21 Jump Street rewatch: “Christmas in Saigon”

Rewatching 21 Jump Street! It’s January as of this writing, so why not watch the Christmas episode?




What’s goin’ down: It’s Christmas, but there’s no cheer for Ioki, who’s under investigation by internal affairs. It’s revealed his name isn’t really Harry Ioki, and that he might be in the country illegally.



Here’s Hanson: Hanson is still dating Amy, the social worker from last week, and he’s taking her to meet his mom on Christmas.

Penhall’s prerogatives: Penhall will be spending Christmas at “Club Paradise,” which he describes as, “Eight hundred dollars and all the single women you can… meet.”

Undercover blues: Turns out Ioki’s real name is Vinh Van Tran, and he’s from Vietnam, not Japan. Most of the episode is a flashback to teenage Ioki’s escape from Saigon to the U.S. He changed his identity because he wanted to be a cop.

Proof that LOST did not invent flashbacks.

Proof that LOST did not invent flashbacks.

Goin’ to the chapel: Blowfish, Jump Street’s janitor, is paranoid about spending the holidays with his in-laws. We later meet his wife, played by Mindy Cohn from The Facts of Life.

Trivia time: Much of Ioki’s story is based on actor Dustin Nguyen’s real-life emigration from Vietnam during the fall of Saigon, except Nguyen’s parents survived, while Ioki’s fictional parents did not.

"Anybody seen a Private Ryan around here?"

“Anybody seen a Private Ryan around here?”

Remember back in the “Besieged” two-parter, when a computer glitch erased Ioki from the system? Turns out that was setting up this episode, and Ioki’s deception. Well played, 21 Jump Street.

The network originally aired this episode with the next one on the same night, as a much-hyped two-hour “event,” just in time for the holidays.



Jumpin’ or not? For a show with a reputation for cheesy schmaltz, it’s nice to see a Christmas episode that takes the high road, with a dramatic and intensely personal tale. It’s also the first really experimental episode, something we’ll see more of as the series continues. It’s jumpin’!

Next week: Fast AND furious!


Want more? Check out my book, CINE HIGH, now available for the Kindle and the free Kindle app.


About Mac McEntire

Author of CINE HIGH. amazon.com/dp/B00859NDJ8
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