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CSI Files - CSI: Miami--'Under Suspicion'

CSI: Miami--'Under Suspicion'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 26, 2005 - 9:18 PM GMT

See Also: 'Under Suspicion' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Two high school girls are driving along a bridge when their car suddenly spins out of control and plunges into the water. When they are rescued, the body of a third woman is discovered. Horatio is shocked when he recognizes her as Rachel Turner, a woman he's been seeing. He tells Tripp that he was the last one to see her alive and takes himself off the case, handing Tripp his badge and his gun. At the autopsy, Alexx tells Horatio that Rachel bled to death after being stabbed repeatedly. Calleigh and Ryan go over Rachel's apartment and Calleigh notes that one of the wine glasses from Rachel's dinner with Horatio two nights ago is missing. There's blood on the table, and the CSIs take a sample of it back to the lab. Delko discovers puncture marks on the tire of the car that went over the bridge--someone used a spike strip on it. Valera analyzes the blood from Rachel's apartment and reports that it's Horatio's.

Tripp questions his friend, even delving into Yelina's whereabouts, but Horatio is cagey, just telling him Yelina is "safe from harm." Ryan and Delko return to the scene of the car's plunge and discover Hummer-sized tire tracks right by the place where the car went over. The spike strip is gone. Back at the lab, Calleigh analyzes the blood sample and finds traces of anti-coagulant in it. She confronts Horatio about what happened in New York, telling him that someone is trying to frame him. He tells her he was stabbed badly in New York ten years before, while working to catch Walter Dresden, a killer who locked children in closets while he tortured their parents to death. Dresden escaped, but Horatio "embarrassed" him, so he's back for revenge. Delko is able to get trace off the tire tracks which proves to be tarmac. Delko hunts down the car rental agency at the airport that rented the Hummer out, and using GPS, traces it to the Gables--the community Jennifer Wilson is living in. Horatio tells her Dresden is back and has her put back into hiding.

Calleigh brings Ryan the Wilson case file left on Horatio's desk a few weeks ago, and they trace it from an ME assistant, who got it from a Detective Matt Phillips. Phillips didn't give the assistant the file--his badge and ID were stolen out of his car when he was meeting his mistress and he didn't report it. Tripp impounds Phillips' car and the CSIs discover a red carpet fiber in it. The fiber is actually made up of three different colors to make the red color, and is being used in a new condo development close to the CSI offices. Horatio races there only to find Dresden waiting for him. Horatio gets off a punch--a direct hit to Dresden's face--but the man escapes, leaving Horatio with a big blood pool--the scene of Rachel's murder--just as the police arrive. Stetler thinks Horatio was coming to clean up the crime scene and arrests him. Ryan discovers Dresden's escape route--a large construction tube--and Delko finds the murder weapon, a knife with a convenient clear print.

While Ryan goes over the evidence in the lab and discovers a small electronic device--something Dresden had on him--Delko purchases 27 grams of pot from his dealer. Calleigh asks Natalia Boa Vista to run the blood on Horatio's knuckles from his punch to Dresden's face against her database. Natalia hedges, but Calleigh promises to keep it quiet. Ryan and Delko put together that Dredsen used glycerin to lift Horatio's print from the wine glass he used at Rachel's and put it on the knife, proving that it's a forgery. Delko returns Horatio's badge and gun to him. Dresden corners Calleigh and tells her to ask Horatio about Jennifer Wilson's parents, but he runs off before she can apprehend him. Calleigh confronts Horatio, who admits his partner was having an affair with Jennifer Wilson's mother. Horatio left New York so that he wouldn't have to answer questions about his partner's affair.

Natalia Boa Vista finds blood matches to several other murders in the Miami area. All the victims used the same company to install security systems. Ryan and Horatio track Dresden down to his latest install and arrest him. Dresden denies killing the Wilson family, but Horatio is confident--they've got evidence on him for a murder in Orlando. But when the case is given to Judge Joseph Ratner, a judge with a grudge against Horatio and his team, Horatio faces a terrible reversal of fortune. Ratner decides the evidence in the case is biased and throws it out, freeing Dresden who smirks at Horatio as he's released.

Analysis:

If taken with a huge grain of salt, "Under Suspicion" is pretty decent episode. Horatio is the most unlikely of murder suspects, and while we don't believe for a minute that he could possibly be guilty, the evidence doesn't look good for him and let's face it, Horatio doesn't help his own case when he says things like telling Frank that Yelina is "safe from harm" but refusing to elaborate. Why not just tell Tripp you buried her in your backyard, Horatio? Obviously we know Horatio can't tell Tripp that Yelina is in Brazil because the supposedly-dead Raymond is with her, but couldn't he give Tripp her cell phone number or something?

Still, it's clear no one on the team actually believes Horatio is guilty. That's a smart move; there's nothing more frustrating than seeing supposedly smart characters easily duped, or turning on one of their own based on extremely circumstantial evidence. The evidence itself is pretty obviously faked--if Horatio killed someone, would he really leave a pool of his own blood at the scene, or a huge, clear fingerprint on the knife? While Dresden might not know that the CSIs can pick up on glycerin or coagulant in the blood, he'd have to figure that a CSI wouldn't be so sloppy if he chose to commit murder.

Horatio's own reaction is interesting. He's neither totally involved or totally out of the picture. Right after he turns his badge and gun into Tripp, he's in the morgue with Alexx, trying to find out how Rachel died. I'm surprised Stetler didn't step in earlier; where was he when Frank was first questioning Horatio? It could be that the team kept the fact that Horatio was a suspect from IAB, but it was clearly a severe misstep.

The decision to introduce Judge Ratner--last seen in "After the Fall"--is an interesting one. It's a rare case of detailed continuity in a CSI show; Ratner promised revenge on Horatio after Horatio had him arrested for murder, and sure enough, he gets his revenge on a crucial case. It seems pretty petty, but what is more surprising is that he's still on the bench, and that a case involving Horatio would end up in his docket. Isn't that a conflict, given that Horatio was the arresting officer on the other case? Despite the fact that it's a hell of an unlucky coincidence, it works as a twist to continue the Dresden story line. It would have been pretty disappointing to have that wrapped up in a single episode.

Dresden doesn't emerge as a fully-formed villain, but hopefully he will as the arc proceeds. As of right now, he has the flimsiest of reasons for wanting to frame Horatio for murder, but as with serial killer/cop match ups, the killer usually becomes as fixated on the cop as the cop is on him or her. But why is Dresden suddenly striking out after ten years? Why is Horatio a more attractive target than his partner? And if he killed in New York, would he really be released in Florida, even if the Miami charges were dropped? Wouldn't he be sent to New York to stand trial there?

The most ridiculous element is the fact that Dresden has Horatio's blood. Really, honestly, would Dresden have found a way to suction up Horatio's blood from the stabbing, put an anti-coagulant in it, and then keep it for ten years? Not only is the detail absurd, it's also unnecessary. The bloody print on the murder weapon--lifted from the wine glass--is much more clever and believable. Why would Horatio's blood be at Rachel's apartment if hers wasn't there? The blood makes no sense, other than, perhaps, to highlight how creepy Dresden is.

Delko seems to be in more than a little trouble; not only does he have money problems that have materialized out of nowhere, but he also is buying marijuana from some shady guy in a car. Who would sell to a cop? I guess Eric is clearly not undercover, so maybe the dealer feels safe. Eric seems sullen and possibly depressed this year, but beyond that we've gotten no real idea about why he would buy pot. I hope it will be explained at some point, because right now it's just bizarre and, from what we know of Delko, out of character.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.