Miami Vice S1E5: Calderone’s Return: Part 2 – Calderone’s Demise

They make some strange budget choices on this show. The episode starts out with some beautiful footage of the cigarette boat in the ocean. It was shot aerially, which in 1984 means by helicopter. Then they slapped together a montage of reused footage several minutes long to fill time. They figured out how to combine a car chase with machine gun shooting, dropped a car in the water, but then finished it off with the worst excuse for a car explosion video effect I’ve ever seen. This was the 80s. If there’s anything they knew how to do in the 80s, it was blowing up cars. Anyway, then more aerial footage — with the helicopter’s shadow in the shot.

A TV-rated sex scene.

The climax of the two-part episode was, well, anti-climactic. You guessed it: a shoot-out. Then a couple more minutes of reused footage montage.

In some ways, the writing was alright. A love interest for Tubbs, Tubbs’ struggle with his desire for vengeance, a crooked police chief. The writing was probably subverted for the cause of getting some good visuals in the Bahamas. The result was a fairly unsatisfying ending.

It’s becoming clear that “Miami Vice” isn’t about smart detective work. The writing in that regard is fairly lightweight, to say the least. I haven’t yet figured out what it is about. Style, maybe. Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas both contribute to sort of an illusion of depth through their weighty expressions, but the writing doesn’t support that depth.

I have often observed in fiction, and particularly film and television, that men and women meeting each other and falling in love is portrayed, deceptively, as something that just happens. It occurred to me, while watching this episode, that the reason for this may simply be that writers have no idea how or why it happens, so they simply skip the how and why.

Edward James Olmos appears in the credits for the first time with this episode, but didn’t actually make an appearance yet.