CSI: Miami--'Blood In The Water'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 4, 2005 - 6:00 PM GMT

See Also: 'Blood In The Water' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The Gannons are on their yacht, but it's hardly a peaceful sailing trip. The yacht is burning and Julie Gannon is calling for her father, Ken, who is trying to steer the burning boat with his wife Laura by his side. Julie, distressed, grabs a lifejacket and jumps overboard into the shark-infested sea, despite the protests of her brother, Luke. After she is pulled under, her brother jumps in to rescue her. Both Gannon children are missing when the CSI s arrive at the yacht, which is rapidly sinking. While Delko takes a dive looking for clues as to the fate of the Gannon children, Ryan and Calleigh board the sinking ship, noticing some glass and a liquid pattern, indicating an accelerant, which Ryan posits came from the galley. Both CSIs suspect a Molotov cocktail was used to set the boat aflame. The yacht continues to rock and realizing it's about to go down, the CSIs snap a few final shots and flee. Underwater, Delko has discovered a rip current that could have dragged Luke and Julie away, as well as a moved marker.

The Gannons recall seeing another ship in the area, the Helen B, but they refused its captain's offer of help because salvage boats charge exorbitant prices after a rescue. Horatio tracks down the Helen B and speaks with her captain Rex Hoby who confirms that the Gannons refused his help. When Horatio posits that Rex moved the channel marker and threw a Molotov cocktail at the Gannon's boat, Rex claims he would never destroy a boat and risk the profit from salvaging it. Back at the lab, Ryan is trying to recreate the pour patterns from the liquid from the yacht, and determines that a Molotav cocktail couldn't have been responsible for the explosion on the boat. The substance that started the fire was cooking oil.

With Dan Cooper's help, Eric follows the riptide's course and discovers the body of a young man, but when the CSIs show the body to the Gannons, they say that he's not Luke. Alexx sees burn marks on the body, indicating he was on the boat, but when she autopsies him she determines that he was shot and killed before he was put on the boat. After talking to Calleigh, who admits to him that Hagen's death propelled her to quit ballistics, Ryan brings the thumb of the dead man to Delko for printing. Delko gets a hit in the immigration records: Damon Loughlin, who was in the country on a student visa. Mrs. Gannon recognizes the name: her daughter Julie was seeing him. He was house sitting for the Elias family, and a trip to the Elias house reveals their crime scene when the CSIs discover a huge bloodstain in the entry hall. Calleigh finds a shell casing, which she hands to Ryan. Julio Elias tells the CSIs that 10 million dollars in gold bars is missing from his house, and his daughter Tia's laptop was stolen as well. Calleigh asks about the Elias's connection to the Gannons, and Tia tells her that she used to date Luke.

Horatio goes back to the Helen B and finds Rex Hoby with a trunk that contains the Elias's gold. He's even more surprised to discover Luke Gannon on the ship, safe and sound, with Rex. It was Luke who granted Rex salvage rights to the yacht. Horatio thinks Luke planned this out: he killed Damon, stole the gold, and then jumped into the ocean under the pretext of rescuing Julie, but really so that Rex could pick him up and they could split the profits once the ship sank.

Back at the lab, Aaron Peters and Ryan discover THC and cooking oil on the glass the CSIs recovered from the yacht. Ryan puts it together: someone put cooking oil in a bong, which ignited when the person who the bong belonged to lit up. Ryan questions Luke, who the bong belonged to. He thinks his mother put the cooking oil in the bong, because she hates that he smokes. Delko finds a print on the bong that doesn't match any of the Gannons, and it leads the CSIs to Tia Elias. Ryan asks her about her break up with Luke, and she tells him that she caught Luke in bed with another girl--his own sister, Julie. Ryan tells her what she did is manslaughter.

Horatio becomes suspicious of the Gannons, and when Delko runs them, he discovers the Gannon children aren't children at all, but an unrelated young man and woman in their 20s, with long rap sheets. Ken Gannon has one as well. Horatio talks to Laura Gannon, the only innocent in the whole "family" and tells her that Ken is a con man who used her to gain access to the yacht club so that he could steal Julio Elias' gold. Laura is distraught, but Horatio tells her they have the advantages, since Ken and the "kids" don't know the CSIs are on to them yet. Horatio confronts Ken with the information, and tells him that he believes Ken posed as a widower with two children in order to seduce the recently widowed Laura. Ken tells Horatio that he has no proof, and Horatio decides to look into the death of Laura's first husband.

Calleigh, dissatisfied with the new ballistics tech, Jim, and the fact that he hasn't processed the casing from the Elias house yet, takes it off his hands. She finds some skin fused to it and takes it to DNA. The DNA proves to be Luke's, who claims that his sister shot Damon after Damon pulled a gun on them. Luke tried to pick up the casing afterwards, but it was hot and burned him and he dropped it.

Frank Tripp tracks down the car that Phillip Reynolds, Laura's first husband, died in. He takes it from the man who now owns it and brings it back to CSI, where Delko examines it and discovers it was tampered with. He removes some duct tape from the car, and discovers a single print beneath several layers. Horatio confronts Ken Gannon: he rigged the car so that the cruise control came on and the breaks failed at the same time, causing Phillip's car to speed up and crash. The print matches Gannon, tying him to the crime.

Laura Gannon laments being duped, and tells Horatio all that she wanted was a family. He responds that family is what everyone wants, as he watches his own family, the CSI team, interacting.

Analysis:

Full of twists and turns, "Blood in the Water" delivers the kinds of thrills and excitement that the best Miami episodes are known for. As is not uncommon in a Miami episode, how things appear at the beginning and what reality turns out to be at the end are far apart. At first glance, the Gannons appear to be a loving, cohesive family. The only thing that might seem suspicious at first is that Ken Gannon ignores his daughterís screams, but given that he had his hands full steering the boat, itís not enough to really give the audience pause.

In this case, things really arenít as they seem: the Gannons arenít even a real family. I suspected Luke and possibly even Kenís involvement in the heist, but I was genuinely surprised to learn the Gannon "children" werenít in fact related at all, to each other or their father. That Horatio is able to pin not the current crime but the murder of Lauraís first husband on Gannon is certainly a kind of poetic justice.

"Blood in the Water" reminds me a lot of third season's "Pro Per", which after an emotional season premiere delivered an action-packed episode with one involving case filled with twists and turns. As they did in "Pro Per," the team has to think creatively to get the bad guy. Like "Pro Per," "Blood in the Water" moves quickly along and is a thoroughly entertaining hour of television.

Though the episode is mainly devoted to the story this time around, there are a few nice character moments. Calleigh finally talks about leaving ballistics, telling Ryan that she did indeed leave because of Hagen's death. But Calleigh is clearly missing her old posting--she's even keeping up on her ballistics proficiency tests. And she shows no faith in Jim, the new ballistics tech, who seems to have been unconcerned about the skin covering the casing Calleigh brought him. It's more likely that he didn't bother to look at it. I doubt it will be long before Calleigh reclaims her old position.

There's a nice moment at the end, too, when Horatio assures Laura Gannon that all anyone wants is family and then goes outside and observes his team--his adopted family of sorts. It's a nice moment, especially given what we know of Horatio's actual blood family. His brother Raymond has always seemed to be out for himself, and at the end of the third season finale "10-7" he took what was left of Horatio's family--Yelina and Ray, Jr.--and jetted off with them to Brazil. So it's not surprising that Horatio has to look elsewhere for familial ties.

The scene is also interesting in that it highlights Horatio's strong feelings for his team and his isolation from them. If the Miami team is a family, Horatio is the concerned parent, a position that naturally sets Horatio apart from the rest of the group. While Horatio always has a sympathetic ear or some advice to dole out, to see him watching the team affectionately from afar makes sense. Horatio turns to others when he needs to confide in someone, like the cardinal in last week's "From the Grave". It's a smidge ironic that the notion of the Miami team as a family is brought up in an episode that features another chosen family, that one built on lies and deceit, but it serves as a fine contrast to Horatio's clan if there ever was one.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.