CSI: Miami--'Going, Going, Gone'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 16, 2006 - 6:44 PM GMT

See Also: 'Going, Going, Gone' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A man is shocked after he discovers one of the two girls he "purchased" in a charity auction turns up dead, stabbed in a bed at the house of the auctioneer, Peter Kinkella. George Kornspan, the man who paid for the evening with the victim, Rebecca Roth, claims to know nothing, as does the other woman he put up money for, Katie Watson. The CSIs are able to trace an impression on the victim's body to a ring belonging to her ex-boyfriend, Carl Thornton. Carl is bitter that Rebecca broke up with him, and he shows Calleigh a picture of the man she left him for, who turns out to be none other than Jake Berkeley, an undercover cop Calleigh once had a relationship with. Calleigh confronts Jake but the picture isn't what it seems: Jake was trying to infiltrate the party to get to Kinkella, whom he suspects is dealing drugs, and he manipulated Rebecca into helping him.

Horatio is puzzled when he learns Kinkella's wife and child seem to have disappeared, and he decides to investigate the man further. When drug-sniffing dogs hone in on a nightstand in the room Rebecca was killed in, Horatio discovers a listening device and uses a fingerprint on the device to lead him to an unexpected source: a Homeland Security agent: none other than Katie Watson. Katie admits to investigating Kinkella, but won't tell Horatio anything beyond that she blindfolded Rebecca while she planted the listening device. Horatio puts pressure on Kinkella, who cracks and admits he had drugs in a hollowed-out book in the nightstand. After listening to the recording of Rebecca's murder, the CSIs zero in on a piece of evidence, the hard end of a shoelace, which they match to a pair of shoes owned by Carl Thornton. Ryan and Calleigh lay out the evidence and Thornton breaks down and admits he killed Rebecca in a fit of jealousy.

Horatio turns back to Kinkella and gets the man to open up to him by telling him Homeland Security is investigating him. Kinkella tells Horatio that he's been forced into selling drugs, and that three weeks ago his wife and son were abducted. Horatio tries to get him to name the group threatening him, but Kinkella is too afraid for his family to do so. The CSIs turn to Jake's surveillance photos of Kinkella and see pictures of him fighting with a woman named Sonya whom he'd told them he "bought" at the auction. Sonya is defiant and refuses to share anything more than a smug assurance that an attack is imminent. The CSIs turn to the list of men at Kinkella's party and learn George Kornspan is in shipping. Calleigh tracks him to the docks where she discovers him with an empty container that once contained explosives--and a gun. Jake comes on the scene and draws his weapon, causing George to fire at Calleigh. He hits her, but the bulletproof vest she's wearing protects her. Back at the lab, Delko and Ryan are able to get a location on the truck carrying the explosives. Horatio and a team chase down the truck and stop it before it can reach its target--a nuclear power plant. Crisis averted, Horatio talks to Katie Watson and suggests her department and his communicate better in the future.

Analysis:

They've grappled with nefarious drug lords, human traffickers and even deadly tsunamis--is anybody really surprised that CSI: Miami has taken on terrorism? There's not really any social commentary to be found here--the episode is all about action and danger and exciting chase scenes. Nothing wrong with that--though, through the lens of murder investigations, the CSI shows sometimes comment on how people behave towards each other, the shows in general are more about the mystery and the science than heavy social commentary.

Miami gets more action-packed with every season, so I'm not surprised to see Horatio is venturing into Jack Bauer territory by taking down terrorists and stopping them from launching nuclear attacks on U.S. soil. If Shiva Rose's Sonya isn't quite on par with the great villains of 24, it's only because she doesn't get the kind of screentime they do in this episode. In the scenes she does appear in, she radiates a steely resolve--nothing will deter this woman from her mission. She's under arrest at the end of the episode, but is this the last we'll see of Sonya...or her terrorist cell?

One of the most powerful moments in the episode comes not from the terrorist threat but when Delko and Dan Cooper listen to the recording from the surveillance device Katie Watson placed in Kinkella's bedroom. The CSIs see the aftermath of death all the time, but as Delko comments, they never get to actually hear the moment a victim dies. It's a chilling scene--a small, tragic moment in a show that usually doesn't go the quiet route.

Calleigh's ex-boyfriend, Jake Berkeley, is back, once again embroiled in a case the Miami team is tackling, and again, he provides as much hindrance as he does help. He first showed up in "Going Under" while on an assignment to infiltrate an arms-dealing motorcycle gang; this time, he's investigating a shady club owner whom he suspects of dealing drugs. Once again, Jake resists helping the CSIs, putting his own investigation above theirs.

That doesn't mean his attraction to Calleigh is extinguished; quite the opposite. When she tracks George Kornspan to the docks, Jake follows her and intervenes when George draws a gun on Calleigh. In an anti-climactic sequence--it's pretty apparent that Calleigh is wearing a kevlar vest--George shoots at Calleigh when he sees he's outnumbered. She goes down, and--much like she did in "Recoiled" outside the courthouse when it seemed she'd been shot--waits a few beats before getting up. Why the fake out? We know Calleigh isn't dead--in the age of the internet, it's very hard to hide when a regular actor is planning an exit. She sits up and seems just fine, so there's no reason for her to play dead for a few seconds

At this point, I'd hope for a few more sparks between Calleigh and Jake than are evident on screen. They have the whole distrust warring with attraction thing going for them, but there's not much more to them than that. I enjoy Jake's character, and Johnny Whitmore does sizzle on screen, but I'd like to see a little more zest to these two the next time he shows up (if there is indeed a next time, which I suspect there will be).

I've been remiss in not commenting before now on the odd new visual effects Miami is employing, from split screen to subtitles. At least this time, unlike in "One of Our Own", the subtitles aren't for words already being spoken in English, but they have a showiness to them that's a tad distracting. The split screen images are fun--it's nice to see the CSIs at work from different angles, or what each CSI is doing, but it ventures into overkill at times. In Miami, it would sometimes be wise to tone down the stylish elements in favor of more meaningful interactions between the characters.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.