May 28 2024

CSI Files

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Review: CSI: Miami–‘On The Hook’

7 min read

The Miami team works to find out who took shots at a businessman while he was fishing.

Synopsis:

A man named Brad Webb is fishing in the ocean when he spots a young man about to jump off a bridge. Brad calls out to him to get him to stop, but he’s interrupted by a barrage of shots being fired at his boat. Brad ducks for cover, and manages to avoid getting hit. When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Brad tells them he has no idea where the shots were fired from, or why anyone would be trying to kill him. Horatio speaks to the wound-be jumper, whose name is Shane Newsom. Shane claims that he was just on the bridge for an adrenaline rush, but Horatio is skeptical. Horatio has Shane brought back to the station, while Calleigh places Brad in protective custody. Ryan and Walter pull rounds from the boat, while Delko goes for a dive to recover the bullets and finds plastic caps known as sabots that are used to allow small calibre rounds to work in larger guns. Walter discovers the shooter was firing from the roof of a nearby building and recovers the gun the man used. Horatio and Tripp question Charles Hayward, Brad’s former business partner, who happens to be a gun aficionado. Though Hayward is suing Brad for a breach of contract, he denies taking shots at Brad, saying that if he’d been the shooter, he wouldn’t have missed. Back at the station, Tripp recognizes Shane Newsom and his cousin, Tracy; he arrested the pair for shoplifting six months ago. The Newsoms’ parole officer, Neal Perkins, arrives, and Tripp says he’s concerned about Shane’s suicide attempt. Neal suggests upping Shane’s medication.

Calleigh recovers DNA from the gun’s scope and matches it to a young gang banger named Dario Aguilar. Delko and Horatio pick Dario up, but when they show him to Brad, Brad doesn’t recognize him. A noise complaint brings Horatio and Tripp to Shane Newsom’s house, where they find him trashing the interior. Shane claims he’s just blowing off steam, that he’s upset by seeing Brad get shot at. Horatio presses him to recall details of the shooting, and Shane remembers that Brad was talking to someone named “Vig.” Recognizing the term as a gambling one referring to bookies taking on losing bets, Horatio has Ryan get Brad’s phone records. Ryan and Walter go to an address rented under Brad’s company name and discover Brad is a bookie. Ryan and Calleigh confront Brad, telling him that everyone who owes him money is a suspect. Brad tries to leave in a huff of righteous fury, but before he can, Horatio spots a shooter from a nearby elevated train platform. He gets Brad to duck down just in time, saving his life. When Tripp and Delko rush to the train, the shooter is long gone. Brad is charged with bookmaking, but he makes bail and leaves despite the CSIs’ reservations. Walter and Ryan recover casings and pieces of pipe, which Horatio is able to reassemble into a homemade gun in the lab. Recalling Shane tearing apart the house, Horatio brings the young man in and checks his arms, finding burns on them consistent with the homemade gun. Shane refuses to talk, and Horatio suspects he’s working for someone that has threatened him somehow.

Tripp finds the link between Dario and Shane: they share the same probation officer, Neal Perkins. Delko and Tripp question Dario, who tells them that Neal threatened to plant enough drugs at his apartment to send him away for life if he didn’t shoot Brad. Dario doesn’t have any physical proof, so Horatio turns to Shane, who tells him that Perkins always had his probies doing things for him. Perkins tried to get Shane to shoot Brad initially, but Shane refused—and went to the pier to stop the first shooting. When Perkins figured out what he’d done, Perkins told Shane if he didn’t try to kill Brad, he’d plant drugs in Tracy’s car. Shane had to construct a homemade gun based on instructions Perkins wrote out for him. Ryan goes back to the Newsoms’ house and retrieves the paper from the drain where Shane disposed of it. Calleigh uses infrared light to see the writing on the paper, which she successfully matches to Neal Perkins’ writing. Neal was trying to kill Brad in lieu of paying him off. Horatio finds the probation officer about to rape Tracy Newsom. He throws him out a window and arrests him. Horatio allows Shane to speak to Tracy and hear for himself that she’s safe.

Analysis:

“On the Hook” is one of those slightly preposterous Miami entries that hearkens back to the middle of the show’s run, when bullets flew with abandon and Horatio was more action hero than CSI. Sure, Horatio dons a lab coat in this episode to reassemble the handmade gun, but the music swells so dramatically as the camera angle moves to reveal Horatio in his white coat that it’s a comically dramatic moment, as though the show is acknowledging just how rare it is for Horatio to actually step into the lab to do actual work (as opposed to quizzing his CSIs about their findings). These days, viewers are far more accustomed to seeing Horatio do what he does at the end of the episode: throw slimy parole officer Neal Perkins out the window after catching him trying to rape Tracy Newsom. This larger than life Horatio is the same one who stood looking out over Rio de Janeiro before going to seek revenge on the man who ordered his wife killed. Our sympathies might lie with Horatio—Neal Perkins is an evil figure, to say the least—but the move definitely seems to cross a line.

Horatio’s foray into police brutality is hardly the only questionable action in the episode. Brad Webb ends up in protective custody, which somehow allows the CSIs to poke around in his life, getting access to his phone records and going to his office, presumably without permission. It’s hard to imagine they were able to get a warrant off Shane’s vague recollection of Brad talking about “Vic”… which Horatio interprets as “Vig.” It’s little more than a hunch, but apparently it’s enough to get access to Brad’s phone records. Given that we’ve seen how difficult it can be to get a warrant, it’s hard to swallow the idea that Horatio is able to obtain one from Shane’s statement about what he thinks he heard… hours after the fact.

The gambling connection does present an opportunity for Ryan to revisit his gambling issues, albeit in a positive way. Ryan is able to tell Walter what the Vig is—when bookies take on losing bets—and he recognizes Brad’s office as a bookie’s when he spies a monitor and multiple phone lines. Walter immediately picks up on Ryan’s expertise, noting that Ryan knows a lot about the subject, and Ryan readily admits that he knows too much, but emphasizes that it’s “in the past.” Though Walter and Ryan have a friendly rapport and like to tease each other good naturedly, Walter does not press Ryan for details, instead respecting Ryan’s privacy by saying, “Enough said.” The issue is more or less dropped, but longtime fans of the show will know the significance of gambling in Ryan’s life: for a time, it cost him his job, and put him in danger when his Gamblers’ Anonymous sponsor’s son was abducted in “Wolfe in Sheep’s Clothing”.

Walter gets to strut his stuff a bit when he figures out the shooter was firing from an elevation, and manages to pinpoint the building the man was standing on. Walter goes up to the roof with his gun drawn, looking very much a tough action hero. Walter is mighty proud of himself when he finds the concealed weapon, proudly saying to himself, “That’s right Lee Harvey, think you’re going to hide that from old Walter? Walter’s going to find you.” Walter’s enthusiasm is completely endearing, and it’s nice to see the lovable new addition step into the spotlight for a bit in this episode. Omar Miller is a major asset to the show.

The idea that a corrupt parole officer would get his parolees to do his dirty work for him is not a bad premise for an episode, but Neal seems pretty bad at choosing parolees to do his dirty work. Dario is a terrible shot, even though Brad is more or less a sitting duck out on the water, and Shane is so horrified by Neal’s plot that he actually goes to stop it… and then Neal thinks blackmailing him into taking Brad out himself is a good idea. What’s more, rather than supplying Shane with a gun, he has the scared young man build his own. Neal’s no mastermind, and naturally, when Horatio chases him down, he’s following the script laid out for every cliched mustache-twirling villain: preying upon a helpless young woman. Of course, this sets up yet another scene in which Horatio can swoop in and save the day. Miami has always been far more action oriented than the other CSIs, but I often find myself wishing the show didn’t rely on so many cliched sequences to prop up its stories and its hero.

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