July 24 2024

CSI Files

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Review: CSI: Miami — ‘Special Delivery’

8 min read

The team investigates the death of a delivery man who is killed during his daily route.


Doug Gavoli delivers packages for World Send. He rebuffs a young man named Travis who is waiting for a package, but he has plenty of time for the attractive women on his route. He leaves one last satisfied customer before getting back into his truck. Someone attacks him from behind, wrapping a wire around his neck and choking him. A terrified call to 911 alerts the police that Doug is dead.

Doug put up a fight, and the team finds his box cutter with blood all over it. Ryan and Eric talk to Marcos Trejo, who claims Doug was harassing his girlfriend. Marcos says he put a stop to it by confronting Doug, but he didn’t kill him. Eric brings up his past assault record, but Marcos says his life has been turned around, and he isn’t going to risk it by killing someone.

Walter goes to the morgue and picks up the victim’s clothes. He sees some mucus on the shirt, which proves that 16-year-old Travis spit on him. Ryan and Natalia chase Travis, and he swallows a bag of drugs when they catch him. Travis says he didn’t kill Doug, but he collapses from a heroin overdose before he can answer any more questions.

Natalia tells Ryan they have another victim, and she may be connected to their case. Sheila Holland was on Doug’s delivery list, and she was crushed under the bleachers at her stepson’s high school. Natalia speaks to Sheila’s stepson, who says she was in the toy business and barely did well enough to stay afloat. Horatio takes Natalia to the warehouse where she worked, and a young man named Sean says she handled the World Send shipments herself. She would take some of the dolls out of the shipment from Mexico and repackage them, and Horatio notices that those dolls have a lighter complexion. Heroin was mixed with resin and disguised as doll parts to smuggle them into the country. Horatio speaks to Sheila’s husband Nick, but he had no idea that she was involved with drug smuggling.

Removing the heroin from the doll parts isn’t easy, and it’s dangerous. Sheila must have shipped the dolls to a remote location. The next stop on Doug’s delivery list was an abandoned naval shipyard. Tripp is on his way there, and Horatio can’t get a signal on his cellphone to warn him that he’s walking into danger. Horatio rushes to help Frank, and he arrives in the middle of a gun fight. Together they take out the two men shooting at them, and they find the lab where the dolls were processed.

The DEA shows up and tells the MDPD that they are being removed from this federal investigation. Eric locates a laptop that was used by the drug cooks, and he has just enough time to clone the harddrive before the DEA claims the evidence. Horatio realizes that Nick Holland was giving the DEA information about his wife, so they bring him back in for questioning. Whoever Sheila was working for knew her business was struggling because Nick saw an email printout indicating that she received $50,000 each month to ship the drugs into the country. He can’t give them an e-mail address, but he offers to give them the keylogger the DEA put on his wife’s computer.

Travis is still in a coma, and Natalia speaks to Sean from the warehouse. He blames himself for not realizing that Sheila was up to something. Meanwhile, Eric and Walter use the keylogger to figure out the password for the cloned harddrive. The emails came from the construction company where Marcos Trejo works. He fought with Doug, but not over his girlfriend. They arrest Marcos, who says he wanted drug dealing to go wireless. Customers could order online, and they paid in cash. Marcos figured out that Doug was stealing drug money from his shipments, so he attacked the driver. He admits to the drug dealing, but he didn’t kill Doug or Sheila.

Ryan, Walter and Natalia look through Doug’s delivery truck for evidence, and Ryan finds a bloody earprint. They figure out the placement of the boxes using the blood castoff, and they realize that their killer has to be at least six feet tall. That eliminates Marcos, but if Travis did it, there may still be blood in his ear. Calleigh tests for blood but doesn’t find any. She does, however, find a picture that someone slipped into his hand. The picture has a very young Travis alongside another boy. They test Sean from the warehouse and find blood in his ear.

Sean planned this when he realized Travis was turning into a different person because of what he was doing to himself. He was the only one who cared about Travis, but he couldn’t help him because the drugs were always there. He went to the source, killing Doug and Sheila. Horatio tells Sean that he didn’t stop it. Marcos was the source, and it was the MDPD that put a stop to it by arresting him.


“Special Delivery” starts out by showing Doug delivering more than just packages to the attractive women on his route. I don’t know how he has enough hours in the day to deliver packages and take the time to canoodle with so many beautiful women. The last woman Doug is seen with says she’ll see him “tomorrow”—how many packages does she get delivered to her house if World Send is dropping them off every single day? In any case, Miami does like to add a sexy element to its storylines, and housewives sleeping with the delivery guy is certainly sexy.

When Doug gets killed, it seems like his relationship with these women might have driven someone to exact revenge. The death of Sheila, a married woman on his route, seems to support that theory—perhaps a jealous husband decided to get rid of his cheating wife and the object of her affections. However, it doesn’t take long for the team to zero in on the real reason for Doug and Sheila’s deaths: drugs. A guy named Marcos has been paying Sheila to smuggle drugs into the country in the form of innocent-looking dolls. Heroin was mixed with resin and shaped into doll parts, and the drugs were then extracted from the dolls using a complicated process once they were in Miami.

It’s an interesting idea, and it’s not the first time the franchise has found clever ways to smuggle drugs. Two episodes of CSI: Miami immediately come to mind: season one’s “Dispo Day” and “Chain Reaction” during season six. In “Dispo Day”, Calleigh accidentally inhaled cocaine while removing a bullet from a piece of stone in a tile warehouse. The stone was made of cocaine and organic glue pressed into the shape of a tile. “Chain Reaction” featured liquid heroin soaked into the fabric of clothes used for a fashion show. CSI: New York also had an episode with drugs smuggled in an unusual form. Season two’s “Wasted” featured ecstasy mixed into green body paint. The use of dolls to transport drugs in “Special Delivery” is even more disturbing because toys are being used to smuggle drugs—what if a child accidentally received one of those tainted dolls? That might have been an interesting storyline.

Walter figures out the password for the cloned harddrive by channeling tech wizard Dave Benton, who is not there this week—I like Wes Ramsey, so I would have enjoyed seeing him in this scene. It’s still nice to see Walter and Eric crack the encryption, although the information doesn’t lead them to their killer. Marcos is behind the drug smuggling, but he didn’t kill Doug or Sheila. Travis’s friend Sean, who worked for Sheila, killed them in a misguided attempt to save his friend from a heroin addiction. Killers on the CSI shows are never very logical, are they? Murdering two people isn’t going to stop a drug addict from doing drugs. If Travis wasn’t buying drugs online and having them delivered by Doug, he would have found another way to get a fix. The overdose may be a wake up call, and finding out that his friend killed two people might help Travis decide to kick the habit, but Sean’s thought process leaves something to be desired. ‘I want my friend to stop hurting himself, so I will kill two people in cold blood.’ That’s not the best plan.

I still can’t figure out why Sheila was in the school gym when she died. Crushing someone under the bleachers is a gruesome (and interesting) cause of death, but this doesn’t seem like the best episode to include it unless they wanted Sheila’s stepson to be a suspect. Yes, it was her son’s school, but why was she there? Why was Sean there to kill her? Why did she run into an empty gym? It’s all a set up for her to be crushed by the bleachers, I know that, but I wish it had made more sense.

Lab tech Nikki Vega first appeared in the season nine premiere, “Fallen”. She’s only been in two episodes so far, but I’m not a fan at this point. Alexandra Adi doesn’t sound very natural in the role, and she isn’t effective in her interaction with Walter this week. I feel like another character would have been a better fit for that scene.

Calleigh only appeared in one scene this week, which isn’t a big surprise since Emily Procter had only just returned from maternity leave when this episode was filmed. I’m disappointed that she didn’t get more to do, but I’m glad she was there. Frank also had a minimal presence this week. He was in the shootout scene as well as the subsequent scene with the DEA, but that was it. The shootout was certainly exciting, although it ended quickly once Horatio arrived.

Horatio tells Sean that he isn’t the justice system, which seems a bit odd coming from a guy who likes to take the law into his own hands whenever he feels like it. Granted, that doesn’t usually include murdering two people in cold blood, but having a badge doesn’t mean you are the justice system, and it certainly doesn’t mean you can make your own rules. Horatio has pushed the envelope multiple times this season, and he gets away with it because he’s Horatio Caine. I hope those stunts don’t continue. Horatio is much better in scenes where he makes a connection with people. The end of “Special Delivery” is a good example. He’s there when Travis wakes up from his coma, and he hands him the picture Sean brought to the hospital. Horatio likes to help needy kids as much as he likes to save damsels in distress and illegal immigrants in trouble, but it’s always nice to see him make a human connection instead of being a superhero above it all.

See also: “Special Delivery” episode guide

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