The Big Cufflink Caper! is a season 4 episode of the 1987-1996 series.
A string of robberies have been occurring throughout the city, but rather than money and other monetary valuables, the thieves are stealing cufflinks. The Turtles go topside to investigate these bizarre burglaries by infiltrating a toy convention. Sure enough, the cufflink thieves arrive and demanded for everyone's cufflinks. The Turtles try to stop them, but the thieves manage to escape. Leonardo recognizes the robbers as Big Louie's henchmen. He then comes up with a crazy plan to find out why the gangster boss wants them: by joining Big Louie's mob.
At Big Louie's hideout, it is revealed that the mob boss is stealing cufflinks for Shredder, who was demanding a certain pair called the Cufflinks of Kaffe. Shredder is angry that Big Louie hasn't found the cufflinks and tells him to pick up the pace NOW before cutting transmission. The Turtles (dressed as mobsters) then come in Louie's office, much to his surprise, stating their proposition of joining. Louie doesn't trust them of course, but decides to test them. He sends the Turtles to find a rival mob boss, Babyface "The Beaver" Cleaver, and put him and his men on ice. The Turtles are reluctant to do this, but they have to in order to gain Big Louie's trust, so they locate Babyface's hideout where a fight ensues, going from the hideout to the mall next door, and on the mall's indoor ice rink. Before the mob could crush them with a zamboni machine, the Turles sink them into a crack in the ice (so they technically did put Babyface and his men "on ice").
The TMNT return to tell Big Louie of their success, so now they want to know why he's stealing cufflinks. He tells them about a Chinese man years ago who created an explosive powerful enough to blow up an entire city and disguised it as a simple ruby, then centuries later a munnitions expert found it and converted it into one of a pair of cufflinks, the Cufflinks of Kaffe. Big Louie says that certain parties are willing to spend a fortune for the explosive cufflinks, then sends them off to find them. Leonardo and Donatello get suspicious about that "certain parties" part.
In Dimension X, the Technodrome is still stuck in the side of a volcano. It is revealed that Shredder plans to use the Cufflinks of Kaffe to blow the Technodrome free.
Back on Earth, Donatello deduced that the Cufflinks of Kaffe would most likely be in the home of Calzone, a pizza chain tycoon, since he has the larges collection of cufflinks in the world.Michelangelo is uneasy about the whole thing as breaking and entering was against their code. Donatello tells him they couldn't worry about ethics right now since the world was at stake (and Raphael adds that they didn't bring the Turtle Codebook). April and Irma arrive, after getting a tip that the robbers may try to break into Calzone's mansion, then Donatello bluntly tells her that the thieves are THEMSELVES. They tell the ladies their reasonings for this and tells them to stay out of sight in case Louie's mob is watching. After going through the Calzone mansion, avoiding the pizza-themed booby traps, they find the cufflink collection, and the Cufflinks of Kaffe! Unfortunately, Big Louie and his mob were waiting for them and hold them at gunpoint, saying that he never trusted them in the first place. To the Turtles' shock, Shredder enters through a portal, revealing to be the client. Things get hectic when Calzone enters, demanding what was going on before operating his security system (hidden wall catapults firing pizzas). The Turtles manage to sneak out in all the confusion with the cufflinks. Unfortunately, Shredder and Big Louie take April and Irma hostage.
At a pizza parlor, Donatello discovers that the explosive cufflink had lost potency over the centuries, but Leonardo points out that Shredder could still try to duplicate its structure. They came to the decision to destroy the cufflinks. Soon, the Turtles get a randsom letter from Shredder to come to a taffy factory to deliver the cufflinks or April and Irma will be history. They arrive to the factory to see April and Irma suspended over a vat of hot taffy, as well as Shredder and Big Louie's men. Donatello throws one of the cufflinks into the taffy vat, triggering a fight. Before April and Irma get dropped into the taffy vat, they get rescued by Michelangelo. Bebop and Rocksteady manage to find the cufflink Donatello threw in one of the taffy candies, in which they and Shredder retreat back to Dimension X.
In Dimension X, Krang mocks Shredder, saying that the cufflink he had was the dud, pointing out that the Turtles would never let the real out out of their hands. Shredder gets angry at being tricked and tosses the cufflink, only for it to explode against some machinery. In the Turtle Van, the Turtles were startled by a comm feed from Shredder, who cursed them for "tricking him into giving him the real explosive" and vows revenge. The Turtles honestly didn't have any idea what he's talking about, and Raphael comments that Shredder had finally lost it.
Back in the Lair, Donatello decides to test out his buffer machine to clean up the other cufflink to return to Calzone. Raphael is edgy about it, since they really don't know if that one was explosive as well. Donatello assures him it's safe, until he gets blown back by an explosion. He chalks it up to his machine still having a few bugs in it.
- Leonardo (Cam Clarke)
- Donatello (Barry Gordon)
- Michelangelo (Townsend Coleman)
- Raphael (Rob Paulsen)
- Splinter (Peter Renaday)
- April O'Neil (Renae Jacobs)
- Irma Langinstein (Jennifer Darling)
- Shredder (James Avery)
- Bebop (Barry Gordon)
- Rocksteady (Cam Clarke)
- Krang (Pat Fraley)
- Big Louie (Peter Renaday)
- Pietro Calzoni (James Avery)
- Baby Face "The Beaver" Cleaver (Cam Clarke)
- Wally Cleaver (Pat Fraley)
- Gargantuan Toy Company Toy Designer (Peter Renaday)
- Wealthy Cufflink Victim (Townsend Coleman)
- Wealthy Opera House Woman (Jennifer Darling)
- Turtles' Lair
- Toy Fair
- Vinnie's Pizzeria
- Pietro Calzoni's mansion
- Taffy factory
- Shopping mall
- Babyface "Beaver" Cleaver's hideout
- Big Louie's hideout
Home media releases
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Big Cuff Link Caper
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Season 4
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Complete Classic Series Collection
- In the fourth shot of Donatello holding up his suit, the bow tie from it is missing.
- When the Turtles find April and Irma tied to the taffy machine the shot of the pair is freeze-framed.
- First appearance of Big Louie, though the Turtles act like they encountered him before.
- Tony "The Butcher" Vivaldi (or his double) appears as one of Big Louie's henchman but he has a different voice.
- The plot for this episode is very similar to "The Maltese Hamster".
- Babyface "Beaver" Cleaver and Wally Cleaver are parodies of characters in the 1950s TV series Leave it to Beaver.
- Donatello: "Cufflinks are vanishing all over the city, but why? What could the robbers possibly want?"
Michelangelo: "I KNOW! They want... cufflinks!"
Raphael: "Can we pretend we never met?"
Donatello: "But why steal cufflinks? It's mind-boggling! It's baffling! It's-"
Raphael: "INCREDIBLY STUPID!"
- Leonardo: "Look! It's the Beaver's hideout!"
Donatello: "Ooh, you mean that incredibly stylish four-story shopping mall?"
Leonardo: "No, I mean that incredibly run-down old warehouse next to the mall!"
Michelangelo: "How come these gangster dudes always hang out in old abandoned warehouses?"
Raphael: "Because there aren't any old abandoned luxury penthouse suites."
- Michelangelo: "Killer pizza trays!? Heavy duty!"
Donatello: "Boy, this guy's even more hung up on pizza than we are!"
Raphael: "Yeah! What's he gonna do next? Spray us with tomato sauce? Yaaah! (armor suir sprays him in the face with tomato sauce) I HAD to ask...