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CSI Files - CSI: Miami--'Gone Baby Gone'

CSI: Miami--'Gone Baby Gone'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 20, 2008 - 6:47 AM GMT

See Also: 'Gone Baby Gone' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The CSI team steps into help after woman's baby is stolen from her arms in front of a Miami restaurant. Jill Walsh tells Horatio that a man and a woman stole her baby, Sophie, right out of her arms, claiming she was theirs. Back at the Walshs' home, Horatio takes a recent picture of Sophie--one taken by a photographer neighbor at a block party--while Calleigh gets DNA samples from Jill, her husband Stuart and their teenage son Keith. While the CSIs are there, a call comes in, demanding five hundred thousand dollars from the family in exchange for Sophie. Delko asks Keith about a broken window in the house, and Keith tells him someone threw a baseball through it a few days ago. Delko takes the ball and lifts prints from it, but isn't able to find a match for them in the system. Horatio and Ryan find baby clothes in a trashcan near where Sophie was taken, and DNA on them matches a man named Marty Ellis. Jill identifies him as the man who took Sophie, but when the CSIs go to arrest him, they find him dead in his house, the victim of a fatal gunshot wound. Calleigh gets a frantic call from Jill Walsh; her son Keith has taken a hundred grand of their money and gone off to pay the ransom. While the CSIs hunt for them, Delko follows up on the baseball, opening it up and discovering sepia photography developing fluid in it, leading him to Brad Garland, the neighborhood photographer who took pictures of Sophie. Horatio questions the man, who admits to throwing the baseball because Keith was always throwing things in his yard. He tells Horatio that he took pictures of the families in the neighborhood to drum up business. The CSIs track down Keith, but he's already made the money drop in the park the kidnappers specified. There's no sign of Sophie; all that the CSIs find is her binky, with fresh saliva on it. When the CSIs run the DNA on the saliva, they confirm it's Sophie's--and also learn that Stuart Walsh is not her father.

Horatio confronts Jill with the knowledge, who admits she feared that her one infidelity resulted in Sophie. She admits to sleeping with Brad Garland, the photographer, and admits to Horatio that Brad is the baby's father. Brad claims to have had no idea Sophie was his, and acts like he wants nothing to do with the child--or supporting her. Calleigh matches the fragmented bullets from Marty's body to a gun used in a robbery a few weeks ago and identifies a suspect in the robbery: Carla Hoyle. The CSIs find Carla, Marty's partner in crime, but she doesn't have Sophie. She tells the CSIs she gave the baby to Rodrigo Sanchez, the mastermind behind the plot--and the maitre d at the restaurant Sophie was kidnapped in front of. Rodrigo caught Carla and Marty pulling a credit card scam at the restaurant and blackmailed them into kidnapping Sophie, telling them Jill walked by with her everyday. Carla killed Marty after they demanded the ransom money, certain he was going to double cross her. Horatio mounts a search for Rodrigo. When Natalia finds a sepia-toned picture of Sophie in Rodrigo's locker, leading the CSIs to conclude Rodrigo and Garland masterminded the kidnapping together. Horatio and Ryan question the photographer, who used the baseball to break into the Walshes' house and get some of Sophie's hair to prove she was his child. Once he learned she was, he hired Rodrigo to kidnap her and bring her to him. Horatio informs him that Rodrigo is missing and never intended to turn Sophie over to him. The CSIs go over a journal found in Rodrigo's locker and discover his plans to sell the baby. They race to the airport, where Rodrigo is about to exchange Sophie for $750 thousand dollars from a couple desperate for a baby. When he spots the CSIs, he flees in his car--only to have it overturn when he gets cut off. Rodrigo emerges with a gun, but Horatio shoots him down and then goes into the car and rescues Sophie. He returns her to her tearful mother, who thanks him profusely.

Analysis:

"Gone Baby Gone" is definitely a fitting 150th episode for the action-packed series, and up until the over-the-top ending, is an exciting but not outlandish entry. I wasn't really surprised when Sophie turned out not to be Stuart Walsh's child and I was pretty sure Garland had something to do with her abduction, but the episode was thoroughly involving until Rodrigo Sanchez went rogue and double-crossed Garland, trying to sell the baby right out from under him to a couple from South Africa. Rodrigo comes off as a pretty stupid mastermind--he leaves a journal with all his evil plans behind in his locker and in the end when it's obvious the game is up, he brandishes a gun at Horatio, which is the equivalent of waving a red flag in front of a bull. If there's one thing Miami could use in its next 150 episodes, it's smarter adversaries.

Up to the point where Rodrigo is introduced, the episode offers a pretty satisfying thriller. Having Marty and Carla snatch Jill's baby by claiming loudly that she was their own was an intriguing way to pull off the kidnapping. I wish that had been played up more; it would have been nice to have some mystery surrounding whether the kidnapping was in fact a kidnapping at all. The revelation of the photo album in the teaser dispels that possibility, and though the twist that Stuart isn't Sophie's father comes later on, it's nowhere near as intriguing as it could have been had the episode played up a mystery involving whether or not the baby really belonged to the Walshes.

State-of-the-art technology is all the rage in Miami. In this episode we have the DNA amplification machine, which manages to work with a sample of DNA that usually would have been too small to get an accurate hit from. There's also the computer that visually reassembles a fragmented bullet and allows Calleigh to match striations on the bullet to a gun used in a robbery. Miami's crime lab must be one of the richest in the country; while the Miami CSIs seem to have a new technological wonder every week, their counterparts on CSI: NY are currently being forced to choose between manpower and new machines thanks to a series of budget cuts.

Sparks are flying between Dr. Price and Delko, but they're not the romantic variety. Ever since Delko pulled the prank on the new ME in "Cheating Death", she's seemed irritated with him. She's annoyed when she finds he's swiped a tool from the morgue in order to dissect the baseball found in the Walshes' house, and she accuses him of hovering in the morgue when she's recovering the bullet fragments from Marty's body. Might there be trouble brewing between the two? I kind of hope so; Miami hasn't seen much friction between the teammates now that Ryan is back in line and Natalia has won her way back into everyone's good graces. A little tension could do the show some good and shake things up a bit.

If there's one major complaint I have about the 150th episode, it's that there's nothing really special for the characters here. Horatio gets to be the hero and rescue the baby in the end, selflessly saying as he returns her to her mother that Jill "already has" thanked him enough. Aside from the conflict that appears to be brewing between Tara and Delko, there's not much else. With three CSI shows on the air, the characters are the most distinguishing thing about each. Sure, the cases are what bring in the audience and the setting distinguishes each individual show, but what keeps people coming back week after week is the characters. The Miami characters are every bit as beloved by their fans as the characters on the other two shows; we just don't get as many little character moments in a typical episode of Miami as we do in CSI and CSI: NY. My biggest wish for the next 150 episodes would be to see the Miami team better utilized.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.