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The Good Collar


5 (49th Overall)
October 24, 1986
TV Rating
TV-14 V
Guest Stars
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"The Good Collar" is the fifth episode of Miami Vice's third season. It premiered on October 24, 1986.


Crockett uses a high school football star, busted for distributing, to catch a 15 year-old drug dealer.


Crockett and Tubbs observe a young man at a payphone outside the Zodiac club looking a little nervous, so Crockett goes to check it out. The youngster asks Crockett if he's "Tootie"; Crockett plays along, and the kid shows Crockett a bag of drugs in the trunk of a car. As Crockett busts him a group of young gangsters drive by, warning them not to deal on Apostle turf. Tubbs backs Crockett up and the gang members scatter, except for one Tubbs manages to tackle. He discovers the man he caught is Officer Ramirez (Nick Corri), who is with the Metro Gang division.

The arrestee is 17-year-old Archie Ellis and the drugs in the bag are black tar, a cheap and crude form of heroin. Crockett asks Switek to stall the paperwork until he can check with Metro Gang. Tubbs is speaking with Ramirez when his Lieutenant Lee Atkins arrive, and they exchange notes. The club owner has observed numerous drug deals on the payphone, and the gangs are terrorizing the community, who are afraid to take out their garbage without first checking to see whose turf it is. Crockett shows up with the evidence - the heroin is so impure that kids all over the area are dying from overdoses (at least four in the past month), and a gang, the Regular Fellas from the Overtown area, is moving the stuff. The Fellas are present in most of the high schools in the area, except Tamiami High, which is Apostle turf. The Fellas have around 500 underage members currently, led by a 15 year old named Curtis "Count" Walker, who has a chauffeur-driven limo (since he's not old enough to legally drive, as are half the members).

At OCB, Ellis is questioned by Crockett and Tubbs, who tells them he didn't know what was in the bag until Crockett opened it, that he isn't in any gang, and that the car belongs to his friend Luther. He wanted the money to buy football shoes, as he plays wide receiver for Eastside High (and is all-City in football and track - running a 9.6 100 yard dash), and is afraid his principal will boot him off the team if he finds out about the arrest. The money was to be delivered to Luther the next day. The boy's budding football career hits home with Crockett (who also had a football career in his youth), and he agrees to not tell his principal about the arrest - if he helps the Vice cops.

Ed McCain from the Overtown Youth Rehab Project - whom Ellis' grandmother works for - forces his way into the interrogation and asks to see Crockett privately. McCain tells Crockett that Ellis is no hardcore drug dealer; if he had known about the shoes he would have taken up a collection, but Ellis is too proud to ask for help. Crockett agrees to speak with Castillo, who requested his presence in a meeting with Atkins. Atkins shows pictures of Walker, Luther and Ralph Mayberry, all in the Fellas and suspected of being behind the distribution of heroin. Crockett and Castillo agree to let Ellis walk in exchange for taking the package of heroin to Luther so they can bust Luther for possession. Ellis complies, saying the Apostles tried to rip him off, but Luther wants a man named Otis to check it out in an alley. Crockett and Tubbs follow them back and Otis starts shooting as Archie shouts a warning. Tubbs shoots Otis and the police raid Luther's hangout.

Inside they find two youngsters dead from overdoses. Atkins and State's Attorney William Pepin are there as well, and Pepin agrees to give Ellis a total walk with no strings attached. At OCB they question Luther who denies everything, including knowing Count Walker (though there is a message on Luther's machine from Walker), and doesn't mind going to jail, even if Pepin is going to try and charge the underage Luther as an adult. Crockett and Tubbs decide to skip the arraignment and meet Walker, though both Atkins and Pepin say they won't get anywhere because they're "too old". Walker goes around the 'hood, doing deals, roughing up those that cross him, and throwing money at young kids. When Crockett and Tubbs catch up to him outside a grade school it turns out Atkins and Pepin are right—Walker knows the ones over 18 are easier to talk when faced with jail time, and they all "smell like the man." Crockett goes to see Ellis at his house and finds McCain, letting him know that Ellis gets a walk for helping them. He also meets Ellis' grandmother and gives Ellis some money for his shoes, as well as the ball he ran a screen pass 95 yards in the Gator Bowl as a wide receiver. He promises to will attend Ellis' game the following Thursday.

En route to the court hearing for Luther, Ramirez calls Crockett and asks him to meet at a lunch stand for some important info; they call Pepin and inform him they will miss the hearing. Pepin is angered, since this all but ruins his chance at trying Luther as an adult. Ramirez tells them (discreetly to maintain his cover) that the Apostles plan to give Walker a gasoline bomb and that tipping Walker off may get them on the inside. Just as Ramirez leaves with the Apostles, someone on a nearby bridge fires a grenade launcher that blows up the car, injures Tubbs inside the stand, and sets an ice cream truck driver on fire. Crockett rushes out to save the driver, but Ramirez is badly injured and the other Apostles are dead.

Crockett gets a call from McCain saying Ellis was arrested again, and drives to Eastside High, where a riot is brewing in anger over the deaths, to find Pepin trying to talk Ellis into wearing a wire to get Walker. Crockett is furious that Pepin is taking back Ellis' free walk and forcing him to make a choice—wear the wire and try to incriminate the ODs, giving Walker a murder one rap, or take Ellis in on trafficking and Walker on conspiracy (since they found Walker's prints on the heroin package), ruining Ellis' chances at a football scholarship. Castillo doesn't feel it will do any good to kick it upstairs, and Ellis agrees to wear the wire, despite Crockett and McCain warning him of the dangers. Crockett tells Ellis he'll say the initial arrest was based on a bad search, to ensure Ellis can't be charged for the trafficking, but Ellis doesn't want anyone lying for him. McCain and Pepin get into a shouting match over Ellis wearing a wire; McCain is solidly against it, but Ellis insists, knowing he could be killed if found out, because he believes it is the right thing to do, after doing the wrong thing to get his scholarship. Atkins arrives with Tubbs, to inform them that Ramirez didn't survive.

At OCB, they wire Ellis up and let him know what to say. Ellis goes through with his end, but Walker unexpectedly takes him for a ride in the limo. Ellis manages to trick Walker into admitting he was Luther's supplier, but Walker becomes suspicious as to all the questions, and they discover the wire and shoot Ellis. The Vice squad busts Walker but Ellis dies in Crockett's arms. Crockett loses his shit and smashes the fucking limo. Crockett goes to pay his respects but is not invited in by McCain, and Ellis' grandmother shoves his Gator Bowl football at him in disgust before shutting the door in his face. Atkins stops by to let Crockett know that Walker's bust has cleared all the gang members off the streets, and that it's a collar Crockett should be proud of. Crockett, knowing Ellis' death wasn't completely in vain but still guilty, throws his Gator Bowl ball in the trash.


Guest Stars


"Ripped From The Headlines"

In this episode, the problem of gangs, gang violence and child drug dealers (which was just getting into the public conscience at that time) is explored.


  • John Diehl (Zito) does not appear at all in this episode.
  • Count Walker plays the system well, knowing those under 18 won't likely go to adult jails, a problem that still exists today, though adult prosecution of juvenile crimes (especially violent crimes) has increased recently.
  • Castillo gives his classic stare-down to Pepin for going backside on his deal with Crockett and putting Ellis' life in danger on a long shot.
  • When Sonny finds Archie in the limo dead, he has a meltdown. Most likely it's due to the similar events that happened in season 1's "Milk Run". In that episode, Eddie Rivers was also a young man caught up in drugs. Like Archie, Sonny gave Eddie his word that a deal will be given for his cooperation, only for his word to go unfulfilled because of Eddie's death.
  • Nick Corri (real name Jsu Garcia) returns in the season 4 episode "Badge of Dishonor".
  • This episode, like "Killshot", ends in a very violent and nihilistic way, with a major character in the episode getting killed.
  • Charles S. Dutton, a former convict turned actor, also played NYPD Lieutenant Pearson in the season 2 premiere, "The Prodigal Son".


  • Right before Ramirez's car is blown up, cables can be seen pulling the vehicle.
  • The ice cream truck driver loses his hat when he is set on fire, but it is back on his head when Crockett smothers the flames.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: August 13, 1986 - August 24, 1986
  • Production Code: 62001
  • Production Order: 51

Filming Locations

  • Espanola Way/Drexel Ave and Side street 100 Collins Court (Opening with Archie at Zodiac)
  • Shore of Miami River west of 2nd Ave, Miami (Opening titles)
  • 227 1st Street, Miami Beach (Drug house and shooting in alley)
  • Pierce Park, Oak Ave/Brooker Street, Coral Gables (Crockett/Tubbs meet Walker)
  • Bridge at S Miami Ave over Miami River/SE 5th Street (Stinger attack at cafe)
  • 110 Oak Ave, Coral Gables (Archie's house/Crockett throws football in trash)
  • 11th Street/Ocean Ct, Miami Beach (Walker is arrested)



  • "Man, oh, man, the sociology majors are out in full force tonight!" -- Crockett watching the streets
  • "Ever get the feeling your career has peaked?" -- Trudy to Gina after leading away a drunk who tries to urinate on their car
  • "By the time you have [Ellis] cuffed, I'll have finished reading the sports page." -- Tubbs to Crockett
  • "By the time you finish chasing [Rodriguez], I'll have [Ellis] cuffed!" -- Crockett to Tubbs in repsonse
  • "The last batch I tested was 80% pure heroin - ten times more than what kids need for their wonder years!"—Switek to Crockett
  • "I'd cut him a deal just so I wouldn't have to chase him!" -- Crockett after learning Ellis runs a 9.6 100 yard dash
  • "Fifteen years old, two inches of money, thinks he can buy the world!" -- Crockett about Walker
  • "You got a taste for the money, now you want to work for him." --Crockett to Ellis
Season 3 Episodes:

"When Irish Eyes Are Crying" "Stone's War" "Killshot" "Walk-Alone" "The Good Collar" "Shadow in the Dark" "El Viejo" "Better Living Through Chemistry" "Baby Blues" "Streetwise" "Forgive Us Our Debts" "Down for the Count (Part I)" "Down for the Count (Part II)" "Cuba Libre" "Duty and Honor" "Theresa" "The Afternoon Plane" "Lend Me an Ear" "Red Tape" "By Hooker by Crook" "Knock, Knock... Who's There?" "Viking Bikers from Hell" "Everybody's in Showbiz" "Heroes of the Revolution"