Welcome to Miami
Elise Harris talked to Philip Michael Thomas - Tubbs in Miami Vice
Philip Michael Thomas, the legendary Ricardo Tubbs, had been in showbusiness for 15 years when Miami Vice came along - changing his life and making TV history.
‘When I got the scripts I was fascinated,’ he says. ‘There was a lot of humour and it had everything. I said to my agent “I’ve got to do this”’
He met Don Johnson, eventually James ‘Sonny’ Crockett, at the audition and the two of them immediately connected.
‘The chemistry between Don and I was magic. There were 13 other people in the room and they all saw something. I auditioned with six other people and although it was good it wasn’t the same. The producer said he was looking for a certain chemistry, it’s got to be a partnership, got to be like a marriage - and I think that came over with us.’
‘There was some incredible amount of charisma from the start - and in fact it even grew more as we went on - but it was there at the beginning.”
There was a small doubt in my his mind when the producers told him he wasn’t right for the part - but eventually they relented.
One of the other people considered for Tubbs was Edward Almos, who was eventually cast as Lt Martin Castillo.
He says, ‘It was a combination of talent, timing and technology that made Miami Vice happen. and you can’t knock out the music, the music was wonderful.’
And, he adds, one of the great experience working on the show was ‘so many wonderful toys.
But ask most people what they remember about Miami Vice and they’ll probably mention shoes with no socks, pastel jackets and Raybans (although, to be fair, Ricardo Tubbs did wear socks). The fashions of the 80s were truly something to see - and it looks like we haven’t seen the back of them.
Philip has been interviewed by a lot of style gurus on his visit to Britain. He says, ‘The fashion is still holding. From what I understand talking to fashion magazines in this country, the 80s are coming back. I brought several things out of my closet that I haven’t worn for 15 years and they still look good. So I’m stylish!’
Even now, after all these years, he’s still not sick of talking about Miami Vice, ‘That probably will last forever unless I’m fortunate enough to find something even better. It was the apex of the pyramid. The 15 years I spent in the theatre and working at my craft was the foundation I laid - but Miami Vice was the crowning glory.’
And he’s understandably, and unashamedly, proud of the show, ‘I’m not surprised it’s so poplar now. It had everything. It was a classic moment in the history of TV - we ushered the Golden Age into the Platinum Age.’
Detectives on TV
Back to index