Rites of Passage
16 (16th overall)
February 8, 1985
September 6, 1985
"Rites of Passage" is the sixteenth episode of Miami Vice's first season. It premiered on February 8, 1985, and was rerun on September 6, 1985. The episode introduces Pam Grier as NYPD Detective (and Tubbs' former lover) Valerie Gordon.
An old flame from Tubbs' past comes to Miami looking for her sister, who is caught up in the world of high-priced call girls.
On Miami Beach, Diane Gordon (Tery Ferman) is attracting a lot of attention, including that of Lile (David Thornton), who offers her lunch and brings her to a party that night that his boss, David Traynor (John Turturro) is putting on. Diane is introduced to Traynor, who runs a modeling agency (actually a high class call-girl service) that is looking for fresh new talent, and he suggests that she could earn up to $10,000 per month if she signed with him. Meanwhile, a hooker complains to Lile that she's not interested in a client.
That night, the Vice squad fishes the same hooker out of the Miami River. Castillo wants the Traynor organization checked on. Switek and Zito are working on their "Bug Busters" van to crash a private party Traynor is having, using a hidden camera in their bug sprayer to take pictures of the guests. At OCB, Tubbs runs into Valerie Gordon (Pam Grier), an old friend and flame from Brooklyn (and a NYPD detective) who has spent six months trying to locate Diane, Valerie's baby sister, after she did not return from a road trip with her friends; Diane told them she was taking a walk while in Chicago and never came back. Valerie finally traced her to Miami, where she's been the past two weeks. Tubbs asks why she never called; Valerie reminds him they didn't part on good terms. Switek and Zito do their bug sweep and catch numerous people on tape before being removed from the party. Tubbs and Valerie spend the night getting reacquainted. The next morning at OCB, Valerie is viewing mug shots while Switek and Zito play their "inadmissible evidence". Castillo wants the folks on the tape run down, even though most of them have built-in diplomatic immunity. Valerie walks in and recognizes Diane on tape with a diplomat, Roberto Marquez, at the party.
Diane spends her days with Lile and Traynor buying expensive clothes and doing drugs while working nights as a call girl. Meanwhile, Crockett, Tubbs and Valerie go to the consulate to see Marquez, who first cries diplomatic immunity and refuses to talk until Valerie explains that the girl that "likes to do the things you like to do" is her sister; Marquez reluctantly hooks Crockett and Tubbs (as Burnett and Cooper) up with one of Traynor's parties. While Crockett tries to keep the girls at bay, Tubbs locates Diane and tries to convince her to leave quietly. When she refuses, Tubbs bodily removes her (with Crockett holding Lile at gunpoint) and they take her away (screaming, so much so that Valerie slaps Diane to make her stop) to a rehabilitation center.
At the center, Diane tells Valerie how she's making $1000 per night and her life is one big party. Valerie reminds her that she is being bought and sold at will for sex, but acknowledges her life is her own and promises to always be there for her. Crockett wants Diane to testify against Traynor, as she is a solid link to his organization, but Tubbs and Valerie feel she's been used enough and want to take her back to New York. Before leaving, Diane calls Traynor to let him know she's through. Traynor gets her address and sends Lile to "take care of her;" he is afraid that if she goes to New York via the Miami D.A., he takes a third felony fall. While Tubbs and Valerie further rekindle their romance, Lile goes to the rehab center (under the premise of bringing someone flowers) and gives a sleeping Diane a fatal injection of cocaine.
Traynor is interrogated by Castillo, but Tubbs loses his cool and gets rough with Traynor to the point that Castillo admonishes him and Traynor's lawyer threatens to file charges. Valerie says she's going to take her sister back to New York, where she will meet her friend Billie. Tubbs and Crockett see her off at the airport, with Tubbs and Valerie professing their love for one another. Castillo indicates the dead hooker has been identified as a Traynor call girl, and they are collecting information from the tape to track down other leads. Tubbs gets a call from Billie that Diane's body arrived, but Valerie didn't.
They immediately head over to Traynor's place, where Valerie is knocking at the door, and when Lile sees her he starts shooting, but Valerie incapacitates him with her return fire and goes looking for Traynor. Just as Valerie prepares to storm the room he is hiding in, Lile recovers from his wounds to take aim at her, but Crockett and Tubbs shoot Lile just as Valerie kills Traynor. Valerie asks Crockett to Mirandize her.
- 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
- Pam Grier as NYPD Detective Valerie Gordon
- David Thornton as Lile
- Tery Ferman as Diane Gordon
- John Turturro as David Traynor
- Nancy Valen as "Got a light?" girl
- Pam Grier would return as Valerie in the season 2 opener "The Prodigal Son". Though it appears Valerie was arrested after shooting Lile and Traynor, she returns to her NYPD job like nothing happened. Crockett apparently pulled some strings to clear her name, as Valerie thanks him regarding the events of this episode.
- When this episode originally aired, a voice-over during the closing credits announced that Vice fans should "stay tuned, because Miami Vice has been renewed for a second exciting season!"
- Diplomats trying to use diplomatic immunity to protect themselves from their crimes would come up again in the season 4 episode "Baseballs of Death".
- When this episode originally aired, the love scene between Tubbs and Valerie was slightly longer and more erotic. NBC ordered the scene cut slightly in subsequent reruns and it has appeared in this form in syndication, in the DVD Releases, on Hulu, and on Netflix. A similar incident occurred in the third season episode "By Hooker by Crook" with a hot love scene involving Crockett and Christine Von Marburg (played by Don Johnson's then ex-wife Melanie Griffith).
- Throughout the entire sequence set to "I Want to Know What Love Is", there are constant speed fluctuations in the soundtrack, causing very audible distortions in the song.
- When Traynor is roughly interrogated by Tubbs, Traynor's lawyer claims that the police have opened themselves up "to libel and assault." Libel involves something printed that is untrue, not spoken; the lawyer should have said "slander and assault."
- Filmed: January 14, 1985 - January 23, 1985
- Production Code: 59519
- Production Order: 16
- Railway bridge between NW36th Street and NW South River Drive (Dead hooker pulled from water)
- Jose Marti Park 351 SW 4 Street at Miami River (Tubbs/Valerie walk)
- "Come to Poppa" by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band (Opening sequence with Diane walking beach and Lile taking her to lunch)
- "Waiting for You" by The Reds (Diane taken to first Traynor party)
- "Beat Away" by The Reds (Switek and Zito "bugging" Traynor's second party)
- "Change Your Ways" by Rockwell (Diane shopping for clothes and doing drugs)
- "Till the End" by The Reds (Crockett and Tubbs attend Traynor's third party looking for Diane)
- "I Want to Know What Love Is" by Foreigner (Diane is killed while Tubbs and Valerie enjoy each other's company)
Jan Hammer MusicEdit
- "Tubbs and Valerie" (throughout episode, mainly scenes involving Valerie)
- "Maybe it needs some oil!" "Maybe it needs some pollen!" -- Switek and Zito working on their bug van
- "Let's check out Switek's and Zito's new musical comedy, called Inadmissible Evidence!" -- Crockett to Valerie
- "Enough loins in here to stock a meat locker!" -- Crockett at Traynor's party
- "Diane... Diane is dead!" -- Crockett on car phone to Tubbs
- "Read me my rights!" -- Valerie to Crockett after she kills Traynor