Golden Triangle (Part II)
14 (14th Overall)
January 18, 1985
June 14, 1985
Castillo protects his former wife from his adversary Lao Li, who has arrived in Miami to continue his drug operations.
Castillo is at his home reminiscing about his wife May Ying, whom he thought had died; in truth, she has recently been brought to Miami. Crockett and Tubbs offer to find her, but Castillo doesn't want to divert them from other cases, even though General Lao Li (Keye Luke) is a very powerful drug dealer who must be in Miami to expand his operation. Lao Li was brought in by Dale Menton (John Santucci), his "rabbi" in the Company (CIA), and Castillo sends Crockett and Tubbs to find him; they locate Menton cavorting with Asian women.
At OCB, Menton and Castillo speak about their days in the Golden Triangle, when Castillo was with DEA and Menton was in CIA. Menton taunts Castillo with the fact that he arranged for Castillo's team to be ambushed and killed in Asia, because their bust compromised CIA interests in Thailand, and fed him the line about May Ying's death. Enraged, Castillo gets his hands on Menton's throat as Crockett and Tubbs restrain him. Menton, telling Castillo he's no threat to anyone anymore, writes Lao Li's contact information on the wall and tells him he's waiting for Castillo's call.
In a private meeting in the back of a limo, Castillo orders Lao Li out of Miami, but Lao Li says he is there to retire, having relocated his "commodities" operation and being protected by the CIA; Castillo, with his black-and-white view of the world, can't do a thing about it. Castillo is given May Ying's address, but is aware that Lao Li brought her to Miami as an indirect hostage, warning against any action Castillo might take. Lao Li gathers his family and tells them that until Castillo loses interest and moves on they must adhere to all laws with the strictest compliance. Castillo sees May Ying (Joan Chen), and is shocked to find she is married to a man named Ma Sek (Glenn Kubota) and has a son.
May Ying says her husband was offered a job with a textile firm in Miami, prompting their move. Lao Li's grandsons (Peter Kwong and Kevin Gray) visit a Thai restaurant owned by Howie Wong (James Saito), with whom they are planning to start their own drug trade. Castillo wants the Vice squad to blanket Lao Li's family, track their every move, hoping for an opening, while he protects May Ying. Their continual surveillance, however, proves to be fruitless. Menton tells Lao Li that Castillo's surveillance is nothing to be worried about, so long as they remain compliant within the law. However he notices the two grandsons acting up and warns them against being outlandish, which they ignore. Castillo, over the objections of the team, admits he's unjustified in dedicating all their time to this one case, and decides to return them to their regular assignments if nothing breaks in 24 hours, while he handles Lao Li on his own, even taking a leave if necessary. Gina and Trudy find "Noogie" Lamont (Charlie Barnett) in a strip club and ask if he's heard of any Asian drug influx, but he has nothing for them.
Later, Noogie is spotted by Switek and Zito at a drive-in burger joint, and after a little convincing he tells them about a "load of China White that's just right", courtesy of Howie Wong. They drive over to the Thai restaurant and spot Lao Li's grandsons leaving. Switek and Zito take Howie to OCB, and he tells the Vice squad about the deal going down that night. The team plans and executes a raid on the restaurant; the dealers are shot down and the grandsons arrested. Castillo goes to Lao Li's place to personally inform him of the bust, then arranges for maximum protection of May Ying and her family. Crockett and Tubbs go to Menton's place (where he is once again cavorting with Asian women), to also inform him of the bust of the grandsons and that they will use Miami's drug dealer confiscation laws to take away all of his assets, going back 20 years, because of his connection with Lao Li and his grandsons. Castillo speaks with May Ying and Ma Sek about the reason for the job offer in Miami, the threat Lao Li presents, and the cooperation the police need from them. Castillo orders the grandsons put back on the street instead of in jail.
Lao Li's goons take the newly released grandsons to a warehouse, where Lao Li is waiting to hear their explanation of what happened. When one of them shows defiance and demands to know why they cannot start their own drug dynasty, Lao Li rescinds his paternal benevolence and orders them killed. Lester catches the execution order on tape and the Vice squad move in as thugs start to strangle the grandsons. After a brief gun battle, Lao Li, his thugs and Menton are arrested. Before he is taken away, Lao Li tells Castillo that old enemies come to know each other very well over the years, and that with that familiarity comes respect, even for an adversary. He then states that maybe their relationship will continue. Castillo seems surprised and asks if he means the adversarial part. Lao Li chooses not to answer and is then led away, leaving Castillo to wonder what he meant. Later, Castillo puts May Ying and Ma Sek on a plane back to Thailand, then tells Crockett and Tubbs to take him to a bar.
- 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
- John Diehl as Metro-Dade Detective Larry Zito
- Olivia Brown as Metro-Dade Detective Trudy Joplin
- Edward James Olmos as Metro-Dade Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo
- Keye Luke as General Lao Li
- Peter Kwong as Second Grandson
- Kevin Gray as First Grandson
- John Santucci as Dale Menton
- Joan Chen as May Ying
Special Guest StarEdit
- This episode was simply called "Golden Triangle" (with no part number) when it originally aired, but the name was changed to "Golden Triangle (Part II)" when it went into syndication, presumably to better link it with the preceding episode, which begins the story. This second title is now it's official one, and has been used on the show's VHS and DVD releases, and online.
- The opening sequence of this episode is one of the very few times in Miami Vice you see Edward James Olmos in attire other than his black tie, pants and white shirt.
- When Menton puts up Lao Li's phone number in the OCB meeting room, you can see the first digits are "72..."; typically on television and in movies, a "555" exchange is used for phone numbers.
- Early in the episode, Menton angrily calls Castillo an "arrogant bastard". While it is commonplace today, "bastard" was considered rather strong language for a television show in the 1980s -- the fifth season of Vice "pushed the envelope" when, among other things, it made frequent use of the words "bitch" and "bastard".
- May Ying and Ma Sek would return in the season 5 episode "Heart of Night", although they would be palyed by Rosalind Chao and James Saito (who played Howie Wong in this episode), respectively.
- John Santucci, who plays Dale Menton in this episode, was a real-life jewel thief before being hired by Michael Mann to serve as technical advisor on Mann's first film as a director, 1981's Thief; Santucci also appeared as a corrupt detective in the movie. He continued to work with Mann throughout the 1980s, particularly on the show Crime Story (starring Dennis Farina, who was a cop before becoming an actor and in fact arrested Santucci at one point).
- Castillo's house makes its debut in this episode. It would appear again in "Bushido," "Heart of Night" and "Borrasca".
- The "Golden Triangle" episodes provide insight into Castillo's character, which up to that point had been very mysterious. Notably, Edward James Olmos does not speak in Castillo's normal mumbling voice, expresses anger when he tries to choke Menton, and even goes so far as to shout (albeit just a single word, "Wrong!") at Menton after the final confrontation.
- Switek and Zito borrow Crockett's Stinger to perform surveillance on Lao Li's family, the only time in the series anyone other than Crockett would drive one of his boats (although they are never actually seen piloting it, just fishing/performing surveillance whilst anchored offshore).
- Switek and Zito's "Bug Van" makes its debut in this episode.
- While discussing the Lao Li case over dinner, Castillo mentions putting Crockett and Tubbs back on the Al Lombard investigation if they don't find any evidence against Li soon, indicating the department is still after the mobster. Lombard would be mentioned in passing again in "Nobody Lives Forever", before the Vice team's investigation into him finally reaches its conclusion in the season finale, "Lombard".
- The episode is somewhat unusual for Miami Vice in that none of the major villains are killed; all of them live to (presumably) serve prison sentences.
- Jan Hammer's "Golden Triangle" music, used during the drug bust and the end arrest of Lao Li, would also be used in several other Asian-themed episodes.
- Julio Oscar Mechoso makes his final (uncredited) appearance as electronics whiz Lester Kosko in this episode. Most of his functions (setting bugs, electronic surveillance, etc.) are assumed by Switek and Zito from this point on.
- The "Omnibus Crime Bill of 1984" Crockett references gave law enforcement the power to confiscate drug dealers' assets, especially those of "ill-gotten gains". This is the law that is referenced as an inspiration for the series' creation.
- Along with "The Prodigal Son" and "The Maze", clips from this episode formed the basis for the music video to Jan Hammer's "Miami Vice Theme".
- The ambush that decimated Castillo's anti-drug taskforce in Southeast Asia is mentioned again in "Bushido", wherein it revealed that Jack Gretsky also survived the incident, although Castillo thought that he had been killed.
- This is one of several episodes that does not end on a freeze frame.
- Filmed: December 3, 1984 - December 11, 1984
- Production Number: 59516
- Production Order: 14
- 485 W Matheson Drive, Key Biscayne (Lao Li's Home) (the same location where some scenes from Scarface were shot, notably Frank's house)
- Flora's Eastside Pizza 731 NE 79th Street, Miami (Drive-in where Switek/Zito meet Noogie)
- Ma Kao Restaurant, 79th Street/Biscayne Boulevard, Miami (Howie Wong's hangout)
- Storage area near SW 2nd Ave (Confrontation of Lao Li and his grandsons, also final shootout)
- "Catch The Wind" by The Blues Project (Opening sequence with Castillo)
- "Poison Ivy" by The Coasters (Noogie at the strip club)
- "Mr. Lee" by The Bobbettes (Switek and Zito at drive-in)
Jan Hammer MusicEdit
- "Golden Triangle" (throughout episode)
- "The Trial" (Lao Li's grandsons taken to warehouse and final shootout)
- "I ratted you out, you arrogant bastard! You set up to ambush the caravan. I gave 'em your position, your strength, and they hit you from the back!" -- Menton to Castillo
- "You see the world through a narrow moralistic perspective. That is why you will always be a local policeman". -- Lao Li to Castillo
- "I'm a policeman, I enforce the law, equally applied, no special cases." -- Castillo
- "Let's get him (Noogie) a solid gold eggroll!" -- Zito after finding Howie Wong
- "Bite the asphalt!" -- Tubbs to Lao Li's grandsons
- "What we're gonna do, buddy, is we're gonna associate you to these two guys (grandsons) and their little drug deal, you see. And then we're gonna show receipt of I.G.G.: ill-gotten gains. And then guess what? We're gonna start confiscating - - - all your assets!" -- Crockett (and Tubbs) to Menton
- "One phone call to Washington, Castillo--!" "WRONG! You broke the law. This is Miami, Menton, NOT Asia!" -- Menton and Castillo after bust
| Season 1 Episodes:|
"Brother's Keeper" (Pilot) • "Heart of Darkness" • "Cool Runnin'" • "Calderone's Return (Part I)" • "Calderone's Return (Part II)" • "One Eyed Jack" • "No Exit" • "The Great McCarthy" • "Glades" • "Give a Little, Take a Little" • "Little Prince" • "Milk Run" • "Golden Triangle (Part I)" • "Golden Triangle (Part II)" • "Smuggler's Blues" • Rites of Passage • "The Maze" • "Made for Each Other" • "The Home Invaders" • "Nobody Lives Forever" • "Evan" • "Lombard"