A Short Look Back at the Fashionable Show Miami Vice

Miami Vice’s extra-large car phones and pastel-colored suits may have been laughable for the past decade or two, but they’re now considered 80’s chic. Back in the day, Miami Vice had a real impact that went far beyond the small screen.

Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, and Edward James Olmos on the TV Show Miami Vice circa 1985 in Miami, Florida.

Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, and Edward James Olmos on the TV Show Miami Vice circa 1985 in Miami, Florida. Photo by G. Davis/IMAGES/Getty Images

From music to fashion to facial hair, American culture was impacted by the massive presence of officers Don Johnson aka Sonny Crockett, and Philip Michael Thomas, aka Ricardo Tubbs. If you want to pull off a Miami Vice look, throw on an Armani jacket over a pink T-shirt and jet out your driveway in a convertible. And you can check out these fun facts, too.

“MTV Cops” Was the Main Concept

There has been a debate over who came up with the idea of Miami Vice. Many claims that it was NBC’s Brandon Tartikoff who jotted down the two-word idea in a brainstorming memo, but show creator Anthony Yerkovich maintained that he spent several years developing the concept that would become Miami Vice.

Don Johnson gets make-up put on by Vince Callaghan before filming an episode of Miami Vice circa 1985 in Miami, Florida.

Don Johnson gets make-up put on by Vince Callaghan before filming an episode of Miami Vice circa 1985 in Miami, Florida. Photo by G. Davis/IMAGES/Getty Images

“I thought of Miami as a sort of a modern-day American Casablanca,” Yerkovich said 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.”

Larry Wilcox Was Don Johnson’s Biggest Competition

The famous Crockett role came down to two actors: Don Johnson and Larry Wilcox. Wilcox played “Jon” on Chips for five years. He recalled that Michael Mann asked him to audition for a series called Miami Vice.

Hannie Strasser and Larry Wilcox

Hannie Strasser and Larry Wilcox during 32nd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. Photo by Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

“He asked if I would grease my hair back and have stubble and mustache and be a hardass.” He said that when Universal saw his screen test, they went crazy – that it was one of “the finest and most intense actors they had ever seen in a screen test.” Later, he learned that the series pilot writer didn’t want Wilcox and wanted Johnson instead.