Miami Vice (1984–1989)
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Crockett goes undercover to take down Mario Fuente (Zappa), a dealer of 'weasel dust'.


Aaron Lipstadt


Anthony Yerkovich (created by), Robert Crais | 1 more credit »




Episode credited cast:
Don Johnson ... Detective James Crockett
Philip Michael Thomas ... Detective Ricardo Tubbs
Saundra Santiago ... Detective Gina Calabrese
Michael Talbott ... Detective Stan Switek
John Diehl ... Det. Larry Zito
Olivia Brown ... Detective Trudy Joplin
Edward James Olmos ... Castillo
Dan Hedaya ... Reuben Reydolfo
Graham Beckel ... Agent Kevin Cates
Roberto Duran Roberto Duran ... Jesus Moroto
Frank Zappa ... Mario Fuente
Frederick Herrick Frederick Herrick ... Earle Hodges (as Fred Herrick)
Margie Beeson Margie Beeson ... Looking Woman
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rico Paisley


A minor drug conviction, Jesus Moroto, calls Sonny to visit him in prison and then, kills himself in Sonny's presence, which he finds odd. A DEA agent from NOLA offers to assist the Vice team in taking down the elusive Mario Fuente, played by the mean rockin' man, Frank Zappa. Fuente, a drug lord who maintains his residence beyond the 12 mile marker, makes all of his deals through his middleman, Reuben Reydolfo (Dan Hedaya) and never leaves his boat. When IAD gets involved in the case, things take an even stranger twist. It becomes a race against the clock to exact payback. Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 March 1986 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


-Crockett's "intuition" comes into play again when on two occasions he feels himself being watched, in this case by the IAD. See more »


Written and Performed by Chris Isaak
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User Reviews

Vintage vice with Frank Zappa - need I say more?
22 August 2007 | by DVD_ConnoisseurSee all my reviews

"Payback" is one of "Miami Vice"'s finest episodes. From its stylised, big-screen visuals in the opening sequence to the thrilling ending, I simply love every second of this tale. In the '80s when a few friends were suggesting that the series had "jumped the shark" by the second season, I'd play them this tale to show how the quality of the show continued to be jaw-droppingly good.

This is a dedicated Crockett episode - Sonny finds himself suspected of stealing $3 million from an ex-employee of Mario Fuente (the late, great Frank Zappa). Under pressure from his own people and Fuente, Crockett is in a difficult place.

Zappa rarely appeared on television in an acting role and his performance in "Payback" is genuinely memorable. His character has a quirky, eccentric charm and he is totally believable in the part.

It's a great shame that the plot threads from this episode were not tied up at a later date. It would have been fantastic to see another performance from Zappa and to see how the story panned out.

All in all, an unreserved 10 out of 10 for "Payback". Beautiful visuals, an intriguing plot and first class performances from all concerned make this unmissable television. Don Johnson is on top-form as a more anxious-than-normal Crockett.

INXS, Chris Isaak, X and Sly & Robbie accompany Jan Hammer's marvellous music on the soundtrack to this episode.

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