Horatio and the Miami team have 24 hours to determine whether a man on death row was falsely convicted of murdering his wife and daughter.
James Bradstone, a former doctor on death row for the murder of his wife Sarah and daughter Caitlin fifteen years ago, is granted a temporary stay of execution just in time after the key eyewitness in his case changes her testimony. Louise Russo, Bradstone’s elderly neighbor, tells a reporter on a national news show that she actually saw Bradstone kill his wife from her kitchen, not her living room as she testified in court—at the behest of the prosecutor, Evan Talbot. Now the State’s Attorney, Talbot sends new hire Eric Delko back to the CSI lab to help the Miami lab prove Bradstone did indeed kill his wife and daughter. Jesse Cardoza, who worked the case as a rookie, tells the team that in addition to Louise’s testimony, he also recovered the murder weapon with Bradstone’s prints on it. The only survivor of the attack, Bradstone’s son Todd, was seven at the time. Jesse is convinced Bradstone is the killer. Horatio goes to the prison to speak to Bradstone, who insists someone broke into his house while he was sleeping on the couch and killed his wife and daughter. He admits that he was selling prescription drugs illegally, and suspects one of his clients may have committed the murders after he stopped selling. Calleigh and Ryan interrogate Donald Newhouse, who bought drugs from Bradstone after losing his medical license. Newhouse claims he was at an addiction meeting at the time of the murders, but as Calleigh points out, the meetings are anonymous and there’s no way to prove or disprove his claim.
Delko questions the eyewitness, Louise Russo, who reaffirms she was in the kitchen but was told by the prosecutor that she should claim to have been in her living room because a tree blocked her line of sight from her kitchen to the Bradstone’s bedroom. She was reluctant to do so, but trusted the “young officer” at the scene—none other than Jesse Cardoza. Delko is angry upon learning Jesse changed the report at the prosecutor’s behest, but Horatio reminds the two men that there is another witness: Bradstone’s son, Todd, now twenty-two. Todd tells Horatio that he was dismissed as a credible witness because at the time he recalls hearing the sound of a train going by the house—impossible as there were no tracks anywhere nearby. He tells Horatio that he recalls seeing a man on top of his mother, prompting Delko, Natalia and Jesse to go over Sarah Bradstone’s clothes from the night of the murder. They find semen on the nightgown she was wearing that proves to be a DNA match to Donald Newhouse. When questioned again, Newhouse admits he was having an affair with Sarah Bradstone, but claims he fled out the bathroom window when he heard her husband come home. The CSIs poke a hole in his story when Natalia, Ryan and Walter go to the house—untouched since the murders—and find a blood trail from the bedroom to the bathroom indicating Newhouse stood over Sarah as she died. Calleigh and Ryan question him again, and Newhouse admits he went back for his wallet, which he’d forgotten, and found Sarah bleeding to death in the bedroom. Rather than helping her or calling the police, he fled—a cowardly action, he admits, but he maintains that he didn’t kill her.
Delko and Jesse show Newhouse’s picture to Louise Russo, but she says she’s certain the man she saw was Bradstone, not Newhouse. She walks off, but before she gets very far she’s struck by a car that speeds off! The driver is caught and identified as Phillip Hale—and the CSIs learn he worked at 40 Palms, a golf club Newhouse used to belong to. Newhouse maintains his innocence, and Walter finds corroborating evidence when he ties the gold bars Hale was paid with to a bank robber who shared a cell with Bradstone. Remembering Todd’s claim that he heard something that sounded like a train rushing by the night of the murders, Horatio goes back to the Bradstones’ house with Jesse and Delko—and a wind machine. The CSIs are able to generate a high wind that moves the trees blocking the view of the Bradstones’ bedroom from Mrs. Russo’s kitchen. After getting documentation from the weather service about the winds the night of the murder, Jesse and Delko take the evidence to Talbot. Horatio tells Todd that his father is indeed guilty, and Todd goes to see Bradstone before he’s executed. Horatio checks in with his own son, Kyle, who is fighting in Afghanistan.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been this engrossed in an episode of CSI: Miami. This one had me from the get-go, opening with a last minute stay of execution after a witness’s false testimony gets exposed on a national news show. Jesse is sure the guy is guilty, but reopening the case turns up another likely suspect, and Delko is having doubts. Both James Bradstone and Donald Newhouse seem like genuinely viable suspects. If the episode loses a little steam in the fourth act once it becomes obvious that Bradstone is indeed the killer, that’s only because what has come before is so genuinely suspenseful. The initial teaser hooked me right away, but even more importantly, what followed built on that, layering in doubts and creating genuine confusion—the good kind—in the viewer’s mind. Until those gold bars were traced back to someone Bradstone knew in jail, it was anyone’s guess who the killer was. That’s good plotting.
The teaser itself is a fun little treat for the fans, not simply introducing the case but also seeding in the kind of personal moments for the characters that the audience is always hungry for. Horatio is watching the news with keen interest, viewing a story about casualties in Afghanistan. It won’t be clear until the end of the episode why this story concerns Horatio, but the tense look on David Caruso‘s face conveys that it means quite a lot to the CSI. Troubled Jesse is looking over a news story about Anna Kitson and her husband–the man he believes killed his wife. Jesse’s brow furrows as he reads about a reference to a “stalker”—presumably Jesse himself. And Calleigh shares a tender moment in bed with a man that is revealed to be none other than Eric Delko. Fans wondering about the state of their romance now have their answer—the hot duo seems to be “on again” almost in spite of themselves.
The memorable teaser leads into the reopening of the case, which quickly proves to be nowhere near as open and shut as it first seemed. Another suspect quickly emerges in the form of Donald Newhouse, whom the CSIs learn was having an affair with Sarah Bradstone. Newhouse seems to be tied in at every turn—first the CSIs learn he was getting prescription drugs from Bradstone, then that he was sleeping with Bradstone’s wife the night of the murder, then that he was in the room after she was stabbed and finally that he played golf at the same course where Phillip Hale, the caddy that hit eyewitness Louise Russo, worked. Newhouse definitely seems tied in with the murders, and unlike other cases where the evidence points to one suspect and then another and then another, in this case, the evidence keeps coming back to Newhouse.
Newhouse is played with a kind of apologetic sliminess by Nicholas Lea, well known for his role as Krycek in The X-Files. Newhouse seems credible if not especially admirable—especially once he admits to abandoning Sarah as she bled to death in the bedroom—but as the evidence against him mounts, it’s easier and easier to see him as the killer. Anthony Michael Hall‘s Bradstone appears sympathetic in his early scenes, which creates further doubt in viewers’ minds. The case hinges on Louise Russo’s testimony, which the CSIs end up proving is accurate after all with the help of a wind machine and a look back at the weather on the day the murder was committed. Why Louise wouldn’t have remembered it was a windy day the first time she was questioned and that that was the reason she was able to see the Bradstones’ bedroom from her kitchen is a nagging little detail, but a mostly forgivable one in light of how enjoyable the episode is.
The case brings about some friction between Delko and Jesse, who worked the case fifteen years ago as a rookie. In a flashback, Jesse tells the prosecutor at the time, Evan Talbot (now the State’s Attorney Delko is working for) that the case is his first murder investigation. Talbot is able to bully Jesse into changing the documentation of Louise’s statement after the young cop witnesses Talbot talking Louise into saying she witnesses the murder from her living room rather than the kitchen. This obviously eats away at Jesse, but he quickly tires of the skepticism Delko directs his way, snapping that he’s “not to blame for everything that went wrong in this case.” For his part, Delko is frustrated by the obvious discrepancies and mishandling of the case fifteen years ago. What makes it work well is that neither man comes off as the bad guy–Delko is trying to get at the truth and Jesse is attempting to make up for some rookie mistakes.
Perhaps not unintentionally, Delko’s return feels more natural here than it did in “Delko for the Defense”. Not only has Delko found a job that suits him, but he and Calleigh have resumed their relationship—at least in the bedroom. At the end of the episode they talk briefly about how they keep promising it won’t go on… and yet it does. The scene in the teaser between Delko and Calleigh perfectly delineates the sizzling chemistry between the two, and with Adam Rodriguez returning to the show now and then for guest appearances—and Delko still working in the CSIs’ orbit in Miami—it makes sense to keep playing out the complicated relationship between them. Is an off camera happy ending, a la Grissom and Sara on CSI, too much to hope for? Possibly, but it’s nice to see that as of now, Delko and Calleigh are still very much entangled.
Natalia’s hearing issues seem to be resolved for now; apparently the doctor she saw in “Die by the Sword” got her a hearing aid, which allows her to hear Ryan and Walter talking behind her back as they go to check out the Bradstones’ house. Given that the doctor suggested Natalia’s hearing problems originated not with the blast in “Count Me Out” but from spousal abuse that happened during her marriage, I suspect that the hearing aid fix won’t be the last of Natalia’s hearing woes. For now, the hearing aid fix seems to do the trick, and Natalia is in good spirits, even laughing as Ryan and Walter gently poke fun at her.
This episode also clues the audience in on where Horatio’s son, Kyle Harmon, has been this season. Last seen working as an assistant in the ME’s office last season, Kyle was nowhere to be seen this year, and we now know why: he enlisted in the army and has been fighting in Afghanistan. The news explains Horatio’s worried look in the teaser, and paves the way for a touching conversation via video chat for the two at the end of the episode. It’s nice to see Horatio and Kyle—who were once at odds with each other—having such an affectionate chat. The scene is just one of the many things this episode gets exactly right.
Source: "In The Wind"