Kyle Harmon turns to Horatio for help when a friend of his from the army becomes a suspect in a murder investigation.
Over lunch in a trendy Miami restaurant, Kyle Harmon breaks some news to his father, Horatio Caine: he’s going to be deployed to East Afghanistan the following week. Horatio is concerned about his son doing such a dangerous job, but before he and Kyle can discuss it further, Kyle gets a call alerting him that his friend Brian Nassir is missing. Horatio and Kyle rush to Brian’s garage only to find a fire raging outside of it—with a burning body in the middle of it. Kyle tries to save the man, but Horatio pulls him back, realizing it’s futile. Kyle is distraught, thinking his friend Brian is dead. The situation is further aggravated when a neighbor, Glenn Harper, intimates that Brian was an Islamic extremist and got what he deserved. Disgusted, Horatio tells him he’s talking his way into a murder conviction. Kyle insists that Brian wasn’t an extremist. Dr. Loman has good news for Kyle: the dead man’s dental records don’t match Brian’s. Rather, they match Rahim Farooq, whose car was found outside Brian’s garage. Calleigh pays Rahim’s wife, Salumeh, a visit. Salumeh doesn’t recognize Brian, but Calleigh is surprised to find her prints are a match to those found on a red gasoline can found near Rahim’s body. Salumeh recognizes the can, telling Calleigh it’s one her husband kept in the car—prompting her to frequently remove it from the car. While Horatio is in the morgue recovering a charred piece of paper from Rahim’s body, Kyle gets a call from his friend Brian, asking Kyle to help him—without the knowledge of his father. Kyle goes to meet Brian, who is with Maya Farooq—Rahim and Salumeh’s daughter. Brian gets upset when he sees Horatio and Tripp with Kyle, and Tripp promptly arrests Brian and Maya for murder.
Calleigh finds a ticket to St. Petersburg in Maya’s purse, and both Brian and Maya have traces of gas on them. Maya tells Calleigh that her father had a violent temper, and that he had arranged a marriage for her. When she fell for Brian, she confided in her mother, who warned her that her father would not be happy. Maya found out just how right her mother was when he father attacked her and tried to kill her upon finding her with Brian. Brian tells Horatio that Rahim had arranged a marriage for Maya to a man named Ahmad. When Rahim attacked Maya, Brian fought with him, knocking Rahim unconscious. The two fled, intending to go to St. Petersburg to figure things out. Brian insists Rahim was alive when they left him. In the lab, Horatio and Walter run the charred piece of paper through the infrared filter and see that the words on it are Farsi. Horatio brings it to Kyle, who is able to determine that its an official document, signed by an “A. Salib.” Surmising it’s the marriage contract, Horatio has Ryan and Walter question Ahmad Salib. Salib admits that he ended the arranged marriage after discovering Maya had fallen in love with Brian. Though he was disappointed, he went to Rahim and ended the engagement. After Calleigh and Jesse discover a message from Maya to her father asking him to meet her at Brian’s garage, Calleigh questions the girl again, asking her if she lured her father to the garage to kill him. Maya insists that she didn’t—that she called her father there to tell him the truth about her and Brian, in the hopes of getting his blessing. She tells Calleigh she never would have called him if she’d known how he’d lose it.
Jesse and Natalia return to the scene to look for additional clues. Natalia notices two holes in the mud near where the body was found, with ash in them—prints from high heels. Ryan and Natalia examine the soil and determine that because there’s ash in the prints, the person in the heels was standing over Rahim as he died. Calleigh and Natalia get Maya’s shoes, but her heel isn’t a match for the thin heel mark. The match proves to be the heels belonging to Maya’s mother, Salumeh. She tells the CSIs she never wanted to put Maya through this. When Rahim came to her about Maya’s relationship with Brian, she tried to reason with him—to no avail. Afraid he would kill their daughter, she chased after him, arriving at Brian’s garage in time to see her daughter fleeing in terror. Finding Rahim unconscious, she drenched him in gas and when he woke up, accused him of coming there to kill their daughter. Then she lit a match—and watched as he burned. Brian tells Kyle he’s not going to Afghanistan yet—he needs to stay and take care of Maya. Maya says a tearful goodbye to her mother. Later, Horatio shares a similarly solemn goodbye with Kyle, who is headed off to Afghanistan. Holding back tears, Horatio tells his son to come back alive—no matter what.
Horatio is reunited with his son in this emotional entry, which limns the depths of one of the best relationships on CSI: Miami. The seemingly left field revelation that Horatio had a teenage son in “Dangerous Son” was definitely a surprising twist, but it’s since provided some great material for David Caruso, who has, over the course of the past few seasons, become an increasingly remote figure. I find myself missing the Horatio of season one, who connected much more easily and naturally with both his team and various victims and witnesses. I’m not sure an episode like “Dead Woman Walking” could happen at this point, which is a shame, because seeing Horatio really reach out to people and establish a rapport with them was one of the aspects of his character that made him genuinely appealing in those early seasons. Certainly he was an interesting contrast to CSI‘s then-lead, Gil Grissom, whose reserved, nerdy scientist was more comfortable in the lab than interacting with people. Horatio hasn’t so much withdrawn as become a larger-than-life hero, which works great for Superman or Batman… but then those superheroes have more down-to-earth alter egos to fall back on. Not so with Horatio… until Kyle.
Horatio’s relationship with Kyle has allowed the writers—and Caruso—to access Horatio’s more human, fallible side. I absolutely bought Horatio’s concern and worry for his son when Kyle broke the news about going to Afghanistan to him. Caruso shows real vulnerability in these scenes, and Evan Ellingson does a good job of showing just how much Kyle has grown up over the past few seasons. He’s really nothing like the sullen, rebellious kid who gave Horatio so much trouble back in season six. He still looks so young, especially to be fighting in a war, but he exhibits a real maturity here, especially when he chooses not to heed Brian’s plea that he not involve his father. Though he knows Horatio views Brian as a suspect, he trusts his father enough to know he’ll be fair and impartial, and he has enough faith in Brian to believe that he’s innocent. Kyle has definitely come a long way, as has his relationship with Horatio.
The case raises Kyle’s hackles because of his friend’s involvement, and the boy manages to get on the normally easy-going Walter’s nerves when he accuses Walter of jumping to conclusions about Brian’s guilt. Kyle maintains that Brian didn’t kill anybody, and Walter fires back, “I didn’t say he did!” Walter is generally a pretty laid back guy, but he stands up for himself—even to Horatio’s son, when Horatio is standing right by. To his credit, Horatio doesn’t overreact to either Walter or Kyle’s attitude. He recognizes his son is lashing out in defense of his friend, and leads Kyle off to try to calm him down while still leveling with him that Brian is indeed a suspect.
The final scene of the episode, in which Horatio says goodbye to Kyle before the young man boards a bus out of Miami, is full of genuine emotion. Caruso’s delivery pulls at the heartstrings when he tells Kyle he’s proud of him and begs him to “come back alive no matter what.” The time comes for Kyle to go, and Horatio, on the verge of tears, promises “I’ll be right here” and says, “I love you. I love you.” There’s so much genuine emotion in this scene that it makes me hope Kyle will be back at some point—and perhaps become a more permanent part of the show. The father-son dynamic Caruso and Ellingson have established is a strong, vibrant one—one of the most compelling on CSI: Miami. Kyle’s stint in the morgue as an assistant in season seven brought him into the CSIs’ orbit in a natural way; hopefully once he finishes up his tour in Afghanistan, there will be a place for him at either the lab or the morgue… and Ellingson in either the main or recurring cast.
As has been the trend with Miami this season, the plot isn’t so heavy and the pace isn’t so breakneck that there isn’t room for a little air, a little development of the guest characters, allowing the audience to invest in them. Necar Zadegan, who is currently doing a stint on season 8 of 24, is a standout as a woman torn between duty to her husband and protecting her daughter. In the end, the choice is a clear one for her: she’ll do anything to protect her child, even kill her husband to prevent him from harming her. Zadegan offers up a nuanced performance, garnering sympathy from the audience if not directly from the CSIs, who are bound by the law to follow the evidence… wherever it may lead. Her story—fear for her child, a desire to protect her at any cost—parallels Horatio’s. At the end of the episode, Horatio is forced to stand back and watch as his son heads off into certain danger.
The episode explores racism against Arab Americans—albeit mostly as a red herring—in the form of a surly neighbor who assumes that Brian and his friends are terrorists simply based on their race and the fact that he deems their activities “suspicious.” Kyle defends his friend and Horatio dismisses the man’s ranting for what it is: bigotry. The murder has nothing to do with terrorism—rather, it’s a mother’s desperate bid to save her child from the rage of her husband. Whether Rahim actually intended to kill Maya for her defiance isn’t totally clear to the audience, but to Salumeh it was a real and terrifying danger. When she confronted Rahim and he refused to back down, she obviously saw killing him as the only real way she could protect her daughter.