Miami Vice Wiki
Redemption in Blood


2 (92nd Overall)
November 11, 1988
TV Rating
TV-14 D-L-V
Guest Stars
Previous Episode
Next Episode

"Redemption in Blood" is the second episode of Miami Vice's fifth season. It premiered on November 11, 1988. It is the third episode of the Sonny Burnett story arc.


Tubbs feels the rampaging Sonny Burnett must be destroyed, but Crockett's memory is slowly returning.


At the lighthouse shots ring out and Tubbs, after unsuccessfully trying to make Burnett recognize him, flees after Burnett fires at the wall (prevented from killing his partner after having flashbacks about "dirty cops"). Burnett sends Cliff King and his goons after Tubbs. Tubbs runs through the woods, fights and kills one of King's men, and barely escapes in a hot-wired jeep.

Switek says they cannot ID the dead thug - and Tubbs isn't sure if Crockett/Burnett has turned. Burnett buys Celeste a bracelet of diamonds and rubies -- delivering it to her around the neck of Morris, a black panther. Burnett begins having more flashbacks to his life as Crockett, but ignores them and continues running the former Carrera cartel, catching two of El Gato's drug runners and blowing up one of his boats with a Stinger missile. King tortures El Gato's men until Burnett orders them cut down and put to work for him. King is angrily opposed to this, so Burnett reiterates the order at gunpoint. El Gato is furious that Burnett is cutting into his business, and vows to kill him, King & Comandante Emilio Salazar.

King privately expresses to Salazar his concern that Burnett's "cocaine habit" is clouding his judgement, attempting to take credit himself for bringing El Gato to his knees. Salazar tells him to "do what you must." Burnett is heavily drunk and begins to have flashbacks about himself and Tubbs. When Celeste enters their bedroom Burnett starts saying Caitlin's name while making out with her, then pushes her away and leaves, angering Celeste who feels abandoned. She goes to a restaurant expecting to meet Burnett, but she finds King instead. King tells a story about a prized dairy cow, which is a metaphor for Burnett and Celeste's dependence upon him; King implies that when Burnett goes down, she will be dragged down with him - unless she does something about it. Burnett's memories as Crockett become more vivid while he's walking on the beach. After watching boxers train, Burnett heads for his limo with Celeste, but she pretends to go back into the arena for her purse. As Burnett approaches the limo his bodyguards discreetly walk away. Celeste, scared and conflicted, runs out and calls to Burnett, who throws himself behind a car just as the limo explodes, badly injuring him.

Salazar meets King, who has received word that Burnett is dead. In reality he wakes up in a hotel room with head trauma. He asks if Tubbs is after him and impulsively vows revenge on El Gato, before remembering what happened and realizing it was Celeste who set him up. When confronted, she desperately claims King made her do it and begs for forgiveness. Burnett pins her against the wall and puts his gun up to her face, but his Crockett memories and personality are restored and he cannot pull the trigger. Crockett asks a cowering Celeste to come to him and he embraces her.

A very drunk El Gato is lamenting about his bad fortune to his friend Pedro, whom he shoots while declaring his supremacy. With his memory almost fully restored, Crockett realizes what he has to do, and returns to OCB to surrender.  He's met with guns drawn by the entire team, except for Castillo and Gina. Crockett tries to remember the events of the boat explosion and his time working for Manolo and Carrera, but cannot remember shooting Jimmy Hagovitch and reacts with genuine shock upon learning he shot Tubbs. Crockett wants to redeem himself by bringing down El Gato, King and Salazar but Castillo has to book him  and he is taken into interrogation with Tubbs, where his partner tells him that everything after the boat explosion was a blur. Tubbs refuses to work with Crockett (having nearly been killed by his partner twice), saying he'd "sleep on it". Switek escorts Burnett to booking and they pass by a sergeant, who comments to his own prisoner about Crockett being a cop. When the elevator to booking opens, Crockett knocks Switek down, takes his gun and runs out after apologizing.

Crockett (pretending to be Burnett) stops by to question King about the limo bombing, and King gives him some evasive double talk about how everything is working and Burnett gets all the credit. Tubbs is convinced Crockett has turned over and he must be stopped, until they learn the thug Tubbs killed at the lighthouse was a Salazar employee.

King reluctantly tells Crockett the drop -- 500 pounds of Peruvian flake -- will be made at an abandoned water treatment plant in West Dade. Crockett excuses himself to the restroom, where he climbs out the window to make a call, and returns to find one of King's men waiting for him. Crockett throws him back to King, asking him if he doesn't trust him. The trucks arrive at the water treatment plant, but the prisoner Crockett saw at OCB fingers him for a cop, and King is about to hog-tie him when the police arrive. A gunfight ensues in which most of the cartel are either killed or arrested. King knocks Tubbs over the side of a catwalk and is about to shoot him when Crockett shoots King down, and pulls Tubbs up. Crockett heads to Celeste's place, where she is packing up to move on. He tells her she is a strong woman who, with enough hard work, can turn things around for herself.

Just as they hug El Gato appears, demanding money. As he leads them at gunpoint through the mansion searching for the cash, El Gato notices a closet.  Initially, the find seems fortuitous. Disregarding warnings from both Burnett and Celeste, he opens the closet doors where he thinks a safe is hidden. To his horror, he finds only Morris, Celeste's pet panther, who leaps at El Gato...and the screen fades to black.


Guest Stars



  • This episode contains the first example from season 5 of a "fake" song composed by Tim Truman filling in as popular music in one or more scenes -- specifically, the rock track heard in the diner where Burnett meets with King to discuss when their shipment will arrive. Such tracks would appear quite frequently throughout the final season, no doubt indicative of the show's shrinking music budget.
  • Sonny's mental breakdown when he believes he is Burnett could be said to be a result of all the loss he has experienced, as well as his intense self-control and determination to do to the right thing at any cost, with a large amount of resulting (often undeserved) guilt. This repressed state has caused what pioneering psychologist Carl Jung would call his shadow side -- the part of each person that contains the darkest, most unacceptable characteristics and desires -- to manifest as a separate personality. Therefore Sonny, who has frequently worn white throughout the series to suggest that he is the "good guy", predominately wears black to signify the shadow when he is Burnett. When he returns to his Crockett identity, he returns to lighter clothing, with one exception -- the black leather motorcycle jacket that he wears in several episodes season 5. Thus he retains an element of the darkness. After his literally transformative experience, as Jung suggests, he is able to reconcile the two sides of human nature, and by the end of the series he is so much more relaxed and at peace with himself that he has let his hair grow naturally and shows no fear when he tells the government agents to go ahead and kill him.
  • One of the most moving scenes in the series occurs when Crockett walks into OCB and is immediately met by guns drawn from most of the squad, and the "Castillo Staredown" for his actions as Burnett, all to the background music of "Don't Give Up" by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush.
  • The idea of Burnett giving a pet panther to his lover is probably inspired by the 1983 movie Scarface, in which Al Pacino's drug lord buys his wife a Bengal tiger.
  • El Gato is wearing a necklace made from the hood ornament of a Mercury (shown by the cougar symbol).
  • Tim Truman's song "Everything Inside of Me" features Truman himself on vocals, and was used at the last minute in place of a John Mellencamp song that producers could not get clearance for. The good reception it received led to the use of two further Truman-penned songs in later episodes of season 5.
  • El Gato's fate at the hands of a predatory jungle cat is foreshadowed by the zebra-designed coat he is wearing in the final scene.
  • This is one of several episodes that does not end on a freeze frame.


  • The sound produced by Burnett's pistol when he shoots at Tubbs at the start of the episode is different to the sound it made when we first saw these events in the previous episode.
  • When King is telling Celeste the story about Sandy the cow, he says, "He produced more milk than all of the rest of them cows put together." Only female cattle produce milk. Technically, there is no such thing as a male cow. Male cattle are bulls and females are cows.
  • The helicopter the police use in their assault on the water works where the shipment is being unloaded is obviously not a police helicopter, but an air rescue vehicle (this can even be seen written on the underside of the fuselage). In fact, it looks like the exact same helicopter that flew Crockett to hospital when he was shot in "A Bullet for Crockett".
  • When Crockett shoots King, the frame is flipped and he shoots left handed.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: October 6, 1988 - October 14, 1988
  • Production Code: 63906
  • Production Order: 92

Filming Locations

  • Cape Florida Lighthouse, Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne (Burnett/Tubbs in lighthouse)
  • Virginia Key (King meets with Salazar, later Burnett has flashbacks)
  • The Palace, 1200 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (King/Celeste have dinner, later Crockett's memory restored)
  • NE 161st St / NE 21st Ave, North Miami (Ending shootout between King and SRT)
  • 710 Harbor Drive, Key Biscayne (Burnett's house)


Tim Truman Music

  • "Sonny Can't Remember" (Sonny on beach before car bomb explosion)
  • "Limo Blows Up" (Car bomb explodes)


  • "Sonny, don't you recognize me?" -- Tubbs to Burnett
  • "Yeah... Yeah, sure. I know you. You're Tubbs! And you're a cop!" -- Burnett in response
  • "What are you boys waiting for, Christmas bonus? MOVE!" -- Burnett to his men, after Tubbs flees
  • "I'm not asking for absolution here, just a little help and understanding!" -- Crockett to Castillo & Switek
  • "Your yellow sheet makes Dillinger look like Bambi!" -- Tubbs to Crockett
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"