The Miami CSIs work to get to the bottom of Rebecca Nevins’ death—and are surprised to learn they are being investigated by Delko.
Rewinding to a few minutes before “Mommie Deadest” ended, “Time Bomb” opens with Calleigh realizing Delko is lying to her and following him to the marina where he’s arranged to meet Rebecca Nevins. Delko refuses to tell Calleigh why he’s meeting Rebecca, and she starts to leave, but when the bomb goes off, she rushes back to Delko. Horatio and the team arrive at the scene, and Delko fills Horatio in on the lead he was pursuing—the theft of the heroin on the 2006 case Horatio’s old partner, Sully, worked. Horatio visits Sully and the retired officer swears that he didn’t discuss Delko’s findings with anyone else. Back at the scene, Calleigh and Walter are surprised to learn that Delko was wearing a wire at the lab—and that Natalia knew about it. Delko helps Jesse get a VIN number off the car next to Rebecca’s that contained the bomb. The two CSIs are surprised to find the car came from a police impound lot. Delko and Tripp question the officer at the impound lot, who shows them the car was signed out to a Detective Stephen Carmichael several months ago. Delko notices that this car isn’t the first Carmichael has signed out. Horatio and Delko query an inmate, Tino Garvez and learn that Garvez killed Carmichael in 2008. The inmate is amused to find someone is playing the officers.
Walter and Ryan go over debris from the explosion, discovering hundreds of metal sprockets from golf carts among the wreckage. Ryan finds the remains of the detonator: a cell phone. The bomb’s make up matches one from a bomb made in 1999 by a Drew Pollack. Ryan questions the man, pointing out that Rebecca Nevins was the one who worked out his plea bargain—which still sent him to jail for ten years. Pollack clams up, asking for a lawyer. Dr. Loman performs the autopsy on Rebecca and recovers a GPS chip from her body which came from the car with the bomb. Delko assembles a GPS and activates the chip, hoping to use it to backtrack to the bomber’s house. He and Calleigh activate it and drive to the location the car came from and are shocked to find it’s Ryan’s house. Ryan returns home to find his colleagues combing his house for clues, and to see Delko discover the diamonds hidden away in an electronic device. Ryan swears they aren’t his, but Stetler has him taken back to the precinct. With Horatio present, Stetler grills Ryan, asking about his gambling debts and pointing out that he was the one who discovered the diamonds missing. Horatio wants to keep the investigation going, but Stetler tells him he’s done. Jesse, Natalia, Walter and Delko witness Ryan being taken away in handcuffs, and Natalia gets the idea to check the diamonds for bacterial DNA to determine who handled them—and framed Ryan.
When Horatio learns Sully was the lead on the Pollack investigation, he returns to question his old partner and Sully admits he got in over his head. He refuses to give Horatio details, instead drawing his gun and causing another officer to fire at him. He’s taken away, still alive, in an ambulance, and Horatio turns his sights on Olansky, the duty officer in charge of the evidence locker. Horatio and Delko catch him in a lie: he never called tech services the day the diamonds went missing to report the cameras down. Realizing that he’ll be charged with murder one, Olansky gives up the true identity of Carmichael: Rick Stetler. Delko brings Natalia a folder Stetler had to confirm the bacterial DNA match. Ryan is released, and along with Horatio and Delko, confronts Stetler. The game up, Stetler admits it all started with the theft of a car from the impound lot. Worn down by being a police officer, he decided to make his fortune another way. Horatio points out that Stetler didn’t just steal—he killed Rebecca Nevins as well. Ryan arrests Stetler, and Delko apologizes to Calleigh, acknowledging that it will take a while for him to regain her trust.
“Time Bomb” is without a doubt an exciting hour, but my feelings about it are decidedly mixed. Rick Stetler has been one of the show’s more interesting recurring characters, if not the most, in part because he’s always been something of a nebulous figure. Sure, he’s Internal Affairs, which means more often than not, he’s breathing down Horatio’s neck, but aside from an ill-advised season three storyline that had him strike then girlfriend Yelina Salas, Stetler has always lived in an interesting grey area. Sometimes, it seemed like he was on Horatio’s side: he’s expressed genuine concern for Horatio in the past, and in “Dissolved” the two even worked side by side to take down coroner Tara Price and interrogate villainous Ron Saris. The great thing about Stetler is that he’s never been a one-note adversary, and even when he’s opposed Horatio, his point of view has been an understandable if not entirely sympathetic one. Actor David Lee Smith always brings so much to the role, too, most notably a sincerity that underscores what, up until this episode, has always come across as a genuine devotion to his job. IA is a tough assignment, but someone’s got to do it.
What’s so disappointing about the revelation that Stetler is a dirty cop—not just one willing to steal a car or swipe valuable evidence, but also who will resort to murder and a frame job to hide his criminal activities—is that it robs the show of its only worthy foil for Horatio. Let’s face it: over the course of the show, Horatio has become a more and more remote figure, one built upon moody poses and slick one liners rather than the promising compassion and keen observations that distinguished his character in early seasons. Stetler was one of the few characters that Horatio acts like a human being and not a superhero around, perhaps because Stetler annoys him—and is there a more human emotion than annoyance? Without Stetler to ground Horatio with occasional appearances, I fear that Horatio will move even further into caricature territory, something that’s never good for a lead character.
Smith gives a fantastic performance, another thing that makes this a shame that it’s probably the last time we’ll see him on this show. Though I didn’t like the sudden reveal that Stetler was behind the thefts and the murder of Rebecca, Smith sells Stetler’s world weary cynicism with aplomb, making me believe that twenty years of thankless work had gradually worn him down, and what started as a simple car theft had led to a slippery slope that took him down the path to murder and framing a fellow officer. The things Stetler complains—high blood pressure, two ex-wives—might be fairly mundane and cliche, but Smith does offer a convincing through line of anger in his delivery. Stetler devoted his life to a job that gave him nothing back, which is what made stealing a car that nobody would notice was missing easy. The escalation that followed made sense—if no one would notice one car disappearing, why two, or three? Like any addiction, it only got worse from there, until murder and planting evidence seemed like legitimate options for covering his tracks.
Ryan was no doubt a logical choice for the frame job. Not only is there no love lost between Ryan and Stetler, who fired Ryan after discovering he gambled while on duty in season five’s “Burned”, but Ryan’s former gambling addiction made him a logical target. Not only that, but poor Ryan had the bad luck to be the one to discover the diamonds missing in “Meltdown”, which immediately cast some suspicion on him. Jonathan Togo gives a fiery performance when Ryan returns home to discover all of his co-workers tearing apart his house. His first reaction is anger, and it only gets worse when Delko actually finds the diamonds hidden away at his house. Ryan lashes out at everyone, maintaining his innocence, and to his credit, his colleagues never seem to really doubt him. Natalia’s first move when he’s arrested is to look into the bacterial DNA scan, which in the end does exonerate Ryan and point the finger at Stetler. Ryan gets his due when he gets to arrest Stetler, saying, “You’re going to go to prison, you SOB,” as he arrests the IAB officer.
The culprit might be in custody, but there are some serious divisions among the team now. When Calleigh and Walter find out that Delko has been investigating them and that Natalia knew about it, they’re stunned—and angry. “Some team,” Walter mutters. Delko defends his actions, saying he was trying to protect the team, but Calleigh points out that he nearly got himself killed. Yet in the end, Ryan ends up thanking Delko, telling him that, “I’m glad you got my back. Thank you.” Delko and Ryan used to have a somewhat contentious relationship, and though a friendship has grown up between them over the years, they do sometimes butt heads. It’s nice to see that Ryan appreciates Delko was there to uncover the truth and not to hang one of his colleagues out to dry.
Calleigh, understandably, isn’t as comfortable with Delko’s actions as Ryan seems to be. She asks Delko if he was wearing a wire when they were at home together, and Delko’s failure to answer immediately does look fishy. He finally does answer her, telling her he wasn’t wearing the wire at home, but obviously he does feel guilty about not confiding in her. At the end of the episode, Calleigh confirms his assertion that it’s going to take time to win back her trust. And yet, her warm smile as she confirms it suggests that the couple will weather this storm. And that’s a good thing—the two have been through a lot together, and though they might need to be better about opening up to each other, the foundation their relationship is built on is a strong one. I hope that now Adam Rodriguez is returning to the show full time next season, the writers won’t break them up to create conflict. There are plenty of other interesting conflicts to be found on the show right now.
Walter and Ryan are on their way to becoming my new favorite duo. I love their prickly rapport, and more often than not, they provide laughs, even in the tensest of episodes. The way Walter’s face falls when Ryan barks at him, “Make yourself at home, Walter!” is simply perfect. Omar Miller clearly has an instinct for comedy, and watching him and Togo play off each other is just fun. And yet, it’s not all laughs: of everyone, it is Walter who is the most openly upset when Ryan is arrested. He watches Ryan led away in handcuffs with a chagrined expression, and he’s the first to speak after the elevator doors close, saying, “This isn’t right,” and casting a long look at Delko. The burgeoning friendship between Walter and Ryan is definitely one of the most fun elements of the show these days, and I look forward to seeing it grow in season nine.
Source: "Time Bomb"