Mistaken Identity
Season 1, Episode 6
Air Date October 15, 1990
Writer(s) Susan Borowitz and Andy Borowitz
Director Jeff Melman
Previous Homeboy, Sweet Homeboy
Next Def Poet's Society

Mistaken Identity is episode six of the first season from the television sitcom on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air. This show was originally aired from NBC on October 15, 1990. It was directed by Jeff Melman and written both by Susan Borowitz and Andy Borowitz.

Summary Edit

While Philip and Vivian go on a trip to Palm Springs in Mr Furth's helicopter, Carlton drives Mr Furth's Mercedes there as well, with Will stowing aboard for the journey. While trying to find the way, Carlton gets lost and without a map has the car slow down to 2 MPH attracting the attention of the police.

The pair are then pulled over and (in no small part due to Carlton's innocent blunders) are arrested for "stealing" the car. They are taken to the police station and interrogated. Street-wise Will realises immediately what is going on and tries to stick to the minimum facts, where as the inexperienced Carlton fails to grasp the severity of the situation. Whilst he is fully cooperative, his actions only anger the police who become more and more convinced that the pair are car thieves.

In a bid to clear the matter up Carlton and Will phone Palm Springs and the Bel Air residence respectfully. However, their calls for help fail, because the Furth's have the TV on too loud and Geoffrey  hangs up on them since it was his day off and he thought they were being lazy again.

The two cousins are subsequently incarcerated.

Luckily, as they contemplate the severity of their situation, a stray comment by Carlton gives Will an idea. He subsequently gets his Uncle Phil's attention by making a phony confession on live TV, alongside a weeping Carlton. A horrified Uncle Phil and Aunt Vivian rush down to the jail alongside Henry Furth to straighten everything out.

As Furth parks the car, Phil and Vivian run ahead but are treated poorly by the officers, angering the two Bel Air residents. When Mr Furth enters he is treated warmly, with the police (no doubt expecting a reward) informing him that they found his car and that they caught the thieves. They are visibly stunned when Furth tells them the pair aren't thieves, and that they are actually 'my partner's son and nephew' (thus confirming Carlton's earlier statement).

A provoked Phil then expands upon this, revealing this to mean legal partner. In one of the shows most iconic scenes, he then proceeds to verbally beat down the two officers; first informing them of his status as a lawyer. He then uses that knowledge to point out that since the officers didn't follow standard procedure and attempt to contact either of the boy's lawyers or parents (of which he is both in this case), they don't have any legal grounds to hold either Will or Carlton. Now struggling to control his temper he angrily declares that if they don't let Will and Carlton go right now, he will have them investigated, guarantee that they will be found guilty of racial profiling and buried "in so much litigation that YOUR GRANDCHILDREN are gonna need lawyers!".

The police can't let Will and Carlton out quickly enough.

When the Banks get back home, Carlton is still trying to make excuses as to why the police pulled them over as he has done since being arrested. Will however, angrily tells him that the cops arrested them because they thought they stole it because they were two black men driving something other than a beat up old Pinto. Carlton scoffs and considers this absurd, causing Will to leave the room in disgust. Carlton then asks his father to confirm his belief that the police were just doing their job, only for Phil to say he was just like Carlton is right now when he was first pulled over. This was the privileged Carlton's first experience with racial profiling and he is left visibly stunned as his father and street-wise cousin leave him with much to ponder when they clue him in on the realities of the system.

Meanwhile, Hilary babysits Ashley throughout the episode and proves to be an unhealthy influence on the young girl who ends up drinking expresso at a cafe and becomes hyperactive once Carlton, Will, Phil and Viv arrive back home. 

Cast and Characters Edit

Main Edit

Guest Edit

Gallery Edit

Trivia Edit

  • A segment of Bob singing I Write The Songs is cut out in syndication.
  • Will was wearing a Freddy Krueger costume when he appeared in the back seat scaring Carlton.
  • Syndication cuts the scene where Hilary forces Ashley to answer the phone.
  • This is the second appearance of Henry and Margaret Furth.
  • When TBS and ABC Family aquired the show, they skipped the part where cop #2 tells Vivian to calm down.

Quotes Edit

Carlton: (recording on a tape recorder) Plans for Palm Springs. One, work on golf swing. Two, review SAT practice book. Three, ask Mr. Firth about a summer internship.
Will (pops up from behind his chair wearing a Freddy Krueger mask): Four, get the stick out of your butt!

Geoffrey (on the phone): Lazy house.
Will: Yo, G., what up, yo? This is Will. I need a big favor.
Geoffrey: I am tired of doing favors for you spoiled children. I'm off duty. I am not an animal! (hangs up)
Will': Yo! I need another phone call. My butler hung up on me.

TV Reporter: The ringleader agreed to confess only if a camera crew were present to broadcast live. What you're about to see is a Minuteman-21 News exclusive. (camera shows Will)
Will: Yeah, we've done it! Word to Big Bird. We flicked 8 Benzitos, 15 Jags, and a Maserati, but I didn't like the upholstery, so I took it back, Jack!
Reporter: Do you have anything to say? (camera shows Carlton)
Carlton (whining): Daaad!

Aunt Viv: You have made a big mistake.Now, I don't know how you got that bogus confession out of them but those two boys haven't stolen a thing from anyone. This has got to be the biggest amateur operation I've seen since Mayberry RFD! (Will and Carlton high-five)
Deputy: (Talking to Phillip) Could you ask your wife to calm down?
Aunt Viv: Calm yourself, Barney Fife!

Philip (to the police officer): I've got a few questions for you. When you got this alleged confession from these two young men, did they have a lawyer present? No, because I'm their lawyer. Did you notify their parents? No, because we're their parents. So officer, don't tell us to wait and don't tell us to sit down. Just open that damn cell and let those two boys outta there or I'm gonna tie this place up with so much litigation (lividly) that your grandchildren are gonna need lawyers!

Will: Yo, Carlton.
Carlton: Yeah?
Will: Those cops were just doing their jobs?
Carlton: Will, don't get all bent out of shape.
Will: Man, you ain't learn nothing this weekend, did you?
Carlton: I most certainly did. Always bring a map.
Will: What?!
Carlton: If we would have a map, we wouldn't have had to drive 2 miles an hour trying to find a freeway entrance, and we wouldn't have been stopped.
Will: Oh, ok, ok. I get it now. We were stopped because we were driving too slow. Yeah, we were breaking the slowness limit. Oh, ok, well you see, I've never heard of that law before, but I did hear this other law. It's called the "if you see a black guy driving anything but a burnt-out Pinto, you better stop him because he stole it" law. Yeah, I've heard that one. Oh, but see, I thought it was the black guy law, when in actuality, it was the slowness limit law. Oh, thank you for sharing that with me, Carlton. Good night.

Carlton (to Will): What's your complaint here? We were detained for a few hours, Dad cleared things up, and we were released. The system works.
Will: I hope you like that system because you'll be seeing a whole lot of it in your lifetime.
Carlton: Not if I bring a map.
Will: You just don't get it, do you? No map is going to save you and neither is your glee club, or your fancy Bel-Air address or who your daddy is. Because when you're driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood, none of that matters. They only see one thing. (taps Carlton on his face, referring to the color of his skin)
Carlton: Well, maybe growing up where you did has made you a little touchy, but I think you've blown this whole thing out of proportion. If you look at the facts...
(Will walks away disgusted)

Carlton: Dad, if you were a police man, and you saw a car driving at two miles an hour, wouldn't you stop it?
Philip: I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped. Good night, son. (he goes upstairs)
Carlton: I would stop it.

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