Miami Vice Wiki
Sonny Burnett


Undercover alias used by James "Sonny" Crockett
Manolo cartel
Carrera cartel
Remains active as cover name of Crockett until quitting the force in 1989
Episode(s) (as actual person)
Played By

Sonny Burnett was the traditional alias used by Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett while working undercover within the Miami underworld. His reputation as a dealer is well known, to the point where it even surfaced in a national tabloid while "Burnett" was married to pop singer Caitlin Davies.

Burnett was typically found working in some capacity with Rico Cooper, whether as partners or simply casual acquaintances seeking to enter a mutually beneficial business arrangement with a third party. They were efficient at working with the numerous dealers of Miami's underworld, and possessed supreme skills at bringing them down as well.

The 'Real' Burnett

See also: Sonny Burnett Arc

Burnett during his time in the Carrera cartel.

In 1988 Crockett suffered major head trauma in a boat explosion while working undercover, and was subsequently saved by members of the Manolo cartel, the very people he had been investigating. Suffering from complete amnesia, Crockett was soon convinced by Miguel Manolo that he really was Burnett, and he subsequently went to work as an enforcer in Manolo's organisation, applying the same steadfast dedication to his new job as he had when he was with Metro-Dade, only now with an added dose of ruthlessness.

Burnett used his intelligence and cunning to rapidly elevate his position, and the trail of bodies he left in his wake soon alerted the Vice Division to his activities, who now found themselves with no choice but to bring him down, believing the unthinkable -- Crockett truly had gone over to the other side.

However, the real Burnett's time in power could never last, particularly with fragmented memories of his previous life as an undercover police officer returning with increasing frequency. Eventually, aware of what he had become and unable to bear the truth of it, Burnett handed himself in to his old unit, and had to face the impending and perhaps insurmountable struggle of trying to clear his name.


During the time Crockett adopted his Burnett persona due to amnesia, he carried a distinctive two-toned SIG Sauer P220 as his sidearm, with a black slide and silver frame.


  • Given the length of time that the Burnett cover name was in operation, it seems strange that not a single criminal in Miami was ever aware of Burnett's true identity until after they had entered into business with him. To give just one example, when Mario Fuente escapes prosecution at the end of "Payback", he is fully aware that Burnett is actually a cop and intends to hunt him down; yet Crockett continues to use the cover name for the rest of the series and never encounters anyone who knows that he is in fact an undercover cop.
  • As a nod to the original series, Colin Farrell's take on Crockett uses the alias Sonny Burnett while undercover in the Miami Vice film.