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Tale of the Goat


7 (29th Overall)
November 15, 1985
Repeat Airdate
April 25, 1986
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Guest Stars
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"Tale of the Goat" is the seventh episode of Miami Vice's second season. It premiered on November 15, 1985, and was rerun on April 25, 1986.


Tubbs delves into the world of voodoo to track the cult's leader -- who has seemingly returned from the grave to collect an old debt.


A casket arrives at Miami airport of the former voodoo chief Legba from Haiti. Crockett takes a picture as proof and Tubbs attends the funeral. At the funeral, they spot more of the cult's high command, including Sylvio Romulus and Legba's woman Marie Sanserico, who is real close with Romulus, who scurries Marie out of the funeral quickly. Just then, a motorbike shows up, shooting into Legba's coffin. They open the coffin and find a voodoo mask, but no Legba!

Legba's body is taken to a remote location and brought back to life. At OCB, Dr. O'Hara tells Crockett, Tubbs and Castillo that there is a toxin (tetrodotoxin) found in the Caribbean that can be used to simulate death for up to 48 hours, and with the tube found in the coffin, makes it possible that Legba is alive, but with possible brain damage. Crockett and Tubbs head over to see Romulus to see if they can find out anything about Legba. Marie leaves Romulus just as he drives off to see Bobby Profile, a car dealer and money launderer, to get some of his money cleaned before he leaves. Meanwhile, Legba goes to see Baron Samedi at the graveyard, and a voodoo ceremony is held, where Legba puts a voodoo death curse on Romulus and Marie. While Crockett and Tubbs wait outside a video arcade called "Voodoo", Romulus and his men are killed by Legba and his men.

Castillo wants Crockett and Tubbs to surveil Bobby Profile and to go see Maria. Maria tells Crockett and Tubbs that Legba was going back to Haiti, but he wanted money owed him by Romulus, and Maria will be protected by her friends. Crockett gets a call from Maria wanting to be safe as Legba was taking her with him and she doesn't want to go. Legba leaves graffiti on one of Bobby's vans, then calls him up wanting $500,000 of Romulus' money. Bobby plans to knock off Legba at a construction site the next day. That night, Legba's men get the money and leave a bomb behind, which blows up Bobby and his dealership.

Maria is on the St. Vitus Dance with Gina, and she tells how the voodoo cult is run, how to join, etc. when two men show up, one takes Maria to Legba, the other is shot down by Gina. With Maria gone, Legba's operation may be heading to Haiti. Tubbs wants to crash the voodoo ceremony to find Maria, but Crockett is concerned of the consequences to Tubbs for doing so. Castillo agrees to it, provided Tubbs makes contact when he finds Maria - and that Crockett stays close to him. Tubbs makes contact, and they drive him to the ritual site - after putting a homing device on the truck. While Crockett follows behind, the device falls off, and Crockett loses him. During the ritual Tubbs finds Maria, when he tries to leave with her, Legba's men take Tubbs down and bring him to Legba, who injects Tubbs with the same toxin he took to come to Miami, and in his drugged state, sees Legba kill Maria. Crockett and a search party spread out over the Legba site, he finds Tubbs' jacket, and Zito finds Tubbs face down in a drained pool.

Tubbs is rushed to the hospital, where is still under the influence of the toxin, and is seeing illusions of Legba, Maria, Samedy, keeps repeating "Blackbird" (a Haitian freighter), rises up to choke Crockett but snaps out of it. He tells what he saw and what he heard, and they go to where the Blackbird is, and notice an RV being hauled on board. Then gunfire erupts and it's obvious Tubbs is still suffering the effects of the toxin. Crockett shoots down one of Legba's machete-wielding men and Tubbs hits Legba with a shot, then Legba begins speaking voodoo chants, pulls a gun, then Tubbs shoots him down. As Legba falls to his death, Tubbs realizes that because Legba had his back to him the night he was drugged, he thinks that Maria was not killed but instead dosed with the same toxin.  He discovers her hidden in the false bottom of a cabin and she opens her eyes as he checks her condition.


Guest Stars



  • Although Crockett and Tubbs scoff, the concept of the zombie is actually a traditional part of Haitian folklore, predating the (distinctly different) popular conception of a reanimated, flesh-eating corpse as made famous by the George A. Romero film Night of the Living Dead and its sequels.
  • Little Coco's character, Baron Samedi, is named for the actual voodoo god of the same name, and is also shared with a James Bond villain in the movie Live and Let Die.
  • The theory of Tetrodotoxin causing a period of "zombieism" was written by ethnobotanist Wade Davis in 1983, and in his 1985 book The Serpent and the Rainbow (made into a film in 1988 directed by Wes Craven featuring Brent Jennings and Paul Guilfoyle). However, the theory was debunked by the scientific community later in the 1980s, claiming the symptoms of voodoo zombies did not match the ones created by the poison, and no substantiation of zombies created this way existed.
  • Once again, the St. Vitus Dance plays an active role in one of the Vice unit's operations, this time being used as a secure location to stash Marie (albeit moored at its regular spot in the marina). Crockett previously employed his yacht in a similar role in "Lombard", while hiding Al Lombard in protective custody, and would do so again in "Line of Fire", to keep Joey Hardin, posing as witness Keith Mollis, safe from the Carlos Cantero mob.
  • Tubbs is shown reloading his 5-shot revolver during the climactic gunfight -- arguably the only time in the entire series that he does so.
  • The video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which was heavily inspired by Miami Vice and can be seen as an homage to the show, includes a mission involving a hit outside a Haitian gang leader's funeral that partially parallels the funeral scene in this episode.
  • The green truck that drives by before Tubbs goes to the ceremony says "West Dade Poultry Co."


  • When Legba and his thugs walk into the arcade, there is a man playing Centipede right outside the door. Although his hands are moving the trackball and pushing the fire button, he is not playing. The score list is up on the screen the whole time he is "playing" and can be seen quite clearly when the thugs walk past.
  • When Legba hands Samedi the pickaxe, Samedi's left hand is on top, but in the next shot his right hand is on top. In the following shot his hands have switched position again.
  • Car lot is empty when it is bombed.
  • While on the Blackbird, Tubbs is seen to fire several shots at Legba, but only the final one is accompanied by a gunshot sound.
  • In the final scene on the Blackbird, the actor playing Legba clearly jumps from the ship rather than falling from it. His pants leg also does not seem to have blood on it. Legba's leg was bleeding, soiling his pants leg, in the previous scene.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: September 30, 1985 - October 9, 1985
  • Production Code: 60036
  • Production Order: 31

Filming Locations

  • Pine Cemetery, 3700 Charles Avenue, Coconut Grove (Legba's body in cemetery during opening)
  • Little River Drive/NW 7th Avenue, Miami (Bobby Profile's car lot)
  • 20 East Sunrise Avenue, Coral Gables (Romulus' house)
  • corner North Miami Avenue and North 5th Street (Romulus attacked, later "Voodoo House" where Tubbs is taken)
  • SW 2nd Street/SW North River Drive, Miami (Tubbs meets Voodoo truck)
  • Villa Vizcaya, 3252 S. Miami Ave, Coconut Grove (Voodoo scenes)


Jan Hammer Music

  • "The Search" (Crockett and Tubbs surveilling Marie, Vice team looking for Tubbs)


  • "Romulus is in a hurry for a quick wash-n-dry on his way out of town!" -- Crockett to Tubbs at Bobby Profile's car lot
  • "Nobody is gonna risk brain damage for a little cashola and a bad girlfriend!" -- Tubbs about Legba's rise to life
  • "Unless Legba knows how to make himself invisible, he's got to be in that RV!" -- Crockett at the Blackbird
  • "Do you believe in this voodoo stuff?" -- Crockett to janitor
  • "Do you believe in the ocean? Whether you do or you don't, you step in it, for sure, you gonna get wet." -- Janitor's response
  • "You're taking this way too light. This is a sacred religious ceremony to these people. . . . You can't dissect this with your intellect. It is not rational."--Crockett to Tubbs
Season 2 Episodes:

"The Prodigal Son" "Whatever Works" "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" "The Dutch Oven" "Buddies" "Junk Love" "Tale of the Goat" "Bushido" "Bought and Paid For" "Back in the World" "Phil the Shill" "Definitely Miami" "Yankee Dollar" "One Way Ticket" "Little Miss Dangerous" "Florence Italy" "French Twist" "The Fix" "Payback" "Free Verse" "Trust Fund Pirates" "Sons and Lovers"