CSI: Miami--'Kill Switch'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 12, 2007 - 3:15 AM GMT

See Also: 'Kill Switch' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

After Sherry Williamson is carjacked, Ryan Wolfe, now working for On the Scene News, analyzes video footage on the air and isolates the carjacker's image. A few hours later, the man is dead on the beach, the victim of what appears ot be vigilante justice. Calleigh takes Ryan to task for the broadcast, and the guilt-ridden former CSI hands a list of death threats against the carjacker called into the station. The DNA of one of the men on the list, David Hewitt, is found on the clothes of the dead man, and Hewitt claims he came across him on the beach and killed him. Paul Billings IDs the carjacker as his brother Jason. Alexx expresses skepticism about Hewitt's claim after she finds a bite mark from a shark on Jason's body, indicating he may have died in the water, not on the beach as Hewitt claims.

Tripp pays a visit to the marina to examine Jason's boat and speaks with Cole Tilford, the teen Jason hired to care for his boat, who has an alibi for the time Jason was killed. Tripp notices the boat's kill switch has been severed and calls Delko down to examine it. The CSI notices evidence that the boat had a "blister" attached to it that might have been used to transport drugs. Calleigh and Natalia comb the beach looking for the blister, but Ryan, chasing the story, and his hapless cameraman find it first when the cameraman walks into a trap set over it. After the cameraman is sent to the hospital, Calleigh and Natalia retrieve the blister and discover uncut heroin inside. Jason's brother Paul confesses that Jason was running drugs for drug lord Tony Decker. Decker admits that he thinks Jason was stealing from him, but denies killing Jason.

Cole's prints are found on the drugs, but he insists he wasn't a willing participant in the smuggling. He claims Jason forced him to help, an assertion the CSIs disprove when they find his prints on the trap set above the drugs. Ryan turns over the surveillance footage the news station obtained, and shows Delko that someone fired a gun at Sherry's car before Jason took off in it. Delko confronts Sherry: she's been part of this all along, and she gives him the name of the shooter: Paul Billings, Jason's brother. Paul admits to shooting at Jason, at Decker's behest, after the drug lord learned Jason was stealing at him. Sherry set Jason up, but Paul couldn't bring himself to shoot his brother. When Jason learned his brother had shot at him, they scuffled on Jason's boat and went overboard. Jason disappeared underneath the water. But Jason died on a broken neck, and Horatio goes after Decker on his boat, finding evidence that Jason managed to swim to Decker's vessel only to be killed by the drug lord. Ryan quits his job at On the Scene News and Horatio promises that the team won't abandon him.

Analysis:

In my review of last week's episode, "Burned", I asked if down-on-his-luck (now former) CSI could catch a break. Apparently the answer is no, or at least, not yet. At the beginning of the episode, Ryan appears to have recovered from his firing from CSI in "Burned" rather quickly, taking a job at On the Scene news, a local tabloid news program that follows current criminal cases. Seems like a sweet gig, right?

Not quite. Ryan shows his co-host and the rest of Miami how to identify the killer from video footage, providing the station with a clear picture of the unfortunate Jason Billings, which initially leads Ryan to think he's responsible for the man's death when Jason turns up DOA on the beach. Ultimatately, Ryan is exonerated when it turns out that a drug lord is responsible for Jason's murder, but it's clear that his new job isn't sitting well with him long before he finally storms out of the television studio.

His former co-workers don't go easy on him either. Calleigh reminds Ryan of all his missteps when she pays an initial visit to the TV studio right after Jason's murder, starting out by telling him flat out that he might be responsible for Jason's demise. She then goes on to remind him of his other poor choices, including getting into a physical skirmish with a patrol officer and getting too friendly with newswoman Erica Sikes and leaking information about on-going investigations to her, in addition to the gambling that turned out to be the final straw. Calleigh's little roast of Ryan is helpful to the audience that might have forgotten some of Ryan's previous mistakes. His firing did seem a little abrupt at the end of "Burned," but as Calleigh points out, it was hardly his first misstep.

Having Calleigh be the one to get tough on Ryan was a sensible choice: coming from another character, the speech would have seemed overly critical, but Emily Procter's delivery convinces us that it's nothing but tough love. Indeed, Calleigh has been something of a mentor to Ryan, so her criticism is no doubt mixed with disappointment in the CSI whose training she oversaw. Calleigh is also the show's moral compass of sorts: if Calleigh is mad at a character, the audience is right there with her.

Given their contentious history, Delko's insistence that Ryan display his visitor badge is perhaps not meant quite as kindly, but Delko's smile as he does so proves he's at least in part teasing. Part of his motive is no doubt to make Ryan feel his outsider status even more keenly than he already does. Delko himself has been feeling on the outs a bit since getting shot in "No Man's Land", and he takes this opportunity to turn the tables on Ryan, who pointed out his post-shooting mistakes several times at crime scenes. Ryan didn't seem to be trying to make Delko feel bad, but Delko clearly didn't appreciate Ryan's observations. Their old competition is alive and well, as Delko gleefully points out that he'll get credit for Ryan's discovery.

Natalia is actually the most sympathetic towards Ryan, telling him flat out that he needs to give up the news gig and figure out what he wants to do. Could Ryan be the guy that Eva La Rue spoke of in her recent CSI Files interview when she hinted that Natalia would be getting closer to one of the men on the show and forming an attachment based on deeper feelings? It would make sense--Natalia knows what it feels like to be ostracized by the team. After it was revealed last season that she was the mole in the lab, the CSIs didn't think too highly of her, and of all of them, Ryan was her harshest critic. But before that he had a pretty significant crush on her, so it's possible that those sparks could be reignited.

Horatio provides some comfort at the end as well, telling Ryan that the team won't abandon him. No doubt Horatio is encouraged by Ryan giving up his gig at On the Scene News, but it seems an abrupt about face after his disappointment when Ryan refused to confide in him in "Burned" about his gambling. This is one of the moments where I wish we got more insight into Horatio's emotions. Horatio is observant and sharp, but we rarely get a peek into his psyche to see how he really feels about the turmoil around him, and this is one of those moments where I would have really liked to see that. The character is so remote at times--it helps establish him as larger-than-life, but it doesn't do much for him as the father figure to his team.

On a more superficial note: to think I used to criticize Ryan's orange shirts and sweater vests. They're high fashion compared to the pink tie poor Mr. Wolfe is sporting in this episode. No doubt the bad wardrobe and the make up are meant to symbolize just how much Ryan's new career doesn't gel with his personality. Indeed, it's amazing what a suit can do--Ryan looks so incredibly out of place on the beach with his cameraman and mike that he simply radiates awkwardness. He has none of the natural ease both Calleigh and Natalia possess as they scour the beach. Big difference: they're seeking evidence, while Ryan is chasing a story.

There's possible trouble ahead for flirtatious colleagues Calleigh and Delko, who seemed to be heading towards coupledom--until her ex-boyfriend, Jake Berkley resurfaced via a phone call. Eric sees Calleigh on the phone with him and she tells him they're trying to find a time to go out. Now, I know happy couples don't make for good drama and obstacles are bound to pop up to get in the way of a pair getting together, but the obstacles need to make a little more sense than this one. Even if we can believe Calleigh would give Jake, who dumped her once before when they were in school together, what happened to her emerging feelings for Delko?

During Delko's recovery in "Man Down", Calleigh seemed to realize her feelings for Eric ran pretty deep. They've been getting closer ever since, and Natalia even remarked on it in "Burned." Delko certainly seems game--he gets a goofy grin on his face whenever Calleigh is around. So why is Calleigh doing a sudden about-face? I hope the finale will make sense of Calleigh's abrupt change, because as of the last episode, it certainly seemed like sparks were flying between the two CSIs.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.