Miami Vice: Season 4 - Review
Review by Jack Foley
THE sheen was starting to come off Miami Vice by the time it reached its fourth season, which proved a decidedly hit-and-miss affair.
For starters, the show’s keen sense of style began to look a little wayward as Don Johnson’s Sonny Crockett was now sporting longer hair and Philip Michael Thomas’s Ricardo Tubbs grew a beard.
Season 4 was also notable for being the one that Crockett got a wife – but even that choice proved awkward given that she was played by singer Sheena Easton (in a none too convincing style).
Several of the episodes were also below par in comparison to the show’s previous high standards, including Trudy’s entirely forgettable encounter with a UFO in Missing Hours, Tubbs’ run-in with TV evangelists in Amen… Send Money and Izzy’s encounter with some cattle and Cuban Communists in The Cows Of October.
However, the season did deliver some memorable episodes and when it stuck to the hard-hitting format of days gone by, it remained one of the best shows on television in its era.
Season opener Contempt Of Court, for instance, featured a memorable opponent for Crockett and Tubbs in the form of Frank Mosca, played with relish by the ever-excellent Stanley Tucci. The same actor would reprise his role later in the series for the equally compelling Blood & Roses.
Strong, too, was another trip into the ultra dark side in Death & The Lady, which found Crockett becoming obsessed with solving a possible snuff movie. It featured another noteable guest appearance from CSI star Paul Guilfoyle.
And stand-alone episodes such as Baseballs Of Death, Badge Of Dishonour and Child’s Play also delivered the usual satisfying mix of tough storylines and stylish action.
The second half of the season, however, was largely taken up with Crockett’s marriage – some of which appeared downright cringe-worthy.
The opening episode of the marriage story arc, Love At First Sight, was largely forgettable, while Crockett’s attempts to mix his undercover work with his wife’s celebrity often struck a duff note (such as Rock & A Hard Place).
But the resolution of Crockett’s marriage did lay the foundations for a memorable season finale and, arguably, one of the best Miami Vice episodes of all time – namely, Deliver Us From Evil.
The episode in question saw the return of one of Crockett’s oldest enemies (Buy Boyd’s ruthless Frank Hackman) and ensured plenty of torment for the lead character, which Don Johnson chronicled extremely well (especially during the shocking closing minutes) when he finally gained his revenge.
Come the final episode, Mirror Image, in which the still suffering Crockett almost perishes in a boating explosion only to recover and believe himself to be his alter-ego, Sonny Burnett, the show looked set to go into an intriguing new direction.
Mirror Image even boasted several eye-opening guests, including Antonio Fargas (old Huggy Bear himself), Chris Cooper and, most notably, Julia Roberts (in a very youthful appearance).
Sadly, however, the sense that the show was running out of steam was confirmed when the next season became its last. For die-hard fans, however, Season 4 had enough highlights to be worth owning.