Review: CSI: Miami–‘Meltdown’

The Miami team is on the hunt for robbers who gunned down a man in a jewelry store.


A carefully planned out jewelry store heist leaves a man buying an engagement ring dead. Though Horatio chases the thieves, he loses them on a Miami bridge and soon realizes they doubled back and escaped in a truck. At the scene, Calleigh is shocked to spot undercover cop Jake Berkeley in the crowd. Though the VIN numbers on the vehicle used to block off the street during the robbery have been removed, she finds a discarded VIN plate with the number on it. Inside the store, Tripp questions the manager, Leonard Sterling, and learns he was the only employee in the store during the robbery. Natalia finds a signal jammer in the bushes outside that reacts badly with her hearing aid, and she and Tripp determine it was used to take out the store’s security cameras. Dr. Loman examines the body of the man killed in the robbery, Ben Rooney, and finds trace under his nails. Ben’s girlfriend, Kayla Pennington shows up at the scene and is crushed to discover he’s dead. At the lab, Walter and Calleigh find the trace under Ben’s nails is latex, indicating the killers were wearing gloves. Tripp gets an address on the VIN number from the car and he and Calleigh go to check it out. They find the getaway van at the address—along with a sizable stash of discarded diamonds—and hear the sound of gunfire. When they get inside, they find Jake holding a gun, and the other man with him dead on the ground.

Jake identifies the dead man as Joe Tepper. The undercover cop tells Horatio he was recruited for the heist, but Joe sniffed him out as a cop and was going to kill him; Jake shot him in self-defense. Jake tells Horatio he drove the getaway truck, and that Joe tossed the diamonds because they were tattooed with serial numbers and therefore traceable. Back at the lab, Walter and Ryan discover one of the envelopes of diamonds is missing—and Ryan is the last one to have checked out the evidence box according to the log. Stetler comes to the lab to investigate and is vexed to find out the security cameras in the lab malfunctioned because of the signal jammer device, which was turned on despite Walter’s insistence that he removed the battery. Ryan and Natalia recover pictures from a digital camera found on Joe Tepper, which was used by the robbers to monitor the jewelry store. When they discover the photographs were taken from a real estate office belonging to Ben Rooney, they suspect he may have been in on the robbery. Natalia and Calleigh question Kayla Pennington, who tells them she met Ben three weeks ago when she went to his office to buy a condo. Ryan discovers boric acid on Joe’s clothing, leading Horatio to conclude that the thieves are melting down the gold from the settings so they can resell it. Jesse and Horatio consult an “expert”—Ricky Spano, doing time for similar crimes. Ricky tells them the thieves will need a lot of gold from multiple robberies, and then will melt it down and reshape it so that it can’t be traced.

Eric Delko returns to the lab to help on the case, but Natalia quickly figures out that he’s wearing a wire and is in fact there to figure out who at the lab took the diamonds from the evidence locker. Natalia warns him to be careful. Delko finds pistol powder on the signal jamming device, leading him to question Jake, who denies handling the device aside from when he gave it to Tepper. When Delko tells Jake he thinks he’s been undercover too long, Jake reacts angrily. Jesse and Horatio are able to connect the jewelry store heist to 23 other robberies, and find a few shots from witnesses’ cell phone cameras that reveal the thieves are wearing different masks at each heist. The CSIs run a composite photo and are surprised to find the two robbers are women—and one of them is Kayla Pennington. Calleigh and Jesse interrogate the woman, who admits she made one mistake: she fell for a mark. She went to Ben so she could observe the jewelry store from his office, but she ended up falling for him. She denies shooting him, and tells Calleigh that her partner Whitney Dern was the one who killed Ben. Horatio and Jesse find Whitney about to leave town with a truck full of motorcycles. Upon examination, Jesse finds the motorcycles themselves are made out of gold. Whitney and Kayla are arrested. Back at the lab, Calleigh reassures an uneasy Delko that Jake wasn’t the one who took the diamonds—and that he’s no threat to their relationship. The team goes out for drinks, but Natalia begs off, not wanting to be around Delko knowing that he’s investigating the lab.


Miami opens up a new story arc in this exciting entry, which brings Eric Delko back to the lab to investigate the disappearance of an envelope filled with diamonds from an evidence locker. Not unfamiliar with subterfuge herself, Natalia quickly realizes Delko is back to covertly figure out which of his co-workers snatched the diamonds. The chances of the culprit being a regular seems slim, although there are three new characters this season that we’re still getting to know. Last season, Tara Price snagged prescription drugs off a body—and tried to frame Horatio’s ex, Julia, for the theft—so it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that one of the three newbies could be behind it. But grief-stricken Jesse, jovial and open Walter and quirky Dr. Loman all seem pretty unlikely suspects. No doubt Ryan will fall under suspicion, as he was the last one to check the evidence box containing the diamonds out before envelope number five went missing. After so much strife in his career at the lab, more suspicion is the last thing Ryan needs.

Natalia has serious reservations about Delko’s undercover mission, which writers K. David Bena and Brian Davidson cleverly link back to the hearing aid Natalia got in “Die By the Sword”. Natalia’s hearing aid comes in handy not once but twice in the episode, first when she’s able to locate the signal jammer and then when it allows her to realize that Delko is wearing a wire. Natalia comes down pretty hard on Delko, cautioning him that the road he’s going down is a tricky one. She brings up her own introduction to the lab back in season four, when she worked as a confidential informant for the FBI. It took Natalia a while to regain the trust of her co-workers after the revelation that she was informing on them, despite her claim that she only shared good things about the lab. Knowing that Delko is investigating the lab—and knowing that her colleagues are in the dark—makes Natalia so uncomfortable that she begs off getting drinks with the team… a gathering she herself had proposed and pushed for. I wonder how long Natalia will be able to keep quiet about Delko’s covert mission.

Unsurprisingly, Delko’s investigation causes him to zero in on Jake Berkeley right away. An edgy undercover officer, Jake also happens to be Calleigh’s ex. Things between Delko and Calleigh might not be strictly defined right now, but that doesn’t stop Delko from being jealous of the smoky-voiced, charming Jake. After Delko and Jake face off in an interrogation, Calleigh steps in, telling Delko not to worry about Jake because he was with her. Delko’s face falls and Calleigh quips that she thought he wasn’t bothered. Casting a shadow over their exchange is the fact that Calleigh probably doesn’t know the real reason Delko is working at the lab again. When Natalia asks him about who knows what he’s up to, he confirms Horatio does, but leaves it at that. If Calleigh doesn’t know what Delko is up to, the eventual revelation could cause more friction between the two.

The investigation also brings IAB officer Rick Stetler back to the lab, and though Horatio never seems happy to see him, it’s certainly a treat for the audience. Stetler has come down hard on the team more than a few times, but he provides tough opposition without just being a cookie cutter force of opposition. This is in part due to David Lee Smith‘s sincere, appealing performance and in part because the writers always make an effort to give Stetler a reasonable motivation. After all, any IAB officer worth his salt would be concerned about the theft of a hundred thousand dollars worth of evidence from a supposedly secure locker.

Stetler does seem to rub the normally easygoing Walter the wrong way. Walter asserts that he took the battery off the signal jamming device, but when Stetler picks it up, he observes the battery is still on the device. “Yeah, I got eyes, pal,” Walter shoots back, sarcasm dripping from his voice. Walter doesn’t like being criticized at work; he got similarly defensive with Kyle Harmon in “Dishonor” when Kyle accused Walter of suggesting his friend was guilty of murder. As laid back and friendly as he is, Walter clearly has a sensitive side, and no doubt Stetler’s observation felt like an accusation to him.

The case doesn’t get lost amid all this interpersonal drama, and I found ill-fated Ben Rooney to be a convincing red herring. Listening to him bartering for the engagement ring and then seeing him get shot, I did suspect him of being involved. That he was just an innocent pawn came as something of a surprise, as did the revelation that his girlfriend Kayla was one of the two masterminds behind what turned out to be a cross-country spree. If Whitney’s arrest with the gold motorcycles at the end felt a little anti-climactic, it’s because of the intrigue and twists that came before—and because of the audience interest and investment in what happened to those missing diamonds.

Source: "Meltdown"

Kristine Huntley


Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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