CSI: Miami--'CSI: My Nanny'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 29, 2007 - 5:53 AM GMT

See Also: 'CSI: My Nanny' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A party at the house of Dennis and Kate Lambert comes to a tragic end when the body of one of their nannies, Vanessa Water, is found at the top of the stairs of their mansion. Alexx points out two stab wounds to the girl's torso, but also notes that her fingernails are a bluish color. Calleigh and Delko are unable to find the murder weapon, and when they check Vanessa's room, are surprised to find she was packing to leave. Kate Lambert tells Calleigh she had grown uncomfortable with how close her daughter Megan was to Vanessa, and fired the nanny. The Lamberts were planning a family trip, but their other nanny, Mia, was going to accompany them in Vanessa's place. Prints on a glass found near Vanessa's body lead the CSIs to Ron Coswell, the man running the nanny agency Vanessa was working for, Model Nannies. Ron tells Horatio that he fought with Vanessa over her firing, but denies killing her. In the morgue, Alexx tells Calleigh that cyanosis made Vanessa's fingernails turn blue, indicating she was poisoned, and hands Calleigh trace she recovered from one of the fatal stab wounds. Natalia identifies the fragment as the tip of a ceramic knife. Back at the house, Delko and Horatio question Matthew Finn, the party's caterer, who Delko recognizes from a picture in Vanessa's suitcase. He denies knowing she worked for the Lamberts; he said that they dated a while back but broke up six months ago. As Delko finishes up interrogating Matthew, Kate Lambert runs from the house: they've been robbed.

Delko and Horatio examine the Lamberts' safe, which is missing $250,000. Delko finds knuckle prints on the safe keypad, and Horatio notices a camera hidden in a stereo speaker, which Dennis Lambert professes to know nothing about. Since the nannies also had the combination to the safe, Delko questions Mia, who denies taking the money or hurting Vanessa. The CSIs trace the camera to Kate and find footage of Vanessa following Dennis into the bathroom, but when they ask him about it, he claims that Vanessa had come to tell him his son Jonah was gay. Vanesa had overheard Jonah telling Craig Abbott, the male nanny who was Mia's predecessor, that he loved him, so Dennis fired Craig and had a restraining order taken out against him. When Calleigh and Tripp track Craig down, he says Vanessa misunderstood: Jonah loved him like a brother. Ryan is able to connect Ron Coswell to the robbery, and the agency owner tells Delko that Vanessa helped him. After the Lamberts fired two of his nannies, he figured they owed him. Alexx gets the toxicology report back on Vanessa: she was poisoned when she ingested eye drops. Ryan recalls Mia cooked breakfast for the family, and he interrogates the other nanny, who admits to poisoning Vanessa to make the other nanny ill so that she could go along on the trip. Vanessa was only interested in having fun, while Mia wanted to educate the Lambert children. Ryan tells Mia that Vanessa had been fired that morning, and she would have been the one going on the trip.

After learning Mia bought Jonah a scuba diving kit for the trip, Calleigh and Delko recover the ceramic knife from it and discover it has a chipped tip. Jonah admits to Horatio that he resented Vanessa for getting Craig fired, but denies killing the nanny. The CSIs find no blood on the knife, but they do discover Craig Abbott's prints on it. Horatio gets the former nanny to admit to sneaking into the house to help Jonah study for a big history exam, but he denies killing Vanessa. Calleigh and Delko trace his escape route and find a bloody knife and a crumpled up drawing with a bloody fingerprint on it. The prints on both the knife and the drawing lead the CSIs to Matthew Finn, Vanessa's ex-boyfriend. He got upset when he saw his ex with the Lambert kids after she told him she didn't want a family. He confronted her, and when she told him she didn't want a family with him, he killed her. Horatio tells the Lamberts what happened and they in turn tell him they've cancelled their trip, opting instead to spend the time together at home--just the four of them.

Analysis:

I have to start out this review by professing my love for the title, with its clever sound-alike play on the show's name. The titles of the episodes are usually straightforward if imaginative, but every so often a funny one comes along that offers a sly wink to the audience, like CSI's "What's Eating Gilbert Grissom?" Yes, the CSI shows deal with murder and yes, it's quite serious and a sad commentary on what people are capable of doing to each other, but wisely the writers know that now and then a little comic relief goes a long way.

The episode delves into family, the responsibility of it and how easy it is to pass off that responsibility. The Lamberts have not one but two nannies, both of whom take their responsibilities towards the children more seriously than their actual parents do. Even the former nanny, Craig Abbott, recognizes the significance of his impact on Jonah, putting himself at risk to sneak in to the Lambert residence to help his former charge study for a test. Mia is willing to poison Vanessa so that she can go along on the Lamberts' family trip, not to soak up the sun but to maximize the educational potential of the trip for the children. Vanessa, before her murder, doted on Megan so much that the little girl put her in a family picture instead of her mother. If parents cared about their kids as much as these nannies do, the kids truly would be fortunate.

At the end of the episode, the Lamberts decide to stay home with their kids and get to know them, but is there much hope it will stick? Earlier in the episode, Kate Lambert shrugged helplessly to Calleigh that she just wasn't "capable" of being a better mother, and it's difficult to believe she's had such a complete change of heart. Most likely, the Lamberts will play family for a few weeks before putting an ad out for a new set of nannies.

Despite the interesting family dynamics, the revelation of the murderer and his motive is somewhat underwhelming. Matthew Finn pretty much proved Vanessa's point that he wasn't good father material when he stabbed Vanessa over the fact that she didn't want to have children with him. He also proves to be a careless killer, if one with incredibly lucky aim: both the knife and crumpled up drawing he tosses away happen to land in the gutter of the roof for the CSIs to find once they learn of Craig's escape route and decide to check it thinking the murderer got out the same way.

The Lamberts' failings as parents bring up some interesting discussion fodder among the CSIs. Calleigh tells Alexx about her own home life growing up. She brushes past her father to talk about her mother, whom she describes as more of a friend than a parent. Though we've seen plenty of her father, we've heard very little about Calleigh's mother up to this point, so it's interesting to get that information. Calleigh has always struck me as someone who had to grow up fast to deal with her father's drinking problems and hearing about her mother further adds to this assumption. Neither of Calleigh's parents sounds like a great role model, and it's amazing that Calleigh turned out as well adjusted and grounded as she has.

Delko and Calleigh get a charged and sweet moment when he says he would be a more hands-on parent than the Lamberts are. Calleigh seems surprised by the thought of Delko settling down and becoming a parent, but Delko tells her it's something he looks forward to when he finds "the right person." Delko has changed a lot since the days when he went "toothing" in the show's third season. Back then, the idea of settling down was likely at best a faint, abstract idea in the back of Delko's mind, but since his sister's death, his own grave injury last season and his feelings for Calleigh have bubbled to the surface, Delko seems more grounded and serious. I can't even imagine him playing the field anymore in the way he used to. Calleigh seems to be considering his new maturity as well.

Much is being made of Natalia's trips to the firing range; once again, she makes a reference to spending large amounts of time there. I know part of the reason we saw her there earlier in the season was to bring Ryan into the narrative, but now that he's back in the lab, what purpose does the reference serve? I wonder if it's foreshadowing; is Natalia going to have to use her newfound skills sooner rather than later?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.