CSI: Miami--'Come As You Are'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 31, 2006 - 11:47 PM GMT

See Also: 'Come As You Are' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The body of military recruiter Timothy Hicks is found by two teen boys, Matthew Batra and Derrick Perry at a firing range, behind one of the targets. Alexx determines Hicks died from a blow to the head several hours before he was inadvertently shot by the boys at the firing range, deepening the mystery. The CSIs pay a visit to his widow, a veterinarian, after ketamine is found in his system and she admits her husband was asking about it. When they ask to see her supply of the drug, she tells them the house was broken into a few days prior. Horatio follows up on an angry letter sent to Hicks and it leads him to Kevin Kirby, whose brother Patrick was killed in Iraq. Horatio visits the shell-shocked young man and learns that Kevin believes he shot his own brother accidentally during an attack on their camp. He blames himself and Hicks for getting Patrick to join the military in the first place. Horatio vows to find out the truth.

Kevlar on the Hicks' window leads the CSIs back to Matt and Derrick, and the boys admit they were recruited by Hicks but broke into his house to get Derrick's file back when the boy had second thoughts. The boys claim to have lost the files, but Calleigh gets copies from the military and learns Matt was deemed a security risk because his parents, doctors from Iran, were on the terrorist watch list. Matt admits to stealing the folders to learn why his military application was rejected and confronting Hicks after learn the reason. Hicks, tranquilized by ketamine, fell and hit his head on a pipe during their exchange, and Matt, afraid of how it would look, dragged his body to the range in an attempt to make his death look like an accident.

Kevin is arrested by JAG on suspicion of having shot Patrick. Hairs in Patrick's boot lead Horatio to Brad Hoffman, a contractor and a childhood friend of the Kirby brothers. He denies being in Iraq at the time Patrick was killed, but video footage from the attack reveals he was lying. The CSIs obtain the truck and study it, and find a bullet hole in it. The trajectory indicates the driver of the truck was the one who shot Patrick. Horatio and Delko arrest Brad, who claims he panicked when he the bullets started flying. He shot at a person nearby who he assumed was an enemy soldier, only to find it was Patrick. He fled the scene as soon as he discovered who he shot. The mystery of Patrick's death solved, Kevin is released and Patrick is given a military funeral.

Analysis:

A powerful episode that pays tribute to military servicemen, "Come as You Are" presents a stark contrast between courage and cowardice. Both of the victims were brave, honorable men, while both killers are selfish and reprehensible, and notably lacking the qualities the men they killed had. Hicks' death may have been an accident, but Matthew wasn't man enough to report it. The same is true of Patrick's death, but the cowardly Brad shot wildly and then fled when he realized he'd killed Patrick, leaving poor Kevin to believe he'd shot his own brother.

"Come as You Are" is very much like CSI: New York's second season episode "Heroes" in the reverence it shows the military and the men and women who serve in it. "Heroes" was similar in that it involved a noble serviceman who was killed by a coward--in that case, a woman who turned on him after he tried to intervene and save her from her abusive husband.

Miami has an interesting technique that the writers often employ in their episodes in which the first case leads into the second one, and it works particularly well here. The angry letter leads Horatio to Kevin, and sparks his interest in finding out what happened to Patrick in Iraq. It's a particularly graceful transition from one case into the other, and it allows the episode to maintain a focus on the military.

It does, however, also point out a flaw in the show, and that's in the seemingly limitless reach of Horatio's influence. Brad Hoffman smarmily asks him, "Isn't Iraq out of your jurisdiction?" and though it makes Brad unsympathetic, it's hard not to agree with him, especially when Horatio looks down at him and pronounces, "Not anymore." Much as I appreciate Horatio's heroics, having him work with Homeland Security and investigate crimes that took place overseas seem a bit far-fetched. There's plenty of crime to fight in Miami, and sometimes I long for the early seasons of the show when Horatio and company investigated the murders of club-goers and porn stars and not terrorists and international gangs.

That said, both cases in this episode had the kind of emotional resonance that makes CSI show episodes stand out, and I enjoyed that. David Caruso is at his best when he shows Horatio's caring side, and he was able to do that with Mrs. Kirby and Kevin after Patrick's funeral. And there is something compelling about a hero willing to investigate crime in another country in order to help a grieving man.

There's one more stretch of credibility in this episode, less serious but more irksome, and that's Valera accepting a date with Natalia's ex-husband. Even if she doesn't know that Nick was abusive, it's still difficult to believe she'd agree to go out on a date with a man one of her co-workers used to be married to. Even Ryan checked with Delko to see how he'd feel about him asking out Natalia, and Delko and Natalia had only dated. Valera's insensitivity doesn't ring true, and it's always troubling when writers aren't true to their characters. It might be a small detail at this point, but I have a feeling at some point it will be significant, so I hope there's a good explanation for Valera's puzzling actions.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.