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In our first episode this week, the impossible happens: Castillo smiles! I know, I was shocked, too.
A lot of people consider the fourth season of Miami Vice to be the beginning of the end, and it’s true that it contains some spectacularly bad episodes, as well as an increasing tendency toward wild plots that probably don’t really fit with the (dare I say it) realistic tone of the show. And if you were to compare the average fourth-season episode to something from the first season, you can definitely see that’s the case. Even second season, when the show started to glitz it up, has more of a grounding in reality than some of the things which happen in the fourth.
On a personal note, it’s also worth pointing out that fourth season is when Crockett’s hair started to get out of hand. I vastly prefer the slightly greasy, rumpled look of Crockett from first season and, to a lesser extent, the second. By the time fifth season rolled around he had quite the mane, but it was here that things began to take a turn toward the overblown. Much like everything else, I guess.
Anyway, despite all of this, “God’s Work” has a lot in common with earlier seasons of the show. For one thing, it’s about the sorts of criminals the vice squad would actually tackle, and for another it deals head on with a couple of pressing social issues that only really started to come to the forefront in the ’80s.
The episode concerns itself ostensibly with busting a wealthy crime operation that deals in black market electronics and such. Castillo wants to get the head of this family in a big way, and it only becomes apparent later on why that is. While the crime lord and one of his sons are both sleazy (but snazzy) types, in keeping with the rogues gallery of Latino scumbags paraded through the show during its run, they aren’t anything special. Except they are related by marriage to an activist priest whose ties to Castillo run way, way back. All the way to the ’60s, in fact, when he and Castillo joined the Freedom Riders and protested for black civil rights.