- This article is about the character from the television series. For the movie rendition, see Michael Switek.
Detective Stanley "Stan" Switek (born 1955) is an officer with the Metro-Dade Police Department, working undercover in the Organized Crime Bureau, Vice Division. He was the partner of Detective Larry Zito until the latter's death.
Switek is a laid-back, wanna-be comedian who doesn't take life seriously, but does take his police work seriously. He is an expert in surveillance of all kinds, but also has a secret gambling addiction that he was working on. Switek performed surveillance duties with Zito in their "Bug Van".
He was played in the television series by Michael Talbott.
Life before ViceEdit
Not much is known about Switek's life before Vice. However, while never explicitly stated on the show, it could be surmised from his apparent level of familiarity with heavy weaponry (including a military-grade M60 machine gun) that he has some experience in the armed forces, perhaps as a member of the National Guard.
Switek was a sworn member of Stuart Police Department in Stuart, Florida for several years before applying and being hired to the Metro-Dade Police Department. At some point during this time he became acquainted with Mac Mulhern (a football coach) and his son Kevin, and the two became friends.
Switek was a member of his high school's swim team.
Switek joined the Metro-Dade police, later moving to the Organized Crime Bureau, Vice Division, as a detective. His experience in electronics made him valuable as a surveillance person.
Career in ViceEdit
Switek and his partner, Larry Zito, formed the OCB's surveillance team, utilizing many methods, including wiretaps, extended range microphones, visual observation, photographs, even using their extermination cover to get video of people in a call girl ring and other suspects. Switek even used a comedian's cover to help catch a suspect. His light-hearted approach to his work was only exceeded by his desire to help catch the criminals. He worked with Zito closely, but they also made mistakes together, like slow backup, incorrect information, etc., which gave Castillo fits (especially in the case of faking illness to play a game show with a con man). When Zito was murdered by the gambler Guzman, Switek grieved heavily, as he lost not only his partner, but his best friend, and virtual brother, and his light-hearted demeanor changed.
He never really recovered from his partner's death, and when combined with his friend James "Sonny" Crockett's change to his alter-ego Sonny Burnett and his lack of progress in the department (he was turned down for a promotion not because of his performance but because of a "lack of funding"), he turned to gambling. At first it was a few games, but eventually he racked up over $100K in debts, which caused the heavies to come after him. He illegally tapped a lawyer's phone to find out where the main man (and his friend Mac, who was kidnapped) is, killing both the lawyer and the mob boss Marvin Goodman. Crockett gave Switek Goodman's gambling book and offered to help him by encouraging Switek to attend Gambler's Anonymous meetings. Switek attended a couple before he fell back into betting, this time another group of heavies tried to repossess his T-bird, threatened to kill his girlfriend, eventually a Colombian named Caesar Montoya bought Switek's debts and tried to force Switek into revealing the location of General Manuel Borbon, the leader of Costa Morada and a drug lord. Castillo brought Switek in and suspended him indefinitely after a hit was made on Borbon (and Crockett/Tubbs). Switek vehemently denied giving any info up on his partners, saying that despite his addiction, he would never turn dirty and give up his partners.
Switek subsequently fed false information to Montoya, setting up his men at an abandoned quayside warehouse. A shootout led to the thugs being killed—whether Switek had intended to do this all along, or whether he had hoped to apprehend them legally, is never made totally clear. Switek later helped Crockett rescue Tubbs from Montoya's men, although his future with the Metro-Dade department after this point (including any repercussions regarding the questionable circumstances under which he gunned down Montoya's goons) is never conclusively revealed.
Switek is a huge Elvis Presley fan, keeping a photo of "The King" at his desk, doing Elvis impersonations, and watching his movies. He and Zito were like brothers, Zito teasing Switek about his voracious appetite for junk food, and dating Zito's ex, Darlene, moving in together (with Zito, whose house blew up). They broke up when Switek chose his career over her. After Zito's death, Switek did his best to maintain his sense of humor, but he did not have another girlfriend until he dated Holly in 1989. However, she also apparently left him, no doubt as a result of his severe gambling addiction and its dire consequences.
Switek typically drove the Dodge Ram surveillance van, and owned a turquoise 1962 Ford Thunderbird convertible as his personal car.
Switek carried a nickel-plated Browning Hi-Power in 9mm Parabellum as his primary sidearm throughout the series. He is also arguably the most prolific user of heavy weaponry on the Vice team, frequently seen carrying a Mossberg 500 Bullpup shotgun on busts. He is also seen using a Beretta BM59 battle rifle in "The Prodigal Son" and "Out Where the Buses Don't Run", an IMI Uzi in "Child's Play", an Armsel Striker 12 gauge revolving shotgun in "Hard Knocks" and "Freefall", and even a military-issue M60 machine gun in "Lombard" (possibly implying familiarity with the weapon through past military training).
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