CSI: Miami--'Ambush'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 2, 2008 - 8:17 AM GMT

See Also: 'Ambush' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Two young men, Bart and Duncan, are fishing using cherry bombs when they discover a severed arm, which leads them to the body of Kathleen Newberry, duct-taped to her car at the bottom of the lake. Horatio recognizes Kathleen immediately. When Calleigh arrives, the closeness of the crowd who've gathered to watch the CSIs unsettles her, but she still points out to Delko that Kathleen's Sun Pass toll device is missing. Delko goes to process evidence, dropping a piece of paper with crime scene processing steps as he does, which Calleigh picks up. Back at the lab, Natalia discovers a blonde hair on Kathleen's body, while Horatio runs the prints found on the duct tape that bound Kathleen to the car. When he discovers they belong to Julia Winston, the mother of his son Kyle Harmon, he confronts her, but she denies ever meeting Kathleen, claiming her assistant, Pamela gave Kathleen the million dollars Julia bribed Kathleen with to leave town and not testify against Kyle. Natalia matches the hair found on Kathleen not to Julia but to her former assistant Pamela, who denies doing anything aside from giving Kathleen Julia's money. She claims her hair must have gotten on Kathleen when the woman hugged her.

When Calleigh hooks her camera into her computer to download her crime photos, she's shocked to find them missing. Ryan surmises someone is trying to sabotage their case. The CSIs go back to the car and find evidence that the trunk's lock has been tampered with. When Ryan finds the tip of a fishing spear in the lock, their suspicions fall on Bart and Duncan. Sure enough, the young men are in possession of the million dollars that Julia gave Kathleen, but they deny further involvement. Kyle Harmon shows up at the station to convince Horatio to stop hounding Julia. While searching Bart and Duncan's possessions for Calleigh's stolen memory card and the sun pass, Ryan is shocked to discover a website entitled "Solve a Crime with Calleigh." In addition to photos of Calleigh at the crime scene that morning, Ryan and Calleigh also discover the missing crime scene photos. Calleigh is shaken but instead focuses on the Sun Pass, which she's able to trace to a tollbooth and get a photo of the vehicle using it. It's a semi-truck and Tripp catches the driver, Ted Wallace who claims he found the Sun Pass abandoned at a rest stop. Tripp and Delko scour the rest stop and find evidence in the bathroom of an abduction--the smell of chloroform emanates from the paper towel holder, and Delko discovers blood behind the damaged holder.

DNA off the holder matches a sleazy man named Ron Saris, who has a connection to Julia and a bite mark on his hand. Yelina tells Horatio Julia approached her about finding dirt on Horatio's trip to Rio several years ago, but she refused to help the woman. Horatio confronts Julia with his suspicions about Ron, and she counters with the knowledge that he killed Antonio Riaz, the man responsible for the murder of Horatio's wife, Marisol Delko. She leaves with a warning for Horatio to leave her alone. Ryan is able to find the person responsible for the website attacking Calleigh: Dan Cooper, the tech who committed credit card fraud with Tim Speedle's credit card. Calleigh confronts Cooper, but he refuses to back down, determined to take her down. The CSIs are able to match a boot-print on Kathleen's shirt to Ted Wallace, but the trucker insists she must have fallen in a diesel-filled shoe print of his. He does admit a man paid him to take the Sun Pass, identifying Ron Saris as the man. Horatio calls Julia to get her to bring Ron in, but she refuses and counters by calling the federal marshals on Horatio. Stetler tells Horatio he's being charged with Antonio Riaz's murder and extradited to Brazil. Horatio goes willingly to Rio de Janeiro and meets with Chief Braga, who absolves Horatio but sends him out into the wild with only a gun for protection against his many enemies. Calleigh answers a call on a lead and disappears, causing an angry Delko to confront Dan Cooper, who has posted her cell phone number on the internet. Somewhere in Miami, Calleigh awakens, a gag in her mouth...

Analysis:

For an episodic television show, "Ambush" is delightfully rife with continuity. Antonio Riaz and Dan Cooper are mixed in with more recent Miami characters, Julia Winston and Kyle Harmon. Delko is clearly still having trouble related to his near-fatal shooting in "No Man's Land". There's even a reference to John Hagen, Calleigh's onetime boyfriend who killed himself in her ballistics lab in "10-7". It's rare to see so many plot threads relating back to older episodes in a CSI show. Sometimes it seems like things that happened just a few episodes ago are long forgotten, so it's a pleasant surprise to see events from a season or two or even three ago being referenced and worked into a current episode.

Speaking of things we haven't seen in a while, I was shocked to see Horatio Caine in a lab coat doing actual lab work! And it happened not once but twice in this episode. He's seen processing evidence so infrequently that it's easy to forget that Horatio is a CSI as well as a detective. Lest anyone is in danger of forgetting Horatio is a VIP CSI, "Lt. H. Caine" is printed on the front of his lab coat. That detail made me chuckle--generic lab coats are apparently not good enough for Horatio--but it was nice to see him actually doing grunt work in the lab.

Of course, he wouldn't be Horatio if seemingly insurmountable difficulties weren't heaped upon his shoulders, as they are in spades in this episode. On the personal front, his ex-lover Julia is implicated in the murder of Kathleen Newberry, last seen on her way to a watery grave in "Raising Caine". Julia's prints are found on the duct tape around Kathleen's wrists, but she maintains her innocence even though she's involved with the man further evidence connects to the crime, Ron Saris. Is Julia as evil as she seemed at the end of "Raising Caine"? She seems almost regretful when she comes to Horatio after calling in his murder of Antonio Riaz, and when she's with Saris she seems to be attempting to appease him. Sadly on Miami many of the female characters, either victims or suspects, are under the thumbs of bad men, and in this episode Julia seems to be another one of these women. It's a little disappointing, though really, did anyone really think a woman Horatio once loved could truly be evil?

Kyle Harmon gives Horatio some grief in this episode as well, continuing the trend that kids on CSI shows are usually brats who exist to make their CSI relatives' lives difficult. Kyle continues to, bafflingly, reject Horatio in favor of Julia, despite the fact that Julia is the one who abandoned him to the foster care system in the first place. Kyle angrily accuses Horatio of scaring Julia and says he won't let Horatio use him against Julia. Kyle has done little but give Horatio grief since he appeared in "Dangerous Son". He might be an interesting character if he served another purpose, but for now he remains Horatio's major source of angst for the season.

When the news comes down that Horatio is going to be extradited to Brazil for the murder of Antonio Riaz, Rick Stetler seems more upset than Horatio himself. Stetler is clearly bothered when he tells Horatio the news that he's being extradited to Brazil, and when it's clear Horatio is going to go without a fight, Stetler steps in and reminds him that if he goes along willingly, they can't fight the extradition. It's nice to see Stetler not being painted as the bad guy opposing the lab for once; he's genuinely concerned for Horatio. It would be nice to see more of this side to Stetler because there's more to David Lee Smith's nuanced performance than the cookie cutter bad guy role he's so often stuck with in the show.

Dan Cooper seems to have fully crossed over to the dark side, however. Calleigh nailed him for credit card fraud in "Bang Bang, Your Debt" after he started using fallen CSI Tim Speedle's credit card, and he's clearly been nursing a grudge against her. He's finally taken his revenge, stealing her crime scene photos and launching a website, "Solve a Crime with Calleigh." The theft of her crime scene photos is pretty nefarious, but Dan doesn't stop there, maliciously bringing up the suicide of her boyfriend, Detective John Hagen. He also posts her cell phone number on the page, which at the episode's end apparently leads to her abduction.

Delko is enraged when learns how much information Cooper has posted on the page about Calleigh and goes to confront the former lab tech himself. It's no surprise that Cooper's plan to take "Little Miss Perfect" down a peg or two has brought out Delko's protective side. His feelings for Calleigh have really been at the forefront lately, despite her relationship with Jake Berkley, who hasn't been seen since "Stand Your Ground", when his four mimosas at breakfast put Calleigh's credibility into question. Delko is none too pleased with Cooper for endangering Calleigh, promising that if something happens to Calleigh, he'll kill the former lab tech.

It's refreshing to see continuity with Delko's life-threatening gunshot wound. Delko may have been back to work a bit too quickly, but a year later, he's still not back to normal. Calleigh finds a piece of paper he dropped detailing procedure when working a crime scene, suggesting that his job still isn't something that is coming naturally to him. It's a nice reminder of his injury and its effect without being too blatant, and it also ties in neatly with the plot when Cooper uses it as ammo against Calleigh, implying she's incompetent.

The episode ends on a cliffhanger, with more focus on Horatio's predicament in Brazil than Calleigh's plight. We know Calleigh's been abducted thanks to the last shot, but the focus is on Horatio, who, after being flown all the way to Brazil, is pardoned rather easily by Chief Braga. I suppose Braga figures the Mala Noche will take care of Horatio, but the whole scene comes off as a little absurd: Horatio is given pardon after less than five minutes in Braga's presence. Of course, we know trouble awaits Horatio because as soon as he steps out into the jungle, the distinct sound of a gun being cocked--and fired--is heard. Will Horatio survive? Is there really any doubt? Even so, one thing not in question: viewers will want to find out how it all ends.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.