Alternate Title: Golden Triangle, part 1
Air Date: 11 Jan 1985 (NBC)
Director: Georg Stanford Brown
Teleplay: Joseph Gunn & Maurice Hurley
Story: Maurice Hurley
Crockett and Tubbs are posing as security officers at a hotel, faced with handling a little domestic problem — a male and a female guest out of control on PCP. It takes both of them to subdue the male, whom they eventually cuff to the banister at the entrance to the hotel. Sonny and Rico have had it with this detail, and meet with Castillo to request reassignment. Castillo tells them that there are some bad cops at the hotel, extorting money from high-class hookers in return for protection. He doesn’t just want their badges; he wants that “slime flushed down the sewer.”
So, Sonny and Rico continue on the job. They need to enlist the aid of a hooker, so Sonny poses poolside as a comical, nerdy hotel guest — complete with bermuda shorts, thick eyeglasses, and pocket protector — to snag a hooker. Indeed, a girl named Candy, comes calling. [Great Balls of Fire] He arrests her and takes her to OCB. She agrees to help Crockett and Tubbs if they’ll wipe her record clean.
Crockett and Tubbs now pose as hotel security guards with a sideline — serving as pimps to hookers. Trudy and Gina pose as a few of their “ladies,” along with Candy, who wears a wire. Two of the suspected dirty cops, Ross and Garcia, pick up on this nifty little arrangement, and make a point of following Candy when she leaves the hotel later in the evening. When Candy stops her car and gets out, the two cops drag her into a nearby alley and rough her up, as they try to impress upon her the importance of her “pimps” paying them for protection. Crockett and Tubbs wait a little too long, perhaps, before intervening, and find Candy doubled over on the ground when they finally reach the alley. She’s o.k., but when Sonny and Rico ask if there is anything they can do to help her, she says “Eat dirt and die” and stomps off. They’ve gotten the goods on Ross and Garcia thanks to Candy, however, and arrest them. Unfortunately, they’re released from jail almost immediately.
Sonny, back at his hotel security job, shows a hotel guest the security vault as proof that his valuables will be safe in the hotel’s care. Later that day, this same guest, accompanied by a friend, makes an appearance at Sonny’s boat. Crockett and Tubbs are both there, and the two other men approach them with a business deal, boldly telling Sonny and Rico that they figure the two must be crooked to be living so high on the hog with just a hotel security job for income. At this point, Sonny and Rico aren’t given any of the details of the deal. Heading back to OCB, they attempt to check out the men. One of them turns out to be Elias Zarbo, a con with a very long rap sheet — but not for burglary or robbery, so if breaking into the hotel vault is the game, it would be counter to Zarbo’s M.O.
Back at the hotel again, Candy does not appear to have learned her lesson. She’s still hooking and is making a play for Zarbo. Sonny is livid, but Candy appears not to notice or care when he tries to lure her away from Zarbo. Nevertheless, it appears that she’s still willing to help the cops because she waltzes into the hotel security office a little while later with the keys to Zarbo’s car. Checking out the car in the hotel’s parking garage, Sonny finds all the tools needed to successfully break into the hotel vault. In the glove compartment, Rico finds a bill from a sleazy local hotel, but what does it mean? On the way back into the hotel, the trio (Candy included) are accosted by Zarbo and his friend.
Zarbo forcibly steers them to a place where Ross is waiting, and Ross promptly identifies Sonny as the person who turned him in to the cops. Sonny denies this, and Candy pipes in that it was she who turned him in. Ross slaps her, whereupon Sonny steps in and knocks him to the ground, telling him that if he ever touches one of his girls again, he’ll kill him. He and Rico start to leave with Candy, but Zarbo stops them, now fully convinced that Sonny and Rico are indeed crooks. He lets them in on his idea of robbing all the security safe deposit boxes at the hotel. He wants Sonny and Rico to get them past the guard, but first he wants them to get him into the vault alone for a while so he can check it out.
Crockett and Tubbs inform Castillo, who okays the pair to move forward and let Zarbo go all the way with his plan. Unfortunately, it turns out that Zarbo doesn’t need the help of Sonny and Rico once he’s cased the vault. Zarbo and his friend pull the job with no help from them. Back in their sleazy hotel, the two crooks are surprised to find that there was nothing in the vault but papers. A man in a ski mask breaks into their hotel room and kills them. Switek and Zito find Zarbo dead, and the other man dying and babbling something about all the effort they made being just for some papers. Switek and Zito deliver the news to Crockett, Tubbs, and Castillo, back at the other hotel. Larry and Stan look a little green around the gills while telling their story. Castillo notices and asks what’s wrong, but Sonny and Rico are already thinking ahead about who else could be involved in all this, and they come up with Ross. Sonny and Rico go to Ross’ home to arrest him, but he swears he didn’t kill Zarbo. He was supposed to get Zarbo out of town after the job, he says, in case there was trouble. When Zarbo didn’t show, he went to find him, and the man was dead when he got there. Ross claims he didn’t kill Zarbo and his friend, that he couldn’t have killed them….”not like that, I could never do that.”
Back at OCB, convinced that Ross is telling the truth, Sonny and the vice squad are trying to figure out what’s going on. While they’re talking, Switek mentions that Zarbo’s friend was Thai and that he’d been tortured. Castillo goes a little crazy, demanding to know why Switek never mentioned this before. Castillo, Crockett and Tubbs go to the morgue to inspect the bodies. Castillo recognizes the marks on the bodies as a signature of a Thai assassin. The victim defied someone very important, and the markings are meant to warn anyone that sees them. Castillo has seen these marks before. When Castillo was in southeast Asia, investigating a Chinese nationalist ex-general living in Thailand — a man named Lau Li – involved in the opium trade, he had seen an informant murdered this way. He believes Lau Li is moving his drug operation to Miami, and that the papers in the vault were schedules or contact information related to the drug trade. It’s clear that Castillo has an emotional involvement in this case.
Castillo, Crockett, and Tubbs start checking out all kinds of places where Thais might congregate. At a Thai restaurant, at which Castillo surprises Rico by speaking fluent Thai, Castillo begins to tell his story with some strong urging from Tubbs. He had been three years with the DEA, working in the mountains between Burma and Thailand. It was a lifetime, he says. A hotel waiter serves some water and all of a sudden Castillo sees something, perhaps a tattoo on the waiter’s body, that leads him to tell Rico to go and cover the back of the restuarant. Meanwhile, he quietly moves towards the kitchen of the restaurant. The waiter, once Castillo is in the kitchen, throws a knife at him and flees. Castillo pursues him, as does Rico. Crockett arrives and also gives chase. Castillo finally catches up with the man. The two have words in Thai and begin to fight, martial arts style. Castillo gets the best of the man, who promptly commits suicide by swallowing his tongue. Castillo tells Sonny and Rico that this man was the Thai assassin.
The next morning at OCB, Castillo tells the vice squad that Lau Li is already in Miami, and that the papers in the vault were immigration papers. He also shows them a picture of a Thai woman outside the Miami airport, that was delivered to OCB earlier that morning. When asked who the woman is, Castillo tells them, “my wife.”
To be continued….
— Daryle Gardner-Bonneau
C. Andrew Davis
Dolly Parton, Great Balls of Fire
Executive Story Editor
Music Composed and Conducted by
Director of Photography
Unit Production Managers
1st Assistant Director
2nd Assistant Director
Cheryl A. Louden
Colette R. Hailey
Titles & Optical Effects