The days of Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs busting cocaine dealers on Miami Vice really do seem like thirty years ago. The show was very very much a product of its time, and at the same time, was very influential in shaping our memories of that time. My husband quit wearing socks and put a blazer (a cheap one) over his t-shirts for work. Whatever song the show played would be heavily requested the next day. And then suddenly, that all stopped, and the ‘80s were over. Let’s go back in time and find out a little more than we already know about Miami Vice.
1. “MTV COPS” WAS THE MAIN CONCEIT OF THE SERIES.
There have been differing opinions as to who came up with the idea of “MTV Cops” as a summary for what Miami Vice should be. While many sources claim that it was Brandon Tartikoff who scribbled down the two-word idea as a brainstorming memo, show creator Anthony Yerkovich has maintained that he spent years developing the idea that would become Miami Vice. “I thought of [Miami] as a sort of a modern-day American Casablanca,” Yerkovich told TIME in 1985. “It seemed to be an interesting socioeconomic tide pool: the incredible number of refugees from Central America and Cuba, the already extensive Cuban-American community, and on top of all that the drug trade.”
Regardless of whether you believe the story about the Tartikoff memo, there’s no denying that Miami Vice did become a cop show for the MTV generation. “The show is written for an MTV audience, which is more interested in images, emotions, and energy than plot and character and words,” said Lee Katzin, who directed two episodes of the show’s first season.
4. THE NETWORK DIDN’T WANT DON JOHNSON.
Though the casting conversation kept coming back to Don Johnson for the role of Sonny Crockett, the network was against casting him, deeming him pilot poison. “I had made five pilots for Brandon Tartikoff back then, and none of them were picked up,” Johnson told Rolling Stone.
Well, the sixth time was a charm. The show went on to influence fashion, music, tourism, and even architecture. Read the behind-the-scenes trivia about Miami Vice at mental_floss.