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"Baseballs of Death"

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Baseballs of Death

Baseballsofdeathtitle

Season
4
Episode
14 (82nd Overall)
Airdate
February 19, 1988
Repeat Airdate
July 22, 1988
TV Rating
TV-14 L-V
Writer(s)
Director
Guest Stars
Previous Episode
Next Episode

"Baseballs of Death" is the fourteenth episode of Miami Vice's fourth season. The episode premiered on February 19, 1988 and repeated on July 22, 1988.

SummaryEdit

A Chilean police chief is suspected in a double murder and dealing for illegal cluster bombs.

PlotEdit

A very seductive prostitute named Cinder (Lisa Marie) is walking down the boulevard attracting lots of attention, and picks up a john while a man named Shane DuBois (Michael Des Barres) is taking pictures of the man's car. Cinder comes back disappointed she hasn't made much money, but Shane has a secret weapon, his pictures are of the car's license plate, and he has a computer linked up to Florida DMV (who he used to work for) to run their plates. Shane calls the owner up and blackmails them into paying money to make the pictures disappear. The license plate on this car was registered to a rental company, which Shane calls and gets the name of the renter as Ernesto Guerrero (Tony Plana), who gets the call from Shane to pay $5000 or the photos show up in the newspaper. Guerrero and his driver Ramon show up, torches the pictures, and shoots both of them dead.

Vice is called in due to Cinder's long prostitution rap sheet, and she gave her address as a fleabag hotel called The Tropical. Crockett, Tubbs & Gina head over to the hotel room and find the computer linkup to the DMV, and tons of film and cameras. Aftert a meeting held by DEA Agent Brody (Mark Metcalf) that Guerrero attends, Brody offers to help "unoffically", and will have an associate meet him at a bar called "Woody's". The team locates Guerrero's rented Maserati and head over to track him down. Meanwhile, Guerrero and his man arrive at Woody's to find his contact, but is referred to a different address by a tall blonde, 7211 Oceanview. Once there he finds Speed Stiles (Oliver Platt), a weapons runner, and Guerrero gives him a laundry list of weapons, including "baseballs", and threatens to kill Stiles unless he comes through. Crockett & Tubbs find Guerrero and chase him until they are stopped by Chilean guards--Guerrero drove into the Chilean Consulate.

Crockett, Tubbs & Switek detain Guerrero after leaving the consulate (he was the only john without an alibi at the time of the double murder, and has no diplomatic immunity) and begin searching his car and questioning him when Brody arrives, orders their release because he is a "guest" of the Justice Department in the War on Drugs. At OCB, the team cannot tap the Consulate without State Dept. approval, not likely against an ally, but Switek finds he can monitor Guerrero's rental car phone, provided he stays in the coverage area, with no warrant required. Brody calls Guerrero wanting to get him out of the country, but the Chilean is not willing to leave until his business is finished. Switek is able to monitor some of the conversation between Guerrero & Stiles, but static blocked out most of it. They are called to the Tropical and find Ramon shot in an apparent suicide, and a note left indicating he was the one that killed Shane & Cinder. Brody is at the scene too indicating Guerrero has an air-tight alibi to both killings, but Crockett doesn't buy it.

Switek sends the taped car phone conversation to SID, and Brody again calls Guerrero wanting him out of the
Baseballofdeath

CBU a.k.a. "Baseball of Death"

country. SID cleans up the audio and finds Guerrero is ordering CBUs (Canisterized Bomblet Units a.k.a. Cluster Bombs, or "Baseballs of Death" in Vietnam). The United States stopped all arms shipments to Chile in 1976, but the Pinochet regime developed their own heavy arms industry with customers in Iran & Iraq (who were at war with each other at the time), with their chief export CBUs. Castillo feels Brody has become a rogue agent unknown to the DEA, refers Crockett to an ex-Company arms specialist for more info, and has everyone else on Stiles, who has five outstanding warrants. Castillo's contact informs Crockett & Tubbs about the newest version of the CBU--a "sleeper", laying on the ground dormant until stepped on, and the reason Guerrero wants them is that Chile hasn't developed the sleeper variety yet, and the Middle East is craving them. Trudy calls the numbers Stiles' has from his room and finds one of them is Wiley's Surplus near the Air Force Base, which is where Stiles delivers Guerrero's arm shipment, including the "sleepers", but Guerrero kills Stiles after receiving the merchandise.

At OCB, Brody is called on his relationship with Stiles (having both worked at ATF previously), including $20,000 placed in his account by him, and they want to know where Guerrero is leaving from, which is the Chalk air strip, where the Vice team has the place surrounded. Guerrero then takes a woman hostage with the CBUs and demand he be allowed to leave or he'll blow up the suitcase with the CBUs. He gets away, but the plane has no gas in it and has to land back on the water. Crockett is in pursuit in the SCARAB, but Guerrero then kills a good Samaritan who thinks Guerrero is in trouble and takes his boat, leaving his lady hostage in the plane. Crockett pursues the boat, to the point where Guerrero makes a mistake, flips over a tugboat, lands on an island and he & the boat explode.

CastEdit

Guest StarsEdit

Co-StarringEdit

"Ripped From The Headlines"Edit

In this episode, the problem of CBUs (more commonly known as Cluster Bombs) being used in foreign wars is explored. They were used in the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 1970s, the Iran-Iraq war and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, and in the War on Terror (in Iraq and Afghanistan) in the 2000s. The main controversy regarding their use is the fact that many do not detonate when dropped, and for years after conflict has officially ended they can maim and kill people who either inadvertently step on them or, as is often the case with inquisitive children, pick them up and handle them.

NotesEdit

  • The plot, involving a foreign diplomat using their immunity from prosecution to engage in illegal dealing, is very similar to that of the 1989 movie Lethal Weapon 2, which came out the following year. In the film the antagonists are dealing in drugs rather than weapons.
  • Michael Des Barres was the lead singer for The Power Station, and previously appeared as himself in this role in the episode "Whatever Works", which featured the band performing live in a bar that Crockett and Tubbs visit.
  • Back in 1988, it was possible to monitor cell phones with standard police scanners because of the technological limitations of the burgeoning technology. With the new 3G, 4G and CDMA technologies used now, this is no longer possible.
  • Switek refers to the "Pizza Connection" case in New York, a large Mafia trial that lasted from 1985-87 with fifteen convictions.
  • Crockett's interrogation of Brody is nicely underplayed; instead of dramatically whipping out the information about the phone records and deposits, Crockett delivers them in an even, conversational tone.  The central question about where Guerrero is leaving from is asked almost in an undertone.  The effectiveness of this technique shows why the Vice team leaves most of the interrogations to Crockett.
  • The stunt with the speedboat jumping the tug and grounding on the island must be one of the most spectacular ones in all five seasons of the series, particularly since it all had to be done practically in a time before CGI.

GoofsEdit

  • At the beginning of the episode when Ramon shoots Shane DuBois, the shot is loud even though the pistol is clearly fitted with a suppressor. When Guerrero then shoots Cinder with the same gun, the gunshot is now suppressed as it should be.
  • When Guererro is placing his weapons order with Stiles, Ramon requests "Mossberg 870s". There is no such weapon. Remington makes the 870 shotgun, the similar Mossberg model is designated the 500.
  • When discussing how to proceed with the case at OCB after the DEA has blocked their attempts to question Guerrero, there is a very noticeable echo to Switek's voice that does not affect the rest of the characters.
  • Crockett states that Jimmy Carter stopped American arms shipments to Chile in 1976. However, the arms embargo against Chile actually started in 1974 (and would run until 1989). Moreover, Gerald Ford was president when the embargo came into effect, while Carter would not assume office until 1977 (a year after Crockett claims he started the embargo).
  • When the seaplane starts its engines, the sound heard is that of a radial piston engine, not the turboprops the pictured Grumman Mallard is fitted with. Later, when the aircraft runs out of fuel, the sound of sputtering radial piston engines are again heard.
Boatgoof

Crockett's Stinger reappears in a goof

  • During the boat chase at the end of the episode, the use of previously unused footage from season 1 means Crockett's SCARAB powerboat changes back to his old Stinger in several shots. Additionally, Crockett's hair changes length in these older shots, he is wearing different clothes, and he is not wearing any sunglasses like he is in the new footage filmed for this episode.

Production NotesEdit

  • Filmed: January 18, 1988 - January 27, 1988
  • Production Code: 63522
  • Production Order: 83

Filming LocationsEdit

  • Gusman Cultural Center, 174 E. Flagler St at SE 2nd Ave (Cinder walking down street)
  • Florida Villas, 13645 Biscayne Bvd, Miami (DuBois/Cinder's room; later Guerrero's driver's body found)
  • 46 Star Island Miami Beach (Chilean Consulate)
  • Woody's on the Beach, 455 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach (Guerrero/Brody meet, Brody leading DEA briefing, DEA HQ, Guerrero working (later shooting) Stiles)
  • Chalk's Ocean Airways, Mac Arthur Causeway/Watson Island, Miami Beach (Guerrero escapes via plane)
  • Next to Miami Marine Stadium, Key Biscayne (Guerrero escapes--later explodes--boat)

MusicEdit

QuotesEdit

  • "I guess he got more than a haircut." -- Crockett to Gina regarding the shooting of Shane DuBois  
  • "Down there in Chile, this (his policia chief title) may give you a license to kill, here in Miami, it don't mean squat!" -- Crockett to Guerrero
Season 4 Episodes:

"Contempt of Court" "Amen... Send Money" "Death and the Lady" "The Big Thaw" "Child's Play" "God's Work" "Missing Hours" "Like a Hurricane" "The Rising Sun of Death" "Love at First Sight" "Rock and a Hard Place" "The Cows of October" "Vote of Confidence" "Baseballs of Death" "Indian Wars" "Honor Among Thieves?" "Hell Hath No Fury..." "Badge of Dishonor" "Blood and Roses" "A Bullet for Crockett" "Deliver Us from Evil" "Mirror Image"

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