Contempt of Court
1 (69th Overall)
September 25, 1987
December 25, 1987
A mobster tries everything possible, including locating Crockett's hidden witness and intimidating the jury, to get a mistrial.
Crockett & Tubbs, accompanied by U.S. Attorneys, arrest mob boss Frank Mosca (Stanley Tucci) for RICO offenses. During the bail hearing (while Mosca nonchalantly passes bon-bons to his attorneys), both U.S. Attorney Alice Carson (Meg Foster) and defense attorney Sid Shenker (Mark Blum) plead their cases, and Federal Judge Delaporte (Phillip Baker Hall) decides to set bail at $1 million, which Mosca quickly posts.
The Vice team collects all of their surveillance evidence. Castillo warns everyone that Mosca will go after witnesses, bribe, intimidate or suborn jurors, and do whatever it takes to get a mistrial. If that happens, as more time passes witnesses will disappear, making it impossible to get another trial. The jurors are not sequestered, but made anonymous to everyone, including Mosca's lawyers (under RICO rules). Gina, Trudy & Switek are assigned to the jurors, Crockett & Tubbs to the witnesses. Mosca tells Shenker he will find who fingered him, and deal with it in his style.
Mosca speaks Jimmy DePalma, a confidant, and confronts him on what he told the Feds; he swears he said nothing, but Mosca sees through this and murders him. He then goes to see Jack Rivers (Steven Keats) (who is Crockett's informant) and has him put the word out to find the squealer. Carson tells Crockett his informant's testimony is the lynchpin on the whole case, and that Mosca's lawyers can compel Crockett to reveal his informant or send him to jail. Crockett goes to see Rivers, who refuses to go into the Witness Protection program for him & his son Terry (Richard Panebianco). The trial resumes; DePalma's killing compels Judge Delaporte to revoke Mosca's bail and put him in prison. Carson & Shenker give their opening arguments, while a man draws a portrait of one of the jurors, despite the extensive efforts made to confuse Mosca's men.
In jail, Mosca is treated like a prince, getting food from five-star restaurants, etc., and impatiently waiting for news about the squealer. Crockett & Carson talk to a witness named Ferrugi, who originally testified against Mosca, but recants after hearing about the DePalma killing. A muscleman is brought in to intimidate another witness, while an evidence envelope has a firecracker planted in it to disrupt the proceedings. Then Mosca's men track down an ex-officer named Crimmer, who reveals it was Rivers who snitched, and Mosca decides there is a better way than murder. Crockett testifies about Mosca's dealings, but is compelled by Shenker and the judge to reveal his informant; when he refuses, Crockett is held in contempt and put in jail.
Tubbs sees Terry, who said a couple of guys showed up looking for his father, but he had already left. Tubbs gets a call from Trudy that Rivers was picked up by Metro-Dade for possession, though he has no history of drugs, and he asks Trudy to get word to Carson and the judge to get him sprung, as this is obviously a Mosca setup. Rivers is taken to jail, where Crockett hears from another inmate about the plan to finish off Rivers once he arrives. Tubbs & Carson get the judge to sign a release form, and speed over to pick Rivers up, but before they get there Rivers is stabbed to death by a prison guard and another inmate while Crockett hears his screams, powerless to help his friend.
Crockett (now out of jail) talks to Terry about his father's death, but despite Terry's questioning Crockett's loyalty with his father, he gives Crockett Mosca's personal diaries and bank account records. The guard and the con involved in Rivers' death have been indicted, and the information is admitted into evidence. Just then, the bailiff hands her a note and the jury is excused. Juror #7 (the one that was caricatured earlier) has allegedly received substantial money to influence his vote. They find a case full of money exactly where the note says, though the juror denies knowing about it. The judge declares a mistrial based on this, though he knows exactly where the money came from (but can't prove it), and releases Mosca on bail. Under questioning from a reporter (Julie Ann Sipos) among the swarm of media gathered on the courthouse steps, Mosca insists he's been the victim of a government vendetta. Terry arrives at the courthouse with a gun intent on killing Mosca for having his father killed, but Crockett manages to talk him out of it.
- Don Johnson as Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett
- Philip Michael Thomas as Metro-Dade Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs
- Saundra Santiago as Metro-Dade Detective Gina Calabrese
- Michael Talbott as Metro-Dade Detective Stan Switek
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- Meg Foster as United States Attorney Alice Carson
- Mark Blum as Sid Shenker
- Steven Keats as Jack Rivers
- Phillip Baker Hall as Federal Judge Delaporte
- Richard Panebianco as Terry Rivers
- Stanley Tucci as Frank Mosca
- William Fuller as Crawford
- Ted Kowal as Juror #9
- David Mandel as Ray Bans
- Julie Ann Sipos as Reporter
- Duke Vincent as Louis Brisco
- This was the third episode of season 4 to be filmed, but the first one aired as NBC wanted to start the fourth season with Crockett going to jail.
- Stanley Tucci and Meg Foster would reprise their roles in "Blood and Roses".
- This is the second time Crockett is thrown in jail for not revealing his informant's identity -- the first was in season 1's "Give a Little, Take a Little".
- The RICO statute referred to is called the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which grants extended penalties for crimes committed by organized groups.
- The show was repeated on Christmas Day, 1987, the only time Vice aired on Christmas Day.
- This episode shows a grieved relative seeking revenge against the protagonist, a common theme in the series, though here the relative is talked out of it.
- Stanley Tucci previously played a father who was going to testify against lawyer Howard Famiglia until he was intimidated not to in the episode "Baby Blues".
- When Mosca executes DePalma, he clearly does not actually fire the pistol he uses -- note how the weapon's slide does not cycle, no brass casings are ejected, and there is no muzzle flash at all.
- Alice Carson refers to the juror on whom the bribe money was planted as "Juror #7", however, the closing credits list Ted Kowal as Juror #9; clearly, an inconsistency or mistake.
- Filmed: August 13, 1987 - August 21, 1987
- Production Code: 63504
- Production Order: 71
- Metrorail Station, Government Center (Jury Tail)
- Dade County Courthouse, 73 W Flagler Street, Miami (Courtroom scenes, interior/exterior)
- 2600 Flamingo Drive, Miami Beach (Judge Delaporte's home)
- 7800 Atlantic Way, Miami Beach (Rivers' house)
- "Make an appointment the next time you drop in!" -- Mosca to Crockett after bail hearing
- "Go ahead, Mosca, make it easy!" -- Crockett to Mosca when his goons prepare to pull their guns