Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges were considered for the role of Sonny Crockett, but since it was not lucrative for film stars to venture into television at the time, other candidates were considered. Mickey Rourke was also considered for the role, but he turned down the offer. Larry Wilcox, of CHiPs, was also a candidate for the role of Crockett, but the producers felt that going from one police officer role to another would not be a good fit. After dozens of candidates and a twice-delayed pilot shooting, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas were chosen as the vice cops. For Johnson, who was by then 34 years old, NBC had particular doubts about the several earlier unsuccessful pilots in which he had starred. After two seasons, Johnson threatened to walk from the series as part of a highly publicized contract dispute. The network was ready to replace him with Mark Harmon, who had recently departed St. Elsewhere, but the network and Johnson were able to resolve their differences and he continued with the series until its end. Jimmy Smits played Eddie Rivera, Crockett's partner in the pilot episode.