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The Lost Madonna


14 (104th Overall)
March 17, 1989
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Guest Stars
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"The Lost Madonna" is the fourteenth episode of Miami Vice's fifth season. It premiered on March 17, 1989.


Crockett and Tubbs help an NYPD detective recover a piece of 15th-century art worth millions.


The Vice team watch a pier owned by a dealer named Joey Scianti for a freighter coming in for a man named Arroyo with a $20 million load inside. Stanley Costa shows up at the pier followed by Scianti and Arroyo's men. Sicanti tells Arroyo's men they can't use the pier for their drop and they leave unhappy. Costa stays and talks about beautiful women. Sal Castelli takes a bag with his cousin Scianti and leaves. Crockett moves in to arrest Costa as he loads two plastic bags into a pick up truck, but when two cats jump at Crockett, Costa opens fire. Tubbs appears behind Costa and he and Crockett shoot him down and then check his two bags in the truck where they are surprised to find two old paintings instead of the drugs they were expecting.

At OCB, NYPD Detective Jeffrey Whitehead, who is in charge of the NYPD art thefts unit, lets the team know that he was on the trail of the

Madonna of the Spirits

artwork recovered the previous night. Castillo explains that Scianti's father Albert was the mastermind of an art theft in Paris seven years ago and the two pictures found were part of the 15th century triptych The Madonna of the Spirits. Whitehead believes Joey Scianti drove off with the centerpiece, The Madonna. The entire set (including Joey's piece) could be worth $17 million and Whitehead wants a press blackout to ensure the possibility of recovery for The Madonna. Castillo grants a 36 hour blackout.

Castelli and Scianti are looking for Costa (they do not know Costa was killed) and the Madonna. They conclude he ran off with the Madonna to sell it himself. Scianti decides not to inform his father of the mising art work as he knows he will not take it well.

Back at OCB, Whitehead tries to educate Tubbs and Crockett about art but Crockett is very skeptical. Tubbs is appreciative of the art, and Whitehead displays a copy of a Kostabi painting that can get Crockett and Tubbs in to see Scianti. Scianti and his father (along with Castelli) have lunch where the son lies to his father that he has the paintings. A sucpicious Albert wants his son to sell the Madonnas to a Greek buyer for $17 million. Tubbs (as Cooper, an art professor) heads to Scianti's museum and meets Julia Scianti and they have an extensive art discussion.  Tubbs then offers the Kostabi painting to Julia for $250,000 and sets up a meet later that afternoon with Joey and Castelli where the exchange is made. Joey recognizes Sonny (as Burnett) as a friend of the missing Costa. Afterwards they talk about Crockett and Tubbs working with Costa, and they think they may have the Madonna.

Tubbs, the Sciantis and Castelli attend an art auction where they buy the Kostabi for $110,000 in order to make the transfer legitimate. Julia invites Tubbs and Crockett to an art party where she questions Crockett about his history in the art world. Crockett and Tubbs follow Joey, where they overhear a discussion between Joey and Nikos Plato, the Greek buyer of the Madonna. Crockett leaves to run down Nikos while Tubbs stays at the party. He lets Joey know that he has a very wealthy buyer for the Madonna, if he's interested.

Back at OCB, Crockett wants the press blackout lifted so Nikos will be scared off and force the Scianti's to sell to Tubbs. But Whitehead wants it left in place, saying the Sciantis will sit on the Madonna rather than sell with the publicity, and says the Vice cops are amateurs. Castillo agrees to lift the blackout. At his cover house, Tubbs has two visitors, Joey and Castelli, who think he has the two paintings. Joey sends Castelli to "take care" of Tubbs, but just then Joey hears the news report confirming the police have the paintings. Tubbs suddenly appears to calmly tell Joey that he knocked out Castelli and Joey tells him that he just heard the news about the paintings.

At OCB Tubbs gets rough with a pompous Whitehead over his near death experience the night before. As Crockett predicted, Nikos backs out of the Madonna deal and his muscle knocks Castelli and Scianti around. Joey realizes that his father will kill them if they do not find another buyer. Whitehead wants $11 million in flash money for the Madonna, but his superiors refuse. Crockett suggests using four pounds of herion from evidence instead since the Sciantis are primarily drug dealers. Whitehead requests that Castillo place him in charge of the operation and Tubbs sets up the deal with Joey for that afternoon. Julia is disgusted that her brother and cousin are considering trading the Madonna for drugs; that it shows they have no appreciation for fine art.

The team (with Whitehead) are in position at Tubbs' cover house for the meet with Joey and Castelli. After Joey inspects the herion, he and Whitehead go out to Joey's car to get the Madonna. Suddenly, Whitehead knocks Joey out and snatches the Madonna while he dispatches the detectives inside claiming an officer is down. Joey comes to and sees Whitehead drive off with the Madonna and he follows him in his car.

They take Castinelli into custody and go after Whitehead (who planned this from the beginning). Crockett concludes he is heading for a cruise ship. Whitehead arrives at the Port of Miami, with Scianti in pursuit. Crockett, Tubbs and Switek arrive as well. Crockett spots Whitehead disguised as a Jamaican but loses him in the crowd. Scianti catches him on the ground floor and Whitehead shoots him down and runs off. Crockett and Tubbs catch him, but in the process the Madonna is broken. Turns out the Madonna he had was fake and the real one was in the hands of Julia who was with a drunken Sigmar, a fellow artist. After Crockett explains how he knew Julia had the original, she tries to stab Crockett. Crockett tells Julia the story of the artist of the Madonna. She then offers him $8 million to drop the matter, but Crockett arrests her instead. 


Guest Stars



  • The Colonnade Hotel (where Crockett and Tubbs meet with the Sciantis) still exists in Coral Gables, now owned by the Starwood Hotel Chain, under the Westin brand.
  • An instrumental 'extension' of the Eric Clapton song "She's Waiting" can be heard near the end of the episode, played by studio musicians. Jan Hammer previously mimicked popular songs in a similar fashion in the episodes "No Exit" and "Better Living Through Chemistry".
  • Shortly after this episode was filmed, NBC announced the cancellation of Miami Vice.
  • Lucy Lammermoor is said to be the artist who created the all-white "painting" -- Lucia di Lammermoor is a famous "arty" opera with a tragic ending for the main prima donna, like Julia.
  • This episode was one of three featured in a phone-in poll, held during the airing of the "lost" episode "Leap of Faith", that allowed viewers to determine which Vice episode would be repeated on July 5, 1989 (replacing the NBC-rejected "Too Much, Too Late"). The other episodes included in the poll were "Bad Timing" and "Jack of All Trades" (which won).
  • This is one of several episodes which does not end on a freeze frame, although the final shot is stationary footage of the Madonna.


  • During the shootout you can see the prop blood on back of his jacket, before he is shot. Stanley is shot three times, but has four wounds. In the cut back to Stanley, after looking at the art, you can see him breathing.

Production Notes

  • Filmed: January 26, 1989 - February 3, 1989
  • Production Code: 63914
  • Production Order: 104

Filming Locations

  • Merrill Stevens Bayshore, 2640 Bayshore Dr, Coconut Grove (Opening deal with Scianti and Castelli)
  • Hughes Medical Foundation Estate, 3645 Main Hwy, Coconut Grove (Palm Beach Villa, Art Party, Joey's car interior/exterior)
  • Omni Colonnade Hotel, 180 Aragon Avenue/PonceDe Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, Rotunda and 10th floor/pool area and 15th floor presidential suite (Crockett/Tubbs negotiate with Scianti, Art Auction, Scianti Villa, Art Gallery, Julia's loft)
  • 3593 Anchorage Way, Coconut Grove (Nikos house)
  • Passenger Terminal Pier#12, Dante B. Fascell Port of Miami-Dade (Cruise port and warehouse)


Tim Truman Music

  • "She's Waiting" (Whitehead fleeing from cruise port)


  • "That's so pure I can't even find it!" -- Crockett to Whitehead after viewing Lucy Lammermoor's painting of absolutely nothing
  • "I almost got planted in a body bag off I-95, so save the Masterpiece Theatre act! -- Tubbs to Whitehead
  • "That's real blood, man!" -- Scianti to Whitehead, before he dies
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"