Sex & Relationships

Things We Learned About Relationships From… Sonny Crockett on “Miami Vice”

Espadrilles with no socks.  Ray-Bans. Blazer with a t-shirt.  Facial hair. No, this isn’t you on a date in LA.

It’s the guy who started it all: Detective James “Sonny” Crockett of Miami Vice, as ably portrayed by the ultrasmooth Don Johnson (father of Dakota for you youngsters).

In 1984, this program forever changed the idea of the cop show.  It’s previously unseen, carefully-curated combination of music, fashion and cinematography sent cultural reverberations throughout society that are still felt today.  

It also featured some very emotional protagonists who, despite being entrenched in combating the South Florida drug trade, had time to go on dates and ruin relationships on a seemingly weekly basis.  Which is exactly why Crockett is a great character to emulate.

Lesson #1: “The Hardest to Get Ain’t Always the Best”


In Prodigal Son, Crockett and his partner Ricardo Tubbs are sent North to New York City to track down and bust a Colombian drug cartel.  Once they arrive, after about 15 minutes of police work, the salacious sax of Glenn Fry’s “You Belong to the City” kicks in and Crockett starts stalking the streets of Manhattan.

When he lands at a bar, he begins exchanging flirtatious eyes with a blue-eyed pixie cut, but despite her inviting glances, resists the urge to be one of the half-dozen guys in the bar tripping over themselves to win her affection.  This intrigues the Pixie-Cut and she makes the first move.

PIXIE-CUT:  Not very persistent are you?
CROCKETT:  I don’t like this game already.
PIXIE-CUT: Sometimes the best things are the hardest to get.
CROCKETT:  Yaaah, but the hardest to get ain’t always the best.

Crockett’s reserve further intrigues the Pixie-Cut, but after polite offers of buying her a drink, she blows Crockett off for being “too conventional” and returns to her table of suitors laying in wait to fawn over her.  Crockett smiles and takes off without thinking twice about it, but as he’s waiting to hail a cab the temptress returns.

PIXIE-CUT: I think it’s my cab.
CROCKETT: Would it matter if it wasn’t?  Cabs waiting.
PIXIE-CUT:  Do you wanna share it?
CROCKETT:  No thanks. City’s full of ‘em.
PIXIE-CUT: Survival of the fittest doll.  Aren’t you intrigued?
CROCKETT: Oh, yah, sure.  Pick me out of a whole crowd, throw a couple of kinky looks my way, act all hot and bothered then turn into the polar cap.
PIXIE-CUT:  One. I never get hot and bothered.  And two, why don’t you just get lost?
CROCKETT: Good for me, lady.  Last thing I need is to waste time on a nutcase with an attitude problem.

Naturally, the sexual tension that’s been stirring between them all night boils over, Huey Lewis’ “Do You Believe in Love” crescendos and they begin making out.  Still, she later steals his gun and turns out to to be a drug dealer herself. So the point is: watch out for a girl in her 30s making you tap dance for her attention when your motives are genuine.  There’s a time and place for that: high school and television.

Lesson #2: Beware the Opportunist


In Definitely Miami, whilst pursuing a serial killer who targets drug dealers for their buy money, Crockett gets seduced by the suspect’s beguiling wife.  When Crockett closes in on this serial killer (portrayed by a wardrobe malfunctioning Ted Nugent), the femme fatale sets Crockett up to be murdered.  However, when he survives the attempt and dispatches Ted Nugent (with the aid of a bulletproof briefcase), she doesn’t bat an eye as Crockett returns.  Without question, she goes right into buttering him up with a picture-perfect vision of their life new life together–after he just killed her husband.

But knowing her complicity and betrayal, Crockett simply put his Wayfarers on, helicopters in two patrolmen to meet him on the beach, and silently watches as they arrest and fly away with her.  Despite this hilariously dramatic and very questionable use of taxpayer dollars (god bless Reagan-era War on Drug police budgets), a somber lesson is learned here: If she’ll ditch someone else for you in a pinch, she’s just as capable of doing the same to you.  

Example #3: Don’t Let a Relationship Put Your Career in Jeopardy


Yes, it sounds callous, but we’re adults now and the consequences of prioritizing a relationship over your career are a lot more significant.  Even if you’re not planning on taking the plunge anytime soon, you’ve got a future to protect because like it or not someone is going to come to rely on you down the road.  (I’d start blueprinting that tiny house for Mom and Dad to live in if you haven’t already.)   

In Crockett’s case, he falls deeply in love with a doctor (played by a very young Helena Bonham Carter) who ends up being addicted to heroin to “manage chronic pain and stress” (Ever heard of weed?  Jeez, lady.) Her dealer, learning of her relationship with Detective Crockett, coerces her to use her proximity to him to reveal the location of a secret evidence locker. Attempting to protect Crockett and her own job, she agrees–and gets several cops killed in the process.  

Crockett eventually learns of her part in all of this, and instead of dumping her, he decides to help her through drug rehab and–given the conflict of interest–prepares to give up his career as a Vice Detective.  

Fortunately, Crockett comes to his senses and realizes this girl is cray and just needs to get better on her own.  However, being enamored with her almost made him think it was a good idea to give up a job whose primary responsibilities were to drive around in a Ferrari and live in a houseboat.  Don’t let someone else’s dark secrets prevent you from having the same.

Ultimately, the character of Sonny Crockett burns himself out on the lifestyle of chasing dealers and pimps throughout Miami and quits the force.  As he solemnly bids his houseboat and partner Ricardo Tubbs farewell, Sonny muses he’ll head, “Somewhere further south, somewhere where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don’t know the names of the players.”

So if your romantic prospects seem to keep repeating a pattern of unfulfilling tumult, maybe it’s time for a new town, a new scene or even a new job.  “Hey, you ever consider a career in Southern law enforcement?”


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