Discovering Miami Vice

Miami Vice one

Dedicated television viewers know that there will always be shows that everyone wants you to watch, either it’s a cult show, a show that ended way before it’s time, or seems to grab everyone’s attention but yours. However many viewers find themselves stumbling upon these shows either years later or late into a shows run. I’ve compiled a list of ten shows, published once a week, that have become classics or are on their way to doing so and have recently been discovered by this writer.

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Miami Vice
Created by Anthony Yerkovich
Original Run 1984-1989

I actually have a good reason for not discovering Miami Vice until just a few months ago. I wasn’t actually born when it started and I was only a year old when it ended. What I don’t have is a good excuse as to why I actually chose to dust off the series and give it a shot. I can say though, that I am more than happy I did.

The show begins when New York detective Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs (Paul Michael Thomas) arrives in Miami to seek revenge for his brother’s death at the hands of a Columbian drug dealer that Miami Vice Squad detective James “Sonny” Crockett (Don Johnson) is also investigating in the murder of his partner. Rico ends up staying behind and the two partner up to work for the vice squad.

Too say I was surprised by Miami Vice is an understatement. I’d heard other people talk about it and I was convinced I was in for a dated and campy cop show. I wasn’t wrong. There are definitely elements that are way over the top and the show has certainly aged but what shocked me the most was that once you cut through all the pastel and boat shoes there’s no denying that Miami Vice had some fascinating episodes.

Miami Vice one

The pilot, a particular standout, is a moody, effecting, quick and very well acted introduction. I was also impressed with, Out where the buses don’t run, the third episode of the second season. It was as challenging and heartbreaking as anything I’ve ever seen on recent television and the ending still manages to pop into my head even months later.

I grew up in the 90s so the only real memory I have of Don Johnson was the sketchy CBS cop show Nash Bridges and more recently in Django Unchained after watching Miami Vice it’s not hard to see why Johnson in those Armani blazers and Ray Bans is still a pop culture touchstone. His Sonny is easily one of the most compelling and intricately drawn characters to reach the screen.

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On the list of shows of I’ve discovered Miami Vice is easily one of my favorites. If you’ve never seen it set aside your previous notions and seek it out and if it’s been years it’s an effortlessly fun and intriguing show that paved the way for many shows that followed.

Tressa Eckermann



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