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CSI Files - CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Cross Jurisdictions'

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Cross Jurisdictions'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at August 21, 2008 - 2:25 AM GMT

See Also: 'Cross-Jurisdictions' Episode Guide

With the CSI franchise in reruns for the summer, CSI Files is taking the opportunity to go back to the beginning, offering reviews of episodes from the early seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami, many of which aired before the site's 2003 founding! The retro reviews will run for the duration of the summer until new episodes of the franchise start to air in the fall.

Synopsis:

A swingers party hosted by former Chief of Police Rittle ends in tragedy when Rittle is murdered and his wife and young daughter are abducted by his killer. The CSIs find Rittle's car abandoned in an airport parking garage with the body of a man named Jason Doyle in the trunk. When the CSIs get reports of a girl matching Sasha's description in Miami, Florida, Grissom dispatches Catherine and Warrick to process her. Detective Horatio Caine, head of the CSI team in Miami, finds Sasha in a remote location and immediately makes a connection with the girl. When Catherine and Warrick arrive on the scene, he's able to coax Sasha into talking with them and handing over a bullet she found after she escaped her kidnapper. In Las Vegas, Nick and Sara identify the kidnapper's date: a showgirl named Tiffany Langer who was trying to break into high society. Tiffany recalls little about the man other than that he had a sickly sweet smell, but Grissom is able to coax her into giving up the man's name: Adam Van Der Velk.

At the scene, Warrick discovers a sedative pill and Horatio finds evidence that the killer urinated in the woods where Sasha was found. When Horatio learns the FBI is tracking the killer as well, he squares off against Special Agent Dennis Sackheim, who tells him their suspect targets wealthy couples staying at the Shore Club in Miami. Calleigh Duquesne has tragic news: a submerged car has been found, with the body of Mina Rittle, naked and wrapped in saran wrap, in it. Alexx Woods autopsies the body and discovers a sticky substance in the woman's orifices. With Catherine in tow, Horatio goes to the trendy Miami club Hives, where high-end honey is sold alongside alcohol. He takes a sample and brings it to Tim Speedle to compare. It's a match for the substance found on Mina Rittle's body. Calleigh scours the receipts from customers who purchased bottles of the $500 honey and finds one from the day before, from a limo driver named Gordon Daimler. Daimler tells Horatio and Catherine that he bought the honey for a customer of his, but that he didn't get the man's name. Horatio looks over Daimler's limo; when he turns on the air conditioner, he's able to smell a sickly sweet smell.

Working with Tiffany and Dr. Robbins, Grissom is able to identify the smell as one emitted when a person is suffering from diabetic ketoacidosis. Grissom puts in a call to Catherine and tells her to look for someone who has recently purchased synthetic insulin. Catherine has the records pulled up and one name stands out: Gordon Daimler. The Vegas and Miami CSIs rush to the home of Dylan and Sissy Corwin, Daimler's current clients. They find signs of a struggle and a shooting, but the couple and Daimler aren't there. Speedle notices the Corwins' boat is missing. Horatio calls the Coast Guard and rushes to the scene when the boat is discovered only to find the FBI already there, prepared to fire on one of the two figures they've spotted through their heat detection technology. Horatio convinces them to stand down and is proven right when only Dylan Corwin, cradling his wife's dead body, is found on board. Horatio recalls the Corwins also had a plane and he and Catherine head to the airport just in time to stop Daimler from escaping in it. They arrest the man and Catherine and Warrick head back to Las Vegas while Horatio pays Sasha Rittle a visit, telling her that her parents fought like heroes for her.

Analysis:

A new series was launched with this engaging, fast-paced episode, which wastes no time in getting to Miami to introduce the audience to Horatio Caine. Right from the get-go, Horatio makes an impression, one vastly different from that of Gil Grissom. Could anyone imagine Grissom as comfortable with a child as Horatio is with Sasha? Horatio's ease with children and his ability to reach them is something that will recur throughout the series; it's one of the character's hallmarks. Thus Horatio's introduction to the audience is not in the midst of a shootout--something that unfortunately becomes all too common in the series' later years--or even hunting down crucial evidence, but in a hunt for a little girl. Nor does Horatio find her with an entire patrol unit at his back; he wanders off on his own after finding a barrette in the dirt. The scene emphasizes another hallmark of the character: his intuitiveness, and how much that informs his job.

David Caruso is able to show both sides of Horatio in this episode. We see Horatio's softer, gentler side with Sasha, who immediately trusts the CSI after he finds her. Horatio wisely doesn't rush or overwhelm the frightened little girl with questions, instead sitting quietly with her so that they can be found together. But make no mistake: Horatio's tough side comes out when he suspects he's being crossed. He plays hardball with Special Agent Sackheim, first when he rightly suspects that the agent is withholding information from him, and then in a tense showdown when Sackheim orders one of his men to shoot the standing figure on the Corwins' boat. Horatio practically growls at the man when he threatens to dog him for the rest of his life if the man takes the shot. The man stands down.

When we meet spirited Calleigh Duquesne, she tells Catherine, "we're a little more fanciful down here." Indeed, the CSIs in Miami aren't focused solely on the evidence the way their Vegas counterparts are; they're also detectives. Calleigh shows off her knowledge of firearms in her first scene, and Eric Delko gamely takes a dive in his first appearance when the car containing Mina Rittle's body is discovered. Certainly in the case of Delko, some of the jobs are location specific; Grissom would have no need of a diving expert on his team in the desert of Las Vegas. And Calleigh, the beautiful Southern belle with extensive knowledge of firearms, definitely fits in with the locale. We don't get to see much of these characters in the first episode; the action is split between Vegas and Miami and encompasses most characters from both series, even if some are seen only briefly.

One character who is different in this pilot than he is in the actual series is Tim Speedle. Rory Cochrane played Speedle with an aloof cool through the series, but here Speedle is jumpy and quirky. He's eager and energetic in his meeting with Catherine and Warrick at the Shore Club, and when Delko goes for a dive, Speedle is quick to point out all the bacteria in the water. The friendly banter between Speedle and Delko establishes the kinship and bond between the characters right from the get-go, and is one that endures throughout the series, even after Speedle's passing.

Save for Horatio, the rest of the team gets little screen time. Emily Procter sparkles as the beautiful but steely Calleigh Duquesne. She might be blonde and bubbly, but her knowledge of firearms is not to be underestimated. Alexx Woods does something Doc Robbins wouldn't dream of doing: she talks to Mina Rittle's dead body, offering sympathy and wondering aloud what might have happened to the woman. It's a technique that takes a little getting used to, but underscores Alexx's compassion and dedication to her job.

Horatio and Catherine have such a nice rapport that one can't help but wish this episode wasn't the only time they got the chance to interact. Their exchange in Hives is particularly fluid, witty with more than a bit of flirtatious subtext. Catherine likely has more in common with the fiery Horatio than she does with the taciturn Grissom, but she works equally well with both men. She might raise an eyebrow at the more "fanciful" ways of the Miami team, but she's willing to go along with it.

Just how different Miami will eventually become from CSI isn't readily evident in the first episode, though the seeds are certainly there. Horatio identifies the substance on Mina Rittle's body as honey and immediately makes the leap to Hives, a trendy Miami club--the first of many that we'll see in the show. Horatio and company storm the Corwin's house with guns, call in the coast guard, butt heads with the FBI and then literally stop Daimler on the runway as he's about to leave the country. Make no mistake, Miami promised more action from day one.

And yet the episode ends on a quiet note, both in Miami and Las Vegas. Horatio pays a visit to Sasha Rittle to offer her a few consoling words. The character's compassion really shines through in the episode, and it's one of the things that really distinguishes Horatio in the early seasons of Miami. He also utters the famous line, "I lost someone once, too," which in season one fans took to be a reference to his brother Raymond, whom at this point Horatio believed to be dead. Later on, the reference was repurposed to refer to his mother, in a storyline in season four that never really fully panned out. For this episode, it's a powerful final glimpse of Horatio, a bit of a mystery to whet viewers' appetites and encourage them to tune into the CSI spin-off.

The episode concludes in Las Vegas, with a bit of banter between the leads of the original show. Catherine returns to the office to find Grissom dressed up and compliments his attire, prompting him to tell her he dressed up for her. That Catherine has fantastic chemistry with both Grissom and Horatio is a testament to Marg Helgenberger's ability to seamlessly play off of whomever she's opposite. It would have been amusing to see Grissom and Horatio size each other up, but for the purposes of this episode, Helgenberger does an admirable job introducing the new CSI team.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.