Line of Fire
6 (96th Overall)
December 16, 1988
July 12, 1988
Crockett & Tubbs are assigned to protect a FBI witness in a drug lord's trial.
Crockett is giving testimony in the trial of drug lord Carlos Cantero (Aharon Ipale), focusing on the murder of his informant Dexter Simms. Cantero's attorney tries to undermine Crockett's testimony by questioning his mental state and his attempt to murder Tubbs. Cantero gloats to Crockett after court adjourns about Simms' death and how he set it up, then after leaving the courthouse (and Crockett crying the "Vice Cop Blues" about how unreliable, apathetic, and corrupt the system has become) a drive-by shooting takes place. No one is injured, but the jury bus is shot up.
After the shooting, Crockett and Tubbs are brought into a meeting with FBI Agent Daley (Barry Primus) by Agents Bates (Kevyn Major Howard) and Randolph, who request the Vice detectives to guard an important witness to the Cantero trial (who witnessed a DEA agent killed by Cantero) for 72 hours until his testimony. The witness is Keith Mollis (Justin Lazard), a young man who loves heavy metal, and his main desires are to party and check out the beaches. Crockett and Tubbs take him to a hotel where he watches music videos all day. That night, Trudy joins them for dinner and, after hearing Mollis' views on things, reminds them of Crockett. Trudy heads to the store while Crockett and Tubbs watch a Twins baseball game. Mollis takes this opportunity to escape out a window, but Switek sees this and notifies Crockett and Tubbs, who split up to two clubs to find Mollis, which Crockett does at a club where the witness was cozying up to a blonde girl. Crockett gets him out and takes him back to the hotel, reminding him he has a $1 million bounty by Cantero on his neck. The blonde girl followed them to the hotel and makes a phone call. Shortly thereafter two assassins break into the hotel, both of which are killed, and Mollis comes out of his room very scared.
Castillo suggests they give the case back to the FBI, and the hotel is out as a safe house. Crockett wants to continue the assignment because he is a witness that can bring Cantero down, and suggests he take Mollis on the St. Vitus Dance. The girl Mollis met the previous night once again follows the police, but is stopped by the team, and the girl claims she was FBI. At Daily's office, they find the girl was Agent Lasota, who was being used as extra backup and wants to know where the witness is and Tubbs refuses to disclose the information. Crockett and Mollis are on the boat, talk about their music choices, and Crockett said he reminds him of someone just like Mollis in his ways, and they enjoy some fishing time. Castillo said the FBI is not happy with Tubbs, but he refuses to reveal Crockett's location, and Castillo wants him at the pick-up location as scheduled. Crockett tells him the reason he became a cop, to make the world safe for children. Then a helicopter strafes the boat, then Mollis hands him a flare gun to take out the chopper.
Mollis panics after the last attack, thinks Tubbs sold them out, until Crockett lets him know Tubbs would never sell them out, that he trusts his partner, and they will arrive at the scheduled drop. Crockett cannot be raised by radio and is late for his arrival. Cantero, in court, receives a note and tells his attorney to have Felix double his fee and the kid does not leave Miami alive. Tubbs gets a Coast Guard helicopter to find Crockett & Mollis, but can't locate them and heads back to Miami. Crockett makes some Molotov Cocktails for defense, Mollis knows about them because his father was a decorated (and deceased) Korean War veteran. At a restaurant, Tubbs finds out through Izzy that Felix Reyes has an FBI contact that feeds him confidential information. Tubbs & Switek find Bates is the leak source, and makes a drop for Felix, and they go after them. Bates gets away but Felix is captured by Switek and brought to OCB, but doesn't talk until Tubbs threatens to tell Cantero about his little stay in OCB, then he breaks down and tells them when the next hit is, and there are five active shooters looking for Mollis & Crockett, during his conversation with Tubbs (which was a ruse) they find a bug in Castillo's office, and bust the guy that put the bug in. Castillo is unhappy the FBI used Crockett as bait to flush out their leak, Tubbs discovers a recording of his conversation disclosing the landing point of Crockett and rushes to help.
Crockett & Mollis arrive to find two assassins waiting. Crockett shoots one down and use the Molotov cocktail, but Bates shoots the other one down. Bates said he mopped up another hit team down the road and Tubbs was behind them. After Mullis says this is his last boat ride, Bates turns and shoots Mollis, Tubbs arrives and both cops kill Bates. Mollis is medi-vac'd to the hospital, and the doctors are not sure if he'll make it. The Cantero prosecutor stops in and says the "unfortunate incident" actually helped their case, before Crockett punches him out he explains the "contingency was anticipated", and the real Keith Mollis arrives in court but cannot testify due to fear. The fake Keith was actually Joey Hardin, DEA agent, whose father was also a cop who died in the line of duty, and was afraid he screwed up his first assignment, Crockett said he did a great job and could be his partner anytime. Hardin then asked if the real Mollis testified, Crockett said he did and he's going in jail for a long time. Hardin then flatlines and the Code Blue team comes in to help. Cantero is released for lack of evidence, then Crockett looks him in the eye and says "It ain't over till it's over". Hardin recovers and Crockett & Tubbs bring him a new boombox and some heavy metal tapes for 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 (credit only)
- 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
- Justin Lazard as DEA Agent Joey Hardin/Keith Mollis
- Kevyn Major Howard as FBI Agent Bates
- Aharon Ipale as Carlos Cantero
- Barry Primus as FBI Agent Daley
- Teresa Blake as Agent Lasota
- Parris Buckner as Prosecutor
- Gino Cabanas as Reyes
- Judith Delgado as Judge
- John W. Gertz as Witness
- Aasif Mandviwala as Doorman
- Michael Owens as Lawyer
- K.H. Roberts as Surgeon
- Rugged Edge as Band
- Avery Sommers as Nurse
- Saundra Santiago (Gina) does not appear at all in this episode.
- Justin Lazard would reprise his role as Joey Hardin in two further season 5 episodes: "Miami Squeeze" and the "lost" episode "Leap of Faith".
- Rugged Edge provide the final live musical performance on Miami Vice, playing their song "Madame Axe" in the Rusty Needle.
- This same plot (protecting a witness) has been seen in several previous episodes, including "Glades", "Lombard" and "Contempt of Court".
- The episode is another example of a leak in law enforcement thwarting efforts to bust drug dealers, an underlying plot line throughout the series.
- Crockett's Testarossa finally returns in this episode, having been absent since "Deliver Us from Evil" in season 4, seven episodes previously. Coincidentally, this episode also marks Crockett's full return to his job as a member of the Vice team after the events of the Sonny Burnett Arc.
- This episode constitutes one of the more notable absences of Crockett's alligator Elvis in later seasons, as large parts of the story are confined to the St. Vitus Dance and yet there is no sign of Crockett's pet/guard gator. The last time Elvis was referred to was in a photograph in "Love at First Sight" from season 4, while the last time he actually appeared was in season 3's "El Viejo" (not counting a flashback to "Whatever Works" shown in "A Bullet for Crockett").
- Parris Buckner, who played the prosecutor in this episode, also appeared as Bob Ballard, Caroline's second husband, in season 4's "Child's Play" and later "To Have and to Hold".
- An example of something that slipped past the censors was a woman in a thong bikini with her exposed backside to Tubbs and Switek while they are discussing Felix and the FBI leak.
- This episode continues to portray the gradual "burn-out" of Crockett and Tubbs throughout the final season.
- The Netherland Hotel (shown when Tubbs, Switek, Felix and Bates have their shootout) is another Art Deco hotel that was renovated after Vice went off the air into a high-priced condominium complex.
- The Biltmore Hotel (where Crockett, Tubbs and Hardin/Mollis stay) was renovated in 1987 and reopened after a ten year period of being unoccupied. It closed again in 1990 and reopened again in 1992 and is a four-star hotel in Coral Gables.
- This episode contains another example of a "fake" song composed by Tim Truman filling in as popular music in one or more scenes -- specifically, the speed metal song Mollis is listening to when Crockett and Tubbs first meet him. Such tracks would appear quite frequently throughout the final season, no doubt indicative of the show's shrinking music budget.
- For the first time since season 3, the St. Vitus Dance plays an active role in one of the Vice unit's operations, being used by Crockett as a secure location to hide Keith Mollis. Previously, the yacht was employed in a similar role in "Lombard", while hiding Al Lombard in protective custody, and again in "Tale of the Goat", to hide Marie Sanserico from Legba and his thugs.
- At the end of the episode, Crockett promises Carlos Cantero, "It ain't over..." However, Cantero never reappeared on the show and this threat is never followed up. This scenario occurred several times in Miami Vice, with other examples being J.J. Johnston in "The Prodigal Son" and Mario Fuente in "Payback". In this case, the reason for the lack of a conclusion is not clear, as by this point the entire production team were aware the show was in its final season and would not get another. It is possible Cantero was supposed to reappear in "The Edge", a fifth season episode that was dropped before filming.
- This episode features the shortest sample of a song in the entire series, with barely 5 seconds of "Layla" being played before Joey Hardin turns it off, somewhat understating, "OK, so he's good..." (referring to Eric Clapton).
- Mollis' reckless actions while under protection would make sense if he was a genuine witness, but the twist that he is in fact a DEA agent calls his entire approach into question. If he is actually a law enforcement agent posing as a witness, it makes no sense for him to try and slip his protection and endanger himself by going to nightclubs alone. He could quite easily play the role without doing any of this, and in doing so he is risking both his own life and the lives of those assigned to protect him.
- Crockett tells Joey Hardin that "Layla" is a song by Eric Clapton. However, the song is actually performed by Derek & The Dominos; while Clapton was a member of that band, many people make this mistake and attribute the song to Clapton as a solo artist. Possibly the cassette Joey picked up was the 1982 Eric Clapton compilation Timepieces: The Best of Eric Clapton, which contains "Layla".
- In the scene where Crockett takes out the helicopter with a flare gun, it's very obvious that a model helicopter has been used to depict the explosion. Moreover, the model is of a different helicopter to the one that attacks the St. Vitus.
- When Tubbs is searching for the St. Vitus Dance, the shadow of the helicopter shown moving over the trees in closeup is of a different type than the one he is flying in.
- When Tubbs and Switek try to apprehend Bates and Reyes at the beach, Switek can be seen yelling something as he leaps over the wall outside the cafe, but no sound is heard.
- Filmed: November 3, 1988 - November 11, 1988
- Production Code: 63908
- Production Order: 96
- North Dade Justice Building, 15555 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami Beach (Opening with trial, later where real Mollis testifies)
- Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Avenue, Coral Gables (Hotel where Crockett/Tubbs/Hardin stay)
- Ocean Drive near the Carlyle and Cordozo Hotels (Tubbs/Switek chasing Bates)
- Jimbo's Place, Virginia Key (Crockett/Hardin at pier)
- Mount Sinai Medical Center 4300 Alton Rd, Miami Beach (Hardin in hospital)
- "Stigmata" by Ministry (on TV)
- "Madame Axe" by Rugged Edge (performed live in club)
- "Only the Good Die Young" by Iron Maiden (on boat)
- "Layla" by Derek and the Dominos (on boat)
Tim Truman MusicEdit
- "Helicopter" (Tubbs searching for Crockett/Hardin via helicopter)
- "Remind you of someone?"--Tubbs to Crockett about Mollins
- "Hey, pal, I earned my attitude!"--Crockett to Tubbs in reply
- "This speed metal crap is just warmed-over Hendrix riffs, played twice as fast and half as well!" -- Crockett to Mollins about their music tastes
- "To make the world safe. For children."--Crockett to Mollins when asked why he's a cop.
| Season 5 Episodes:|
"Hostile Takeover" • "Redemption in Blood" • "Heart of Night" • "Bad Timing" • "Borrasca" • "Line of Fire" • "Asian Cut" • "Hard Knocks" • "Fruit of the Poison Tree" • "To Have and to Hold" • "Miami Squeeze" • "Jack of All Trades" • "The Cell Within" • "The Lost Madonna" • "Over the Line" • "Victims of Circumstance" • "Freefall" (Series Finale)