The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air
The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air

"No map is going to save you, and neither is your glee club or your fancy Bel-Air address or who your daddy is. When you're driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood none of that matters."
Will Smith to Carlton Banks

"Mistaken Identity" is the 6th episode of Season 1 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.


Will and Carlton wind up behind bars when they drive a borrowed Mercedes to Palm Springs.


While Philip and Vivian go on a trip to Palm Springs in Mrs. Furth's helicopter, Carlton and Will offer to drive Mr. Furth's Mercedes there as well, to which Furth happily obliges. Whilst trying to find the way, Carlton gets lost and without a map, has to slow the car down to 2 MPH, attracting the attention of the police. The pair are 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 immediately realizes that the arresting officer and the Sergeant are bigots and tries to stick to the minimum facts. In contrast, the inexperienced Carlton fails to grasp the severity of the situation. Whilst Carlton is fully cooperative, his actions only anger the officers, who become more convinced that Will and Carlton are car thieves.

In a bid to clear the matter up, Carlton and Will phone Palm Springs and the Bel-Air residence respectfully but their calls for help fail. The Furths have the television on too loud, whereas Geoffrey hangs up on them since it was his day off and he thought they were being lazy again. Will and Carlton are subsequently incarcerated. Luckily, as they contemplate the severity of their situation, a stray comment from Carlton gives Will an idea. He manages to get Philip and Vivian's attention by making a phony confession on live TV, alongside a weeping Carlton. A horrified Philip and Vivian rush down to the police station alongside Furth to straighten everything out.

As they arrive, Vivian orders the officers to release both Will and Carlton, but the sergeant rudely refuses. Philip then politely tells the sergeant that he's sure they can clear the misunderstanding quite easily, but the sergeant rudely tells them both to sit down. This angers Vivian even more, causing the sergeant, in a threatening tone, to tell her to sit down. This in turn provokes Philip, who tells the sergeant not to talk to his wife like that. The sergeant becomes angrier and tries to force his authority on Philip, who shouts in his face, each one asking who the other one thinks he's talking too.

When Mr. Furth enters and identifies himself, the police are civil and professional as the sergeant tells him that his car is safe and they caught "the perpetrators", but Furth humiliates them, saying that the boys are his partner's son and nephew and that he gave them permission to drive it to Palm Springs, thus confirming Carlton's earlier statement.

When the sergeant asks "Partner?", a livid Philip says that Furth means "Legal Partner". Philip makes it very clear that he, Vivian and Furth are very angry at the officers for their complete and deliberate disregard of standard procedure for their refusal to contact the boys' parents or lawyers following the alleged confession. Knowing full well that the officers have no legal grounds or right to hold Will or Carlton, Philip demands that the officers release the boys at once, or he and Furth will file a lawsuit against them for racial profiling that will cost them their jobs, and will result in their incarceration and the sergeant's grandchildren needing lawyers too. Having no other choice, the officers are forced to release Will and Carlton, who spend the rest of the weekend in Palm Springs.

Meanwhile, Hilary babysits Ashley throughout the episode and proves to be an unhealthy influence on the young girl who ends up drinking espresso at a café and is hyperactive by the time Carlton, Will, Phil and Viv arrive back home.

Despite being relieved that the incident has been put to rest, Will, Philip, Vivian and Furth are visibly soured by the wrongful arrest, but Will is even more angry to see that Carlton still believes that the incident happened because he didn't bring a map. Will furiously states that the officers' bigotry is what caused the incident in the first place; even pointing out that even if Carlton had a map or any connections that his family has with the justice system, none of it matters when it comes to driving in a strange neighborhood patrolled by bigoted police because they refuse to see anything past anyone's skin color that isn't their own.

Carlton scoffs at the idea and considers this absurd, causing Will to leave the room in a huff. Carlton then turns to Phil by asking him to confirm his belief, only for Phil to sadly confirm that Will is right, by saying that he was just like Carlton when he was first pulled over, indicating that he endured such injustice when he was young too. Carlton finally realizes that he just had his first experience of racial profiling and is left visibly stunned by this. Phil quietly leaves him with much to ponder over it while bidding him good night.


Main Cast

Recurring Cast

  • John Petlock as Henry Furth
  • Helen Page Camp as Margaret Furth
  • Dan Desmond as Sergeant
  • Hank Azaria as Policeman
  • Raymond McLeod as Bob
  • Anthony Auer as Newscaster
  • Donald Grant as Lawyer


Will: My man, Henry. Wouldn't it be nice if you could have your car with you in Palm Springs? What if you could find a nice, responsible young man to drive it there for you?
Henry: Will, that's a super idea. Carlton, you're a nice, responsible young man.
Carlton: And you're an eminent, respected attorney and your wife is a dazzling beauty.
Will: Yo, G. Did you leave a vacuum cleaner on? I just heard a loud sucking noise.
Henry: Carlton, old sport, would you like to drive my Mercedes to Palm Springs this weekend? You could hang around the retreat, play some golf. You know, the chicks in Palm Springs wear the skimpiest of bikinis.
Carlton: I sure could use a good game of golf.
Carlton: Is that the police?
Will: Punch it, man. We're in a Benz.
Carlton: Are you crazy? I call this a lucky break. A policeman is our pal. We can ask him for directions.
Will: Listen to me, when he comes up, keep your hands on the wheel.
Carlton: Good evening, Officer. Carlton Banks.
Officer: Keep your hands on the wheel. Where are you headed?
Carlton: We're going to Palm Springs. And you? Where are you headed this fine evening?
Will: Good job. Now he's gonna want to see your license.
Carlton: [dismissive] Right.
Officer: Can I see your license?
Carlton: My license? I have to warn you this picture was taken without my contacts. And the height is a typo, I'm actually a lot taller.
Will: Fool, this is not The Love Connection.
Officer: Vehicle registration, please.
Carlton: Just a sec. But the thing is, Officer, this isn't my car.
Will: Get out of the car.
Carlton: What?
Will: He's going to tell us to get out of the car.
Carlton: You watch too much TV.
Officer: Get out of the car.
Sergeant: Okay, fellas, we've had a lot of car thefts in the area lately. You want to talk about it?
Carlton: Okay, I think it's terrible.
Sergeant: You making fun of me, kid?
Carlton: You're the one who wanted to talk about it. Quite frankly, I think it's a matter for the police to handle.
Will: Carlton, they're handling it now.
Carlton: What on earth are you talking about?
Will: They think we stole the Benz.
Carlton: This is terrible. I'm ruined. I'll be kicked out of the glee club, I won't get into Princeton. I won't be admitted to the Bar.
Will: Neither will I. The cops took my fake ID.
Carlton: This is just retarded.
Will: Come on, man, let it go. You'll feel better.
Will: We got to get out of here, man. That big dude is making me nervous.
Carlton: Why?
Will: Any time you see a white guy in jail, you know he did something bad.
Vivian: Who's in charge here?
Sergeant: I am.
Vivian: Let those kids out.
Sergeant: These kids are car thieves.
Vivian: You have made a big mistake. 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 have seen since Mayberry R.F.D.
Sergeant: [to Uncle Phil] Could you ask your wife to calm down?
Vivian: Calm yourself, Barney Fife.
Henry: I'm Henry Furth.
Sergeant: Good news. Your car is safe and sound. And we've got the perpetrators.
Henry: Those aren't the perpetrators. Those are my partner's son and nephew.
Sergeant: Partner?
Philip: Legal partner. I've got a few questions for you. When you got this alleged confession from them 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 out or I'll tie this place up with so much litigation that your grandchildren are gonna need lawyers!
Will: Yo, Carlton.
Carlton: Yeah?
Will: Those cops were just trying to do their jobs?
Carlton: Don't get all bent out of shape.
Will: You didn't learn anything this weekend.
Carlton: I most certainly did. Always bring a map.
Will: What?
Carlton: If we would have had a map we wouldn't have to drive two miles an hour to find a freeway entrance and we wouldn't have been stopped.
Will: Okay. I get it now. We were stopped because we were driving too slow. We were breaking the slowness limit. Okay, I've never heard of that law before. But I did hear this other law. It's the "if you see a black guy driving anything but a burned-out Pinto, you better stop him because he stole it" law. I heard about that one. But I thought it was "the black guy law" when in actuality, it was the "slowness limit law. " Thank you for sharing that with me. Good night.
Carlton: They were just doing their job.
Will: Good night, Carlton.
Carlton: 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, 'cause you'll be seeing a 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. When you're driving in a nice car in a strange neighborhood none of that matters. They only see one thing.
Carlton: It was awfully nice of Mr. Furth to help us out. I'll have to write him a thank-you note.
Philip: It shouldn't have happened in the first place, son. Good night.
Carlton: Dad. If you were a policeman and you saw a car driving two miles an hour, wouldn't you stop it?
Philip: I asked myself that question the first time I was stopped. Good night, son.
Carlton: ...I would stop it.


  • In certain television broadcasts, Carlton's line "Well, this is retarded." would often be replaced with "Well, this sucks." or "Well, this is stupid." or may be cut completely.