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"Tango de los Pistoleros" is the tenth episode of the first season of The Lone Gunmen.


In an effort to thwart an arms trade at an upcoming tango competition, Yves and Frohike separately go undercover as tango dancers.



The Lone Gunmen insert themselves into an arms trade that Yves Adele Harlow is working an angle on in Miami.

The Tango is life and death.

Their interference messes up Harlow’s initial plan, so she has to become the arms dealer’s Tango dance partner. Meanwhile, as the Lone Gunmen realize the high stakes of this trade, Melvin Frohike is forced out of retirement as a Tango legend. Everything becomes increasingly dangerous as the competition approaches.


Opens with a series of couples dancing the tango while Yves Adele Harlow narrates about the tango being secretly a dance of loneliness misinterpreted as one of passionate love. Richard Langly leaves his surveillance post in the van during this narration and is stabbed in the back as Yves concludes: “In its most perfect form, the tango is life and the tango is death.”

In Miami, Florida at 2:55 AM at a shipyard, Harlow stun guns a man that she is disguised perfectly as. Only her voice gives her away and she soon corrects that with a denture insert that alters her voice. She drags his body off

Langly scuba diving with garbage on his back for camouflage.

while the Lone Gunmen watch from the van. They are butting in on whatever Yves is up to and Jimmy Bond is unhappy about it. He sees it as a betrayal. A Hispanic man comes in a boat to meet the disguised Yves Adele Harlow. The Lone Gunmen contact Langly, who is scuba diving at the docks, and he boards the boat of the new arrival, while they are occupied with Yves. He messes up and triggers the accelerator of the boat and is knocked off it as it speeds off into the night. Yves Adele Harlow is forced to disappear while the man she was meeting stares at the departing boat.

While the Lone Gunmen debate whether or not they should leave Florida, an irate Yves Adele Harlow arrives at their hotel to yell at them about busting her plan. Melvin Frohike admits that they followed her using the tracking device they put on her car. John Fitzgerald Byers apologizes for what they have done. He claims they came to write a story about the smuggler she was dealing with and hoping for some reward money as well. She pulls $500 from her cleavage and angrily hurls it at them. She storms out after saying she never wants to see any of them ever again. After her departure, Langly actually convinces them to stay on the case given that she wouldn’t try to throw money their way unless she wanted them to leave. She wouldn’t want them to leave unless the smuggler hadn’t been apprehended yet. They could still pull it off.

Morales meets with Santavos and Cuchillo at the mansion.

The two men from the docks meet with the big boss, Mr. Santavos. Santavos pays the smuggler extra for his trouble and receives what appears to be nothing more than a CD that he promptly puts into a player. Tango music plays as the courier leaves and he tells his underling, who was knocked out by Harlow, to tie up the loose ends.

At a dance studio, Santavos dances with his high-strung partner, Carlotta. He can’t help but notice the new arrival to the studio: Yves. As the Lone Gunmen figure out the identity of the smuggler (Emanuel Morales) and head out to speak with him, Santavos’ enforcer kills Morales while Yves sabotages Carlotta with a spray in her shoes that makes her feet swell hideously. Santavos recruits Yves as his new partner with her using the false identity of “Vera Lehdow.”

The Gunmen put the rest of it together. The black cube with a skull on it found by Morales’ corpse was the calling

Signature of Los Calaveras

card of an Argentine death squad, Los Calaveras. They identify the man from the docks as Mariano Cuchillo, a suspected member of that group, and learn that he works for Leonardo Santavos, a well respected businessman who is nonetheless under the watchful eye of the FBI. They suspect the man of being an important smuggler with international connections. Byers suggests they use Santavos’s connection to Tango to get to him if Yves hasn’t already done so. Yves arrives at Santavos’ house and manages to eavesdrop on Santavos

Santavos & Cuchillo discuss Ms. "Lehdow"

and Cuchillo with an impressive pairing of a purse clasp transmitter and a dangling earring that doubles as an earpiece. She overhears that they have everything set for Saturday and they are still looking for the “blonde woman” from the docks.

As Langly, Byers, and Bond fail to qualify for the Tango tournament, Yves continues to practice with Santavos. Cuchillo inspects her purse and sprays what is disguised as perfume onto his hand. After Yves leaves, Cuchillo reminds Santavos how convenient her arrival was and then shows his hand has swelled up like a grapefruit.

Frohike once again is calling for them to leave as he clearly doesn’t want to be in Miami, until their hacker ally

Melvin Frohike, Jimmy Bond, Kimmy Belmont, John Byers, & Richard Langly discuss smugglers.

Kimmy arrives. Kimmy was sent for by Langly and shows them that the Department of Defense has developed a new composite material that can absorb electromagnetic transmissions, so anything could be made invisible to radar. Santavos is smuggling this secret out of the country with the implications being extremely dangerous. Any malicious foreign power could use the composite to become a major threat. At this point, Frohike realizes he has to enter the Tango contest.

Yves uses the perfume on herself when Santavos and Cuchillo confront her and she succeeds in bluffing her way through it. Behind her back she holds another bottle...

Frohike comes to visit Niquita Maldenado.

Elsewhere, Frohike meets Niquita Maldenado in a dry cleaners at the steam press. She shouts at him in Spanish and tears up a photograph of the two of them from the past. Nonetheless, he’s clearly won her over. Jimmy and Langly warn Yves that they are bringing Santavos down as they can’t help but notice she seems to actually like Santavos. Cuchillo notices them warning her.

Yves yells at them again, explaining that the deal is going down at the competition tonight. They need to get Yves back in Santavos’ trust and have a plan.

Jimmy Bond and John Byers scan the room at the competition with the video camera they’ve brought in. Back in the van Kimmy and Langly use the video feed from that camera to look for the buyers of the composite using biometric software. Langly knows its time for his part and he steps out of the van and Yves stabs him in the back

Niquita Maldenado & Melvin Frohike "El Lobo"

while Cuchillo watches. She then goes to the competition and dances with Santavos, moments before Frohike dances as “El Lobo” the great Tango legend.

Cuchillo cleans off his knife over Langly's "dead" body.

As Frohike dances with Ms. Maldenado, Kimmy identifies the man in couple number one as a Libyan arms dealer. As Cuchillo retrieves his switchblade and lays down his calling card, he realizes that Langly is alive, the blood was from a plastic bag taped onto his body. Langly runs like hell away from the man as he throws his switchblade at him, the blade sticking in a tree inches from the fleeing Langly. During the group dance portion, the arms dealer deliberately gets tapped out and takes the CD for a different

Leonardo Santavos dies on the dance floor.

couple. The CD is the sample of the composite material. Frohike and Niquita dance over and snatch the case from the man.

Cuchillo arrives to kill Yves Adele Harlow right there on the dance floor. Her back is to the man but Santavos sees him readying the knife, moments after he saw the CD taken and realized Yves betrayed him. As Cuchillo throws, Santavos rotates them so he catches the knife in the back. He slowly crumples to the floor as Yves’s eyes fill with tears. The crowd realizes what is happening and people begin to scream in terror as Cuchillo flees upstairs, escaping the law.

The arms dealer and his partner are led away in handcuffs by the FBI. Niquita says goodbye with a kiss on the lips

Jimmy Bond & Yves Adele Harlow dance.

to Frohike. Frohike and the others watch her go while Frohike explains he quit because it took too much energy, burned his life away.

Kimmy is greedy for reward money but there is none according to the FBI. So Yves did all this not for mercenarial reasons, as often is the case with her, but because it was right. She sits alone at a table as all but Jimmy leave. He beckons her to dance and they dance slowly there as the story ends.

Background Information[]

Introductory Details[]

The original version of this episode ran overlong like many of the episodes did.  They had to cut about 20 minutes from this one!  Sadly, this footage isn't on the Lone Gunmen DVD.  (Audio commentary)

'Tango de los Pistoleros" is Spanish for "Tango of the Gunmen".


Memorable Quotes[]

Cultural References[]

  • "This bites the big Dagwood hoagie." Langly is referencing Dagwood Bumstead from the comic stip Blondie, who is famous for making overly large sandwiches with several ingredients.


In a couple of scenes, the actors have frosty breath while delivering their lines.  While the episode is supposed to be in Miami, they filmed the series in Vancouver so it was always cold unlike Miami.  (Audio commentary of this episode)

Other Episode Notes[]

  • Alfonso Quijada played the dance school instructor, Hernando.  He was also the janitor that Mystique disguised herself as to fool Lady Deathstryke.  Memorable moment.  (Audio commentary)
  • Writer Tom Schnauz named the terrorist receiving the composite after his agent, Von Getz. (Audio commentary)
  • In the early scene with Langly scuba diving to get to the boat, his stuntman fell off the boat and lost his Langly wig.  They couldn't find it in the water.  It was really expensive, like $1,000.  (Audio commentary)
  • There was an accidental stabbing on set during this episode.  The scene where Langly is stabbed by Yves Adele Harlow went horribly wrong.  Dean Haglund thought he was supposed to be in the shot to be stabbed but hadn't been told to go yet for good reason.  They were filming with a real knife at the moment since they needed shots of the gleam of the knife in the dim light.  Fake knives being made of rubber, they don't gleam.  No one caught that they hadn't switched knives when they started to shoot the stabbing.  Zuleikha Robinson luckily didn't stab in the target area and Haglund was padded so he wasn't hurt badly.  This was all at 4AM so that might have been part of it.  (Audio commentary)



Guest Starring



  • Rob Daly as Judge
  • Colin Heath as Duncan
  • Alfonso Quijada as Hernando
  • Gabriela Rojo as Elderly Cuban Woman
  • Stellina Rusich as Carlotta
  • Susana Dominguez as Choreographer
  • José Vargas as Choreographer


Arms dealer