CSI: Miami--'A Grizzly Murder'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at March 22, 2007 - 3:43 AM GMT

See Also: 'A Grizzly Murder' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

When Alexx finds bear lure slathered on the vest of Dennis West, a man killed by a bear while on a hunting trip with two friends, the CSIs realize West is a murder victim. His friends, Rob and Andy, also have traces of the lure on them. The CSIs go to the men's hotel room, where they find blood and a woman's iPod. They are able to match the music on the iPod to purchases made by a woman named Anna Savaro, but when Horatio questions her, she denies ever being in the room and offers up her DNA to prove it. After Rob and Andy are caught trying to flee town with a bloody cooler in the back of their car, the CSIs go back to where the men were hunting and find the body of a young woman. Rob and Andy claim Dennis killed her.

The large pool of blood in the men's room turns out to be male, a match for a bodyguard named Rocco who works at a local strip club. The owner, Joe Mazzaro, tells the CSIs that Rocco accompanied a girl from the club to a job: none other than Anna Suvaro. Horatio questions Anna again, and she identifies the dead woman as Tess Gowan, who she asked to fill in for her that night. Anna worried when she couldn't reach Tess, and she arrived at the hotel just in time to see the men carrying out Rocco's body. The CSIs discover Rocco's body near the hotel and a feather they find on him matches the ones that comprise Dennis's vest. Dennis killed Rocco, but the CSIs still don't know who killed Tess---or Dennis.

Horatio, realizing Joe is a pimp, tracks down Anna and finds her with Supervisor Scott O'Shay. O'Shay threatens Horatio, while Anna tells the CSI that Joe sent her to O'Shay because he blamed her for Tess's death. Alexx has determined that Tess was asphyxiated, literally crushed to death. DNA from semen in her mouth proves it was Andy, who insists it was an accident, a claim Calleigh negates. Rob and Andy put the bear lure on Dennis's vest after he grew a conscious and wanted to confess to what they'd done. The case closed, Horatio warns O'Shay to stay away from Anna, and tells a grateful Anna that Tess's murderer has been caught.

Analysis:

"A Grizzly Murder" is just the kind of concoction Miami loves to stir up: what seems like a simple murder (or in this case, a tragic accident) proves to be anything but by the time the CSIs have put the pieces of the puzzle together. Once all the pieces have come together to create the whole picture, very few involved are revealed to be free of guilt. As ever, the Miami writers are very adept at linking the crimes in their episodes, and "A Grizzly Murder" is no different: the death of Dennis West unveils exactly what his killers were hoping to conceal: the murder of Tess Gowan.

Something has been troubling me over the course of the season and that's Horatio's character. He's a 'love him or hate him' character, and I've always fallen on the former side, and still do. But this season I've found him to be a little stale--less driven and more going through the motions of what he's done over and over for the past five seasons. I was even able to pick out lines I've heard him say countless times before like, "You lied to me [insert suspect's name here]." Three shows, umpteen seasons--yes, there's bound to be some repetition. But we've heard Horatio say this particular line so many times I can even predict when he's going to say it before he utters the phrase. That's not good.

I'm also starting to wonder how many young women and children there are out there for Horatio to protect. Oh, the number is countless I'm sure. Isn't there a frail elderly granny for Horatio to help in her moment of need? Or even better, an elderly man? I understand that Horatio's uniqueness among the CSI heroes lies in his larger-than-life status, but the fact that most of the time it's either a beautiful young woman or a helpless young child has cheapened Horatio's heroism and made it seem somewhat route.

I love Horatio's response to Anna when she asks him why he's helped her: "To protect and serve is the only thing I know how to do." It's a great line and very Horatio, yet at the same time, it limits him as a character. Indeed, over the past few years, we've seen him grow more closed off and remote from his team, rather than closer. It's not that he doesn't care for them--he very clearly does--but it seems like he's less in touch with them than he was in earlier seasons. Is Horatio only capable of transitory connections with people he can help and move on from?

One person Horatio does seem to have an on-going connection to is Rick Stetler, the IAB agent who serves as his nemesis and sometimes would-be friend. Stetler steps in to offer advice he sees as helpful to Horatio, to drop the pursuit of Supervisor O'Shea, but per usual Horatio declines his advice. While Stetler's suggestion might indeed be the safe way out (and indeed, not the one Horatio would ever choose), Stetler's earnest demeanor suggests concern for Horatio rather than simple political posturing. Stetler is a complex character that we see far too little of, and David Lee Smith gives such nuanced performances, making it impossible to dimiss the IAB officer as nothing more than a persistent thorn in Horatio's side.

Delko's recovery would give Horatio a great chance to reconnect with a member of his team, one he shares an strong bond with, given how important Marisol Delko was to both of them. Horatio's team has always looked up to him, and for him not to be monitoring Delko closely considering how close the younger CSI came to death a few weeks ago, seems downright negligent. Seeing Horatio speaking with Delko about Marisol, whose death Delko didn't remember when he awoke after surgery, would be much more powerful than watching Horatio rescue his umpteenth pretty woman from terrible danger.

Delko's continued struggles make for a believable and compelling storyline. Even if his return to work after a scant few weeks off stretched credibility, seeing that there are indeed longterm effects from the shooting. Delko is still struggling with his memory, and Ryan, without malice, points out that he doesn't seem to remember a device he trained Ryan on how to use. Delko claims to be 100% and is clearly sensitive to Ryan's challenge that he might not be up to the job. I'm very curious where the rest of the season will take Delko, and how he's going to handle his impairment.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.