The team must race against the clock to save a missing family.
A man is walking his dog when he sees water pouring out of his neighbor’s house. The sink is running inside, and breakfast is still cooking on the stove. The family was taken against their will. Andrew, Carol and Bobby Nolan are missing, and their daughter Olivia lives on her own. They bring in Olivia and her boyfriend Tom, who say her parents aren’t the type to have enemies. Olivia also tells Horatio that her mother has severe asthma, and she has a 50% lung capacity on a good day.
A tooth in the driveway leads back to Tom. He reveals that he went to see Andrew on Tuesday to tell the man he and Olivia were going to move in together, but her father was livid. They argued, and Andrew punched him and knocked out his tooth. Tom didn’t tell Olivia about the fight because it wouldn’t change anything. Meanwhile, Eric discovers a dehumidifier in the house, and it filtered traces of cocaine out of the air. Olivia denies that anyone in her family would be using or selling drugs, but she doesn’t know that her father lost his job two years ago.
Eric and Ryan locate some cocaine hidden in the garage. It was buried in the 1990s by a former inmate named Oscar Duarte, who got out of jail seven months ago. The team looks at Duarte’s visitor logs, and they discover that Olivia’s boyfriend Tom went to see him several times. The Nolan’s house is part of a development that was built over the spot where Duarte hid his drugs, and Tom started dating Olivia to gain access to the home in an attempt to locate it. However, Andrew already found the drugs, and he started selling them to pay the mortgage after he lost his job. Despite his connection to the case, Tom says this is bigger than him now. He has no idea where the Nolans are being held.
Meanwhile, Duarte is keeping the Nolans captive in a motel, and Andrew convinces the man to let him leave with a gun to get back the money he took. He heads to a pharmacy and robs it at gunpoint, getting medication for his wife and whatever money was in the register. Back at the motel, Andrew pulls the trigger on Duarte—only to discover that the man gave him an unloaded gun. Duarte gets angry when he sees the paltry amount of money Andrew brought him, and he tosses the life-saving inhaler on the floor next to the bound-and-gagged Carol. Andrew claims he can get Duarte out of the country using a private plane owned by his former company, but the team tracks them to the airport. Andrew struggles with Duarte when Eric and Calleigh arrive, and Andrew receives a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. He tells the team where to find his family, and he says he’s sorry before he dies. The team rushes to the motel, and the paramedics are able to save Carol’s life.
“Long Gone” starts with a mystery: what happened to the Nolan family, and why did they disappear so suddenly? There are signs of a struggle at the house, but there’s nothing to prove that anyone has been hurt—yet. Frank, Calleigh and a uniformed officer named Paul Delarenzo head to Olivia Nolan’s house, hoping she can give them a clue about the location of her parents and younger brother. When they arrive, a man emerges from the back of the house and claims to be Olivia’s boyfriend. However, Delarenzo sees pictures on the refrigerator of Olivia getting cozy with a different man. They realize the “boyfriend” is lying, and he starts shooting at them and makes an escape.
Officer Delarenzo is introduced within the first ten minutes of the episode. He seems close to the team, particularly Frank, and he receives enough focus in his first scene to make it obvious that he’s going to factor into the plot in some way. I had a bad feeling that there was a target on his back, and the episode proves me right when Frank and some uniformed officers head to pick up Kurt Riggins, the man pretending to be Olivia’s boyfriend. He shoots at the officers when they pull up, hitting Delarenzo in the neck. Frank rushes to his side, calling for an ambulance, but help doesn’t come soon enough. Frank has no choice but to watch helplessly as Delarenzo dies beside him. It’s a poignant scene for Frank, even if the viewers aren’t familiar with Delarenzo.
The death of an officer is always a tense, emotional event for the CSIs, but Frank and Horatio take out their frustration on Delarenzo’s killer on the way back to the precinct. Frank drives Riggins to an abandoned parking garage, and Horatio meets him there. Frank reveals the extent of his history with the fallen officer, explaining that he started patrol with Delarenzo’s father, and he has known the man since he was 10 years old. Horatio tells Frank to remove Riggins’ handcuffs, and he throws the first punch before the episode cuts to the next scene. Horatio is always willing to rough up a suspect, and it’s not that unusual for another member of the team to be involved. Frank’s pain and anger are understandable given the circumstances, and Rex Linn does a wonderful job of showing just how much this loss is affecting his character; however, it’s always a bit jarring to see members of the MDPD beat up a suspect without any hint that they would get in trouble for their actions.
Samantha Owens is back again this week, impressing Natalia with her knowledge about a particular type of pesticide used on Colombian fields during the mid 1990s. She explains that she was a consultant for the DEA task force two years ago, and she misses being in the field. Natalia points out that it’s safer in the lab, but Sam reveals that she doesn’t plan to stay behind a microscope. She wants to become a detective, and there’s an awkward beat while Natalia processes that information. She suggests that the pair of them should head to the gun range together, and Sam seems eager as Natalia leaves the lab. It’s obvious that Natalia isn’t thrilled with Sam’s goal of becoming a detective, and it’s also obvious that Sam can tell something isn’t quite right. As I mentioned in my review for “Dead Ringer”, I really hope these two are able to get along. In that episode, Natalia got angry with Sam after she flubbed an important test in the lab, but Sam was able to prove her worth later in the episode by catching something Natalia missed. I get the feeling Natalia might feel a bit threatened by Sam this week, but I hope the tension between them dissipates sooner rather than later.
I’m not sure what the writers have planned for Sam or her potential rivalry with Natalia, but I’m sure Eva La Rue will do great things with the storyline. I really grew to adore her character last season, when she got increased focus while Emily Procter took it easy during her pregnancy, and anything they can do with Natalia this season makes me happy. I hope the payoff for this storyline is satisfying—perhaps the two women can become friends and work together as a team. I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out as season ten continues.
See also: “Long Gone” episode guide