Out Where the Buses Don't Run

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"Out Where the Buses Don't Run"
Miami Vice episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 3
Directed by Jim Johnston
Story by Joel Surnow
Douglas Lloyd McIntosh
Teleplay by Douglas Lloyd McIntosh
John Mankiewicz
Original air date 18 October 1985
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Miami Vice episodes

"Out Where the Buses Don't Run" is the third episode of the second season of the American crime drama television series Miami Vice. The episode first aired on NBC on 18 October 1985. It featured guest star Bruce McGill as an eccentric retired police officer attempting to aid Metro-Dade detectives James "Sonny" Crockett and Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs in the search for a missing drug lord.

The episode was the second of four in the series directed by Jim Johnston, and was written by John Mankiewicz and Douglas Lloyd McIntosh based on a story idea by McIntosh and Joel Surnow. "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" was well-received critically, earning a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for editor Robert A. Daniels, and appearing in TV Guide's 1997 list of the "100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time".


When James "Sonny" Crockett (Don Johnson) and Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) arrest a small-scale drug dealer, they receive a visit at the police station from a man Crockett recognises as retired Vice officer Hank Weldon (Bruce McGill). Weldon informs the pair that the man they have arrested works for a drug lord called Tony Arcaro, who disappeared five years before after narrowly avoiding a conviction.

Suspicious of Weldon's motives, and his seemingly unstable mental condition, Crockett and Tubbs visit his former police partner Marty Lang (David Strathairn), who informs them that Weldon was discharged on medical grounds rather than having retired. He had painstakingly built up a case against Arcaro, and suffered a breakdown when the drug lord walked free on a technicality. When the pair go to leave, they find that Weldon has followed them, and is both defensive and furious concerning their visit to his partner. However, he reveals that Arcaro's successor, Freddie Constanza, is to be shot that day on Arcaro's orders. All three reach the location of the hit in time to witness Constanza being killed, and Weldon is arrested on suspicion of involvement.

Weldon is later released uncharged, and acting on information he overheard from his cell-mate, tips off Crockett and Tubbs to the location of a drug deal involving Arcaro's men. When the deal is interrupted and Arcaro found to be absent, Weldon is enraged and storms off. That night, Weldon places a call to the police station claiming he has found Arcaro. When Crockett and Tubbs arrive at the scene, an abandoned tenement building, they find a disturbed but lucid Weldon, who begins to tear down a plaster wall. Immured inside the wall is the corpse of Tony Arcaro, and a newspaper from the day of his acquittal. Weldon admits to having killed Arcaro in response to the court trial; while Lang later confesses to helping build the wall—to help his partner, flatly stating "Do you understand?" to Crockett, whom confirms that he does, as police officers enter to apprehend Weldon.


The guy was a cop who had cracked up and spent the last seven or eight years in a lockup in Ft. Lauderdale for mentally disturbed cops. They had him doing characters, impersonations or whatever, and I decided that all he’d done since he’d been locked up was watch old movies. So whenever things didn’t go his way, he would snap into a different character, whether it was Groucho Marx or Walter Brennan.

—McGill on his inspiration for Hank Weldon[1]

"Out Where the Buses Don't Run" was the second of four in the series directed by Jim Johnston, after his début for the series with the first season episode "Nobody Lives Forever".;[2] Johnson would also direct the later episodes "Trust Fund Pirates" and "Honor Among Thieves?".[3][4] The episode was written by John Mankiewicz and Douglas Lloyd McIntosh based on a story idea by McIntosh and Joel Surnow. Although this would be McIntosh's only contribution to the series, Mankiewicz would write "Yankee Dollar" later in the same season,[5] whilst Surnow would contribute a total of nine episodes over the series' run.

As was customary for Miami Vice episodes,[6] "Out Where the Buses Don't Run" made use of popular music. The opening scene features "Baba O'Riley" by The Who; whilst "Brothers in Arms" by Dire Straits plays during the climactic scene. Incidental music by series composer Jan Hammer is used for the remainder of the episode's score.[7] Guest star Bruce McGill was cast only days before production began, after Dennis Hopper, for whom the role was written, pulled out. McGill flew from New York to Miami during the middle of the night to arrive on time, and began reading the script without having slept for some time. He based his interpretation of the character on the idea that Weldon would use his odd behaviour as a defense mechanism when conversations did not go his way.[1] McGill would later appear in several films directed by Miami Vice creator Michael Mann, including Collateral,[8] The Insider,[9] and Ali.[10] McGill credits his "flamboyant" performance as Weldon for these roles, as well as for his casting Jack Dalton on MacGyver.[1]

Broadcast and reception[edit]

"Out Where the Buses Don't Run" first aired on NBC on October 18, 1985.[11] and has been well-received critically. The episode earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for editor Robert A. Daniels.[12] The episode also appeared in TV Guide's 1997 list of the "100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time".[13] McGill's performance has also been praised as "virtuoso"[14] and "disturbing".[15]

Todd VanDerWerff, writing for The A.V. Club, felt that the episode replaced the "goofiness" of contemporary police dramas with "cold, dark cynicism", finding that the episode's dark ending "set a new standard for TV direction".[16] DVD Verdict's Judge Ryan Keefer reviewed the episode positively, rating it a B+ and praising McGill's acting.[17] The episode has also been examined in Stephen Sanders' book Miami Vice. The author describes the episode as tackling "a nearly ubiquitous noir theme", namely "the appearance of the past in the present".[14] Sanders also described McGill's character Weldon as "lost in a noir void, neither redeemed nor justified".[18]


  1. ^ a b c Harris, Will (June 5, 2012). "Rizzoli & Isles' Bruce McGill looks back at Animal House, MacGyver, and more". The A.V. Club. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  2. ^ Jim Johnston (director); Edward DiLorenzo (writer) (March 29, 1985). "Nobody Lives Forever". Miami Vice. Season 1. Episode 20. NBC. 
  3. ^ Jim Johnston (director); Daniel Pyne (writer) (May 2, 1986). "Trust Fund Pirates". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 21. NBC. 
  4. ^ Jim Johnston (director); Jack Richardson (writer) (March 4, 1988). "Honor Among Thieves?". Miami Vice. Season 4. Episode 16. NBC. 
  5. ^ Aaron Lipstadt (director); John Mankiewicz & Daniel Pyne (writers) (January 17, 1986). "Yankee Dollar". Miami Vice. Season 2. Episode 13. NBC. 
  6. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Miami Vice (TV Series) - Cast, Reviews, Summary, and Awards". Allrovi. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved January 18, 2012. 
  7. ^ Moore 2003, p. 67.
  8. ^ Michael Mann (director); Stuart Beattie, Michael Mann & Frank Darabont (writers) (August 6, 2004). "Collateral". DreamWorks & Paramount Pictures.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  9. ^ Michael Mann (director); Marie Brenner, Eric Roth & Michael Mann (writers) (November 5, 1999). "The Insider". Touchstone Pictures.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  10. ^ Michael Mann (director); Michael Mann, Eric Roth, Stephen J. Rivele & Christopher Wilkinson (writers) (December 11, 2001). "Ali". Columbia Pictures.  Missing or empty |series= (help)
  11. ^ "Miami Vice: Out Where the Buses Don't Run". TV.com. Retrieved January 18, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Primetime Emmy Award Database". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  13. ^ "The 100 Greatest TV Episodes of All Time". TV Guide. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved January 18, 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Sanders 2010, p. 68.
  15. ^ Conard 2007, p. 187.
  16. ^ Todd VanDerWerff (28 April 2011). "1980s TV Dramas | TV | Primer | The AV Club". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 15 August 2011. 
  17. ^ Keefer, Judge Ryan (January 13, 2006). "DVD Verdict Review - Miami Vice: Season Two". DVD Verdict. Retrieved September 14, 2011. 
  18. ^ Sanders 2010, p. 70.


  • Conard, Mark T. (2007). The Philosophy of Neo-Noir. University Press of Kentucky. ISBN 0-8131-2422-0. 
  • Moore, Allen F. (2003). Analyzing Popular Music. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 052177120X. 
  • Sanders, Stephen (2010). Miami Vice: TV Milestones. Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-3419-9. 

External links[edit]