Miami Vice in popular culture

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Since its incarnation, the popular 1984 television series, Miami Vice has become a popular culture icon. It has been made referenced to in television shows, comics, music videos, and video games, as well as its influence on men's fashion.


  • The children's show Sesame Street parodied the hit 1980s show with a few segments titled "Miami Mice".
  • In the mid-1980s, the comic strip Heathcliff featured a take-off on Miami Vice. The two characters were crime-fighting mice, Sonny Sprockett and Rico Tibbs, that helped Heathcliff solve mysteries.
  • 1985, Miami Vice has also been parodied in the world of professional wrestling. Fuji Vice, a parody skit featuring wrestlers The Magnificent Muraco and Mr. Fuji, was aired on the WWF's Tuesday Night Titans show.
  • The January 18, 1986 episode of Saturday Night Live featured the parody sketch "Cleveland Vice" starring Randy Quaid and Harry Dean Stanton.
  • 1986, in an episode of ALF, when ALF and Willie get stuck in the middle of the forest in their station wagon, ALF says, "This never would've happened to Sonny Crockett!" Willie asks why this is so, and ALF explains: since Sonny Crockett has a car phone in his Ferrari Daytona, he could have called for help.
  • 1986, Bill Pullman plays a not-so-bright Miami Vice-loving character in the film Ruthless People. He owns a pair of goldfish named Crockett and Tubbs.
  • 1986, the series was parodied in an Alvin and the Chipmunks episode as "Chipmunk Vice."
  • 1987, in Episode 7 of The Bill Series 3, "Blind Alleys, Clogged Roads", PC Reg Hollis looks for PC Nick Shaw in the CAD Room of Sun Hill. PC Melvin mentions that he's probably off watching Miami Vice.
  • 1987, in the film Mannequin, Hollywood Montrose tells Jonathan Switcher: "Don't let Felix get to you, he just got a bad case of Miami Vice".
  • The 1988 song "Walk the Dinosaur", by Was (Not Was), references the show.
  • 1988, The Taito arcade game Chase H.Q. was inspired by the show.
  • In the late 1980s, independent comic book writer/artist Dwayne Ferguson published a series titled Hamster Vice.
  • 1989, the Miami Vice boat was later used as a promotion boat for the Finnish Ericsson Hotline mobile phone importer and raced some during that time in the Scandinavian offshore races.
  • 1989-1992, the Australian comedy show Fast Forward did a Miami Vice skit.
  • An episode of the children's show Happy's Place parodied the Miami Vice title sequence in a skit titled "Churubusco Vice".


  • 1991, in an episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Geoffrey the Butler (played by Joseph Marcell) walks into the kitchen wearing a white linen suit and purple turtle-neck underneath; Will (played by Will Smith) jokingly asks: "Is that Geoffrey or Philip Michael Thomas?"
  • 1991, a Christmas episode of the BBC sitcom, Only Fools and Horses, is titled "Miami Twice".
  • 1993, in the film Cop & a Half, the main character Devon Butler is a huge Miami Vice fan; he tells his grandma: "Tonight is the night we watch Miami Vice together" and during the film is seen watching the episode "A Bullet for Crockett".
  • 1996, a Finnish group of senior-high students, later known as Don Johnson Big Band, gets together for the first time.[1]
  • 1997, Something Wild, an album by Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, has a hidden track with a cover of Miami Vice theme.
  • 1997, in the Nash Bridges Season 2 episode, "The Counterfeiters", Johnson teams up with former Miami Vice costar, John Diehl, as a criminal posing as an S.I.U. officer.[2]
  • 1997, in the Nash Bridges episode, "Wild Card", Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson reunite for the first time on television together since Miami Vice, and you can hear a version of the "Miami Vice Theme" playing in the background.[3]
  • 1998, in an episode of Friends ("The One with All the Thanksgivings"), a flashback to 1988 shows Rachel at the Gellers' for Thanksgiving. When the doorbell rings, she opens it to see Ross and Chandler dressed like Crockett and Tubbs from Miami Vice.
  • 1998, in the movie The Wedding Singer, the character Glenn Guglia, dressed in Crockett's trademark white linen suit over a pastel blue T-shirt and sporting a six-o'clock shadow, says he's not worried about his summer wedding's interfering with seeing Miami Vice because they will be showing reruns. Later, he is shown driving and listening to the "Miami Vice Theme". Later, on an airplane scene, a stewardess refers to him as a "Creep from coach who thinks he's Don Johnson".
  • 1999, the intro of the "Black Widow" song from Children of Sodon's Hatebreeder album is a cover of the "Miami Vice Theme".


  • 2000, in the British television series, Lock, Stock..., based on the movie Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, the local crime boss was named "Miami Vice".
  • 2001, in the Family Guy episode "Brian Does Hollywood", several shots depict Cleveland and Peter driving a speedboat around a Miami-like environment while wearing pastel-colored suits, in an obvious homage to Miami Vice.
  • 2001, in the Nash Bridges episode, "Out of Miami", Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas team up again.[4]
  • 2002, the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City references Miami Vice on several occasions, with portions of the game's 1980s setting and style heavily influenced by the show.[5] Most notable is, upon attaining a 3-star "wanted" level in the game, the player eventually encounters two undercover cops in a Ferrari Testarossa-styled car. The attires worn by some of the six variations of the cops are also in the trademark style of the show. Another sports car, the Stinger, is based on the Ferrari Daytona Spyder. Lance Vance, a primary character in the game, is voiced by Philip Michael Thomas, who portrayed Tubbs in Miami Vice. Both Vance and Tubbs also share thirst for revenge for the deaths of their brothers at the hands of drug dealers. Another overt reference to the show's influence upon the game is the inclusion of Jan Hammer's "Crockett's Theme" on the romance/power ballad radio station Emotion 98.3. While walking around Vice City, some male civilians are sporting the "Sonny Crockett, Ricardo Tubbs and Lt. Martin Castillo" look.
  • 2003-2007, an episode of Streetwise (season 3, episode 10) features a character named Vic Romano, played by Bill Paxton. The character's name was used in Spike TV's Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, as the dubbed name of Takeshi-san in which Vic Romano is voiced by Victor Wilson.
  • 2004, season 5, episode 2 of The Sopranos ("The Rat Pack") features Steve Buscemi playing Tony Soprano's cousin Tony Blundetto, who after being released from prison (where he had been incarcerated since the 1980s), is wearing his only clothes: a white suit with a blue pastel t-shirt underneath. Upon seeing Blundetto, Artie Bucco asks: "Hey, where's Tubbs?" Buscemi also guest starred in a Miami Vice episode.
  • 2004, in an episode of The Simpsons, "Catch 'Em If You Can", Homer and Marge try to have a vacation without their kids by lying to them and going to Miami. When Bart and Lisa track them down and convince Grandpa to take them there, the "Miami Vice Theme" plays while showing stereotypes of elderly people.
  • 2004, after hitching a ride to eastern Europe from a psychotic truck driver, the movie EuroTrip, the group meets a man, who after a brief conversation, says: "Ay man, we just got Miami Vice on television. Miami Vice is number one new show!"
  • 2005, in the Nickelodeon series Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, one of the recurring characters is named "Vice" Principal Crubbs (played by Hamilton Mitchell). His last name is a combination of Crockett and Tubbs last names. In addition, he is always seen wearing white suits with pastel-colored T-Shirts underneath, his office is filled Miami-related decor, and a theme similar to the "Miami Vice Theme" is played whenever he appears.
  • 2005, in the TV teen drama The O.C., Summer Roberts comments that her friend Marissa Cooper's father's living on a boat is " Miami Vice!"
  • 2006, in an episode of the short-lived court drama series Just Legal, titled "The Heater", Don Johnson plays run-down lawyer Grant Cooper. The character, standing in front of a boat similar to the St. Vitus' Dance from Miami Vice, says: "I used to live on a boat", a clear reference to his role as Sonny Crockett on Vice.
  • 2006, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories continues and expand upon 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City homages, including the return of Lance Vance, once again voiced by Philip Michael Thomas. The main character interacts with both an undercover cop dressed in a Crockett-style suit, as well as Phil Collins himself,[6] who performs a full length in-game version of "In the Air Tonight".
  • 2006, in the Top Gear episode, "Series 8 Episode 3", you can hear the "Miami Vice Theme" being played in the background during the amphibious vehicles racing scene.[7]
  • 2006, Scarface: The World Is Yours, a game based on the movie Scarface, features an encounter with two crooked Vice-cops that look like and are dressed like Crockett and Tubbs.
  • 2007, in the film Hot Fuzz, the characters played by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are derisively called "Crockett" and "Tubby" by their superior.
  • 2007, in the BBC political comedy, The Thick of It, Miami Vice was referred to as a 'popular' element of the 1980s when two politicians argued on how good or bad the 1980s were.
  • 2007, in the movie Kickin' It Old Skool, Rocketshoe (played by Jamie Kennedy) refers to his long-time rival Kip as dressing "like someone Crockett and Tubbs beat up".
  • 2007, in the second episode of the TV-Series K-Ville, the two main characters were referred to as "Crockett and Tubbs" by the leader of Latin Kings.
  • 2007, in an episode of 30 Rock, Kenneth the Page reveals that he has a parakeet named Sonny Crockett.
  • 2007, rappers Lil Wayne and Currency wrote a song called "Miami Vice (The Life)".
  • 2008, the January 30, 2008 episode of American Idol opens with the "Miami Vice Theme".[8]
  • 2008, the Miami Vice drink consists of half strawberry daiquiri and half pina colada.[9]
  • 2008, Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer plan to create a television series on HBO loosely based on Cocaine Cowboys, but will trade the flash of Miami Vice for a more realistic look.[10]
  • 2008, in the Jonas Brothers music video "Burnin' Up", Joe Jonas dresses up as Rick Lava in a Miami Vice clone show titled Hot Tropic, in which he races around in a powerboat and chases down a criminal.[11][12]
  • 2009, The show is parodied in that year's Chick-fil-A calendar "The Bovines in Blue", wherein the show in September is referred to as Baloney Vice.


  • 2013, In the pilot episode of The Americans, the series pays homage to the Miami Vice pilot episode in the scene where Elizabeth and Phillip drive in the night while In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins plays in the background.


  1. ^ "Biography". Don Johnson Big Band. www.donjohnsonbigband. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  2. ^ "The Counterfeiters". Nash Bridges. Season 2. Episode 15. 1997-01-24. CBS.
  3. ^ "Wild Card". Nash Bridges. Season 2. Episode 30. 1997-04-25. CBS.
  4. ^ "Out of Miami". Nash Bridges. Season 6. Episode 114. 2001-02-16. CBS.
  5. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (2008-05-04). "A Strange City Called Home". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  6. ^ Paphides, Pete (2008-04-25). "Phil Collins casually serves notice of his retirement". Times Online. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  7. ^ Presenters: Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, & James May (2006-05-21). "Series 8 Episode 3". Top Gear. Season 8. Episode 3. BBC.
  8. ^ Barber, Greg (2008-01-31). "Idol Chatter: Miami's Unsound Machine". The Washington Post (Express). Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ May, Meredith (2008-04-20). "El huracán blows a beautiful vacation to bits". san Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  10. ^ "Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay working for HBO?". Monster's and Critics. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-08. 
  11. ^ "Jonas Brothers Act Out Their Wildest Fantasies - VIDEO". Entertainment Wise. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-24. 
  12. ^ "Jonas Brothers 'Burnin' Up' in New Video". People. 2008-06-20. Retrieved 2008-06-24.