Review: CSI: Miami–‘Hostile Takeover’

Jesse Cardoza returns to Miami to join Horatio’s team only to find himself taken hostage along with several other lab workers by a desperate gunman.

Just returned from Los Angeles, Jesse Cardoza pays a visit to the MDPD to begin his new job working as a CSI on Horatio’s team when a gunman storms the lobby! The man takes Jesse, the receptionist Danielle and two other lab workers hostage and holes up in a room. The police mobilize and Rick Stetler gets the gunman on the phone, but the man insists on speaking only to Horatio. Horatio gets on the line, and tries to calm the nervous man, who tells Horatio to call him “Ted.” Jesse, nervous that the unstable Ted will discover he’s a cop and go ballistic, ditches his cell phone and badge. In the parking lot, Ryan and Calleigh go over the van Ted left in the parking lot and find anti-depressants in it. Ted tells Horatio he’s looking for justice, but he gets agitated and shoots Danielle. He lets Horatio retrieve her, leaving him with three hostages. Ted finally makes his demands: he wants a helicopter and a hundred grand from the Royal Vista Check Cashing company. The owner, Darren Ripley, reluctantly hands over the money to Calleigh and Ryan in exchange for an IOU. The money is delivered by SWAT to Ted, and a path cleared for him to go out to the helicopter. Ted emerges in a helmet with a gun to the heads of two of the hostages. As SWAT prepares to take him out, Horatio calls them off, noticing Jesse isn’t there. He rushes down and pulls the helmet off, revealing Jesse. Ted is gone–and he left the money behind as well. The team is puzzled, but Horatio recalls that Ted wanted “justice.” He takes a look at the money in the lab and discovers it’s counterfeit.
Horatio interrogates Darren Ripley, who recognizes “Ted” as his former business partner, Matthew Sloane. Ripley and Matthew started a business that went under–and cost Matthew his life’s savings, something he bitterly resented after he found out Ripley put up counterfeit cash. Ripley is arrested. Calleigh pays a visit to Tanya, Matthew’s ex-wife, who is now remarried to a man named Lloyd Arrington. Tanya got a restraining order against Matthew after Matthew broke into their house, and has been keeping their son, Jason, away from him. Calleigh notices a cast on Jason’s arm. Matthew contacts Horatio and refuses to turn himself in until Horatio catches the person who took all he had left–and then proceeds to head to the Arrington’s house. When the team arrives, he’s gone, but it gives Calleigh an excuse to process the scene. She recovers a hair from the shattered glass window of the front door–a hair that proves to be a match to Lloyd Arrington. Horatio realizes Lloyd faked the break in that led to the restraining order against Matthew and a further examination of the bruising on Jason’s arm reveals that it was Tanya, not Matthew, who was abusing him. Once Tanya is in custody, Matthew turns himself in, and Horatio gives him the opportunity to see his son before he’s taken away. The case closed, the team gathers at a bar to welcome Jesse Cardoza to their ranks.
Jesse Cardoza is treated to a traumatic first day on the job when he reports for work and promptly gets taken hostage. It’s an interesting introduction for the character, one that highlights his ability to be cool under pressure while not painting him as too much of a superhero. Jesse isn’t able to do much more than ditch his badge and phone and try to keep Matthew calm–which he doesn’t do quite so well at, given that Matthew’s gun goes off twice. Having Jesse as the one taken hostage–as opposed to one of the regular team members–does give him the spotlight and allows viewers to see how he reacts under extreme pressure.
And, of course, it gives new regular Eddie Cibrian a chance to take his shirt off. Cibrian’s handsome visage, sculpted body–to say nothing of his recent tabloid-worthy exploits–are certainly a potential ratings draw. There’s something very grounded and calm about Cibrian–his Jesse is definitely a guy you’d want around in a crisis, not unlike Horatio. And there’s no doubt about it: he’s a looker. His shirt doesn’t just come off: he whips it off after Danielle is shot to reveal not an undershirt but bare skin… as he’s crouching over the bleeding receptionist. There’s no mistaking the message: the show fully intends to capitalize on Cibrian’s sex appeal.
Per usual with Miami, it’s Horatio not Jesse who saves the day. It is Horatio that the frantic Matthew asks for, and Horatio who figures out Matthew’s ploy when he tapes Jesse’s hands to the gun and puts a helmet on him to make SWAT think Jesse is actually him–a move similar to the one used by the hostage takers in CSI: NY’s third season finale “Snow Day”. Matthew’s plan is pretty clever, although it also counts on the police being fairly stupid and focusing all of their energies on the helicopter–and leaving the rest of the building, and it’s perimeter, unguarded. Still, the fake out with the money was very clever and as the episode went on, I found myself sympathizing with Matthew more and more.
Matthew is played convincingly and sympathetically by the talented Sharif Atkins, best known for his stint on ER as Dr. Michael Gallant. From the moment we see Matthew, it’s clear that he’s desperate rather than evil. After all, would anyone who’s actually evil call on Horatio in an attempt to get “justice”? The money counterfeiting is quickly wrapped up–after guest star Rick Hoffman has a memorable turn as Matthew’s sleazy former partner–allowing the focus to turn to the more pressing issue for Matthew… catching the person who took what was most important to him–his son Jason–away. The twist that it was actually Tanya, Matthew’s ex, and not her new husband, who was abusing Jason made the storyline feel a little fresher than it otherwise would have. Poor Jason is likely headed to foster care for a while, as I can hardly imagine Matthew getting off with a slap on the wrist after shooting an innocent woman in a hostage situation he created, even if it was an accident.
The hostage situation gives the audience a chance to see Horatio and Rick Stetler once again do what they do best: working together while butting heads. I absolutely love watching David Caruso and David Lee Smith face off; Stetler brings out something in Horatio no one else does. Stetler, in part because of Smith’s sympathetic performance and in part because of the nuanced writing that has formed his character, is hands down the most interesting recurring character on the show. He’s the company man, the one who suggests the traditional route where Horatio thinks outside of the box, but he’s so earnest and well-meaning about it. Stetler isn’t providing opposition to just provide opposition: he genuinely believes in his methods. Over the seasons, his relationship with Horatio has become slightly less adversarial, to the point that the two men don’t simply bark at each other. They still butt heads, they still disagree, and Stetler is wrong more times than he’s right, but he’s never a cardboard adversary.
This is the first episode without Adam Rodriguez, and he’s definitely missed. The Miami team hasn’t really changed since season four when Natalia came on board as a cold case tech, and in the ensuing four seasons a real camaraderie has developed between the group, even as they sometimes butt heads. Delko is presumably in the hospital recovering, but interestingly, Calleigh has been advised to stay away from him–and, surprisingly, it’s advice she’s taking. She reminds Natalia that shooting at Delko wasn’t a mistake she made–she was firing at a suspect fleeing the scene. There’s a flat, matter-of-fact quality to Calleigh’s voice as she says this that implies that it hasn’t totally sunken in, that she hasn’t dealt with what happened that day on an emotional level. What does this mean for the couple? And what does Delko remember from that day? One has to wonder if he’s trying to contact her, or if the fact that Calleigh shot at him is causing him to keep his distance as well.
Despite the absence of Delko, the team gets a nice bonding moment at the end of the episode–the first gathering at a bar that I can recall for the Miami group. While the Vegas team will gather for breakfast after their shift and the New York crew will meet up for after-work drinks, I can’t think of a single time we’ve seen the Miami team gather socially like this, aside from Speedle’s funeral, which was hardly a cheery occasion. Here, they meet up to welcome Jesse Cardoza to their ranks. It’s never specifically stated that he’s Delko’s replacement, but at least so far, the group seems to be welcoming him. Ryan is happy to press him into buying drinks, which Jesse amiably agrees to. Ever the responsible leader, Horatio abstains, noting that someone has to drive. Would we expect any less from the Miami team leader?

Source: "Hostile Takeover"

Kristine Huntley


Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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