This Week In Miami Vice History
September 16th - September 22nd:
"Brother’s Keeper", The 1st episode of the 1st season, premiered on NBC on Sunday, September 16th, 1984 at 9PM EDT. Some notes on this episode (from Miami Vice Wiki):
* When aired in syndication, “Brother’s Keeper” is aired as two parts, instead of a single, two-hour episode. Strangely, this is how the episode is presented on the UK DVD releases, despite the fact that the other feature-length episodes from the series (“The Prodigal Son” and “Freefall”) are presented in their original, double-length form and the DVD releases in other regions have the pilot as a single episode.
* This episode has had the greatest number of tiles of any episode in the series. Originally, when in production, it was titled “Gold Coast.” After NBC executives came up with the title for the show, for the initial premiere airing, it was changed to simply “Miami Vice.” When it went into syndication, it received it’s now official title of “Brother’s Keeper.” It was also released on home video as “Miami Vice: The Movie” in 1985. Hulu and the Centric Channel list the episode as “Brother’s Keeper - Pilot”, while the UK DVD set splits the episode into two parts and labels them as “Pilot (Part I)/(Part II)”. Netflix also lists the episode in two parts as “Brother’s Keeper (Part I)/(Part II)”.
* This episode aired on Sunday night before the show moved to its normal Friday night, 10pm time slot. It aired again on Sunday, July 28, 1985, as the NBC Sunday Movie of the Week and had higher Nielsen ratings than its’ initial repeat in January, 1985.
* The title cards for Part I and II are in a different font style and size than during the series proper, as a result of them being added just prior to the episode going into syndication.
* The so-called “In the Air Tonight” scene, where Crockett and Tubbs drive through the Miami night to meet Calderone with the action set to the Phil Collins song of the same name, is often listed as one of television’s greatest moments.
* The scene where the team plans the bust together is a staple of the early episodes, but was phased out as the first season progressed.
* When presenting the transfer order to the guard at the suburban jail, Crockett refers to Calderone as “Orlando Calderone” (the drug lord’s name was changed to Esteban Calderone in subsequent episodes). Orlando was later resurrected for Esteban’s son (played by John Leguizamo in “Sons and Lovers” and “The Afternoon Plane”). There are also discrepancies in how the drug lord’s surname is spelled throughout the series, with some instances spelling it Calderone (technically, the Italian spelling of the name and therefore unlikely to be adopted by a Central/South American drug lord) and others spelling in Calderon (the anglicized version of the Spanish spelling, Calderón).
* Crockett uses his Daytona’s car phone for the first time, which was a novelty in 1984.
* The Carlyle Hotel Condo (which Crockett and Rivera are standing in front of at the episode’s beginning) still exists and was featured in the movies “Scarface”, “Bad Boys” and “The Birdcage.”
* Martin Ferrero would return in several episodes throughout the series as Izzy Moreno, Crockett and Tubbs’ street informant and the only character outside of the principle cast to appear in every season.
* Olivia Brown is listed as a guest star in the pilot, though in the series her name will appear between John Diehl and Gregory Sierra/Edward James Olmos’ names in the opening credits.
* This was Jimmy Smits’ acting debut. He would later come to prominence on “L.A. Law” and “N.Y.P.D. Blue.”
* The video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City”, amongst its many references to “Miami Vice”, features two gangs dressed as extras from the scene in which Tubbs arrives in Miami.
* Crockett’s gun in this episode is a Browning BDA in .45 ACP. The BDA was actually a SIG Sauer P220 that was branded as the BDA by Browning, who were responsible for importing it into the United States. Once the show was picked up, Crockett’s weapon was changed to a Dornaus & Dixon Bren Ten in 10mm Auto, which it would remain for the first two seasons. Various reasons for the change are cited, including the silver finish of the Bren Ten showing up better during night filming, or Michael Mann’s preference for the Bren Ten’s “flashier” styling, which he felt was better suited to a supposed drug dealer.
* The version of the “Miami Vice Theme” used in the opening credits is incorrectly mixed and is missing the distinctive synthesized guitar hook. The problem occurs in every episode up to “Calderone’s Return (Part I)”. This was not corrected on the DVD releases of the show, despite being acknowledged as an error by producers. The same problem with the “Miami Vice Theme” occurs during the chase scene between Crockett (in the Camaro) and Tubbs (in Crockett’s Stinger).
* In his hotel room, Tubbs gets a call to make the deal, while on the bed are guns and an open briefcase full of cash. The shot suddenly changes to a close-up of Tubbs on the phone, then shows the bed again and the briefcase is suddenly closed, then Tubbs opens it to check the cash.
* 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 installments:
-The scene where Crockett explains to Tubbs why Elvis is “ticking.”
-Part of Crockett’s briefing where he explains when the bust goes down (“Big hand on the 12, little hand on the 6”).
-Part of Crockett talking to Gina about their night of passion, after Gina confesses that Crockett whispered “Caroline” into her ear.
* This episode was filmed March 5, 1984 - April 5, 1984, with a Production Budget of $5,000,000.