The Best of the Vices: Miami Vice Trivia Quiz


By: Julie Medina

4 Min Quiz

Image: The Movie DB

About This Quiz

With the blur of a speeding Ferrari and a "cigarette" speedboat , Miami Vice with Crockett and Tubb, brought a fresh edge to gritty street crimes and huge drug busts in the picturesque city of Miami, Florida. The speed, the scenery, and the storylines captivated all of us. Let this Trivia Quiz remind you of the best of the vices: Miami Vice.

What is the name of the character that Don Johnson portrayed?

Detective James Crockett’s alias is Sonny Burnett, a drug runner and middleman. But that's not the first time we've heard that name. "Sonny Crockett" had previously been used for a criminal played by actor Dennis Burkley on Hill Street Blues in 1983, where creator Anthony Yerkovich was a writer. Coincidentally, Gregory Sierra who later played Crockett's boss on "Vice" appeared in the same episodes.


Boys will have their toys. What toys did Sonny Crockett have?

His vehicles include a Ferrari Daytona Spyder (later a Ferrari Testarossa), a "Scarab" offshore power-boat, and a sailboat. Crockett's Ferrari Daytona was actually a modified Corvette. Ferrari executives were so upset that this ersatz Ferrari was gaining such popularity that they offered to provide the series with their new flagship car, the Testarossa.


What is the name of the character that Philip Michael Thomas portrayed?

Philip Michael Thomas portrays Detective Ricardo "Rico" Tubbs. His backstory is that he is a former New York police detective who travels to Miami as part of a personal vendetta against Calderone, the man who murdered his brother Rafael. After temporarily teaming up with Crockett, Tubbs follows his friend's advice and transfers to "a career in Southern law enforcement", fearing that after his serious violations of NYPD codes of conduct in the pilot episode, he would not be able to resume his job in New York. He joins the Miami department and becomes Crockett's permanent partner. He often poses as Rico Cooper, a wealthy buyer from out of town.


Why was Miami Vice so different than all the other police shows of that time?

Unlike focusing on standard police procedures, the show drew heavily upon 1980s New Wave culture and music. The show became noted for its integration of music and visual effects. It is recognized as one of the most influential television series of all time. People magazine stated that Miami Vice was the "first show to look really new and different since color TV was invented".


What is the name of Crockett's alligator?

Elvis is the pet alligator of Metro-Dade Detective James "Sonny" Crockett. A former mascot for Crockett's alma mater University of Florida Gators (retired after biting a wide receiver from the University of Alabama), Crockett took him in as the "resident drug-sniffer and watch gator" of his boat, the St. Vitus Dance.


What was Elvis’ prize possession?

We learn that Elvis has a treasured possession of a fuzzy pink blanket in the episode "Heart of Darkness." Sonny threatens to throw the blanket overboard after Elvis devours his Buddy Holly records. Beside his relationship with Elvis the alligator, Don Johnson rekindled the spirit of Elvis to play Elvis Presley a few years earlier in the made-for-TV movie Elvis and the Beauty Queen (1981).


What is the name of the lieutenant who keeps his desk free of paperwork and asks the staff to knock before they come in?

Edward James Olmos portrays Lieutenant Martin "Marty" Castillo. He replaces the slain Rodriguez as head of the OCB. A very taciturn man, Castillo lives a reclusive life outside of work. He was formerly a DEA agent in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia during the late 1970s. During his time as an agent, he opposed the CIA in endorsing the trafficking of heroin to finance their overseas operations. Some of Castillo's habits, such as his desk always being free of paperwork and his request that anyone entering his office should knock first, were suggested by Edward James Olmos during filming.


The women were strong characters in Miami Vice although one had a soft spot for Sonny, who was she?

Saundra Santiago plays Detective Gina Navarro Calabrese, A Fearless female detective. After Crockett's divorce, they had a brief romance. Even after their relationship did not progress, they still have a strong friendship. Saundra Santiago spent three years playing the role of crime boss Carmen Santos on the long-running CBS soap opera Guiding Light. Coincidentally, she appeared simultaneously in a recurring role on The Sopranos as Tony Soprano's next door neighbor, Jeannie Cusamano, and as her twin sister, Joan. She has guest-starred on numerous TV series including Person of Interest, Gang Related, Stomping Grounds and Blue Bloods.


Who was nicknamed “Big Booty Trudy"?

Olivia Brown portrays Detective Trudy Joplin, Gina's patrol partner. Though tough, "Big Booty Trudy" sometimes struggles to face consequences of her job, such as when she shot and killed a man. Olivia Brown also portrayed Vanessa Hargraves on Designing Women, Patricia Hamilton on 7th Heaven, and Barbara Lee on Moesha. Brown has acted in several films, including Throw Momma from the Train, 48 Hrs., All Tied Up, and Streets of Fire.


What is the name of the detective who is a good friend to Larry and is a fan of Elvis Presley?

Michael Talbott portrays Detective Stanley "Stan" Switek. He plays a fellow police detective and good friend to Larry. Although a good policeman, later on in the series he falls prey to a gambling addiction. He is also a big fan of Elvis Presley. Talbott’s other television credits include M*A*S*H, Sanford and Son, The Jeffersons, Eight is Enough and other series. Talbott also appeared in a number of films, playing a bully in Carrie, a party-crasher in Big Wednesday, a highway patrolman in Any Which Way You Can, a reckless stunt driver in Used Cars, a real estate agent in Manhunter, and a reluctant deputy in First Blood.


Who is Switek's surveillance partner?

John Diehl portrays Detective Lawrence "Larry" Zito. He is a detective and Switek's surveillance partner. He was killed in the line of duty when a drug dealer gave him a fatal overdose. Diehl enjoyed being on Vice but wanted to leave the show, opting for a more creative opportunity in theater.


Who answers Brenda? Brenda: “How do you go from this tranquility to that violence?” “I usually take the Ferrari.”

Beside getting to drive a Ferrari, Don Johnson got to live the life of a cop … for a little while. In order to help get the potential cast members more into character, they were taken on stakeouts by the real Miami Vice unit. While auditioning for the role of Sonny Crockett, Don Johnson came into a script reading for the producers directly from an all-night stakeout. He appeared tired, his hair a mess, and he had not shaved that morning. That look showed the producers what a real life vice cop would look like following a long night of work, and he was hired immediately.


Who said this? “You've got to know the rules before you can break 'em. Otherwise, it's no fun.”

Crockett wise cracks gave insight into this character. Speaking of knowing the rules, all technical advisors for the show served with the real-life Miami Vice unit, which required that the cast members first pass the Florida Department of Law Enforcement firearms test before they could handle weapons on the set.


Who said this? “The secret to success, whether it's women or money, is knowing when to quit. I oughta know: I'm divorced and broke.”

Crockett may be broke, but Don Johnson is far from it. However, both character and actor are similar in divorce status. At age 14, Griffith began dating Don Johnson, her mother's 22-year-old co-star in The Harrad Experiment. The relationship culminated in a six-month marriage from January to July 1976. In 1988, after completing rehabilitation for cocaine and liquor, Griffith reconnected with Johnson. They remarried on June 26, 1989. Their daughter, Dakota Johnson, was born on October 4, 1989. They separated in March 1994, reconciled later that year, but separated again in May 1995.


Who responds to Crockett? Sonny Crockett: “Man, it's so hot you could fry an egg on my face.” “Hope I never get that hungry.”

Tubs, played by Philip Michael Thomas answers his partner. After Philip Michael Thomas’s popularity on Miami Vice, it was hard for him to find acting roles as his face was too familiar to the public as the Tubbs character. However, he did work with Don Johnson again. In 1997 and again in 2001, he reunited with Johnson as a guest star on the TV series Nash Bridges.


Who says this? “You know, I remember when I was a kid growing up, my father and mother would say, '..., if you learn a skill, work hard, and keep your nose clean, eventually you're gonna get your reward'; you know, you think like that today, they call you a 'chump', a 'loser'...”

Actually it worked out for Tubbs. In the show he got to drive a classic convertible - a 1964 Cadillac DeVille. And in the episode, Brother’s Keeper, Tubbs gets into a Firebird Trans Am. Not bad. Not bad at all.


Who said this? “Hey get him away from me man! I don't even like alligator shoes!”

Tubbs is not a big fan of Elvis, Crockett’s “pet”. When they were casting for the part of Tubbs, both Denzel Washington and Philip Michael Thomas were considered. At the time it was not seen as lucrative for movie stars to venture into television. Philip Michael Thomas got the role.


What was the name of Tubbs and Crockett’s speed freak informant?

A friend of Izzy's and informant for Crockett and Tubbs, Noogie's motor mouth often irritated Sonny, but he had to put up with him because Noogie was a valuable resource. Charlie Barnett, an actor and comedian portrayed Neville 'Noogie' Lamont. In the 1983 comedy film D.C. Cab, Charlie Barnett played the role of Tyrone and he also appeared on Def Comedy Jam. Having contracted HIV through heroin abuse, Barnett died from complications of AIDS on March 16, 1996.


Who portrayed a petty criminal and informer?

Martin Ferrero portrayed Isidore "Izzy" Moreno, a petty criminal and fast talker with a Cuban accent. Izzy is always known for getting into quick money schemes and giving Crockett and Tubbs the latest information from the street. Martin Ferrero is a stage and film actor remembered for his role as the ill-fated lawyer Donald Gennaro in Jurassic Park among other roles.


Let’s talk fashion trends. Miami Vice made what famous?

The clothes worn on Miami Vice had a significant influence on men's fashion. They popularized, if not invented, the "T-shirt under Armani jacket"–style, and popularized Italian men's fashion in the United States. In an average episode, Crockett and Tubbs wore five to eight outfits, appearing in shades of pink, blue, green, peach, fuchsia, and the show's other "approved" colors. Costume designer Bambi Breakstone, who traveled to Milan, Paris, and London in search of new clothes, said that, "The concept of the show is to be on top of all the latest fashion trends in Europe”.


Why was Miami chosen for the location of this series?

Co-executive producer Yerkovich noted that “It [Miami] seemed to be an interesting socio-economic 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. There is a fascinating amount of service industries that revolve around the drug trade--money laundering, bail bondsmen, attorneys who service drug smugglers. Miami has become a sort of Barbary Coast of free enterprise gone berserk.”


What other fashion trends were popularized by Miami Vice?

Many of the styles popularized by the TV show, such as the T-shirt under pastel suits, no socks, rolled up sleeves, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, have today become the standard image of 1980s culture. The influence of Miami Vice's fashions continued into the early 1990s, and to some extent still persists today.


It wasn’t just fashion that made the show on-trend, it also was the music. How did the music complement the action?

As Lee H. Katzin, one of the show's directors, remarked, "The show is written for an MTV audience, which is more interested in images, emotions and energy than plot and character and words. Miami Vice is noted for its innovative use of stereo broadcast music, particularly countless pop and rock hits of the 1980s and the distinctive, synthesized instrumental music of Jan Hammer. While other television shows used made-for-TV music, Miami Vice would spend $10,000 or more per episode to buy the rights to original recordings. Getting a song played on Miami Vice was a boost to record labels and artists. In fact, some newspapers, such as USA Today, would let readers know the songs that would be featured each week.


What could be said of the theme song to Miami Vice?

Jam Hammer scored the instrumental of the Miami Vice theme song. which climbed to the top of the Billboard charts in November 1985.The Miami Vice original soundtrack, featuring the theme song and Glenn Frey's "Smuggler's Blues" and "You Belong to the City" (a No. 2 hit), stayed on the top of the U.S. album chart for 11 weeks in 1985, making it the most successful TV soundtrack at the time.


Miami Vice also popularized certain brands of firearms and accessories, what did Don Johnson carry?

The Bren Ten, manufactured by Dornaus & Dixon, was a stainless-steel handgun used by Don Johnson during Miami Vice's first two seasons. Dornaus & Dixon went out of business in 1986,[43] and Smith & Wesson was offered a contract to outfit Johnson's character with a S&W Model 645 during season three. Several firearms never before seen on TV were featured prominently for the first time in the show including the Glock 17 pistol. In addition firearms not well known to the public including the Steyr AUG and the Desert Eagle were showcased to a wide audience on this show.


What types of cars would you see on Miami Vice?

Tubbs drove a 1964 Cadillac Coupe de Ville Convertible. Stan Switek drove a turquoise 1961 Ford Thunderbird. Gina Calabrese drove a 1971 Mercury Cougar XR-7 convertible. Other notable vehicles that appeared in Miami Vice included, brands such as Lamborghini, AMG Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Maserati, Lotus, DeLorean, Porsche, and Corvettes. You would also see American muscle cars, such as the Pontiac GTO and Firebird Trans Am, Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Plymouth GTX and Barracuda, Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS, and the Buick Grand National also made appearances.


Crockett lived on a sail boat, what was the name of it?

The St. Vitus Dance is a sailing yacht and home of James "Sonny" Crockett. Moored in Miami's luxurious Miamarina (now known as Bayside Marketplace), the sailboat rarely seemed to leave its berth, acting more as a floating apartment than a means of transport or recreation. Sonny's yacht was an Endeavour 40 sailboat in season 1; an Endeavour 42 sailboat in seasons 2 to 5 each priced around at $135,000. The ship derived its name from the 3rd century saint, St. Vitus who was patron saint of persons having "Chorea" (a.k.a. "St. Vitus' Dance") - a disorder of the nervous system characterized by irregular, jerking movements caused by involuntary muscular contractions.


The sailboat wasn’t the only boat that Crockett piloted, what else did he use to make an escape on a waterway?

Sonny also piloted an a Wellcraft 38 Scarab KV "cigarette" speedboat priced at a cost of $105,000. Docked next to the St. Vitus Dance, the speedboat featured twin 440s engines. His interest in boat racing eventually led Johnson to start his own offshore powerboat racing team, called Team USA. Joining him were Hollywood stars including Kurt Russell and Chuck Norris. Johnson won the Offshore World Cup in 1988 and continued racing into the 1990s.


What vehicle did Stan often use for street surveillance?

The vehicle certainly wasn't subtle, but it never drew a lot of attention as pest control was always a common site in the run-down neighborhoods that were being observed. In line with the fashion color guidelines, no "earth tones" were allowed to be used in the production. A director of Miami Vice, Bobby Roth, recalled, “There are certain colors you are not allowed to shoot, such as red and brown. If the script says 'A Mercedes pulls up here,' the car people will show you three or four different Mercedes. One will be white, one will be black, one will be silver. You will not get a red or brown one. Michael knows how things are going to look on camera.


What was the name of Crockett’s first wife?

Crockett is separated from his wife Caroline (Belinda Montgomery) in the pilot and divorced in the fourth episode. Belinda Montgomery is a Canadian-American actress, writer, and painter. You may recognize her as Dr. Elizabeth Merrill from Man from Atlantis however, she is best known for her role as Katherine Howser, mother to Doogie Howser, M.D. Montgomery has made over 80 guest appearances on television, including appearances on Ironside, T. J. Hooker, Dynasty, L.A. Law, JAG, Mannix, Magnum, P.I., The Sixth Sense, The Virginian, and Ghost Whisperer, among other series.


What was the name of Crockett’s second wife?

Sonny’s second wife Caitlin Davies (Sheena Easton) is killed by one of his enemies. Sheena Easton is a Scottish-born recording artist and stage and screen actress with dual UK-United States nationality. Easton first came into the public eye as the focus of an episode in the first British musical reality television program, The Big Time: Pop Singer, which recorded her attempts to gain a record contract and her eventual signing with EMI Records. Easton is a six-time Grammy nominee in the U.S., and a two-time Grammy Award winner, perfect casting for the MTV crowd.


Who said this? “You're all players, Sonny. You get high on the action.”

Caroline Crockett said this to Sonny in the first season of Miami Vice. In the pilot Caroline and Sonny were separated and by the fourth episode they were divorced. Caroline knew her husband well, he did get high on the action. Initially, Jeff Bridges and then Nick Nolte were considered for the role of Sonny Crockett. Don Johnson was ready to leave the show at the end of its second season, and the studio lined up Mark Harmon to take over the role of Sonny Crockett. Executive producer Michael Mann convinced Johnson to stay. Johnson had to turn down roles in quite a few movies include lead in Die Hard and The Untouchable.


Which of these Emmy Awards did the series win?

Besides all of the above, the series also received an Emmy Award for Outstanding Art Direction for a Series. In addition to the categories which won awards, Miami Vice was also nominated for 11 other categories including Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series for Anthony Yerkovich and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for Don Johnson.


How many Grammy Awards did the series receive?

The series received two Grammy Awards for Best Pop Instrumental Performance – the Miami Vice Theme to Jan Hammer, artist. And Best Instrument Composition for the Miami Vice Theme to Jan Hammer, composer.


What other awards did the series receive?

Miami Vice won the People’s Choice Awards for Favorite: New TV Dramatic Program in 1985 and in 1986 won the award for Favorite: TV Dramatic Program. As for the Golden Globe Awards, Edward James Olmos won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series and Don Johnson won Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama.


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