CSI: Miami--'After the Fall'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 30, 2004 - 11:48 PM GMT

See Also: 'After The Fall' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A woman in her yard spots a man hanging off a balcony on the third floor of an apartment building across the street. To the woman's horror, the man loses his grip and falls. Arriving on the scene, Alexx examines the body of the man found dead in front of the apartment building, one Michael Johnson. But she determines that Johnson wasn't killed by a fall--he was killed when someone fell on him. The man who was hanging from the window apparently escaped alive--and left in a hurry.

When Alexx finds paint in Johnson's hair, Horatio and Delko head to the apartment of Edward Mathis, who lives in unit 318 and recently has his balcony painted. The paint is still wet and marks in it indicate someone has touched it. Mathis doesn't have any paint on his hands or shoes, and he doesn't think he's been robbed until he notices that the lock on his desk is broken and his grandmother's ring, a family heirloom worth $100,000 is missing.

Horatio suspects the robber gained access to Mathis's apartment from the roof, so he walks up there and spots Doug Ramsey skulking around. Doug tries to run when Horatio spots him, but Horatio draws his gun and Doug puts his hands in the air. When Horatio approaches him, Doug lunges at him, forcing Horatio to shove him against a wall to subdue him. Horatio cuffs him and finds a roach clip in his pocket as well as other climbing gear in his bag. Delko arrives and searches Ramsey's pocket, finding a bag of pot. Ramsey claims he was on the roof to smoke weed, but Horatio doesn't buy it. He arrests Ramsey for possession.

Calleigh and Alexx are going over Johnson's body. Alexx points out a curved laceration on the man's shoulder that he received when the killer landed on him. Across town, Delko and Ryan follow up a lead in the case: Edward Mathis is at an auction house trying to sell his grandmother's "missing" ring. Mathis was attempting to commit insurance fraud. The CSIs arrest him.

Rebecca Nevins warns Horatio that Doug Ramsey is claiming that Horatio dislocated his shoulder and is pressing charges against him. Rick Stetler is already on the case, looking for Stetler. He finds Delko giving Valera Ramsey's cable from the roof to analyze and he questions Delko as to what he saw on the roof. Delko admits Horatio was alone with Ramsey on the roof for about five minutes, but insists there was no assault.

Valera matches the epithelials on the cable to one Stanley Hemming, a man with a sizable rap sheet. He denies involvement, but when Ryan and Calleigh make him empty his pockets, they discover climbing gear and a DVD disc with blood on it. The blood matches Michael Johnson; the DVD proves to be a sex video of a judge Ryan recognizes, Isaac Greenhill, with a prostitute.

Greenhill is a criminal court judge, and Mathis happens to be his former clerk. Calleigh suspects Mathis was blackmailing the judge. When Horatio and Yelina pay Greenhill a visit, he dismisses the sex as being between two consenting adults. He claims two large cash deposits Horatio found in Mathis's account were "loans." Greenhill clams up and says he can't recall the woman's name, but Horatio is determined to find her.

Ryan and Tyler Jensen view the DVD and determine it was made on October 30th. Using a reflection in the window, they locate the apartment building. Delko and Ryan question the super, who hasn't seen the woman, Donna Scott, in a month. The CSIs find a pair of jeans in the running shower, but no sign of Donna. They find sex toys in a cabinet, including bloody metal fingernails. Analysis proves that Donna's blood is on them, promting Horatio to pay another visit to Greenhill. Greenhill remains mum, but Horatio is convinced he's involved.

Stetler questions Horatio in the brutality case, but when he accuses Horatio of using force against an unarmed suspect, Horatio counters by bringing up his abuse of Yelina. Stetler notes that Horatio never took his suggestion to get counseling after Speedle's death, but Horatio says he'll get counseling when Stetler does. Afterwards, Calleigh catches Horatio in the hall, saying that Stetler is on a witch-hunt. She asks him to let her look at the case, and he finally relents when she reminds him that Stetler could have him relieved of duty.

Rebecca has looked into Greenhill's previous cases for Horatio, and tells him that Greenhill presided over the trial of the Surfside Strangler, who killed eight prostitutes and buried them in a bog in the Everglades. Working on a hunch, Horatio sends Delko and Ryan to hunt for Donna Scott's body in the same bog. Horatio's instincts are dead on: Ryan uncovers her near where the Surfside Strangler's victims were buried. Alexx finds vomit in her hair, but not from Donna. Valera matches the bile to Mathis's DNA. Horatio asks Mathis who he hid the body for, but Mathis proves to be no help.

Calleigh is going over the Ramsey case. She shows his shirt to Ryan, who can't smell any pot on it, proving that Ramsey lied about his reason for being on the roof. Calleigh shows Alexx the X-ray of Ramsey's shoulder, and Alexx notes an additional fracture. Calleigh tells Ramsey she knows he lied about smoking pot--she thinks Stan sent him back for the climbing equipment. She shows him the fracture on the X-ray and says that the only way to create that fracture is repeated trauma. Doug dislocated his own shoulder to implicate Horatio. Afterwards, Stetler, who watched the whole interview, grudgingly praises Calleigh for her good work.

At first, Alexx can't determine what killed Donna, but Delko notices something around Donna's mouth. Alexx determines that Donna was smothered with a mask used for nitrous oxide inhalation. The nitrous oxide was probably recreational, so Delko and Ryan head to Mathis's apartment hoping to find the mask and canister. Delko thinks Mathis is OCD, so he asks Ryan where an OCD person would put his nitrous oxide. Ryan ponders this for a moment and then goes to the closet, where he finds the canister and mask in a shoebox. Delko gets a print off the box and DNA on the mask is matched to Donna Scott.

The print on the mask doesn't match either Mathis or Greenhill but Judge Ratner, an even more prominent judge than Greenhill. Horatio notes that the men shared both a clerk, Mathis, and a prostitute, Donna. When Horatio tells Greenhill how Ratner tried to set him up, Greenhill walks out in disgust. Ratner is unphased--he tells Horatio that he'll be out on bail and back on the bench the next day. He also threatens Horatio, but Horatio doesn't waver.

Horatio and Stetler square off in the elevator at CSI. Stetler tells Horatio that he got a "pass" and orders him to counseling. But it is Rebecca Nevins that Horatio chooses to confide in--telling her that he dreams of that day in the jewelry store only that it's his gun, not Speedle's, that jams. Rebecca consoles him and the two share a tender moment.

Analysis:

A fast-paced episode with so many twists that I found myself having to sort it all out at the end, "After the Fall" is another example of how CSI: Miami is turning up the heat. Despite the occasional confusion, I thoroughly enjoyed the outting and loved the strong character moments in the episode. As the middle child of the franchise, Miami seems able to get away with more than either of the CSI shows, both in terms of character development and often outrageous stories.

In this one, we have Edward, who was commiting insurance fraud, blackmailing one judge and burying a body for another. Stan was hired by the first judge, Greenhill, to steal a DVD with a racy romp involving the judge and a prostitute on it. Stan also killed Michael Johnson--presumably he jumped on Michael on purpose, to break his own fall, though that's never explicitly stated. Then there's Doug, who was involved with the robbery somehow and accuses Horatio of police brutality. And don't forget the judicial duo of Greenhill and Ratner. The former slept with a prostitute and hired a thief to steal the scandalous DVD of the tryst, while the latter slept with the same prostitute, accidentially killed her and bribed his clerk to get rid of the body and frame the other judge in doing so. Got all of that?

On paper, it's preposterous to say the least. But the magic of Miami is that it's so much fun that its stretches in credibility are forgiveable. The forensics is as detailed as in the other two CSI shows, but the stories are both more implausible and often more fun. Miami has a zesty vibrancy that is embodied in its stars. David Caruso brings passion and conviction to ever scene he's in and Emily Procter imbues Calleigh with a cool determination and a razor-sharp mind. Both get a chance to shine in "After the Fall."

Horatio squares off with his nemesis Rick Stetler, who seems to have lost some of his righteous arrogance since Horatio first accused him of beating Yelina in "Crime Wave". Sure, he doggedly conducted the investigation of brutality against Horatio, but Stetler was missing most of his smarmyness. He got off a few shots at the team about their loyalty to Horatio, but he didn't seem to be relishing this golden opportunity to make Horatio's life miserable as much as one might have thought he would have. Horatio's repeated suggestions that he need counseling for his girlfriend-beating ways might have taken the wind out of his sail.

Horatio, on the other hand, refuses to let the false charge of brutality get him down. And his team never doubts him for a minute. Calleigh even insists on looking into the case herself. I loved the scene between them--no one bosses Horatio around, except maybe for Calleigh. She knows when to push, and sure enough, when she offers for a second time to look into the case, he takes her up on it. The only slight disappointment is that Doug Ramsey created his own injury. It was a bit of a cop out (pun intended). What if Horatio had accidentally wounded the man in the scuffle they had on the roof? Doug lunged at Horatio, and Horatio had to defend himself and prevent Doug from getting away--it's conceivable that Doug could have been hurt in the scuffle. I guess the writers decided to play it safe and keep Horatio's record spotless, but I think it would have been more interesting had the conclusion been more ambiguous.

Ryan and Eric get some nice scenes together--the two appear to be bonding, with Eric stepping into Speedle's role as the older, wiser CSI. He even got a chance to tease Ryan about his OCD. But how could Eric ignore the obvious--Ryan's outfit? Somebody had better sign the CSI: Miami wardrobe department up for a subscription to US Weekly so they can check out the Fashion Police section. Wearing an orange t-shirt over a red long-sleeved one could land poor Ryan Wolfe there.

Speaking of Speedle, Horatio finally talks about the shootout in the jewelry store, but not to a counselor at Stetler insisted. Instead, he chooses to confide in new girlfriend Rebecca Nevins. We haven't seen much of Horatio and Rebecca's relationship and I think we need a few more scenes with them together. Initially I didn't object to the sudden introduction of the relationship, but if Horatio's going to be confiding in her, it would be nice to see the building blocks that created that level of trust. Christina Chang is doing well with what little she's been given, but she and Caruso have had so few scenes together that it's hard to even tell if they have chemistry.

That aside, it was nice to see Horatio finally talking about Speedle's death and for the audience to see how he's haunted by it. Watching a colleague and friend die is unimaginable and it's not surprising that Horatio is haunted by the memory. The fact that in his dreams he experiences the gun malfunction suggests a survivor's guilt that's only natural given the situation. I hope this isn't the last time we hear Horatio talk about Speedle's death, but to be honest, what we've gotten has already been more than I dared to hope for.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.