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3 (47th Overall)
October 10, 1986
Repeat Airdate
April 10, 1987
TV Rating
TV-14 D-L-V
Martin Kupfer, Leon Ichaso & Manuel Arce
Teleplay: Marvin Kupfer
Guest Stars
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"Killshot" is the third episode of Miami Vice's third season. It premiered on October 10, 1986, and was rerun on April 10, 1987.


A US Customs Service agent is blackmailed for important codes by a drug dealer that the Vice squad are after.


Crockett (as Burnett) is on his offshore boat with a dealer named Silvio, while the Vice squad and Customs agent Frank Arriola (Carlos Cestero) wait for the signal to move in. Crockett is happy with the cocaine and wants to meet with Morales, the main man. Silvio only wants Crockett to deal with him, not Morales. The police move in and a brief shootout entails; Crockett and Silvio take off and elude the police, taking the drugs and the money with him. Crockett tells Silvio that Morales will get his money when Silvio sets up a meet with him, then throws Silvio in the water and leaves, despite Silvio vowing to kill Crockett.

At OCB, Castillo wants Switek to camp out near Crockett's boat because of Silvio's death threats; Crockett will stay at Tubbs' place for the night. Castillo thanks Arriola for his assistance and Arriola asks to be in on Morales' bust, because Morales walked on a technicality three years ago. Arriola then invites Crockett and Tubbs to see his little brother Tico (Fernando Allende) play Jai-Alai. After Tico wins his match, they go back to the locker room to congratulate him, but Tico leaves for a date, surprising Arriola. Tico and his date, Jan Larken (Angela Alvarado) are at a hotel owned by Isabel Batista (Maria Duval), when Jan begins insulting him, calling him "Mrs. Jai-Alai" and asking if he likes little boys. Tico snaps and gets his hands around Jan's throat, choking her to death. Batista tells Tico to say nothing, and she will take care of everything. In actuality, Jan is not dead; she and Batista have a plan to set Tico up. Tico goes home, where he blows Arriola off and drowns his sorrows in pills and alcohol. Later the Vice squad does find Jan dead, beaten to death and dumped in a river. Crockett and Tubbs have a meet with Morales, who arranges a deal for 300 keys a month. When Tubbs mentions that Morales has had a problem with Customs, Morales says that problem is about to be rectified, and he will contact them when he is ready to deal.

Crockett stops at a food stand and gets a drink when Silvio shows up, saying that he will deal with them; Crockett says Morales will deal with them, and leaves. Arriola gets a call from Batista to meet her; when he arrives Morales is there, and Arriola is shown a videotape of Tico choking Jan. The only way the police won't see the tape is if Arriola gives up the Customs' security codes. Batista stops by OCB to let Castillo know the dead hooker was one of her stable, and asks the police to investigate. Tico and Arriola talk about what happened, and Arriola decides not to let Tico go to the police. Back at OCB, Crockett, Tubbs and Castillo pour over the DEA files on Morales. Arriola stops by and is told about the upcoming Morales meet; he is upset he wasn't told that Crockett and Tubbs made contact. Castillo will inform Arriola when the meet is set. Arriola goes to a payphone, calls Morales, and blows Crockett and Tubbs' cover.

Arriola is at the Jai-alai fronton to watch Tico practice when Crockett stops by. Arriola apologizes for his blow up the previous night. Gina and Trudy can't find anyone willing to talk about Jan. Tubbs is reviewing the file on Morales; they find Morales' supplier is Heriberto Mérida, and that Isabel Batista—the same woman whose girl Jan was found dead—is Mérida's niece. Morales calls Crockett at a food stand and sets the deal at 5:00. It's also obvious that Batista is calling the shots—she wants the Vice cops killed, regardless of any heat it generates. Crockett calls Arriola and tells him about the meet and OCB briefing, but hangs up without waiting for an answer. Arriola goes to Batista, who has already ordered their deaths, and if he doesn't have the codes for her that afternoon the police get the video of Tico "killing" Jan. Arriola's absence and inability to be reached concerns all. Gina talks with a hooker who knows something about the killing. Crockett and Tubbs go to the deal at the top of a parking garage. Castillo gets a call from Arriola warning of a setup, and he calls for Crockett and Tubbs to get back, just as the limo they are approaching explodes.

Silvio and Morales' remains are found in the limo. The Vice cops are not sure what's going on, but feel Arriola knows more than he's saying. Arriola goes to see Tico at the Jai-alai fronton, to let him know he is going to get the damning tape back and for him say nothing about it. Gina goes to a club to find Louise Carlson, who reveals that Tico was with Jan, and Castillo orders Crockett to bring him in. At the fronton Tico, distracted by the presence of the police, takes his eyes off the pelota and it hits him in the head at full speed, fatally injuring him. Before he dies, he tells Crockett about Frank, the tape and about Isabel Batista. Crockett and Tubbs conclude that Batista killed Morales, and Arriola is on his way to get revenge. Batista hears on the news about Tico's death as Arriola arrives with the codes. Batista suddenly orders him killed. Arriola pulls a gun and shoots two bodyguards, just as Crockett and Tubbs burst in and shoot a third, and Arriola gets Batista at gunpoint. Frantic, Batista admits Tico did not kill Jan and the tape is a fake. Arriola is distracted by the news broadcast of his brother's death, allowing Batista to break away. In fury, Arriola shoots Batista in the back, while the camera focuses on the TV, which is playing back Tico's final moments.


Guest Stars




  • John Diehl (Zito) does not appear at all in this episode.
  • "Killshot" is notable for the number of songs that appear during the episode -- 8 in total, tying it with season 2's "Back in the World" for the most songs to appear in a standard (one-hour) episode, and in fact equalling the number of songs used in the series' two-hour finale "Freefall". Notably, the songs in "Killshot" come from a variety of artists, whereas the music in "Back in the World" is all by The Doors.

Miami jai-alai venue

  • Jai-alai is still played at the same venue where the scenes for this episode were filmed. The facility became Casino Miami Jai-Alai in 2014, and the frontage was finally updated after several decades of neglect.
  • The term "killshot" refers to a hard or well-placed shot in jai-alai designed to make the opponent miss.
  • Jai-Alai is sometimes nicknamed "the fastest ball sport in the world". At the time of filming of this episode, the standing world record for the fastest thrown pelota, as the ball is called in Jai-Alai, was 190 mph, achieved by Ibon Aldazabal in Dania Beach, Florida. When the death of Tico Arriola after being hit in the head by a pelota is announced on the news, the news presenter - slightly incorrectly - says that pelotas can travel at speeds "in excess of 140 mph".
  • This episode was characteristic of the later seasons, as it ends in a very nihilistic way.
  • The title and opening credits for this episode appear in the middle of the screen, as they did for the start of season 1 and would do permanently from "Forgive Us Our Debts" onwards. This could be a sign that the network changed the running order of the episodes, and that "Killshot" was originally intended to air later in the season, from which point episode titles were moved to the middle of the screen as standard.
  • As seen five previous times in the series, a "good" character, Arriola, commits murder out of revenge or fear right in front of Crockett, thus throwing away their own life.
  • Dialogue from this episode was used as a sample in the Belgian New Beat song 'Drop The Deal' by Code 61.
  • The 7th Season Episode of The Blacklist Titled Brothers had several references about blackmail and a Similar Plot involving two brothers in a Murder, during a Fight. Donald Ressler mention in case you didn't see Miami Vice as Kids.
  • Bob Mayer, a Miami news anchor at the time appears as himself in the news report about Tico at the end of the episode.


  • When Crockett and Tubbs go to meet Mr. Morales on his yacht, the SCARAB is shown tied up to Morales's yacht, in a harbor. The inside shots of Morales reveal trees and shrubs just outside the window, indicating the yacht is instead docked.
  • When Crockett leaves the fast food stand after attacking Sylvio, Sylvio suddenly has ice all over the back of his head, even though we never saw how it got there.
  • After Tico is hit on the head by the pelota, the attending medic can be seen with his hand on Tico's helmet, rolling his head to one side. In the case of a head injury, trained medical personnel would never attempt to move the victim's head.
  • When Frank calls Morales from the phone booth at Biscayne Bar and Grill, camera rails are visible on screen.
  • The opening boat chase, the number of people on the bridge and front deck of the pursuing police boat changes several times.
  • When Silvio confronts Crockett at the small outdoor restaurant, the counter man suddenly has a cigar.
  • During the rooftop meet, the limo that appears is not the same car blown up. The car that is blown is not a limo, but a dark sedan with no hubcaps. Furthermore, a mat can be seen below the car; most likely to protect the concrete.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: August 25, 1986 - September 4, 1986
  • Production Code: 62018
  • Production Order: 49

Filming Locations

  • Miami River near railroad bridge (Opening drug deal with Crockett/Silvio/Arriola)
  • Miami Jai-Alai Fronton (now Casino Miami Jai-Alai), 3500 NW 37th Avenue (Jai-Alai scenes)
  • 701 West Flagler Street (Cuban coffee shop where Crockett meets Silvio and gets a call from Morales)
  • Biscayne Bar and Grill, 12210 NE 16th Avenue, Miami (Frank calls Morales and blows Crockett/Tubbs cover)
  • 40 South Hibiscus Drive, Miami Beach (Morales' house)
  • Omni Parking Deck, North Bayshore Drive & NE 15th Street, Miami (Roof of parking garage where car explodes)



  • "Take a taxi!" -- Crockett to Silvio before he's thrown in the water
  • "What's Elvis been eating lately?" "Detectives!" -- Switek and Crockett after Castillo assigns Switek to be near Crockett's boat
  • "I never bet on anything that can talk!" -- Tubbs watching jai-alai
  • "Your little brother is muy macho on the cancha, but leaves a lot to be desired between the sheets!" -- Morales to Arriola
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"