4 (48th Overall)
October 17, 1986
April 17, 1987
Tubbs goes undercover inside a state prison to find and stop a group of corrupt guards running a cocaine ring.
Tubbs is between the sheets with Laura, his current girl, before he leaves for work, where he is upbeat and even singing. He gets a call to meet up with Laura at a bar. There, he and Crockett notice a man (Frank Cassini) wanting to deal three keys of cocaine to Carlo Amati, which was set up by Izzy. Amati and a heavy stop in to meet with the dealer; Amati pulls a gun, saying "This is for my brother," and starts shooting as the dealer returns fire. Amati is hit but survives; however, the dealer, the heavy, and Laura (hit by a wild shot) are all dead.
The dealer was identified as Ralph Pink, a guard at Bolton State Prison. Switek and Zito go to Raoul's bar where a male strip show is going on, with Izzy on stage. Izzy mentions Amati wanted to meet with Pink because Amati's brother is in Bolton Prison and Amati wanted Pink to cut him some slack. Tubbs is having difficulty dealing with Laura's murder, but has been reviewing files and found that Amati's brother, along with ten other dealers, have all been killed at Bolton prison in the current year, no reports filed, and the only witnesses were other inmates and prison guards.
Castillo calls Crockett and Tubbs up to the hospital and they meet with Prison Commissioner John Rugar (Ron Perlman), who confirms Tubbs' suspicions about the guards at Bolton—they are leaning on the traffickers and if any of them don't deliver, they're killed. The drugs get in through routine means (conjugal visits, delivery trucks, etc.) and are sold inside the prison or on the streets (as in the case of Pink). Rugar can't make a case because no one will cooperate (or risk being killed). All of the dead dealers were killed in "D" block, overseen by Commander Fox (Kevin Conway). Castillo and Rugar want to send in a police officer with limited street visibility to "break the chain" and end the corruption. Tubbs volunteers (because in his two years in Miami he hasn't sent anyone to Bolton), though Crockett is concerned he's letting his suppressed grief over Laura's death take over. If Tubbs goes in, Rugar can quickly build a cover that's so solid, a simple traffic ticket will send him to jail.
Despite Crockett's objections, Castillo allows Tubbs to go, provided he gets out in two days if no one hits on him. Switek and Zito go to see Carl (Michael Earl Reid), a man with a "brother" named Samson in Bolton, and the police are willing to reduce time before Samson's next parole hearing if he cooperates. Carl fills them in on the gang situation (Aryan Sons, Muslim Brotherhood—who Samson currently runs—etc.) and that "Hammer", who runs the Aryans, is in league with the corrupt guards. Tubbs (as Cubera, a drug dealer) speeds on a Miami highway, is arrested and taken to Bolton, where he's processed and assigned to "D" block. He immediately draws the ire of the Aryans, until the Muslim Brotherhood intervenes on his behalf. Tubbs is assigned kitchen duty, an opportunity for the Aryans to jump and brutally beat him. Prison Guard Keller (Larry Fishburne) tells Tubbs he can be killed on a whim by the tower or the Aryans, or he can provide the two kilos of cocaine listed in his file. Tubbs refuses unless he can talk to Fox personally, and Keller sends him "back to the jungle."
A Puerto Rican prisoner named Lazarus begs Tubbs for a kilo of cocaine to save his life. Tubbs tells him to get lost, but when he goes into his cell Hammer's comb is on his bed. Hammer tells him he won't be back from the yard to give it to him. Fox and Keller are reviewing Tubbs' file, and Keller, believing he is trouble, says he's set him up with Hammer. Out in the yard, Lazarus tells Tubbs the tower guards work for Fox and that they will shoot him down for any reason. Hammer goes after Tubbs again; Samson confronts Hammer but is shot down by the tower guard. The other members of the Brotherhood believe it to be "the will of Allah."
Keller sends for Tubbs to see Fox, who offers 40% of the take on all drugs he pushes through the prison. Fox demands 60%, so Tubbs compromises: 50% with "amenities" (his own cell, food, woman and protection), and he can start it with one phone call. Fox agrees to two keys. Tubbs calls OCB to set up the deal (and let them know what's going on). They take Tubbs to his private cell (in administrative segregation—a "walk-alone"), only to find Lazarus hung there. Keller tells Tubbs they'll "clean it up in a jiffy". Switek drives to the prison to take Trudy for a "conjugal visit" with Tubbs, and to bring him the drugs. After Tubbs "yells" at Trudy that she's been "unfaithful", she storms out. Keller takes the drugs out of the prison, while Switek takes Tubbs' luxury items to the guards. However, Carl spots him at the front gate and blows Tubbs' cover (in anger over Samson's death).
While Castillo makes plans to pull Tubbs out, Fox confronts Tubbs about the fact he's a cop, and has him roughed up. Keller meets with Crockett and is busted. Castillo decides to go into jail himself to get Tubbs out, while Fox arranges to have him hit in the yard. Castillo is given a bullet proof vest and Keller, with the promise of a deal, gets him inside the walls, but then traps him outside Fox's office. Castillo, while ordering everyone in, manages to bust into the kitchen, and shoots a propane tank to blow open the door to the yard, causing chaos. The tower guards shoot the guard fighting Tubbs; Castillo is also hit but saved by his vest, and he kills both guards. The police bust everyone at the front gate and storm inside. Castillo, protecting Tubbs, orders the inmates down to the ground. Keller grabs a shotgun and heads to the yard; he tries to shoot Castillo but Tubbs jumps and beats him up. Fox and Hammer are carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood and savagely beaten to death. Switek and Rugar enter the yard, Switek firing warning shots and Rugar calling the inmates off. Tubbs quips that Fox and Hammer were tried (and convicted) by a jury of their own peers.
- 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
- Kevin Conway as Commander Fox
- Ron Perlman as Prison Commissioner John Rugar
- Frank Cassini as Ralph Pink
- Michael Earl Reid as Carl
- Larry Fishburne as Keller
- Martin Ferrero as Izzy Moreno
- Richard St. George as Lazarus
- Jim Kiick as Short Con
- A. J. Duhe as Hammer
- Lawrence Kennedy as Hizzorer
- John Corker as Samson
- Dalton Cathey as Ruzik
- W. Paul Bodie as Tough Guy
- Unknown as Laura
- A.J. Duhe (Hammer) and Jim Kiick (inmate) both played for the Miami Dolphins. Duhe played in Super Bowl XVII and Kiick played in Super Bowls VI, VII (the undefeated season) and VIII.
- This episode marks the debut of the new, stripped-down Bug Van.
- The final five minutes of this episode (where Castillo rescues Tubbs to the music of "In Dulce Decorum") are considered by many the best ending of the third season.
- Tubbs had somewhat better luck with the ladies than Crockett, yet his girlfriend Laura was sadly killed in this episode, much like Crockett's partners Sara Davis and Caitlin Davies.
- Jan Hammer's music used in "Sons and Lovers" (during the Calderone standoff) is used in the scenes involving Tubbs in prison and Castillo when they make plans to get into prison to get Tubbs out.
- The underpass where Tubbs is pulled over by the cops for running a toll booth in his Aston Martin V8 Volante is seen several times in later seasons of Miami Vice; most notably it is the spot where Borbon is taken from Crockett and Tubbs in "Freefall".
- Tubbs is apparently Catholic, as he crosses himself upon seeing that Laura is dead.
- This isn't the first time Tubbs has underestimated a situation and overestimated his own ability to deal with it; "Tale of the Goat" is a previous occurrence. This is also the second Tubbs-centric episode in which, at the climax, Tubbs has to confront the bad guys unarmed and must rely on backup (this time Castillo) when the shooting starts.
- Notably, this is one of the few episodes in which Crockett is prominently featured, yet plays almost no part in the climactic confrontation (instead remaining in the surveillance van while Castillo saves Tubbs).
- Tubbs' refusal to kiss Trudy when she is posing as his girlfriend on a conjugal visit is referenced in "Streetwise" when Tubbs, posing as Trudy's pimp, asks her to give him a kiss, to which she replies, "Aha! You had your chance!"
- When the correction officer approaches Tubbs on the bus to the prison, the African American seated in front of Tubbs isn't handcuffed like the other prisoners. Immediately in the next shot, the cuffs suddenly appear.
- During the final scene where Tubbs is led to the yard, Tubbs looks normal in some shots and then badly beaten and bloodied in others. Also, Samson can briefly be seen standing behind him, despite being killed earlier in the episode -- the shot was probably lifted from before Samson's death.
- During the final scenes in the prison, Castillo fires a total of seven shots from his six-shot revolver (without any apparent reloading). He fires one round into the door when Keller ditches him; one round into the propane tank to get into the yard; two rounds into the 1st tower guard; and finally, three rounds into the second tower guard.
- Keller is still aiming his shotgun in Castillo's direction when Tubbs jumps on him and he lets off a round, yet Castillo is somehow not hit.
- When Switek breaks up the mob beating Fox to death, he somehow fires three shots in rapid succession from a pump-action shotgun.
- Filmed: September 4, 1986 - September 15, 1986 (Tubbs' mugshot shows the date as 9-12-86)
- Production Code: 62014
- Production Order: 50
- Club Ovo, 1450 Collins Ave, Miami Beach (Laura love scenes, Pink/Amati meet and Izzy strip show, closed in May, 2002)
- Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge and its underpass (Tubbs v. Police car chase)
- Yaze Marina Restaurant at Rickenbacker Marina, 3301 Rickenbacker Causeway, Key Biscayne (Crockett/Keller meet)
- Culver Prison 14000 NW 41 Street, Miami (Bolton Prison, now called South Florida Reception Center)
- "Listen Like Thieves" by INXS (Opening sequence in bar)
- "Walk This Way" by Run-D.M.C. (at male strip club)
- "Gear Jammer" by George Thorogood and the Destroyers (Tubbs gets arrested while speeding)
- "In Dulce Decorum" by The Damned (Tubbs taken to jail and end sequence where Castillo gets Tubbs out of jail)
- "When you're under--especially in the joint, you have to be cold, and you're not even cool - You're red hot, Pal" -- Crockett to Tubbs after Tubbs volunteered to go into prison
- "Two days? Two days? There are guys in Bolton that can put a pencil in his lungs in two seconds!" -- Crockett to Castillo after Tubbs volunteered to go into prison
- "At least they got a jury of their own peers!" -- Tubbs after Fox and Hammer are beaten to death by inmates