The Great McCarthy


8 (8th overall)
November 16, 1984
Repeat Airdate
April 5, 1985
TV Rating
Guest Stars
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"The Great McCarthy" is the eighth episode of Miami Vice's first season. The episode premiered on November 16, 1984, repeated on April 5, 1985, and introduced Crockett and Tubbs' informant, Izzy Moreno (Martin Ferrero).


Crockett and Tubbs use information from an informant to catch a drug smuggler.


Crockett and Tubbs chase down and arrest a thief who they find in a building under construction, covered in anti-theft dye from money he stole. The thief, heading for his fourth felony conviction, is Izzy Moreno (Martin Ferrero), who is giving up names of everyone he knows in a desperate attempt to stay out of jail. He mentions one name that rings a bell... Louis McCarthy, who he says is a drug smuggler, and has a new shipment coming in.

Tubbs (as Richard Taylor) visits the local marina and meets McCarthy (William Gray Espy), who tells him about a boat race (Bimini and back) and won't allow Tubbs or Crockett (as Sonny Burnett) to enter. Tubbs lets him know of other business interests besides boating, but McCarthy doesn't seem interested, and instead invites Tubbs to watch his upcoming race. Also present at the meeting is McCarthy's accountant Dale Gifford (Charles McCaughan), an informant to Crockett and Tubbs. The Vice cops visit "the first class weasel" to dig up any dirt on McCarthy and find his books are clean (though they show a bit of extravagance), but money is being skimmed by Giff for McCarthy's girlfriend Vanessa (Maria McDonald), who runs a high-class men's clothing store, and her account has around $250,000 in it. Crockett and Tubbs go visit Vanessa, while Tubbs tries on some sports jackets, they manage to arrange a brunch date with her at McCarthy's place.

At brunch, Tubbs' and Vanessa's mutual attraction starts to flourish, while Crockett unsuccessfully tries to deal with McCarthy both with drugs and the race, and McCarthy invites both to a party that night. Crockett and Tubbs search McCarthy's boat for any hidden smuggling compartments, but find nothing, Tubbs is anxious to leave to see Vanessa, and Crockett warns Tubbs about getting involved too deep with Vanessa. While Tubbs and Vanessa continue their fling, Crockett gets into a pool match with McCarthy, agreeing to allow Crockett and Tubbs into the race if Crockett wins. If not, McCarthy gets Crockett's Ferrari Daytona. Crockett dominates and wins easily. Tubbs is confronted by McCarthy about his advances toward Vanessa, and Izzy (who also is at the party) tries to tell Crockett something when a woman screaming interrupts everything. Giff's body is pulled from the water, shot to death with a Beretta.

At OCB, Crockett says he thinks Giff was killed because McCarthy found out about Giff and Vanessa having a fling and about the money Giff was skimming to Vanessa. Tubbs thinks otherwise, but Crockett feels Tubbs is blinded due to his attraction to Vanessa. Castillo cannot get Crockett the $25,000 ante he needs for McCarthy's race due to "Downtown not having confidence in his racing abilities", but he suggests to get the money from Gina and Trudy's drug bust of a dealing professor. After Crockett serves drinks to Gina and Trudy, they, along with Switek (sitting at the outdoor bar) and Zito (blinding everyone with his lack of tan poolside) wait for the prof to arrive. After the bust (and a brief foot chase), Crockett convinces Gina to give him the money, promising to get it back, knowing the consequences if he doesn't, and he and Tubbs go to modify his cigarette boat for the race.


The Great McCarthy's boat race

Tubbs and Vanessa spend the night making love, then he, Crockett and Zito get on Crockett's boat to compete in McCarthy's race. During the race, it's revealed how McCarthy is getting his drugs in - by using two identical boats during the race, the one heading back to Miami has the drugs (and McCarthy) on it. Crockett pushes his modified cigarette boat to victory in the race, then McCarthy and his crew are arrested for drug smuggling and his boat is confiscated. While Tubbs and Vanessa continue their romance, Izzy goes to see Crockett and Gina on the St. Vitus Dance and shows Crockett the gun used in Giff's killing, and that he saw it go down - Vanessa killed Giff because he was going to tell McCarthy about her account when she stopped seeing him. Ballistics confirmed the gun was used in the killing and the fingerprints on the gun were Vanessa's. Tubbs arrests Vanessa for murder.


Guest StarsEdit




  • This episode marks the debut of Martin Ferrero as informant Izzy Moreno. Ferrero previously played the cross-dressing Calderone lieutenant and killer, Trini DeSoto, in the pilot episode "Brother's Keeper". He would go on to reprise the role of Izzy in several further episodes, making his last appearance in the series finale "Freefall".
  • The Barnett Bank building that Izzy robs in the opening is now owned by Bank of America. Compared to the amusingly hopeless get-rich-quick schemes he is typically seen taking part in, bank robbery seems an unusually ambitious crime for Izzy to attempt.
  • Once again, this episode features one of the leading duo becoming involved in a romantic relationship with a woman linked to the case that inevitably ends in heartbreak by the end of the episode, a recurring plot point in the series. Surprisingly, despite Crockett arguably being more famous for this, it is once again Tubbs who becomes involved, with Vanessa, who is ultimately revealed to be Giff's murderer.
  • Another example of 1980s "extravagance" is evident during McCarthy's party, extravagance being a recurring theme during the first two seasons.
  • Maria McDonald would return in the season 3 episode "The Afternoon Plane", as Tubbs' girlfriend Alicia.
  • The famous boat race scene would be emulated in the Director's Cut of the Miami Vice film, which opens with a similar race around Miami harbor.
  • "The Great McCarthy" would not be the last time Don Johnson raced powerboats. He later took part in the APBA powerboat championship in the late 80s, racing a Wellcraft SCARAB, the same boat Sonny Crockett piloted in seasons 2-5.
  • The aforementioned scene is also one of the very few times the color red appears on the show; red was one of the colors Michael Mann 'banned' from use on the production of the series, but owing to the fact the extra boats taking part in the race were simply owned and crewed by members of the public, the production team had to relent on this occasion and allow the red speedboat to take part.
  • This episode is the last in the series to show Crockett and Gina as being in a relationship. It is never really explained at what point they stop seeing each other, but evidently by the end of the season -- specifically the episode "Nobody Lives Forever" -- they are no longer together.


  • During the game of pool with McCarthy, Crockett pots the yellow three times.
  • It is insinuated that McCarthy didn't get a single shot during the pool game; yet when Crockett pockets the eight ball at the end, there are no other balls left on the table. McCarthy would have played stripes in a regular game of pool, as Crockett seemed to be playing the solids. Putting in McCarthy's stripes would have caused Crockett to repeatedly lose his turn, which also seems unlikely given Crockett's advanced level of skill.
  • After borrowing the money from Gina and Trudy following their bust, Crockett and Tubbs walk towards camera and jump over a wall, in the process stepping in some plants they clearly didn't know were there.
  • The boat race is a continuity nightmare, with the relative positions of the boats taking part constantly changing from shot to shot.

Production NotesEdit

  • Filmed: October 4, 1984 - October 12, 1984
  • Production Number: 59509
  • Production Order: 9

Filming LocationsEdit

  • Barnett Bank Building 701 Brickell Avenue (Opening -- cop cars/ Crockett/Tubbs chase begins)
  • Stephen P. Clark Government Center 111 NW 1st Street, Miami (Opening--Crockett/Tubbs chase Izzy)
  • 485 W Matheson Drive, Key Biscayne (McCarthy's home)
  • Ritz Carlton Hotel, 455 Grand Bay Drive, Key Biscayne (Professor bust)
  • Government Cut (Boat Race)


Jan Hammer MusicEdit

  • "Marina" (Tubbs with McCarthy at marina)
  • "Rico's Blues" (Tubbs meets, later makes love to Vanessa)
  • "The Great Boat Race" (Boat Race)
  • "Angelina Flashback" (Crockett/Gina on St. Vitus Dance)


  • "But your reputation as a first-class weasel is still very much intact!" -- Crockett to Gifford
  • "It's getting late, and the king's got a date!" -- Tubbs to Crockett on McCarthy's boat
  • "He's given up everybody he's known since the sixth grade." -- Castillo after Izzy's arrest
  • "I can win a ride in his Ferrari?" "No, you can win a ride in your Ferrari." -- McCarthy and Crockett before the pool match
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"