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The Miami Vice logo in the opening sequence.

The Opening Sequence of Miami Vice, with Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme" and its stylized shots of the Miami area, remains one of the most memorable television opening sequences in history.

Unlike many other series on television, which feature clips taken from the show itself during their opening credit sequences, Miami Vice used (with one or two small exceptions) specially shot footage that did not appear anywhere else in the show, focussing on the character of the city of Miami itself, particularly its more wealthy and glamorous aspects. The sequence was modified several times throughout the show's five-year run. The changes in each different version of the sequence can be found below.

Pilot Version

The original opening sequence used in "Brother's Keeper" is summarized below.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Ocean with static Miami Vice logo
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Jai-alai player
  • Rolling luxury car fronts with Philip Michael Thomas' credit
  • People laying by pool with Saundra Santiago's credit
  • Dogs racing
  • Ocean
  • Interterra Building with Michael Talbott's credit
  • Boat in water at sunset
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Spinning columns
  • Horse racing with John Diehl's credit
  • Ocean
  • Luxury car pulling up to hotel
  • Yacht with Gregory Sierra's credit
  • Waterskiier splashing wave
  • Cars on freeway
  • Boat in water at sunset (repeated)
  • Seaplane taking off
  • Yacht (repeated)

Uniquely, the opening sequence continues directly into the pilot, while the "Miami Vice Theme" is extended and continues seamlessly over the first scene, where Crockett and Eddie Rivera talk on the street corner. While Olivia Brown's credit did not appear in the original broadcast (she was instead listed as a guest star after the opening sequence), it is added over the shot of the luxury car pulling up in front of a hotel in the syndicated two-part version (where her credit would appear in subsequent episodes).

Notably, the "Miami Vice Theme" is incorrectly mixed in the pilot and is missing it's distinctive synthesised guitar hook.

First Sequence

Once the show was picked up as a series, the opening sequence was slightly modified. This version of the show's sequence was used from "Heart of Darkness" to "Calderone's Return (Part I)" (as well as in "Brother's Keeper (Part II)", when that episode is split into two parts in syndication) and is summarized below. The major changes are indicated in bold.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Ocean with static Miami Vice logo
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Jai-alai player
  • Rolling luxury car fronts with Philip Michael Thomas' credit
  • People laying by pool with Saundra Santiago's credit
  • Dogs racing
  • Ocean
  • Interterra Building with Michael Talbott's credit
  • Boat in water at sunset
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Spinning columns
  • Horse racing with John Diehl's credit
  • Ocean
  • Luxury car pulling up to hotel with Olivia Brown's credit (replacing luxury car pulling up to hotel)
  • Yacht with Gregory Sierra's credit
  • Waterskiier splashing wave and fade out (replacing waterskiier splashing wave)

The sequence is essentially the same as in "Brother's Keeper", the most obvious difference being that it is shorter and now ends with a fade (which would have led into the first commercial break) instead of continuing seamlessly into the episode as in the pilot. Olivia Brown's credit now appears on screen.

As with the pilot episode, the "Miami Vice Theme" is incorrectly mixed in these opening episodes and is missing it's distinctive synthesised guitar hook.

Second Sequence

The opening sequence used from "Calderone's Return (Part II)" until the end of season 1 is summarized below. The major changes are indicated in bold, although the entire sequence is rearranged with several new shots added and many previous shots being moved, making a direct comparison difficult.

  • Spinning trees (shorter shot)

The flock of pink flamingos is one of the shots that remained unchanged throughout Miami Vice's run.

  • Pink flamingos
  • Ocean with Miami Vice logo illuminated in pink (replacing static logo)
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Woman dancing in street
  • Jai-alai player
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Horse racing
  • Rolling luxury car fronts with Philip Michael Thomas' credit
  • Panning beach scene with Saundra Santiago's credit (replacing people laying by pool with Saundra Santiago's credit)
  • Ocean with Michael Talbott's credit (replacing Interterra Building and boat in water at sunset, both with Michael Talbott's credit)
  • Parrots
  • Ocean with John Diehl's credit (replacing horse racing with John Diehl's credit)
  • Dogs racing
  • Flagship Bank building
  • Atlantis on Brickell Building with Olivia Brown's credit (replacing luxury car pulling up to hotel with Olivia Brown's credit)
  • Two bikini-clad women
  • Boats heading for beach with Edward James Olmos' credit (replacing yacht with Gregory Sierra's credit)
  • Skyline and fade out (replacing waterskiier splashing wave and fade out)

Aside from the near total overhaul of the footage used, the "Miami Vice Theme" is also correctly mixed from this point onwards.

Third Sequence

The opening sequence used throughout season 2 is summarized below, with changes indicated in bold.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Miami Vice logo illuminated in pink
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Woman dancing in street
  • Jai-alai player
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Horse racing
  • Rolling luxury car fronts with Philip Michael Thomas' credit
  • Panning beach scene with Saundra Santiago's credit
  • Ocean with Michael Talbott's credit
  • Parrots
  • Ocean with John Diehl's credit
  • Dogs racing
  • Spinning columns (replacing Flagship Bank building)
  • Atlantis on Brickell Building with Olivia Brown's credit
  • Two bikini-clad women
  • Boats heading for beach with Edward James Olmos' credit
  • Skyline and fade out

The season 2 sequence is almost identical to the previous sequence from the first season, with just one difference towards the end (actually reintroducing footage that was previously removed from the opening credits partway through season 1). This alteration seems somewhat curious given how minor it is, although it's possible some issue arose with Flagship Bank that forced the studio to remove the footage of their building.

Fourth Sequence

The opening sequence for the first two episodes of season 3, as well as "El Viejo" and, strangely, "Streetwise", is summarized below, with changes indicated in bold.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Miami Vice logo illuminated in ice blue (replacing logo in pink)
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Woman dancing in street
  • Jai-alai player
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Cars racing through track (replacing horse racing)
  • Miami skyline at night with Philip Michael Thomas' credit (replacing rolling luxury car fronts with Philip Michael Thomas' credit)
  • Panning beach scene with Saundra Santiago's credit
  • Ocean with Michael Talbott's credit
  • Parrots
  • Ocean with John Diehl's credit
  • Crockett & Tubbs in cigarette boat (replacing dogs racing and spinning columns)
  • Atlantis on Brickell Building with Olivia Brown's credit
  • Two bikini-clad women
  • Boats heading for beach with Edward James Olmos' credit
  • Skyline and fade out

The start of season 3 sees the second greatest number of changes to the opening sequence. However, this version of the opening credits can be seen as something of an "interim" sequence, as it is quickly changed again once Crockett's Ferrari Testarossa had been introduced to the show. The inclusion of a shot of the Testarossa was presumably intended from the start, but omitted until after the car had made its debut so as to maintain the sense of surprise when it first appears on screen in "Stone's War".

As mentioned above, this version of the credits montage reappears later in the season in "El Viejo" (originally destined to be the season opener until the network changed the running order of the episodes). This could be a hangover from its original placement at the start of the season, or an intentional choice resulting from the fact the Testarossa is not actually in that episode. This version of the sequence also appears in "Streetwise", indicating this episode may also have been moved later in the running order.

Fifth Sequence

The second sequence used in season 3 (from "Killshot" to "Down for the Count (Part I)") is summarized below, with changes indicated in bold.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Miami Vice logo illuminated in ice blue
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Woman dancing in street
  • Jai-alai player
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Cars racing through track
  • Miami skyline at night with Philip Michael Thomas' credit
  • Testarossa speeding through the night with Saundra Santiago's credit (replacing panning beach scene with Saundra Santiago's credit)
  • Ocean with Michael Talbott's credit
  • Parrots
  • Ocean with John Diehl's credit
  • Crockett & Tubbs in cigarette boat
  • Atlantis on Brickell Building with Olivia Brown's credit
  • Two bikini-clad women
  • Boats heading for beach with Edward James Olmos' credit
  • Skyline and fade out

With the Testarossa now being a part of the show, the opening includes a shot of the car, marking the second and final time footage from the show is used in the opening credits.

Sixth Sequence

The opening sequence changed yet again during season 3 starting with the episode "Down for the Count (Part II)". The fifth sequence is summarized below, with changes indicated in bold. This is the last iteration of the opening credits, and they would remain the same for the rest of the series.

  • Spinning Trees
  • Pink Flamingos
  • Ocean with Miami Vice logo illuminated in ice blue
  • Windsurfer dipping head in water
  • Woman dancing in street
  • Jai-alai player
  • Ocean with Don Johnson's credit
  • Cars racing through track
  • Miami skyline at night with Philip Michael Thomas' credit

For the final two seasons, no credit was shown over Crockett's Testarossa.

  • Testarossa speeding through night (replacing Testarossa speeding through night with Saundra Santiago's credit)
  • Ocean with Saundra Santiago's credit (replacing ocean with Michael Talbott's credit)
  • Parrots
  • Ocean with Michael Talbott's credit (replacing ocean with John Diehl's credit)
  • Crockett & Tubbs in cigarette boat
  • Atlantis on Brickell Building with Olivia Brown's credit
  • Two bikini-clad women
  • Boats heading for beach with Edward James Olmos' credit
  • Skyline and fade out

The changes made midway through the third season revolve around the departure of John Diehl from the cast and simply involve the rearranging of the on-screen credits.

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