CSI: Miami--'Addiction'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 16, 2004 - 10:37 PM GMT

See Also: 'Addiction' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A beautiful young couple, Morgan and Kay Coleman, exit a trendy Miami restaurant and get into their car. Shortly after they drive off, a man jumps in the car and yells for Kay to keep driving. The carjacking ends tragically: Kay Coleman is dead, her body found on the rocks by a bridge with massive injuries and a gunshot wound to the head. Her husband, Morgan, was hit on the head and is dazed but otherwise okay. Horatio gently tells the man about his wife's death. Morgan can't remember much, but Horatio promised to help him.

Coleman remembers hearing what he describes as "God's voice" calling his name over and over. The man who got into their car wore a ski mask, and Morgan says the gunman told Kay to drive to Biscayne and hit him on the head after they reached the destination. Calleigh and Ryan examine the car, and they're confused when they find both Morgan's wallet and Kay's purse there, filled with money. The motive wasn't robbery. The CSIs also determine that Kay was shot outside the car, on the rocks. When Calleigh tells Horatio this, he's suspicious and has Morgan's hands tested for GSR. The test is negative, but Horatio tells Morgan not to leave town.

In the morgue, Alexx is showing a group of people from an alcohol treatment program the body of a high school student who was killed by a drunk driver. One of the men in the program, Derek Roddison, a former Core man from the Navy is so moved by Alexx's speech that he asks her for a job as a handler. She decides to give him a one-week trial. Alexx has him jump right in with a case, but fellow M.E. Glen Monroe is not pleased when he learns Alexx hired Derek without consulting him.

Delko and Calleigh go over the Colemans' car carefully and Calleigh finds the indentation from a person's head on the back of the passenger seat. She hopes the grille may have caught some of the gunman's DNA and takes a sample. Valera gets a match: Victor Tinoco, who has a prior for carjacking. But when the CSIs go to Tinoco's apartment, they find the man dead from a gunshot to the head. Calleigh recovers the bullet from the back of the freezer: Tinoco was likely getting ice when he was shot, suggesting he knew his killer. Calleigh examines Tinoco's hands, but finds no evidence of GSR. Morgan Coleman has an alibi--he was with a homicide detective. But the evidence points to Coleman: a piece of paper with the name of Morgan's business, Coleman's Shutters, on it is found with typed instructions for where to find the Colemans at lunch the day Kay was killed.

Horatio and Yelina show the piece of paper to Morgan Coleman and his two brothers, Sal and Freddy. Horatio shows them a warrant for the company's laser printers and also brings up the fact that the company is being sued for producing a faulty product after a customer was decapitated by one of the blinds during a hurricane. Morgan blames it on an installation error, but Horatio muses that killing his insured wife could bring in money for the lawsuit. Horatio asks Sal about his alibi at the time of the murder, and Sal tells him he was on a one hour conference call to the Bahamas. Ryan collects the printers, despite some resistance from Julie, one of the secretaries.

Calleigh asks Alexx if she's recovered the bullet from Mrs. Coleman and Alexx gives it to her. Calleigh also expresses surprise about Derek's presence, saying that she didn't think Alexx hired from the alcohol treatment program. Calleigh looks at the bullet and notices right away that the striations on the bullet match those on the bullet that killed Victor Tinoco. Delko and Ryan test all of the laser printers, and Delko tells the new CSI that each printer is unique--the drums move at slightly different speeds. Delko matches the instructions from Tinoco's apartment to Freddy Coleman's printer. Horatio questions Freddy, but Freddy says anyone could have used his printer. When Horatio presses him, Freddy takes the Fifth Amendment.

Alexx tells Ryan that a vial in Kay Coleman's purse contained fertility drugs. She also found corresponding injection marks on Kay's thighs, but something doesn't add up, as Kay was also wearing a diaphram at the time of her death. Alexx suspects she may have been having an affair. Horatio and Tyler go over her financial records, finding large payments from gambling debts as well as deposits from a fertility clinic. Horatio puts it together: she was a compulsive gambler and was selling her eggs to pay for her gambling debts. His suspicion of the Coleman brothers increases.

Ryan and Horatio go through Kay's purse and find a lighter, but no cigarettes. The initials on the lighter are WC, for Warner Coleman, the deceased Coleman patriarch. Ryan notes that there might be epithelials in the striker. After running the DNA, Horatio has Sal and Freddy brought in, telling them that the DNA from the lighter indicates that the person it belonged to was a close relative of Morgan's. Freddy admits that the lighter is his--he was helping Kay pay for her gambling debts. Freddy claimed that the only money he used was his own. Yelina has a warrant for the shutters made by the company.

Alexx is upset when she discovers a flash filled with alcohol missing from a body and asks Calleigh to conduct an internal investigation. Alexx already suspects Derek, and doesn't believe him when he denies taking it. She laments that no good deed goes unpunished. Another handler, Foster, tells Calleigh that he found the flask in the men's locker room. Calleigh runs it and finds Foster's prints on it, but also those of Glen Monroe. Disgusted, Alexx confronts Glen and tells him to go to the Chief Medical Examiner or she will.

Ryan examines the shutters and determines that the aluminum was weaker than it should have been to withstand hurricane winds. The company committed fraud. Freddy Coleman insists that he only subbed in cheaper materials for one batch of shutters. He gave Kay fifty thousand dollars, but then she needed a hundred more. Freddy tells Horatio that Julie, Sal's secretary, found out Kay was selling her eggs. Julie is also Sal's alibi--she put through the conference call that he made at the time of Kay's death. But when the CSIs look at the records, the roaming charges indicate the person on the phone was at the restaurant just before Kay was killed. The call was made from Julie's cell phone, but she tells Horatio that she gave it to Sal for the call.

Derek is about to leave the morgue when Alexx catches him to apologize for suspecting him. Derek admits he could tell that Monroe was an alcoholic. Alexx offers him his job back, but he tells her he's going to work for the rescue division. Alexx apologizes to him, but he tells her she has nothing to be sorry for her.

Ryan and Calleigh try to connect the cell phone and the gun to the killer. Calleigh realizes that the bullet that pierced the freezer after killing Tinoco would have caused freon to escape and it would show up on the killer's clothes. The pair gets a warrant for Sal's clothes and begins examining them. Ryan gets a hit on the Freon on one of Sal's shirts, but that only puts him at one crime scene. Horatio finds blood inside one of his ties which puts him at the other.

Horatio and Ryan confront Sal with the evidence. He was there, and he witnessed the hitman he hired to kill Kay fleeing after the car crashed. Sal finished Kay off with a shot to the head and knelt over Morgan to make sure he was all right afterwards--hence the voice Morgan heard. Sal angrily tells them he did it because Kay was selling his brother's "future children." Afterwards, Morgan finds Horatio and apologizes for the trouble his family caused. He laments that he didn't even know his own family, but Horatio consoles him: addicts fool people, and themselves. Even the best of families have bad apples, the CSI notes.

A drunk driver and the person he hit are brought in to the morgue. Alexx is devastated to see that the driver is none other than Glen Monroe. Later that day, she shows another group of people in the alcohol treatment program Glen's body. "Deal with your problem before you make it mine," she warns.

Analysis:

An effective, fast-paced episode, "Addiction" benefits from having a B-story that is every bit as engaging as the main plot, and more emotional. It's nice to see Khandi Alexander given a chance to shine. She always manages to make the most of whatever scene she's in, no matter how brief, but this week she gets a plotline worthy of her range.

Glen Monroe first appeared in second season's "Complications", and I was kind of hoping the writers were setting him up as a foil for Alexx. Like Alexx, he's an overworked coroner, but unlike Alexx, he's become jaded and hard, taking too many cases for the overtime pay and obviously doing a sloppy job. In "Addiction," we learn why: Glen has a drinking problem. The scene at the end, where Alexx learns her colleague has died in a car wreck caused by his drinking, is heartbreaking and abrupt. I wish we'd seen Monroe in a few more episodes before they decided to off him, because Joseph Kell was so good at playing the exasperated, numb and somewhat desperate medical examiner. Alexx's line at the end to the second group of recovering alcoholics is a haunting way to end the episode.

Many critics of the show complain about David Caruso's dominance of CSI: Miami and while this isn't something that usually bothers me (it sets Miami off from the other two shows, for starters), I did notice he seemed less prominent than usual in this episode. Aside from Alexander in the B-plot, no one actor stole the show in the A-plot. The line that lead into the opening credits was particularly bad this week, though: Horatio promises Morgan: "I'll be your memory." It was clunky and unnatural. In contrast, the scene between Horatio and Morgan after Sal confesses was particularly moving. When Horatio tells Morgan that addicts fool their families and themselves, it's obvious he's thinking of Raymond.

I wasn't especially surprised that slimy Sal turned out to be the killer, but the episode did maintain enough ambiguity that I wasn't entirely sure at any point that it was Sal and not poor, sweet Freddy, who could have easily snapped if he figured out Kay was using him. Morgan was the only brother who came out of the whole ordeal unsullied, though he sure must be oblivious if he didn't know about his wife's gambling problem, Freddy's fixation on her or Sal's ruthlessness.

I'm not sure I bought the "cheese grate" effect on the back of the passenger seat. First of all, wasn't Tinoco wearing a mask? Even if his face did hit and scrape the back of the seat, wouldn't the fibers from the mask, not skin cells, have rubbed off on the seat. It was a smidge convenient not only that the grate caught the skin cells, but that it was there in the first place. Aren't the backs of most car seat headrests smooth? It's a minor nitpick, but it did stand out.

"Addiction"'s strongest point, aside from the B-story, was probably how seamlessly the theme of addiction tied the two stories together. Kay's gambling addiction led to her death, just as Glen's to alcohol led to his. Morgan and Alexx both express disbelief and dismay over the aftereffects of addiction; for Horatio, it dredges up all of his conflicted feelings about his own brother. When he tells Morgan that even the best of families have bad apples, I couldn't help but wonder if he was thinking of Raymond. Has his brother fallen so far in his estimation? I don't think even Horatio knows.

One final note: I'm still puzzling over the decision to make Sofia Milos a regular. The writers have given her almost nothing to do, unless you count being battered by Stetler. I don't object to the decision to make her a regular at all, but I sure wish they'd develop her as a character.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.