Miami Vice Wiki
The Prodigal Son


1 (23rd overall)
September 27, 1985
Repeat Airdate
March 23, 1986 (Sunday night)
TV Rating
TV-14 D-S-V
Guest Stars
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"The Prodigal Son" is the premiere episode of Miami Vice's second season. It premiered on September 27, 1985, and was rerun on March 23, 1986.

It was originally broadcast as an extended, two-hour episode, but is often split into two one-hour episodes for syndication.


Crockett and Tubbs head to New York to track down a Colombian drug family that is killing Federal agents, but find that they have enemies on both sides of the law.


Part I (Syndicated)

In Bogota, DEA agent Henry Drummond takes Crockett and Tubbs to a hideout of the local military. They have captured an informant who works for the Revilla Brothers' drug cartel, torturing him to find out their flight schedules. All they can get from him is that the Revillas' plane will be leaving out of a swamp, but not which one. The three cops find a torture chamber where the informant is subjected to electric shocks when he doesn't talk. Tubbs tries his hand with the informant but is thwarted by the soldiers; however, he is able to catch "Cross of Jesus" before Drummond forces them out. As they leave the hut the informant is executed.

At OCB, the Vice and DEA agents discuss the clue to Revilla's drop. Crockett mentions that years earlier he busted a Colombian who said his drop was called "Christ's Crossing", and they go with the assumption that it's the same location, in the Everglades. Castillo agrees to join DEA on the bust. They go to the Everglades and observe a boat bringing drugs to a plane. The police move in and a shootout results, killing most of the drug gang. An extensive search fails to turn up Miguel Revilla, who escapes. After the bust, Crockett and Tubbs go to a DEA party held by Drummond, but when they get there gunshots ring out. Drummond and two other agents are killed, Gina is badly wounded and rushed to the hospital, and Miguel - one of the shooters - escapes yet again.

Gina has surgery but it is too early to determine her condition. Miami DEA Commander Burr says the Revillas are not typical drug dealers - they grow, buy, import, market, and ship drugs themselves, profiting all the way with no middlemen to pay off. They have relocated to New York, where two more DEA agents have been killed. Burr wants the Revillas—who are in hiding due to all the heat on them—flushed out and eliminated. However, the DEA's security has been violated, possibly by a Revilla operative with access to files on all their agents. They recommend that two Miami Vice cops become big-time drug dealers in New York as a lure. Crockett and Tubbs go to see Newton Blade, the "Sears and Roebuck" of controlled substances, for a New York contact through which they can fence a load of cocaine that never made the police lockup; he recommends Jimmy Borges. Crockett and Tubbs go to the Big Apple and meet with NYPD Lieutenant Pearson, who resents their privileged presence and is very uncooperative until Crockett makes a phone call that causes him to become very cooperative. Tubbs goes looking for his former flame, Valerie Gordon, but only leaves a message. A hooker and a very blue man are causing trouble in the office until Tubbs lays the blue man out.

On his way to breakfast, Jimmy apologizes to Miranda about not getting her some "party favors." Crockett and Tubbs follow Jimmy to a diner, and he is reluctant to get involved until they mention the large load of cocaine they have to sell, with a fifty key cut for Jimmy. He promises to make a few calls and catch up with them later. That night, they meet at Club DEliRiOUS and get acquainted with Frank Sacco and his "girlfriend" Valerie. Crockett speaks with Sacco while Tubbs and Valerie dance. In the bathroom, Jimmy is warned by Gabriel (one of the Revilla gang) that he's making too many phone calls. Sacco is not "hungry" for cocaine because of the Revillas' command of the market, warning Crockett not to try and muscle in. Valerie tells Tubbs about the NYPD investigation of Sacco, and her role in it, while Tubbs tells her of DEA's problems with the Revillas. Sacco leaves, and Valerie thanks Crockett for siding with her after what went down in Miami.

While Tubbs and Valerie get re-acquainted, Crockett walks the streets of New York. Jimmy meets the Revillas, who warn him not to do business with "the Americans." Valerie gently rebuffs Tubbs' advances and leaves. Crockett meets a woman that caught his eye at DEliRiOUS in another bar, Margaret. She initially plays hard to get, but they share a cab and head to her studio for a night of lovemaking. Crockett wakes up the next morning and finds Margaret's studio is being set up for a gallery that night. Richard and his assistant jokingly refer to Crockett as "it," but Margaret is gone, having also stolen Crockett's sidearm. Tubbs, meanwhile, has found Valerie's (and Sacco's) apartment, but chooses to follow Valerie instead. Jimmy meets up with Crockett and Tubbs, nervous after talking with the Revillas. They shop around all the distributors Jimmy knows (with the Revilla's men following them), but no one is buying. A transvestite pusher and his partner sum it up for them: no one dares to cross the Revillas, at any price. Jimmy gives up and leaves, and NYPD suddenly shows up to acost Crockett and Tubbs, with Pearson gloating that the "hotshots from Miami" can't make good on delivery. Crockett and Tubbs pretend to back off, while they concoct a plan to disrupt the Revillas' supplies.

Part II (Syndicated)

They tell Jimmy of their plan at Club DEliRiOUS and increase his cut to 50% of the gross. Jimmy is still reluctant, until Gabriel attempts an ambush. Crockett and Tubbs shoot him and another thug down, and Jimmy, now knowing the stakes, tells them the Revillas' supply is delivered in Jackson Heights. Crockett goes to Margaret's studio to get his gun back, and she apologizes before tempting him into making dinner plans. Tubbs goes back to Valerie's place and confronts her about her role with Sacco, whom she is obviously sleeping with. Tubbs is angry that she hasn't been straight with him, whereas her sister was unafraid to admit she was turning tricks, prompting Valerie to slap him. Valerie says Sacco is good to her and she will move on him when she gets the order. Tubbs leaves in frustration. Crockett wakes up in Margaret's bed again (while she's on the phone with someone) and they confess their growing attraction to one another. Crockett and Tubbs follow the Revilla's shipment, steal it, and blow up their warehouse. Esteban Revilla is angered by this and decides to set up a meet with Crockett and Tubbs.

New York DEA Commander Rene is infuriated by the bombing and denounces Crockett and Tubbs as cowboys out to start a drug war. He, along with the NYPD, want to take over the investigation themselves, but are overruled by Burr's insistence and the impending meeting with the Revillas. They retaliate by refusing to provide backup, leaving Crockett and Tubbs to confront the Revillas alone. While Valerie watches Sacco have a meeting with Margaret and another man, Crockett and Tubbs go to see Jimmy, but they find him shot dead, and hitmen waiting for them. After a gunfight they split up, forced to flee from what they suspect to be an ambush set up by Sacco. Tubbs storms into Valerie's apartment, demanding she tell him why Sacco tried to kill them, and who tipped Sacco off. As Valerie tries to send him away, Sacco emerges and tries to kill Tubbs, who in turn shoots and kills Sacco. Tubbs is indifferent that he's blown a three-year investigation which never made a move against Sacco, but Valerie grabs a gun and throws him out, telling him to "talk to Crockett's friend Margaret" if he wants to know what happened.

Crockett and Tubbs confront Margaret (Tubbs found her number in Sacco's address book, backing Valerie's claim) and she reveals she is an information gatherer for dealers, businessmen, etc., but never intended to fall in love with the mark (Crockett). She refers them to a Wall Street banker named J.B. Johnston who, after reciting Crockett's and Tubbs' financial and credit histories, tells them his bank loaned a large sum of money to the Revillas; if they don't keep their loan agreement his bank would be devastated, which is why he and others like him are making sure that law enforcement doesn't stop the dealers from meeting those obligations. This includes ensuring no one will help Crockett and Tubbs when they need it most.

Crockett and Tubbs load up and head for the meet with the Revillas. Just as the Revillas start to get suspicious, Valerie shows up and a massive shootout entails. With her help they manage to kill everyone (including Miguel) except Esteban, who escapes to a helicopter with Crockett in pursuit. Crockett empties his gun into the helicopter, which goes out of control, crashes and explodes. The next morning Valerie and Tubbs make love, while Crockett packs up and heads to the airport for the flight to Miami. Tubbs comes running down (thinking he's late) and meets Crockett at the gate. They arrive back in Miami, everyone acting as if they never left, except for Gina, who, despite her arm in a sling, is expected to make a full recovery.


Guest Stars



  • Ken Ober as Taxi Driver
  • Vic Noto as Tubbs Connection


The Prodigal Son Part II Title

  • When aired in syndication, "The Prodigal Son" is aired as two parts instead of a single two hour episode (this is often the case for feature-length episodes of television shows). The pilot "Brother's Keeper" and the series finale "Freefall" are also split in this fashion. On and Peacock (and Hulu/Netflix when the streaming services carried Vice), "The Prodigal Son" is presented in two parts.
  • "The Prodigal Son" was repeated as the NBC Sunday Night Movie on March 23, 1986, the second time (of three total) that Vice aired on Sunday.

Miami Vice II VHS Cover

  • The episode was released in the late 1980s on VHS as a standalone "movie" called Miami Vice II: The Prodigal Son.
  • Sixteen actors received "guest stars" credits in this episode, more than any other episode of Vice. As of 2021, five of them have died (Peter Allen in 1993, Julian Beck in 1985 -- two weeks before the episode aired, his only TV appearance -- Charles Ludlam in 1987, Miguel Piñero in 1988, and Zoe Tamerlis in 1999). Additionally, Ken Ober (who died in 2009 and was most famous for his appearance in the game show Remote Control) appeared uncredited as the taxi driver waiting for Crockett and Margaret.
  • According to the E! True Hollywood Story, director Paul Michael Glaser suggested to Michael Mann that the second season opener needed to be another two-hour episode, like the pilot was, because the show was red-hot at the time. Mann agreed, and the episode was scripted as a two hour opener.
  • The opening scenes in the Colombian jungle were actually shot around Bear Mountain State Park, NY.
  • Pam Grier would return for a final time in the season 5 "lost" episode "Too Much, Too Late".
  • Once again, this episode features one of the leading duo becoming involved in a romantic relationship with a woman linked to the case that inevitably ends in heartbreak by the end of the episode, a recurring plot point in the series. After Tubbs fell into this trap twice in the previous season, Crockett finally gets his chance, falling for Margaret in New York, only to learn she is an informant working for the criminals he is after.
  • Among her possessions, Valerie has a photograph of herself, Tubbs and her now-deceased sister Diane, whose death was seen in "Rites of Passage" from season 1.
  • This is the only time in the entire series we see all the OCB main characters in police uniforms, as opposed to the undercover clothes they usually wear.
  • Miguel Piñero, who played Crockett's and Tubbs' nemesis Esteban Calderone, plays a Revilla brother (also named Esteban) in this episode. His hair is longer and he wears sunglasses to differentiate himself from his Calderone persona.
  • Jan Hammer's short music piece that plays after the informant is killed is repeated every time a player (either good or bad) is killed, and when Crockett and Tubbs blow up the Revilla's supply warehouse.
  • With 14 different songs used, this episode includes the most pop songs of any episode in the series (although it is surpassed by the Miami Vice film, which features 16 songs).
  • The stock shots of New York used when Crockett and Tubbs arrive include Trump Tower, Times Square and the old World Trade Center towers, the latter of which is the backdrop for the scene where Crockett shoots down the helicopter with Esteban Revilla on board.
  • Towards the end of the episode, Crockett promises J.B. Johnston he will eventually see him brought to justice for his crimes. However, Johnston never reappeared on the show and this threat is never followed up. This scenario occurred several times in Miami Vice, with other examples being Mario Fuente in "Payback" and Carlos Cantero in "Line of Fire". In the case of the character J.B. Johnston, the lack of a conclusion was inevitable, as actor Julian Beck died just months after the filming of "The Prodigal Son".
  • Penn Jillette's comedy/magician partner, Teller, would appear in season 4's "Like a Hurricane".
  • Bill Smitrovich previously played Scottie Wheeler in "Brother's Keeper". He is also one of several Miami Vice guest stars to appear in Michael Mann's 1986 film Manhunter, alongside Garcelle Beauvais (from "The Maze"), Bill Cwikowski (from "No Exit"), Chris Elliott (from "Down for the Count (Part II)"), Dennis Farina (from "One Eyed Jack", "Lombard" and "World of Trouble"), Kim Griest (from "Nobody Lives Forever"), Michele Shay (from "Theresa" and "Badge of Dishonor") and Jim Zubiena (from "Calderone's Return (Part I)"). Miami Vice regular Michael Talbott also had a small role in the film, although his single scene was deleted from the theatrical cut of the movie.
  • Scenes from this episode (mainly the ending where Crockett shoots down the helicopter and when the Revilla warehouse is blown up) were used in the music video for "Miami Vice Theme" by Jan Hammer. Many of the shots of New York buildings were used in the music video for "Crockett's Theme".
  • This episode features two of Crockett's rare trips out of state on Miami Vice. Over the course of the series, he also travelled to Saint Andrews Island (in "Calderone's Return (Part II)"), Los Angeles (in "Rock and a Hard Place") and Costa Morada (in "Freefall"), as well as additional trips to Colombia in "Smuggler's Blues" and New York in "Heroes of the Revolution". He also mentions trips to Orlando and Atlanta that happen off-screen.
  • While the streets of New York City did not abound with pastel colors of their own, the producers managed to stay true to the show's pastel color scheme by having actors and extras wear pastel clothing in exterior shots, or in one case by painting the side wall of a building (where Jimmy Borges lives) pink, akin to the approach of repainting entire hotel facades in South Miami Beach.


  • When Crockett is talking to Tubbs as they wait for the pickup in the Everglades, it is just possible to make out Tubbs' lips moving at the edge of the screen as he replies, yet his response is not actually heard until the camera cuts a few seconds later.
  • Tubbs fires three shots off the balcony at the escaping Colombian hitman after the DEA party is hit, yet his gun is visibly not firing at the time.
  • When Lieutenant Pearson is complaining about having to babysit a couple of "Vice cops", his dialogue has clearly been dubbed over as his words do not match the movement of his lips. The original line was "Miami Cowboys".
  • Just after Tubbs explains what the acronym T-U-B-B-S stands for over the phone, we see Pearson head out of his office, at which point Tubbs can be seen to the left of frame with no sign of the phone he should be holding. The next shot then shows Tubbs hanging up the phone.
  • Gabriel refers to Crockett and Tubbs as "Burton and Cooper" when Jimmy is speaking to the Revillas in their car outside Club DEliRiOUS, yet Crockett actually uses his typical Burnett alias while in New York. It is possible Gabriel is simply meant to be mistaken, given that Burnett and Cooper have only just got into town and that he has never actually met them.
  • When Crockett spots Gabriel in Club DEliRiOUS, he calls out to Tubbs to warn him, using Tubbs' real name. As far as Jimmy is concerned, Tubbs is a drug dealer named Cooper, yet he never questions Crockett calling him by another name.
  • During the attempted hit at Club DEliRiOUS, Crockett manages to squeeze off thirteen shots from his Detonics Combatmaster without reloading, despite the fact his pistol only has a maximum capacity of seven rounds (six in the magazine plus one in the chamber).
  • When Crockett and Tubbs are seen pulling up in the yellow Cadillac outside Jimmy's place, Tubbs visibly bumps into the camera as he tries to squeeze past and head round the car into the building.
  • During the climactic gunfight, Tubbs empties his five-shot revolver before dropping it and switching to his shotgun, but after running across the fountain he draws his revolver again, without having picked it up or reloaded it.
  • The debris that lands around Crockett after he shoots down the helicopter rather obviously consists of torn pieces of paper and not parts of an actual helicopter.

Deleted Scenes

In the two-part version of this episode the following scenes are deleted, likely for time purposes to ensure the two parts fit into two standard-length instalments:

Part I

  • The scene where Tubbs lays out the Blue Wacko
  • The lines "You're a poet, Rico" and "And my momma knows it!" after Crockett & Tubbs deliver the "If the supplier can't deliver..." line

Part II

  • When Crockett and Tubbs arrive at Jimmy Borges place (when they find him dead) the brief scene when Crockett plays with the robot. They also significantly cut the shootout.
  • A brief scene where Tubbs is reading the paper and Crockett is on the phone in their hotel room before they meet with Commander Rene
  • Tubbs letting Crockett know about "bad news" involving Margaret, then part of the scene with Crockett, Tubbs, and Margaret (after Sacco's death) where Crockett compares his relationship with Margaret to a public toilet (among other things)

Production Notes

  • Filmed: June 19, 1985 - July 15, 1985
  • Production Number: 60013
  • Production Order: 23

Filming Locations

  • Bear Mountain State Park, New York State (Crockett/Tubbs/Drummond in Colombia)
  • Everglades (Drug raid)
  • Beach House Hotel 9449 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbor (Crockett/Tubbs arrive for party/shootout)
  • Jockey Club Marina, 11111 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami (Newton Blade's yacht)
  • E 56th St and Madison Avenue (Crockett looks at woman)
  • Park Avenue and E 54th Street Interchange, Manhattan (Crockett/Tubbs arrive in New York)
  • Square Diner (Crockett/Tubbs/Jimmy at diner)
  • Moondance Diner 6th Ave Manhattan (Crockett/ Tubbs are stopped by police)
  • East of Madison Avenue between 37th and 38th Street, New York City (Esteban Revilla looks out balcony)
  • Northeast corner of Park and 40th Street, Manhattan/New York City (Crockett/Tubbs/Burr argue with Rene/Pearson)
  • W 43rd Street (Crockett/Margaret taking taxi, later Tubbs on phone box)
  • 219 West Broadway, Manhattan (Jimmy Borges' Apartment)
  • W 64th-66th Street/Broadway (Crockett fleeing Sacco's hitmen)
  • Gramercy House, 235 E22nd St, Manhattan (Valerie's Apartment)
  • Chrysler Building, 405 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan (Banker Johnston's office, although the calling card, Margaret gives to Crockett, says '111 Park Avenue')
  • Battery Park Development, Robert F. Wagner Park and South of Battery Place, Manhattan (Crockett shoots helicopter down with World Trade Center in background)
  • The Mayflower Hotel, 15 Central Park West, Manhattan (Crockett leaves hotel for airport)


Jan Hammer Music

  • "Colombia" (Opening in Colombia)
  • "New York Theme" (Crockett/Tubbs first arrive in New York, later en route to visit Johnston)
  • "Tubbs and Valerie" (Tubbs in Valerie's hotel room, later Crockett/Tubbs arm up to meet Esteban Revilla)


  • "Welcome to the third-world!" -- Drummond to Crockett and Tubbs in Bogota
  • "Este es nuestro pais; estas son nuestras leyes." (This is our country; these are our laws.) - Colombian Military Squad Leader
  • "Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Colombia, Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Everglades... bet I've soaked more swamp than Elvis!" -- Crockett hiding in the Glades waiting for the Revillas
  • "Miami might be paradise, but now you're looking into the core of civilization!" -- Tubbs to Crockett about New York City
  • "Are you crazy, we're looking into gridlock! -- Crockett in response
  • "That's Tubbs, T-U-B-B-S, Tough, Unique, Bad, Bold, and Sassy!" -- Tubbs leaving a message for Valerie
  • "You're making too many phone calls!" "You're hitting your shoes!" -- Gabriel and Jimmy Borges in the men's room
  • "I love an adventure... Besides you get the check!" -- Crockett to Tubbs at Club DEliRiOUS
  • Crockett: "If the supplier can't deliver..." Tubbs: "Then the Revillas' customers start to shiver!"
  • "That was uncool, lady. That was major uncool!" -- Crockett to Margaret about taking his gun
  • Margaret to Crockett: "I love guns." Crockett to Margaret: "I don't. . . . It's just business. I don't get off on it, and when it's over I try not to think about it."
  • "I can't touch you, I know that. Too many roadblocks, politics, favors. But you're dirty, ace, and I'm patient!" -- Crockett to Johnston
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"