CSI: Miami--'Deep Freeze'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 30, 2007 - 8:29 AM GMT

See Also: 'Deep Freeze' Episode Guide


Former football player Doug McClain is on the phone with a flirtatious female caller when he's stabbed in the neck. When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Doug is dead, and Alexx determines he was stabbed in the carotid artery. Alexx wants to do an autopsy, but she's prevented by Doug's wife Elissa and Dr. Werner Klein, who inform the CSIs that Doug is going to be cryogenically frozen. Horatio asks Alexx to accompany the body to the lab at PreCore where the body will be frozen and discover as much as she can. Calleigh finds no signs of forced entry but does notice some double-sided tape by the window with silk strands on it. The CSIs trace the phone call Doug received just before he was killed to Wendy Legassic, an obituary writer for a newspaper. She tells Calleigh she had been given the task of updating Doug's obituary, and Calleigh wonders if she might have helped the former football star into an early grave. Natalia follows up on some stolen items from Doug's collection, tracing them to a Theo Knight, who is selling them on the internet. Theo tells Horatio and Tripp that Doug's manager, Martin Wilson, sold him the items straight out of Doug's collection. Wilson insists that Doug was having cash flow problems and the items were sold to benefit him, but admits that Doug got angry when he found out about the sales and hit him.

Valera identifies epithelials on the double sided tape as belonging to a woman named Rita Sullivan, who admits she and Doug were having an affair. She admits to going to see Doug after he called her, but said when she stopped by he wasn't there. The CSIs suspicions turn back to Wendy after she sells the tape of her phone call to a local news station, but when they listen to the tape, it takes them in another direction: 25 minutes after Doug was killed, they hear the killer pick up the phone to make a call to Elissa McClain. Elissa calmly tells them it was Martin, who called her to come to the house and call in Doug's murder. Elissa and Doug had separated, but hid it from the press. Horatio questions Wilson again, and he admits to tidying up so that the press wouldn't find any dirt on Doug, and then calling Elissa so that she could call the police. Horatio goes through a box Wilson took from Doug's house and finds a picture of a boy in a football uniform in it. Wilson claims not to know the boy, so he zeroes in on the logo on the football helmet: Lauderville Youth Program. The director, April, identifies the child as Caleb Sullivan, and tells Horatio he died last week of a rare kidney disease. Horatio turns back to Rita Sullivan, who admits that Caleb was Doug's and she went over to his house days before he died to beg him to get tested to see if he was a match to Caleb. He put her off and the boy died. Rita, overcome by grief and rage, stabbed him.

The case remains open when Alexx, still at PreCore with Doug's body, discovers clotting in the wound, indicating that the knife wasn't pulled out immediately after Doug was stabbed, but 30-40 minutes later. Though Rita stabbed him, someone else pulled out the knife and left him to bleed to death. While working on processing evidence, Delko helps Natalia pop back in the shoulder she dislocated during shooting practice earlier that day. IAB officer Rick Stetler catches sight of them and misinterprets their actions, thinking the two are having an affair. When he speaks to Delko about it, Delko thinks he is talking about Calleigh and Jake Berkeley and lets it slip that the two are dating. Stetler pulls Jake off the Doug McClain case, which in turn causes Jake to suggest to Calleigh that they cool down. Calleigh is none too pleased with Delko, but the two manage to track down the knife, which is found in Doug's cryogenic tank--with Elissa McClain's prints on it. She admits to Horatio that she heard Doug groan after calling PreCore. She was tired of Doug cheating on her, so she pulled out the knife. Horatio has her arrested.


Like "Bang, Bang, Your Debt", "Deep Freeze" is thankfully free of explosions, shoot outs and Caine progeny. It's one of those classic Miami whodunits, full of twists and revelations that everything is not what it seems, right from the start. The sexy voice on the phone is an obituary writer, the grieving widow is anything but and the flashy mistress is actually a mother in mourning. I do think Horatio let Rita off a little easily; granted, she'll probably go to jail, but that famous Caine scorn was directed not at her but at Elissa, who pulled the knife out of Doug's neck after hearing him groan. Could doctors have saved him if she'd called 911? It's doubtful, and even if she hadn't been so cold blooded, it seems to me that the natural (if incorrect) impulse would have been to pull that knife out. It would have been more interesting if Elissa had at least tried to claim innocence on that basis.

Ryan Wolfe is absent for much of this episode, and though it is realistic given that at the moment he's not working for the lab, I can't help but miss Jonathan Togo's presence in the show. It seems like Alexx must not have given much consideration to his desire to work in the morgue because he's still at the firing range. This time he has little to do but watch Natalia fire off rounds with her sleazy instructor and advise that she get someone to look at her shoulder when she injures it. It's probably time to get Ryan back into the lab, because it seems the writers are running out of ways to work him into the narrative.

Natalia's hurt shoulder sets off a chain reaction of trouble. She asks Delko to help her by snapping her dislocated shoulder back into place, and Rick Stetler sees him holding her afterwards and misinterprets the gesture. Of course, he's on it like a hawk, touting a new sexual harassment policy that forbades officers in the department who work together from dating. He's a little too late in the case of Delko and Natalia, who had a steamy albeit brief fling back in season four, but he brings it up with Delko anyway, no doubt unaware of their previous entanglement. Stetler's mandate is a little too close to the one Ecklie gives Grissom and Sara in CSI's episode "A La Cart", but of course it's a means to an end to cause trouble for Calleigh and Jake.

Which it does indeed, when Delko, thinking Stetler is talking about Calleigh and Jake, tells him he should take it up with the couple themselves. Armed with the new knowledge, Stetler pulls Jake off the case...leading him to suggest to Calleigh that they cool things down. Emily Procter doesn't miss a beat, revealing, just for an instant, Calleigh's disappointment with Jake's suggestion, before her face becomes a stoic mask and she accedes to his request with a curt affirmative. Is this really the end for Calleigh and Jake? Somehow I doubt it, but relationships on CSI shows often go out with a whimper rather than a bang, so it's possible.

I do wish Rick Stetler wasn't always brought in to be the bad guy or tout the unpopular suggestions. David Lee Smith manages to make the character incredibly sympathetic even when he's delivering edicts that frustrate Horatio's team. Surely the character deserves a more three-dimensional role in the show? I miss scenes like the one in "From the Grave" when Stetler watched Horatio in church, his expression thoughtful and contemplative. Stetler, charged with policing the police, has something of a thankless role already, and Horatio and his team rarely cut him any slack. It would be great if the writers would, and throw the character an episode Smith could really sink his teeth into.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.