt clearly never leaves the weapon -- he mimes recoil and the sound of the bolt flying through the air is heard, but the crossbow itself obviously never fires.
  • In the final scene at the penthouse, Tubbs is shown without his (fake) glasses while inside, but when he rushes to the railing he suddenly has them on.

Production Notes

  • Working Title: "Seminole Wars"
  • Filmed: December 9, 1987 - December 17, 1987
  • Production Code: 63514
  • Production Order: 81

Filming Locations

  • Orange Bowl (Opening where Castillo meets Acosta).



  • "It's only six minutes..." -- DaCosta to Castillo, referring to the late drop-off
  • "I can kill twenty men in six minutes." -- Castillo to DaCosta
  • "Since we were here and all of South Florida was our land, we don't feel Washington gave us anything! -- Becky Wells to tourist
  • "Do you think you're the only people of color who have to crawl on their knees in this country? You give me a little Trail of Tears and I'll give you a Little Rock. For every Indian massacred, I'll give you a lynching. You had Custer, we've got the Klan. What's the difference?...I'm black, you're red, to the white man, we're both colored, simple as that." -- Tubbs to Joe Dan about each race's battles in the United States
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"