CSI: Miami--'Going Under'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 2, 2006 - 3:38 PM GMT

See Also: 'Going Under' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A motorcycle gang interrupts a quiet afternoon at a Miami plaza, and the patrons go from curious to shocked when a body falls from the apartment building above. The man is Billy Gault, and he was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest. Calleigh collects evidence from his apartment and heads back to the lab, taking a back route to avoid a major accident on the causeway. Calleigh has just hung up her cell phone when she's hit from behind, causing her Hummer to fall into the canal. Calleigh manages to escape, but the evidence is severely damaged. Horatio, concerned about Calleigh, sends Delko into the water to recover the evidence and examine the Hummer. Delko is able to find a piece of the grille from the car that hit Calleigh. Back at the lab, Cynthia Wells is able to recover writing from a piece of paper found on Billy, which reads "4pm--tell him V-Ray sent you." Natalia Boa Vista recognizes an insignia on the paper as one belonging to a motorcycle gang known as the Crypt Kings.

Tripp questions V-Ray, who tells him that Billy was a member of the Crypt King--one of their own. He suspects a rival gang, the Iron Reapers, might have something to do with Billy's death. Tripp gets Dan Cooper to use a new sound surveillance system to track the motorcycles to a warehouse in the city. The police catch the Kings, and one of them mouths off to Calleigh so she arrests him. The arrest was a ruse--Jake Berkeley is an undercover officer, working to bust the Kings. He's also Calleigh's ex-boyfriend. Jake tells Calleigh that Billy was also an undercover officer, and his real name was Ken McCartney. Jake refuses to lose two years of work by blowing his cover to help Calleigh. Horatio gently talks to Suzanne McCartney, Ken's widow, who tells him she knew her husband was working undercover and that he was close to an indictment, though she doesn't know the details. She hands over a flash drive she discovered on her husband's computer.

Ryan examines the flash drive and finds notes about weaponry on it, including mention of something known as the 'CS,' which Calleigh doesn't recognize, suggesting it's new technology. Delko examines the car that ran Calleigh off the road, which was found at the warehouse bust. He isn't able to get any prints, but Natalia notices how close to the steering wheel the seat is, indicating a woman may have driven the car. Skin cells lead the CSIs to Angela, the girlfriend of one of the surly Crypt Kings, Hawkes. She admits to running Calleigh off the road, but denies killing Billy and refuses to give up her boyfriend or any of his fellow gang members. Alexx shows Calleigh the unusual trajectory the bullet too, entering Billy's stomach and exiting his shoulder blade. Calleigh and Tripp return to his apartment and determine the killer hid among a series of columns on the ground and shot Billy on his balcony. Calleigh finds residue on the top of one of the columns and realizes 'CS' stands for 'corner shot,' a high tech weapon housing that allows a shooter to insert a gun and shoot around a corner at a target. Calleigh also finds a half-eaten apple near the columns.

Calleigh confronts Jake about the CS, and with the knowledge that he and Billy didn't get along, and that Billy didn't trust him. Jake has no answers for her. When Natalia isn't able to get enough DNA off the apple for a test, Delko uses magnetic powder to lift a print from it. The print matches Billy's widow, Suzanne. Suzanne admits to Calleigh that she used to watch his place to see if he was okay. Dan Cooper finds an encrypted photo on the flash drive showing Hawk holding guns in front of the Bayfront port. Horatio races to the port, where he arrests the man buying guns from the Kings, Seth Andrews. Andrews is a DC heavyweight and IAB officer Rick Stetler expresses concern over the arrest, but promises Horatio to see what he can learn about Andrews' activities.

The CSIs manage to track down the biker gang and confiscate their weapons. The Glock in the CS used to kill Billy is Jake's, but the undercover officer denies any involvement in his partner's death, claiming his gun is missing. A test of the ammo reveals it doesn't match Jake's, meaning he was set up. When Hawk learns Andrews cut a deal, he tries to make a deal of his own, but Horatio informs him that the stolen arms were going to be sold to the Palestinians, meaning Hawk can be tried under the Patriot act as a terrorist. Natalia finds motor oil on the trigger of the gun, so Delko and Ryan decide to test the oil in the biker's motorcycles. Ryan finds a match--V-Ray. V-Ray saw Suzanne spying on Billy and followed her. He realized Billy was a cop, and killed him so that none of the other gang members would discover it. While Calleigh tells Suzanne they've caught her husband's killer, Jake leaves the station, headed for a new assignment. A somber Horatio confronts him about his drug use with the gang, telling him about his brother Ray and warning him that cops who turn to the dark side often don't come back.

Analysis:

Usually the pace of a Miami episode is so quick that at times it can be difficult to follow the twists and turns, for there are so many of them and they come in such quick succession. "Going Under" eliminates just a few of these twists, and slows it down minutely, and the difference is noticeable. I also think it's an improvement--sometimes less is more, and it's nice to be able to follow all of the threads and keep the suspects straight.

The episode kicks off with Calleigh leaving the crime scene and getting run off the road, certainly an eye-opening intro if there ever was one. Calleigh is resourceful and cool under pressure, and thankfully puts saving her own life above a fruitless effort to preserve the evidence. It's a frightening situation, but the viewer can see in Calleigh's face her determination to stay focused and get out of the flooded car. Emily Procter reminds us yet again why Calleigh is one of the toughest women on television.

Horatio's concern is for Calleigh first and foremost when he arrives at the scene. One of the things that makes the Miami CSI leader so compelling is his compassion for people above all else. He knows the team will recover what they can from the evidence and find another way to the killer, but the loss of Calleigh would be immeasurable. David Caruso radiates warmth, and his arrival at this moment in particular is especially comforting.

Johnny Whitworth makes a memorable debut as Calleigh's ex-boyfriend Jake Berkeley, a possibly crooked undercover officer. He has a boyish charm with an undercurrent of darkness running through it, and his voice reminded me of Heath Ledger's gravelly tones in Brokeback Mountain. The best moment of the episode occurs at the end when Horatio cautions him about cops who give in to the dark side, citing Ray as an example. Jake counters with a valid point: Billy played it straight, and ended up dead. There's clearly no easy answer to the dilemma, and the episode does a nice job of showing the complexities and dangers of working as an undercover officer.

Calleigh spares Suzanne McCartney the knowledge that her visits to her husband's apartment are ultimately what lead to his death. It's a sad irony; though her visits were in part spurned by jealousy, there was ultimately a deep love and genuine concern for her husband motivating her. She's a sad figure.

I was grateful that the conveniently placed apple lead back to her and not the killer. It's one thing for a wife spying on her husband to discard a piece of fruit, but it would be a silly trick if the killer, who clearly took great efforts to conceal himself behind the columns and his gunfire behind the roar of the gang's motorcycle, would have then eaten an apple at the scene and tossed it aside for the police to find.

My only disappointment was to see that the conflict with Natalia Boa Vista and the rest of the CSI team is all but dissipated. Delko needles her a little bit about not needing to ask to look at evidence, but it's the kind of thing he might say to any rookie. I was hoping the resentment over Natalia betraying the lab last season would last a little longer than the opening episode of this season. Hopefully it will crop up again because it's a situation that presents rich dramatic possibilities.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.