Tommy Vercetti is a character in the Grand Theft Auto series, appearing as the protagonist of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (set in 1986) and mentioned in The Introduction, a prequel of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (set in 1992). He is a former member of the Forelli Family and the leader of the Vercetti Gang, based out of Vice City. Tommy Vercetti is voiced by Ray Liotta, who has also starred in the blockbuster film Goodfellas.
Tommy Vercetti was born in Liberty City and, at a young age, began helping his father at a printing shop cleaning rollers. Vercetti had wanted to follow in his father's footsteps, but "lived a different life", at some point joining the Forelli Family. He continued to work with the Forelli Family until 1971, when he was convicted of eleven counts of homicide in Harwood, later gaining the name "The Harwood Butcher". This was an attempted ambush, planned by Sonny Forelli, although Tommy survived. His connections with the Forelli Family ensured he was spared the death penalty and a life sentence. Tommy remained in prison for fifteen years, not informing the LCPD of any Forelli Family secrets.
In 1986, he was released from prison after Sonny Forelli "pulled" some strings. Forelli decides to send Tommy to Vice City, realizing that he is too well known in Liberty City. Sonny, wanting to become involved in the narcotics trade, decides to send Tommy with some money and to allow him to establish a drug cartel for the Forelli's. Tommy flies to Vice City along with Harry and Lee, meeting Ken Rosenberg at the airport. The drug deal, with the Vance Crime Family, is ambushed by Ricardo Diaz' men, something Tommy only later discovers. Tommy, Rosenberg, and Lance Vance (of the Vance Crime Family) escape.
Tommy informs Sonny of the ambush and is reminded that Sonny is 'not a guy to be screwed with'. Tommy, looking to get Sonny's money back, begins to work for various criminals around the city to gain money and revenge. He initially works for Rosenberg, causing riots and intimidating jurors, before working for Juan Cortez, an intermediary for the drug deal, who begins to look into the ambush for Tommy. Meanwhile, he has Tommy steal missile technology chips and kill Gonzalez, who had talked about the deal.
Cortez, believing that Ricardo Diaz was responsible for the ambush, helps Tommy to act as protection for Diaz in a deal with the Cubans. The Haitians, arch enemies of the Cubans, attempt to ambush the deal, but are thwarted by Tommy and Lance. Diaz, seeing potential in Tommy and Lance, who he does not remember, hires them to, amongst other things, kill gang members stealing some of his drugs and steal the fastest boat in the city, in order to purchase drugs from a dealer on a boat. Lance attempts to kill Diaz in revenge for the death of his brother, but is captured, later being freed by Vercetti. The two later go on to extract revenge, killing Diaz in his mansion.
The death of Ricardo Diaz brings change to Vice City, allowing Tommy and Lance to step in and continue the protection ring established by Diaz. Tommy, however, begins to look beyond the protection ring and purchases a number of businesses around the city, most prominently the Malibu Club, the Cherry Popper Ice Cream Factory (used to sell drugs), InterGlobal Films and the Print Works. After purchasing each business, Tommy helps establish them in the city. During this time, Tommy also begins to work for a number of smaller time criminals in the city, including the Cuban leader Umberto Robina and the Haitian leader Auntie Poulet (due to her drugging him), helping both sides attack the other. He also works for Avery Carrington (helping his real estate business), Phil Cassidy (helping his gun running business), Mr. Black (helping to kill a number of people), Mitch Baker to retrieve his stolen motorcycle, and Kent Paul and Love Fist to stop a psychopathic fan. Tommy also went on to help Juan Cortez escape the city when the French government decide to assault his yacht.
Sonny Forelli, growing restless and impatient, sends his own men to collect some of 'his' money from Tommy. Tommy kills the collectors, although not in time to save Earnest Kelly, the man running the printers, from being injured. Tommy, viewing him a lot like his father, decides to give Sonny fake money printed at the Print Works. Tommy meets Sonny in person at his estate, with Sonny informing him that the Harwood incident was an ambush and that Lance had sided with him. A gun battle ensues, with Tommy killing both Lance and Sonny. Following the deaths of Lance and Sonny, Tommy and Ken begin to run the city.
Life After 1986
Tommy Vercetti continued to run the criminal underworld of Vice City until at least 1992, although his relationship with Ken Rosenberg became increasingly strained due to Rosenberg's cocaine addiction. Tommy eventually sends Ken into rehab at the Fort Carson Medical Center in Fort Carson, San Andreas, later refusing to answer his telephone calls. Thus nobody knows his later fate. But Ken Rosenberg mentioned him in The Meat Business.
Tommy Vercetti is depicted as both intelligent but temperamental, easily angered and quick to resort to violence. He has no hesitation about killing, though many of his victims are in turn trying to kill Tommy as well, or have done something that requires them to be killed. The story does not require Tommy to kill innocent people. Tommy does also show a softer side as seen with his relations with Mercedes Cortez and Earnest Kelly, whom he views as a father figure due to his childhood memories of working with his father at a printworks.
Tommy Vercetti shows many characteristics in common with Tony Montana, a drug lord from the film Scarface. The two both end up in exile, both arrive to the city in Hawaiian shirts, both rise to power in Miami/Vice City using great amounts of violence, both build an empire from a large estate and mansion, both have short tempers and are prone to violence, both work as contract killers, and both killed their collaborators and took their ex-bosses' empires. The interior of the Vercetti Estate is even modeled after Montana's mansion. There are, however, key differences, most notably that Tommy did not become addicted to his own narcotics and that Tommy survived the shoot out in his mansion, as opposed to Montana who was killed.
Tommy Vercetti also bears some resemblance to 'Mr. Blonde' from the film Reservoir Dogs, played by Michael Madsen who also voiced Toni Cipriani in Grand Theft Auto III. The film sees 'Mr. Blonde' released from prison after loyally doing time for his crime family, as Tommy did after the "Harwood Incident". Tommy later performs contract killings for a 'Mr. Black', whilst he is referred to as 'Mr. Teal' (a reference to the then deceased Leo Teal and Reservoir Dogs).
- Mercedes Cortez, the daughter of Juan Cortez, was conceived as a love interest for Tommy, but Rockstar Games removed this subplot during development. There is a lot of deleted dialogue that involves the relationship between the two.
- A Tommy Vercetti action figure can be located in the Zero RC shop in San Fierro in GTA San Andreas, along with a Lance Vance, James Earl Cash and Piggsy figure.
- An Easter Egg in Grand Theft Auto IV suggests that Tommy Vercetti, along with the other GTA III Era protagonists, are dead as of 2008. However, GTA IV does not share a canon with the GTA III Era. The egg likely refers to the fact that they will not feature in any future games.
- Kent Paul mentioned Tommy on his website with a phrase: "see, Tom, I didn't mention your name, nowhere. Maybe you won't get us killed now, okay?". It possibly means that he was alive in 2002.
- Tommy is mentioned only once in GTA San Andreas - During "The Meat Business", where Ken mistakenly calls Carl "Tommy", to which CJ responds "Who the fuck is Tommy?".
- In the official Grand Theft Auto: Vice City strategy guide, it is stated that he is 35 years old during the events of Vice City, making his year of birth 1951.
- In DRIV3R, a parody of GTA Vice City there are ten hidden enemies named "Timmy Vermicelli" which can be murdered by the player. Being a parody, the Timmy Vermicellis are intentionally poorly rendered and bear resemblances to Tommy Vercetti, most notably with the Hawaiian shirt, necklace, and the similar location of each setting (Vice City being based of Miami, which is one of the three cities Driv3r takes place in). Timmy Vermicelli also wears waterwings/arm bands, a reference to the lack of swimming in pre-GTA San Andreas games.
- Leo Teal (killed due to possible links to the ambushed drug deal)
- Gonzalez (killed for talking about the drug deal between the Forelli Family and the Vance Crime Family)
- Pierre La Ponce (killed whilst attempting to escape a police ambush during an exchange of stolen missile technology)
- Carl Pearson (killed on Mr. Black's orders)
- Mrs. Dawson (killed on Mr. Black's orders)
- Mike Griffin (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Dick Tanner (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Franco Carter (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Marcus Hammond (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Nick Kong (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Charlie Dilson (killed on Mr. Black's orders and for planning to rob a bank)
- Ricardo Diaz (killed for ambushing the drug deal with the Vance Crime Family)
- Pedro Garcia (killed due to being a rival gun runner to Phil Cassidy)
- Lance Vance (killed for betraying Tommy)
- Sonny Forelli (killed for betraying Tommy and attempting to kill him)
Concept artwork of Tommy Vercetti.