CSI: Miami--'One Of Our Own'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 26, 2006 - 9:22 PM GMT

See Also: 'One Of Our Own' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Five Mala Noches are gunned down at a Miami mansion, but the situation gets much worse when Officer Aaron Jessop opens a cabinet and discovers booby trap with an armed grenade, which explodes, killing him. The pressure is on the lab on another front when FBI agents enter the lab, intent on finding the person who lifted $12,000 collected from the raid of the Mala Noche safe house from an evidence envelope. Everyone in the lab is under scrutiny, starting with Valera. The CSIs trace the bomb to a man named Carlos Santigo, whose last job was for Antonio Riaz, the Mala Noche boss responsible for the murder of Horatio's wife and Delko's sister, Marisol. Santigo admits to setting the bomb as his last job for Riaz, and Horatio sends him along with a threatening message for the Noche boss. Calleigh identifies the bullets used in the shooting as being Russian made, and Horatio gets Memmo Fierro, the man who shot Marisol on Riaz's orders, to admit that Riaz had been dealing with Rafik Ohmad, an Arab arms dealer.

The CSIs relate their handling of the Noche money to the FBI agents. Each CSI made his or her own opening into the envelope and sealed it with his or her own initials. Ryan is shocked when the FBI agents ask him about his eye problems, inquiring if he has keratitis. Ryan confronts Dan Cooper, suspecting the lab tech of being the mole, but Dan said it was a one time accident, a piece of information that slipped out over beers at a local bar. Tension mounts in the lab, and Delko warns Natalia Boa Vista that the Feds will soon be talking to her, but she quietly assures him they won't. He's shocked as the realization hits him: Natalia is the mole. Though she insists she only shared good information about the lab with the feds, the rest of the team shuns her.

Horatio confronts Ohmad, who supplied the Russian weaponry to Riaz. He admits to meeting with Riaz in the financial district, and surveillance tapes offer a shocking revelation: Riaz was in the area a few with a woman who turns out to be Marisol Delko. Riaz would occasionally sell drugs himself under the name Diego, and Marisol, ignorant of his true identity, apparently bought from him. Horatio is enraged, and calls the number Marisol had for Diego. Riaz boasts about killing Marisol, and vows more destruction. Horatio and Delko examine plastic wrap from Rafik's warehouse and find evidence it once housed a surface to air missile. Realizing Riaz has it, the CSIs track him to an airfield where he taking aim with the missile at an incoming plane. The CSIs stop him just in time and take him into custody.

Everyone at the lab save for Ryan has been cleared of stealing the Noche money, but Ryan is suspicious when he notices white powder from latex gloves on the breached evidence envelope. The lab doesn't use that type of gloves, leading the CSIs to Peter Elliott, the treasury agent who also handled the money. Calleigh is shocked when he produces the money when confronted, but he's not the thief. His fiancée, SA Monica West, stole the money to make the lab look bad. Peter reluctantly agrees to wear a wire and gets her confession on tape, and she's arrested. Justice served, Horatio and Delko visit Marisol's grave, but there's a shock in store for them: the Feds have cut Riaz a deal and are sending him to Brazil to stand trial. Horatio isn't about to let his wife's killer get away, and he tells Delko they're following Riaz to Brazil.

Analysis:

I have to admit, of the three CSI finales, CSI: Miami's may have been the one I was the most curious about. After the murder of Marisol in "Rampage", I expected a gripping conclusion. But mostly I just wanted to know who the mole was--that plot has been on-going for most of the season, ever since the secret scene that followed "Urban Hellraisers" introduced the story line. While we do get something of a resolution for both story lines, I have to say I was pretty under-whelmed on all fronts. After the excitement of "Rampage," the last thing I expected the Miami finale to be was anti-climactic.

The biggest disappointment was the revelation of the lab's mole. I wasn't unhappy to find out Natalia Boa Vista was the mole--her interests have never quite been in sync with the lab's, so it wasn't surprising to discover she'd been leaking information to another agency. But after a season full of stories that built up the mole in the lab as a real threat and presumably someone who would be on Horatio's list, Natalia's wimpy insistence that she only shared "positive" information feels like a cop out. The revelation itself is surprisingly understated for Miami--Natalia simply tells Delko that the FBI won't be talking to her and he puts together why: she's the one who has been sharing information with them. Going with a quiet reveal rather than a loud one is an interesting choice, and I'm not sure it was the wrong one, but it does take a lot of the wind out of the sails of a plotline that has been teased for almost an entire season.

So is Eva La Rue staying or going? Ann Donahue said La Rue is going to be a series regular for the 5th season, but she also said the mole would have to leave the show. Perhaps a change of course? I can't imagine Horatio tolerating the presence of someone who betrayed the lab. He was very clear on the fact that he didn't appreciate the FBI interference in the lab. I realize Monica West had a lot to do with that, but I think it's too easy an out for Natalia to just claim she was giving out good information about the lab. When a story is built up the way the mole plot was, viewers expect a payoff.

If Natalia is around next year, it's clearly not going to be easy for her. Valera has already started shunning her, and Calleigh clearly didn't want to hear her excuses. Again, it seems kind of counterproductive to keep her around, but I'm guessing this is where that hefty grant of hers comes into play--Horatio might be forced to put up with her so as not to lose the monetary benefits of her cold case work. At the very least, watching her clash with the CSIs who no longer trust her will make for interesting viewing next year. I do hope Delko is wrong in his assessment that she slept with both him and Ryan to get information. That sounded like bitterness more than anything else, but I hope if Natalia was just passing along good information like she said, she wouldn't sink that low.

Officer Jessop is the second fatality in the two part finale, but his death doesn't have much of an emotional impact, maybe because no one talks much about him. Couldn't Calleigh have made mention of meeting Jessop as a nervous rookie in "The Oath"? The CSIs were upset about Jessop's death, but not necessarily on a personal level. Joel West is very, very pretty, but Jessop simply wasn't around enough to really connect with the audience.

Antonio Riaz is a puzzling baddie. What exactly is shooting a plane out of the sky supposed to accomplish for him? It's a nonsensical move, as are the large subtitles that accompany the words he speaks, which are already in English. Creating a convincing villain isn't as easy as it looks--one of the sharpest things I've ever heard said about villains came from CSI: NY's Eddie Cahill, who noted, "The great thing about bad guys is they're really just good guys with a twisted point of view that makes them bad." Riaz killing Marisol made sense--he wanted Horatio to suffer for busting both him and his gang. Twisted and evil, yes, but it made sense from a villain's point of view. But shooting down the plane seemed to come out of left field--how does it further Riaz's cause? From what I understand from the season, the Mala Noches are drug and weapons smugglers, not terrorists.

I'm less than thrilled with the Feds inexplicably cutting Riaz a deal after the kind of destruction he was going to cause. Last time I checked, people who try to take down planes are treated lightly, and I would have assumed that no matter what he offered, Riaz wouldn't have been allowed out of U.S. custody. I have a hard time believing the Feds would allow him to be sent to Brazil to stand trial. It seems to set up a plot thread for next season since Horatio mentions going to Brazil, something I'd be more excited about it Riaz was something more than a cardboard villain. But if we get to see Horatio's brother, Ray, and Yelina again, I'll put up with Riaz. Just please, no more puzzling subtitles for dialogue in English.

Monica West, the state's attorney, also emerges as a villain in this episode, and this is probably the most satisfying revelation of the bunch. Monica has been critical of the lab all season, and Bellamy Young has done a great job of sneering condescendingly every time she and Horatio butt heads. I was surprised to learn she'd lifted the money from the evidence envelope, but the crime lab seems to have become her own white whale, and I like that she ended up compromising her own integrity to take them down.

I am relieved none of the main characters were implicated in any wrong-doing. I simply can't imagine the show without Calleigh, though I was disappointed that she didn't have much to do this season on a personal level. Delko has had a great year, and I am interested to see how he'll deal with his sister's death and Natalia's betrayal in the upcoming season. After Speed's demise he turned to toothing (anonymous sex with strangers), so I wonder if he'll handle this better. Poor Ryan could use a new love interest, but he clearly does have a type--both Erica Sikes and Natalia are ambitious women willing to use people in their climb to the top. Ryan also might be at odds with the rest of the team next season even more so than in the past: Calleigh was frustrated with him when he went after Dan Cooper and Alexx felt betrayed when he tested her to find out if she was the mole. Maybe now that he and Delko have been duped by the same woman, they'll grow closer. Alexx saw her career hit a possible hitch when she was forced to choose between remaining on the day shift and being considered for an eventual promotion. There's plenty of potential for rich story lines for each character.

And Horatio is now zero for four in the love department. He watched Yelina leave with Ray at the end of last season, he became disillusioned with brief love interest Rebecca Nevins in season three, a woman he was dating was murdered by an old enemy this season and now he's lost his wife, Marisol. The poor guy might be destined to be a loner. I'd love to see the stories get back to Horatio's compassionate concern for victims of crime--though the human slavery story line felt a little out of place in "Shock", it was nice to see Horatio doing what he does best--relentlessly pursuing the bad guys and rescuing their victims. It's that humanity that makes Horatio such an admirable character, and a heroic one.

Miami's action and inter-office intrigue has set it apart from the other CSI shows in the past two years, and I suspect a large part of the reason it's the number one show in the world is because it really is so entertaining and downright fun to watch. Action movies were all the rage in the 90s, but there's been a dearth of them lately, and Miami fills that void with a natural ease. It was great to see the action mixed with personal stories for the characters this year, and I hope the next season will bring even more.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.