Friday, August 27, 2010


Back in the 80s, Miami Vice made a habit of using a lot of rock and pop artists on the soundtrack to the show. Some musicians even managed to get a guest spot on the show, which brings us to Season 2 of Miami Vice, Episode 19, Payback, originally broadcast on March 14, 1986 and written by Robert Crais, best known today for his detective series featuring Elvis Cole. In this episode, Frank Zappa appears as reclusive drug lord Mario Fuente. This is one of the very few times that Frank Zappa ventured into the world of acting. Seeing him on Miami Vice in 1986 was as much a mind bender as when Bob Dylan did the Victoria's Secret commercial in 2004.

The plot of
Payback is about Fuente finding out that Sonny Burnett is actually the undercover name of Miami Vice Detective Sonny Crockett. Fuente erroneously believes Sonny has stolen three million dollars from him....need I say that Fuente wants his money back. As far as the episode goes, it's filled with lots of over dramatic lines and over dramatic acting. Zappa as Fuente comes off as well, if not better, than most of the other characters in the episode, including Crockett and Tubbs. As a matter of fact, he's the only reason I would recommend watching this episode. The end of the episode actually left it open that Zappa/Funte would appear again, but Miami Vice never followed up with the character in any future episodes.

Below is a youtube video of just the Frank Zappa part of the episode.

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