The Rising Sun of Death
9 (77th Overall)
December 4, 1987
May 27, 1988
The Yakuza is present in Miami, but Castillo's investigation is complicated by the arrival of a Japanese investigator.
An executive, W. Colton Avery, has dinner with three Japanese men in regards to a business transaction. Riochi Tanaka, invites Avery to relax, and introduces him to Agawa, who takes Avery to a strip club. While lounging in a hot tub with two Japanese women, Avery is drowned by Agawa.
Crockett and Caitlin are house shopping, and they find one owned by a Colombian with legal problems, which they can get for less than a million dollars. Castillo calls in to have Crockett and Tubbs join him at the marina, where they have found a floater—Avery. His high-tech plant in Lauderdale was supposed to be a co-venture with the Japanese. Vice is involved because Avery's associates allegedly have ties with the yakuza, and Castillo wants them found out. Commissioner Vasquez and Homicide Sergeant Ernest Haskell address the press before conferring at the morgue with Castillo, who indicates he has nothing on the killing yet. Vasquez is highly concerned about the effect this will have on his upcoming election, as he is running for mayor. The coroner determines Avery died in freshwater, though he was pulled out of a saltwater bay, indicating he was dumped there. Haskell seems anxious to write the case off as a drunk who fell overboard, but Vasquez wants to hear Castillo's take; Castillo asks for 48 hours before turning it over to Haskell.
The team reviews Tanaka's file, finding he was accused of war crimes by General McArthur after World War II but never tried. He is now head of the 14th largest corporation in Japan, though INTERPOL has tied him into the Yakuza. Castillo wants Crockett and Tubbs to check out Avery's office for any tie-ins to Tanaka. Two Japanese men are busy ransacking the office and breaking into a safe. When Crockett and Tubbs arrive they find the security guard dead, and Crockett sees on a security monitor that the men are escaping through the garage. They give chase and a gunfight breaks out in the street. Suddenly another man shows up in a Firebird and shoots down one Yakuza thug before chasing the other off. Crockett finds a business card for Kenji Fujitsu, Private Investigator, and he and Tubbs wonder what a Japanese PI is doing in Miami.
Castillo confirms the Yakuza presence after viewing the body. The Yakuza began appearing in Hawaii three years earlier, after the government began breaking up the crime families using RICO lawsuits; the Japanese are moving in to fill the void. The Yakuza work every market they can to make a profit, including guns, prostitution, drugs, and murder. The most feared clan are the Sumiroshi-gumi, and the dead man has their tattoo on his body. Tanaka informs Agawa that Fujitsu has made his men look foolish, and they need to save face. One of the thugs atones for this humiliation and prevents disgrace by performing yubitsume (cutting off his little finger).
After Crockett confers with Caitlin about buying the house (and making sure she gets the name right on the Burnett line), he and Tubbs head to OCB where Castillo has gathered information on Fujitsu - he was the most highly-decorated man in the Japanese police force until he attacked Agawa (owner of steakhouses and lacking a no criminal record) without provocation, and hasn't been seen until now. Castillo decides they haven't got time to track him down, choosing instead to focus on the Yakuza. Apparently they have a command of the brothels in Miami, called "dating clubs", and Castillo assigns Gina and Trudy to find one locally that needs employees. Vasquez informs Castillo his 48 hours are up; Castillo requests two more days, claiming his hunch could lead to national or even international publicity, and Vasquez is swayed. With Fujitsu and Crockett/Tubbs watching, Gina and Trudy get in to see Agawa about an ad for jobs. At Agawa's club, Haskell meets with him for a payoff, but recognizes Trudy on stage and informs Agawa.
Haskell has Gina and Trudy tied up in Agawa's place, but Agawa shows displeasure at his presence and has him tied up as well. The Vice team is outside when a satellite truck shows up along with Vasquez, desperate for exposure with the upcoming election. Castillo is irritated by this but has Switek activate Trudy's beeper (pre-arranged) and turn on the speaker, over which Vasquez hears Haskell trying to negotiate with Agawa. Castillo threatens to play the conversation over the loudspeaker unless Vasquez allows them to do their work. He backs off, and Crockett and Tubbs enter the club; Fujitsu is already inside, killing a couple of Agawa's men before escaping, leaving Crockett and Tubbs to find Haskell in a compromising position. Castillo finds that the Japanese were using fronts to buy up large amounts of Avery stock in anticipation of a hostile takeover; Avery got wind of it and blocked the merger, which led to the need for his murder. Fujitsu is discovered to have been working for Tanaka all along, leaving everyone confused as to why he is killing off Tanaka's men.
Castillo has a late night visitor, Fujitsu, who explains his rationale for turning against Tanaka. After World War II, Tanaka was sprung from jail to stop the communists and their labor movement, and he used the yakuza to accomplish this. Fujitsu, a nationalist, wants him because people in his organization feel he's unstable, and he has approached Castillo because of Haskell, who was Tanaka's control officer in OSS (the group that got Tanaka sprung from prison). Fujitsu was also once a Sumiroshi-gumi and a friend of Agawa, before Agawa went over to Tanaka's side.
Castillo goes to see Tanaka and Agawa to "pick up where Haskell finished" by bringing them Fujitsu. Tanaka wants Fujitsu killed when he is brought and have it set up to look like he murdered Avery for profit. Agawa, though reluctant, confronts Fujitsu and they engage in a Japanese Samurai fight; Fujitsu gains the advantage and is about to deliver the finishing blow when Castillo intervenes, wanting Fujitsu to let Agawa live with the agony of his disgrace rather than die in honor. Castillo and Fujitsu (Crockett and Tubbs right behind them) return to Tanaka's, but arrive to witness Tanaka committing seppuku, taking his own life in the Yakuza way.
- Don Johnson as Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett
- Philip Michael Thomas as Metro-Dade Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
- Saundra Santiago as Metro-Dade Detective Gina Calabrese
- Michael Talbott as Metro-Dade Detective Stan Switek
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- R. Lee Ermey as Metro-Dade Homicide Sergeant Ernest Haskell
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Kenji Fujitsu
- Danny Kamekoma as Agawa
- James Hong as Riochi Tanaka
- Sheena Easton as Caitlin Davies
- Amazing Grace as Band
- Eddie Yoshimura, C. Shick Park, Damian Chuck, and Cheung Y. Park as Yakuzas
- Dennis Dylan Jones as Dr. Dees
- Roger Pretto as Commissioner Vasquez
- Lew Wood as W. Colton Avery
- This is the first of several episodes in season 4 and season 5 where politics play a role in investigating and solving crimes; more often than not, political interference is portrayed as being counteractive to investigations.
- The first scene after the opening credits, showing Crockett and Caitlin house-hunting, was actually filmed for the episode "Love at First Sight", but was subsequently edited into this episode to give Sheena Easton more appearances throughout the season.
- Castillo continues his habit of sleeping at OCB after hours, as he has done in previous episodes.
- The casting selections for the Japanese characters in this episode are curious to say the least. Asians maintain very distinct and separate national cultures; the Yakuza are a Japanese organization, and therefore it is very unlikely that anyone not of Japanese descent would be a member. However, two of the actors portraying Yakuza are Koreans (Cheung Y. Park and C. Shick Park), one is Caucasian (Damian Chuck), while only one is actually Japanese (Eddie Yoshimura). Also, the actor who plays the Japanese Riochi Tanaka (James Hong) is of Chinese descent. This kind of inaccurate ethnic casting was rampant in American cinema in the 1980s and persists to varying degrees today.
- Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa would go on to appear with Don Johnson as a fellow cast member on Nash Bridges.
- Haskell is seen wearing a "Vasquez Mayor '88" badge while on duty. In reality, the Hatch Act prevents U.S. government employees from participating in partisan political activity while on duty.
- When Crockett and Tubbs take off in Crockett's Testarossa after the Yakuza goons leaving Avery's office, the lower part of the Ferrari's rear bumper is missing. However, when they stop the hitmen and the shooting starts, it's back in place.
- In the morgue after the shootout in the street, Castillo identifies the Yakuza group they are dealing with as the "Sumiroshi-gumi". However, the Japanese characters on the tattoo of the deceased gang member actually read Yamaguchi-gumi, which is a real Yakuza organization, the largest organized crime syndicate in Japan. Additionally, the Japanese characters on the corpse are shown upside-down. Later representations of the symbol, such as in the club and on the table in front of Tanaka at the end of the episode, are shown the correct way up.
- When Agawa and Fujitsu are fighting their duel, Agawa blocks one of Fujitsu's strikes by holding his sword aloft with one hand on the hilt and the other on the blade, supporting it. However, in the very next shot, both of his hands are on the hilt. Moreover, katana blades are sharpened on both sides, thus holding the sword in the fashion shown would cause Agawa to slice open his own palm, which does not happen.
- Filmed: October 7, 1987 - October 16, 1987
- Production Number: 63506
- Production Order: 77
- Gulf Atlantic Warehouse, 1901 NW 7th Ave, Miami (Kobekai Club exterior)
- China Club, 1450 Collins Ave, Miami Beach (Kobekai Club interior)
- Greenburg Traurig Building, 1221 Brickell Avenue, Miami (AveryTec Building, interior/exterior)
- Villa Ipa, 3715 Main Highway, Coconut Grove (Tanaka's house, Commissioner's office, Yakuza HQ)
- Villa Vizcaya, 3252 S.Miami Ave, Coconut Grove (Sword fight)
- Southside Coffee Shop, 1040 S. Miami Ave, Miami (Coffee shop)
- "Flesh for Fantasy" by Billy Idol (at strip club)
- "Si Senor the Hairy Grill" by Yello (Crockett and Tubbs go to Avery's office and during shootout)
- "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" by The Smiths (at strip club)
- "Moon on Ice" by Yello (Crockett and Tubbs enter club to get Trudy and Gina)
- "You don't know how nice it is in these postcrash times to meet a couple that won't need a mortgage!" -- Rita Van Weens to Crockett and Caitlin
- "You notice these guys don't drive Japanese!" -- Crockett noticing the Japanese men driving a Mercedes
- "In America, you have arrest and trial. The Yakuza have their own justice!" -- Fujitsu
| 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"