Review: CSI: Miami–‘See No Evil’

A kidnapping plot pits Horatio against an old nemesis.

Synopsis:

A young woman is abducted from a restroom, and the only witness is a blind man, whom the kidnapper leaves alive, deeming him worthless. The young man, Ben Wilcox, races to the beach and finds Horatio Caine. Ben tells Horatio what happened in the bathroom and is able to lead Ryan and Natalia to a set of dog tags dropped down a floor drain while the girl struggled with her attacker. Ryan finds a name on the dog tags: Todd Peterson. Horatio and Delko go to apprehend the man only to discover the abducted girl is actually his daughter, Lindsey. He’s horrified when he realizes that she’s been kidnapped, and that her earlier call for the pin number for his bank account was made because she was being coerced by her abductor. When Lindsey calls back, Peterson gives her the pin number and the CSIs rush to discover which branch of Dade Mutual the kidnapper is taking Lindsey to. With Ben’s help, they are able to pinpoint it and Horatio and Ryan arrive to find Lindsey exiting the bank with $50,000—and a bomb strapped to her body. Horatio gets Lindsey to turn to her left, but terrified the kidnapper will detonate the bomb, she runs back to the van and the man drives off—but not before Ryan catches a glimpse of his face.

Ryan works with a sketch artist to depict the kidnapper’s face, and Lindsey’s mother, Claire, recognizes the man as her hair stylist, Dominic Giordano, whom she mentioned her husband’s money to. Horatio and Delko track Dominic down and arrest him, but he insists the money doesn’t rightfully belong to the Petersons, and also tells Horatio that the abduction was his partner’s plan. Giordano refuses to identify the man. When Horatio asks Claire Peterson about the money, she admits her husband took a shady investment deal to keep his restaurant afloat. Horatio studies pictures of Lindsey and the bomb strapped to her from an ATM camera—his motive for asking her to turn to the left. He sees solar panels on it and recognizes it as a signature of Joe LeBrock—a criminal Horatio tangled with previously who is still behind bars in a private Miami prison. Joe is brought to the police station and Ben recognizes his voice as the one belonging to Lindsey’s abductor from the restroom. Joe scoffs at Horatio’s accusation, claiming he spent the morning in Miami West prison. Horatio confronts Joe about Giordano, whom Joe met in detention when Dominic was in for a DUI, but Joe gives him nothing, simply positing that Lindsey is likely dead or dying.

Algae on LeBrock’s shoes leads Horatio and Ryan to an abandoned fish factory, where they find Lindsey. Ryan carries her to safety while Horatio stays behind to explore the warehouse. Delko goes to LeBrock’s prison cell and finds the panel behind the toilet is removable. When he takes it off, he finds a tunnel leading out of the prison. After learning eight prisoners are missing from their cells, Delko calls Horatio, who discovers the other end of the tunnel in the warehouse. Horatio and Delko each run into several prisoners; Horatio kills two, while Delko knocks another one out. Five prisoners manage to escape, and Joe LeBrock, who missed the prison break, taunts Horatio, telling him that a lot of the escaped convicts were talking about a certain redheaded lieutenant.

Analysis:

“See No Evil” is decidedly a mixed bag, combining an engrossing storyline with an over-the-top one. The abduction of Lindsey Peterson keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, especially after the kidnapper ups the ante by strapping a bomb to Lindsey when he sends her in to get the money from her father’s account. This makes for a suspenseful sequence in which Lindsey nervously goes into the bank, requests a sum of money large enough that it raises eyebrows and has to think fast on her feet in order to justify the request. When she emerges, she finds Horatio and Ryan, who want to rescue her—but are inadvertently putting her in greater jeopardy. The sequence is downright nail-biting as the audience wonders, what is Lindsey going to? How will the kidnapper react? What can Horatio do to save her?

The use of Ben, the blind witness, is also rather novel here. Ben might not be able to see, but his finely attuned hearing allows him to pick out sounds others might not hone in on: he recalls the sound of something like keys clanging against metal during the attack and recognizes Joe LeBrock’s voice the minute he heard it. When the team has to locate the branch of Miami Dade bank the kidnapper took Lindsey to, they call on Ben to listen to the background sounds from Lindsey’s phone call. He’s able to differentiate the sound of a recycling truck from that of a garbage truck and observe the lack of human voices among the dog barks, indicating the sound is coming from a shelter rather than a dog park. Ben’s observations allow the CSIs to pinpoint the exact branch of the bank Lindsey is headed for.

Sure, the point that Ben is not a “worthless” witness—as Joe deems him when he simply strikes him rather than killing him—is driven home a little heavy-handedly. As though this didn’t come across when Ben led Ryan and Natalia to the dog tags or when he helped Calleigh and Walter pinpoint the Miami Dade branch, he and Natalia have a conversation at the end of the episode that hammers the point home. Natalia tells Ben they owe him and he assumes she’s condescending, but she tells him that he really helped the team out. Ben notes that Joe left him alive because he’s blind—and dismissed him as worthless. Natalia tells him that Ben “proved him wrong and then some.” While that’s certainly true, the audience definitely got the point before the unsubtle summation.

Fans of the show will recall Joe LeBrock was the thuggish inmate who menaced Horatio’s son Kyle in the season six episodes  “Inside Out” and “Chain Reaction”. Joe was set to frame Kyle for murder in “Chain Reaction” when Horatio was able to dig up dirt on his son Scott and strike a truce with the drug dealer. Though Kyle escaped Joe’s influence, the criminal has clearly been nursing a grudge against Horatio—and masterminding an escape plan. That he would sneak out of jail, kidnap a girl and then go back is a little baffling; though he clearly didn’t expect to get caught, he had to know he was taking a risk. Why not kidnap the girl, take the money, and just keep running? One has to wonder about a prison that can lose eight inmates and not notice until a CSI shows up to investigate; the point is made that the prison is a private one, likely to avoid the implication that state or federal prisons are incompetent.

The episode ends by setting up a threat to Horatio that no doubt will inform the rest of the season; according to Joe, a lot of the escaped inmates have a grudge against Horatio. Presumably, rather than counting their blessings and getting out of the country or at the very least, out of Miami, they’ll use their new-found, hard-won freedom to mount various attacks against Horatio. It’s an absurd, outlandish premise, as is Horatio’s response to Joe’s pronouncement: when Joe tells him the convicts are likely going to come after him, Horatio says, complete with a Shatner-esque pause, “I say bring it… on.”

I can’t say the thought of a season of Horatio battling criminal mastermind with a vendetta after criminal mastermind with a vendetta is particularly thrilling. The show got back to its science roots last season, focusing more on clever cases and appealing character interaction rather than exaggerated action sequences and far-fetched storylines about powerful gangs and menacing and seemingly endless nemeses. Miami felt refreshed and reinvigorated last season; this new direction feels like a return to the seasons in the middle of the show’s run, when the explosions kept getting bigger and the plots more and more out there. I hope I’m proved wrong, but seeing Horatio and Delko battling escaped inmates in a long tunnel beneath Miami didn’t fill me with optimism about the direction season nine promises to take.

Source: "See No Evil"

Kristine Huntley

Author

Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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