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The Real Miami Vice

Posted on Jul 26, 2006
Miami Vice
Courtesy Universal Pictures

In connection with the new Colin Farrell / Jamie Foxx movie, the L.A. Times interviewed a real-life veteran of Miami’s vice, intelligence and narcotics squad. Interestingly, it seems the situations on the TV show weren’t that far off the mark.

L.A. Times: So you really went undercover and everything?

DW: We really were under cover. I had a fictitious name, fictitious drivers license. But I wasn’t like the flashy colors from the Don Johnson era. I was more of a surfer dude in Miami and Vince gave the impression he was Italian mafia. He was the money guy, I was the dude on the street that would start the deal. I would buy little amounts, and then Vince would bring in the money. We were always partners. Did you have to use a lot of guns?

DW: We had a lot of guns. Vince and I carried Walthers ? Walther PPKs ? these little guns that only had seven bullets. And as back up we had high-standard 22-magnum two-shot Derringers. They only had two rounds ? one for them, one for us if we got caught.

One heroin deal we did in the middle of the projects, Vince left with the girl who set it up, but I had to stay in the house with another girl. I went to the bathroom and when I came back the room was full of like a football team ? eight guys in the room and they all weighed 300 pounds. I was like 150 at this time. So I was there by myself with the Derringer and these eight guys. I figured I could shoot the window out and run for it if it started to get rough, but those little Derringers couldn’t hit anything. I started making up all kinds of stories, just to keep them talking. Then finally Vince showed up with the dope and we left.


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By Joey, June 3, 2010 at 7:05 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I worked Vice in Miami during the 80s. In answering
the L.A. Times question accurately, I must admit that
although we had a lot of firearms available to us…
and yes… some were “illegal” meaning that they were
not permitted by policy & were unauthorized (the
official term) like the .22 mini guns and derringers,
the police shootings and body counts did not add up
to the TV and film versions. Well… that’s drama.
The small unauthorized guns, however frowned upon
they were, served their purpose. Police departmental
policies were usually driven by political pressure
and lawsuits as opposed to what was most effective
for the U.C. cops. DW’s story was a common occurrence
in that life. Lots of close calls and lots of fast

Subsequently trained for hostage negotiations later
in my career, I came to realize that I was my first
rescued hostage.. on a number of occasions.. because
of the fast talking and unorthodox psychology used to
stay alive and healthy. I had a natural talent for
entrancing people during certain situations (language
used, tone quality and rhythm). I’m sure that if DW
thought back, he’d agree that he, too benefited from
such untrained (to U.C. officers) skills. BTW, in all
fairness to the .22 mini guns, they were not as
accurate as their bigger counterparts, but lets face
it DW… we carried them with confidence, didn’t

After all, most shootings take place close up, and
that’s when the .22s worked best… especially when
we had a plan backed by some practice with our
“little friends.”

And despite it all, Brother… we made it home to our
families… well… prior to the divorces…

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