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CSI Files - CSI: Miami--'Bang, Bang, Your Debt'

CSI: Miami--'Bang, Bang, Your Debt'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 16, 2007 - 8:55 AM GMT

See Also: 'Bang, Bang, Your Debt' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A romantic hook up in an SUV on the beach turns fatal for Dade University college students Jessica Taylor and Brandon Fox when their car catches on fire. Brandon barely escapes with his life, but Jessica isn't so lucky. Delko finds accelerant on the ground, and when it proves to be brake fluid, he prints the car's converter and finds a match to one Andrew Hillman, Jessica's boyfriend. Andrew remains cool under pressure, not flinching when Horatio suggests he cut the brakes on Brandon's car after learning Brandon and Jessica were spending a lot of time together. When Alexx discovers that Jessica died from carbon monoxide poisoning, Delko returns to the beach and is shocked to see CSI Tim Speedle, who was killed in a shootout in a jewelry store several years earlier. Speed helps Delko find a key piece of evidence: a burnt piece of tubing.

Calleigh and Jake Berkeley examine Jessica's apartment. Jake discovers used condoms, and the pair finds threatening messages on Jessica's answering machine from a credit card company called Liberty Coast. Keith Reynolds, the manager at Liberty Coast, refuses to give up the name of the person in charge of handling Jessica's account, but prints on the tubing lead the CSIs to the man anyway: Gary Hardwick. Gary denies killing Jessica, insisting that murdering a client would be bad for business since it would mean she would no longer be able to make payments. Brandon Fox wakes up, and is saddened to discover Jessica is dead. As they get into the Hummer to leave the hospital, Calleigh is surprised to discover one of Speedle's credit cards in the vehicle, but Eric refuses to discuss it with her. After learning the DNA in the condom belongs to Keith Reynolds, Calleigh and Delko hurry to Dade University to track down Keith, who is on campus trying to sign students up for Liberty Coast credit cards, but soon after they arrive, shots are fired--and Keith is gunned down.

Delko again sees Speed at the crime scene, this time leading him to a leaf with a bullet hole through it, making Delko think the shooter may have been hiding out in the bushes. Natalia finds sweat on the leaf and is able to match it to Gary's DNA, but Gary insists that he was just at the school to convince Keith to stop sleeping with the students in exchange for promising to alleviate their debt. When Dan Cooper shows Calleigh that Brandon was also in debt to the company, Horatio confronts him about it, and the boy admits he and Jessica were attempting to commit suicide together, seeing no other way to escape their massive debts. Calleigh and Delko retrace the bullet's path and figure out its trajectory was affected by the wind. When they find the boat the shooter was on, they discover traces of iodine antiseptic, leading them once again back to Brandon. The desperate college student admits he went gunning for Keith because Keith promised Jessica he'd alleviate her debt if she slept with him, and then went back on his promise.

Horatio finds Delko at Speedle's locker, where Delko has discovered Speedle's credit card missing. He tells Horatio that in the last two weeks, there's been activity on Speed's card. He also tells the older CSI that he's been seeing Speed, and Horatio urges him to see a doctor. Horatio goes to the bank that issued Speed's card and learns of a purchase being made at that moment. Delko and Calleigh rush to the restaurant where the card was swiped and are chagrined to find Dan Cooper there. Dan admits to rifling through Speed's locker and finding the card, figuring no harm would come of him using a dead man's credit card. Disgusted, Calleigh reminds him that it's fraud, and that he hurt the people who cared about Speed. She gives him a day to turn himself in. Delko visits Speed's graveside and is joined by Horatio. He tells Horatio that the doctor told him he's having "transitory hallucinations" as a result of the bullet fragment in his brain. Together, the two men pay their respects to their fallen comrade.

Analysis:

In addition to being a good--and thankfully not needlessly complex--episode, "Bang, Bang, Your Debt" made me nostalgic for the early days of CSI: Miami when the cases were complex but not outlandish and the team got to express emotion and not just stare at evidence and follow it breathlessly, barely getting in a quip now and then between the boat chases and shoot-outs that have become all too frequent on the show. The show was simpler in its earlier seasons, and this episode harkens back to those days.

Though he's only in about five minutes of the episode, it's great to see Rory Cochrane reprise his role as Tim Speedle. Using Delko's head injury from last season is a rather clever way to bring Speedle back, and it's a nice nod to a character that is still missed by many fans. It also acknowledges the strong bond between Delko and Speed, one of the best relationships on the show before Speed's demise. Their affectionate teasing always provided comic relief, and yet Delko's grief after Speed's death revealed how much depth their friendship had.

The cast feels more cohesive in this episode than they have a in a long, long time. Calleigh is concerned about Delko throughout the episode, first trying to get him to tell her what he saw at the crime scene, and then at the end laying into Dan Cooper, letting him know that his actions hurt Delko. The romantic tension between the two has heated up over the last season, but this episode highlights what makes them such an appealing pair: their friendship and concern for each other. When shots are fired at the college campus, Delko's first thoughts are of Calleigh's safety and in turn, when she lays into Dan, it's Delko's pain she thinks of first, not any hurt she herself feels.

Even Horatio is more the father figure he was in earlier seasons towards the end of the episode, rather than the remote, distant leader he's been over the last few years. Horatio's humanity is what made him such a compelling character in the show's first few seasons, and it's nice to see him reach out to Delko when it's obvious Delko is struggling. Horatio takes the reins and goes to the bank to get to the bottom of Speed's credit card suddenly becoming active again so many years after his death. After the mystery has been solved, he meets Delko at Speed's grave and offers solace to Delko, who is grappling with Speed's loss all over again.

The only once left out in the cold is Ryan, who is still desperately trying to work his way back into the team's good graces. In this episode, he comes to the morgue to try to persuade Alexx to hire him on as an ME Investigator. She's noticeably chilly to him, saying that she supports him making a living but doesn't have the money in her budget to hire him. The scene highlights how Ryan has never managed to quite gel with the team the way Speedle did; even three years later, he remains something of an outsider. It's partially his own doing, partially fate: he's courted news attention, taken credit for evidence finds that weren't his, helped ferret out the CSI mole, betrayed team members and as Calleigh notes, broken protocol. Much as I miss Speed, I love the character of Ryan in all his complexity. His imperfections make him human--and the most interesting character on the show by far.

Dan Cooper transgresses, but unlike Ryan, he goes too far to be forgiven. Calleigh makes the distinction: Ryan broke protocol, but Dan broke the law. Stealing from a dead man is pretty low, but the false hope it gave Delko, whose brain injury is causing him to have "transitory hallucinations" is an even greater crime. Dan is appropriately shame-faced about it, but the most mercy he's going to get is Calleigh allowing him time to turn himself in. I guess Miami and Brendan Fehr decided to part ways at some point because it's been a while since we've seen Dan, and none of his past appearances suggested any criminal proclivities.

I rather liked the premise for the case this week; giving an outwardly sinister bend to the omnipresent credit card companies that try to cajole college students getting their first taste of freedom into signing up is inspired. I particularly liked the scene where Horatio and Tripp paid a visit to the credit card company's offices, which were filled with "representatives" harassing students over the phone and trying to frighten them. The case was straightforward and interesting, complex enough to keep us guessing but thankfully missing the over-the-top action scenes Miami has been prone to since Speed departed the show. All in all, it made for a pleasing trip down memory lane.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.