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CSI Files - CSI: Miami--'Guerillas In The Mist'

CSI: Miami--'Guerillas In The Mist'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 12, 2007 - 8:10 PM GMT

See Also: 'Guerillas in the Mist' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Three gun runners are literally vaporized at a warehouse at the Port of Miami while handling smuggled firearms. Calleigh thinks the carnage is the work of the DX4, an illegal electronic super-weapon known as the Vaporizer capable of firing 200 bullets at once. DNA from blood left on the men's shoes--all that remains of them--identifies them as three men with gun smuggling priors. DNA on a cigarette found at the warehouse leads the CSIs to Gabriel Soto, but he denies being the shooter--or a smuggler, though he admits the slain men were in his employ. Customs Agent Tanya Thorpe shows up at the station and tells Tripp and Ryan the slaying of the men in a warehouse was actually a government operation, meant to deter the men from smuggling the weapons overseas. The operation was contracted out to a company called Peregrine Security, but when Horatio and Tripp visit the agency, they're met with resistance from company head Steve Lancaster and Patrick Austin, both of whom claim their operation is protected under the Patriot Act. Lancaster flatly refuses to hand over the Vaporizer. The officers are forced to leave, only to be called to the scene of Lancaster's murder just hours later. The man is found dead near a pier, and the cause of his demise isn't immediately apparent.

Back at the lab, Alexx finds the cause of Lancaster's death: an air embolism, the result of someone injecting one of his veins with an air bubble. The killer used a stun gun on him first. Horatio meets the new CEO of Peregrine, Darren Butler, but he's no more helpful than his predecessor was. A print on Lancaster's watch leads the CSIs to James Reilly, a former Navy Seal who knew Lancaster from his Seal days. He also worked at Peregrine for a brief time before going on to run a computer repair firm. He tells the CSIs he ran into Lancaster earlier that day and shook hands with him, but denies anything beyond that went on. His alibi seems to check out, so Delko turns to a laptop recovered from Lancaster's SUV. He learns the op that led to the death of the three men is labeled as "incomplete" but before he can find out why, the hard drive is deleted remotely by someone at Peregrine. Horatio angrily confronts Butler, who makes no apologies for his actions, but admits that the Vaporizer, which was in Lancaster's SUV, is now missing. Calleigh matches the stun gun marks on Lancaster's body to a government issue Sentry, leading Ryan to suspect Thorpe. She denies attacking Lancaster, and the electronic record on her stun gun backs her up: it's never been used.

When Alexx finds toner ink in Lancaster's eye--the site of the fatal injection--the CSIs zero in on Reilly. Reilly was pushed out of Peregrine--the company he thought up--by Lancaster, and then watched as Lancaster turned it into a killing machine. He killed Lancaster, but he denies taking the Vaporizer from the SUV. Delko finds a hair in the SUV from Gabriel Soto, and he goes to question the smuggler at the docks. Soto admits to meeting with Lancaster in the SUV to discuss a buyer he'd found for the Vaporizer. Delko's questioning is interrupted when shots are fired and a man who looks like Soto is gunned down. A fingerprint from the shooter's perch matches Patrick Austin, who tells Horatio that he was attempting to take out Soto so Peregrine could deal with his buyer directly. Horatio demands Patrick tell him where the sale is taking place, and Austin points him Butler's way. Horatio tracks Butler to an airfield, and Butler fires at his Hummer with the Vaporizer. Horatio escapes just in time, shooting Butler and the two buyers before Butler can take him out with the Vaporizer.

Analysis:

Another Miami entry with a clever title, "Guerillas in the Mist" features one hell of an opening scene. The Vaporizer is certainly a scary piece of weaponry. Seeing three men literally explode into virtual nothingness, leaving behind only blood drops, is a chilling sight. Is the Vaporizer itself just a creative invention of the CSI: Miami writers' imaginations? I don't have access to government weapons files, but a quick Google search reveals that the DX4 Vaporizer gun is actually a smoke dispenser that can be used to distribute tobacco--or marijuana (story). Interesting, but probably not deadly in the way that the gun featured on Miami was. Real or not, it was one cool--and scary--piece of weaponry.

But what's a Vaporizer--or nefarious weapons dealers--against Horatio Caine? In a scene that truly is absurd, Darren Butler actually fires the Vaporizer at Horatio's Hummer, causing it to go up in flames, only to have Horatio step from the car, completely and totally unscathed. Not even a hair out of place! Come on Miami! We've seen Horatio take down multiple shooters in a gun fight and seen him escape exploding buildings, but emerge from a burning car without even a singe mark? As far as I know, Horatio is still human. It's one thing to see him use his skills to say, diffuse a bomb. It's another for him to be downright superhuman. It would make for a nice advertisement for the Hummer, though. "Even if your Hummer goes up in flames...you won't."

Though exciting from start to finish, the episode lost me a bit when Peregrine Security suddenly--and with little explanation--decided to sell the Vaporizer to a buyer Gabriel Soto was involved with. It was something of an overly easy way to allow Horatio to get the weapon from them. Why would a company that hides behind the Patriot Act--and obviously profits from their dealings with the government--suddenly decide to turn around and sell their superweapon to a presumed enemy of the state. Yes, I'm sure greed was the motivating factor, but the storyline--which started out as something quite interesting--simply devolved into another, "let's stop the bad guys before they can sell the weapon/drugs/supercomputer." It turned what had been a very interesting episode into a by-the-book chase and stand off.

I have to admit, I was very surprised to see Horatio shoot all three men at the end. Though he was certainly justified in taking out Butler, who was aiming the Vaporizer at him and showed no compunction about using it, I was taken aback by how coldly Horatio performed the action. There's a hardness to him in this scene, a remoteness that suggests Horatio really is divesting himself of his humanity. As the series has gone on, Horatio has become more and more superhuman, but I think overall it's made him less interesting as a character. Isn't he still a CSI? He rarely processes evidence anymore, and only occasionally connects with members of his team on an emotional level. I miss the character from seasons one and two, who was more like a father figure than a super hero. Much as I have reservations about the plot line involving his son, I do hope it allows Horatio to reconnect with his humanity.

The best scene in the episode is without a doubt the one where Delko flashes back to getting shot last season in "No Man's Land". Though Delko went back to work awfully quickly after being shot, aside from that I loved the way the writers have handled the storyline, bringing it up organically when something on a case triggers a memory or a reaction in Delko. "Bang Bang Your Debt" had Delko seeing Speedle around the time the dead CSI's credit card was being used by someone else. The hallucination was related to his brain injury, but it allowed for Delko to finally get some closure with regards to Speedle's death, and in a way get a chance to say goodbye to his friend.

The scene in this episode brings Delko back to the shootout with Clavo Cruz in which he was so gravely injured, and flashes of that shootout are interspersed with the one happening in the present. As ever, Calleigh is sharply observant, noting that she doesn't see marks from Delko's bullets on the wall of the building where the shots were coming from. She point blank asks Delko if he freaked, and though he denies it, he does admit to her that it took him back to the day he was shot. She wisely doesn't press him, but the fact that he was able to speak openly to her about what happened is a testament to how deep their friendship runs.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.