CSI: Miami--'Broken Home'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at March 14, 2007 - 5:51 AM GMT

See Also: 'Broken Home' Episode Guide


What starts out as an ordinary evening of babysitting for Heather Crowley turns tragic when the bodies of both her parents are discovered outside the house where she's watching over young Justin Montavo. Heather's father, Edward, has apparently been struck fatally in the head; her mother, Kimberly, was killed with a grill fork. Justin's parents are nowhere to be found, but prints on one of the windows of the house lead the CSIs to Dr. Mike Lasker, who claims he came by the house to get tools Mr. Montavo borrowed from him, but left after looking through the window and spotting Heather with a guy. Heather adamantly denies being with a boy. The Montavos finally turn up, claiming they were drugged at the party they attended the night before. Natalia recovers their glasses from the party and finds they test positive for GHB. When the CSIs learn Lasker was at the party as well, they suspect him of drugging the Montavos. He admits to dosing their drinks, but not so that he could rob their house; he suspects they're thieves and wanted to recover a baseball he claims they stole from him during one of his parties.

Ryan examines the Montavo house and recovers the stolen property but learns that it was Justin, not his parents, who is the thief. Justin tells Horatio that Heather had her boyfriend over the night before, and Heather finally admits that she did, and gives the CSIs his name: Zack Griffin. Zack flees the CSIs when they come for him, but they manage to catch him. He tells them that he ran into Heather's father on his way out but that he fled and left Edward alive. One of the items recovered from Justin Montavo's stash proves to be a bracelet belonging to a dead woman named Lucille Clark--a patient of Dr. Lasker's. Horatio speaks with Lucille's daughter Amelia, who is grateful to him for returning the bracelet. Tripp learns that Lasker has lost six patients recently, and suspects that Lasker might be murdering his patients. Horatio decides to have Lucille's body exhumed.

After mixing up two items in his kit and compromising evidence, a dejected Delko finds Natalia puzzling over a dead fly found in Edward Crowley's head wound. Delko realizes the fly is from the murder weapon--Zack's helmet. Calleigh questions Zack and he claims he killed Edward Crowley in self-defense. Things become clearer when Natalia learns Kimberly Crowley recently engaged in intercourse with Zack Griffin. Ryan confronts Heather; it was she who killed her mother after learning of Kimberly's affair with her boyfriend. She and Zack agreed to cover for each other after the murders. When a drug that causes respiratory failure is found in Lucille's body, Horatio has enough evidence to arrest Lasker. Lasker argues that he was saving the terminally ill from bad deaths, but Horatio is having none of it and has him arrested.


"Broken Home" is a great example of what the CSI shows do best: it exposes the twisted things that go on behind a supposedly ordinary veneer. The teen girl's mother is sleeping with her boyfriend. The cherubic little boy has been stealing from the neighbors and hiding his stash beneath the floor in his parents' house. Miami has always been especially adept at exposing particularly dysfunctional families, from broken families such as the one in "Nailed" to the troubled family of Horatio Caine.

The intrigue is vintage Miami, and it's fun to watch it unfold. Who drugged the Montavos? Are they stealing from their neighbors? Who killed the Crowleys? And what does Dr. Lasker have to do with it all? It's a classic, twisted Miami yarn, and it's fun to watch the CSIs unravel it all.

The biggest surprise of the episode is not that Heather killed her mother while her boyfriend killed her father, but the fact that Eric Delko is already back on the job after being shot in the head and the leg in "No Man's Land" is a bit of a stretch, given that he was at death's door in "Man Down" and this episode is supposedly set a few weeks later.

Even if I could get past the brain injury Delko suffered (which actually is being addressed, but more on that later), what about his leg? Are we really to believe that Delko is up and walking just fine a few weeks after being shot in the leg? At least when Detective Flack on CSI: NY was hurt in a bombing, an entire summer passed before we saw the spry detective back on the job.

The leg issue aside, the fallout from Delko's shooting really is being dealt with well. Just as Calleigh feared, he is different, slower and more hesitant. Adam Rodriguez even speaks in softer tones, and adds a cautious cadence to his speech that would have been totally foreign to the formally confident Delko. The changes in Delko's entire personality are noticeable, and Rodriguez deserves praise for being able to reinvent his character in such a drastic way.

Delko's memory is still giving him problems, and he makes a crucial error when he mixes up water and hydrogen peroxide in his kit and compromises evidence. Calleigh is the one who picks up on the error, and Emily Procter handles the moment gracefully, gently informing Delko of his error without condescending to him. Because of his loss of confidence--and perhaps because his closest friend at the lab is the one delivering the news--Delko is angry with himself but not defensive.

Its a little too easy when he turns around and essentially solves the case by figuring out the weapon used to kill Edward Crowley was a motorcycle helmet. Though everything isn't right with Delko by the end of the episode--indeed, he tells Calleigh he isn't ready to go in the room with the suspect to tell him the game is up--it's a little too neat to have him stumble and save the day all in one episode. Having the accident change Delko is a risky move, and one I applaud. I don't want to see it short-changed with easy outs.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.