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The Big Thaw


4 (72nd Overall)
October 23, 1987
Repeat Airdate
August 5, 1988
TV Rating
Guest Stars
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"The Big Thaw" is the fourth episode of Miami Vice's fourth season. It premiered on October 23, 1987, and was rerun on August 5, 1988.


Two groups battle over possession of a dead reggae singer's frozen body, with Izzy caught in the middle.


Crockett, Tubbs & Switek raid a decrepit nursing home thinking there's a drug lab, when it turns out they have the body of Robillard Nevin, recently deceased reggae singer, frozen in a case.

They bring the cryogenic case back to OCB (which is having major air conditioning problems) and Castillo orders everyone not part of OCB out until a judge reviews the case later, including the caretaker of his body, Dave Frobel. Crockett & Tubbs check with the location where they found Nevin's body where they said he died of Fugu poisoning caused by blowfish stew, and was frozen to be reanimated when they found an antidote, courtesy of Dr. Poe, which was done, and now they want his body back to cure him, but they will not get the body until it's proven that the body belongs to them. Izzy also arrives to "get a piece of the future", and to see the technology for reviving Nevin. At OCB Nevin's widow Esther Nevin and her attorney want Nevin's body back. Dr. Poe dies of the same poisoning that Nevin did, and he's also the one that could bring Nevin back. Now Frobel plans to bring him back himself.

Gina & Trudy are checking on James Davis, one of Nevin's band members, they go to his house and find all of Nevin's children, none of which were with his wife, and Davis said that Nevin would call Poe anytime he coughed funny, got on a plane and never came back. Crockett & Tubbs are at an outside food stand when Switek calls to inform them Esther and her attorney got a federal court order to claim the body and also a TRO to prevent Frobel from going near the body. Trudy found Esther stands to gain a $30 million estate if his body is found and buried so a death certificate is issued by Jamaica. Castillo orders the body turned over to Esther, but when Switek goes to retrieve it, the body is gone, and the case it's in, all that remains is a small puddle where it was.

With OCB in a mess, compounded by the air conditioning repairs and a group of people there to see Nevin, Castillo gets a call from the police commissioner that Esther has filed two lawsuits for misappropriation of Nevin's body and violation of his civil rights, a total of $80 million. Esther shows up at Frobel's place, gun drawn, wanting Nevin's body, then she shoots him down while Izzy is on the phone talking to him, then a TV report mentions speaking with the scientist that will revive Nevin. It turns out Izzy has the body and plans to revive it, and Esther plans to take it back, and if the lawyer or Izzy resist, they will be shot.

Izzy is speaking with a number of Japanese scientists at an outside location with the thaw to take place,

Nevin's body in ocean

arranging for money when the body is thawed, and the Japanese want the band members present at the thawing. When Izzy goes to get them, Esther is waiting for Izzy. The Vice team begin a search for Izzy and the body, but Esther has brought everyone together at the thawing site. Crockett finds where Izzy is and distracts her by driving their boat by them and the body ends up in the water, as well as Esther's gun. Crockett & Tubbs, reluctantly, decide to intervene and arrest Esther on the murder of Frobel. Nevin's body, still in the case, ends up floating in the ocean.


Guest Stars



  • This is one of two episodes ("Missing Hours" being the other) where Miami Vice borders on science fiction. In 1987 no such cryogenic technology existed, though it had been theoretically proposed since the early 60s. Currently it does, but only in experimental form.
  • Originally, the electronics whiz Steve Duddy was to be the one involved in Nevin's "thawing", but the role was changed to Izzy when John Glover proved unavailable.
  • The episode is written by Michael Duggan under his pseudonym "Joseph DeBlasi".
  • A recurring theme of season 4 is OCB handling cases outside their normal jurisdiction, as is depicted in this episode. Other glaring examples include events surrounding a mysterious spacecraft in "Missing Hours" and the stolen cow semen case in "The Cows of October". These three episodes are also generally considered the worst of Vice's run.
  • Before appearing on television, Izzy says, "I can hear those fighter planes, I can hear those fighter planes." This is a lyric from U2's song "Bullet the Blue Sky."
  • The building where the cryogenics lab was, the Fountain of Youth Nursing Home, was actually the site of the old South Beach Elementary School, closed due to the general deterioration of the area. Now a new school, South Pointe Elementary, sits on the old foundation of the previous building.
  • This is one of several episodes that does not end on a freeze frame.


  • When the cryogenic capsule slips off of the dock it quickly sinks, but it is later seen floating out at sea.

Production Notes

  • Working Title: "Soul on Ice"
  • Filmed: August 24, 1987 - September 1, 1987
  • Production Code: 63507
  • Production Order: 72



  • "It's like the lieutenant said. Whenever you can prove that the body belongs to you, you can have him back. And then you can all join the circus and take this freak show on the road!" - Crockett to Frobel when he wants about having the body back for reanimation
  • "Nevin's body is fly food, also not smelling so good!" -- Tubbs after hearing Esther got a court order for Nevin's body
  • "How can he have civil rights?  He's a popsicle!"--Switek on hearing that a judge has ruled Nevin's civil rights have been violated
  • "You are all venal men of honor."--Izzy to the Japanese businessmen interested in Nevin's resurrection
  • "There's a big difference between making instant coffee and bringing a rastafarian back from the dead." -- Tubbs to Frobel
  • "I treat my body like a temple.  You treat your body like an amusement park!"--Trudy to Switek
  • "I don't want Esther to kill Izzy, I wanna kill Izzy!" -- Crockett to Trudy when he hears Esther wants to kill Izzy
Season 4 Episodes:

"Contempt of Court" "Amen... Send Money" "Death and the Lady" "The Big Thaw" "Child's Play" "God's Work" "Missing Hours" "Like a Hurricane" "The Rising Sun of Death" "Love at First Sight" "Rock and a Hard Place" "The Cows of October" "Vote of Confidence" "Baseballs of Death" "Indian Wars" "Honor Among Thieves?" "Hell Hath No Fury..." "Badge of Dishonor" "Blood & Roses" "A Bullet for Crockett" "Deliver Us from Evil" "Mirror Image"