CSI: Miami--'Open Water'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 2, 2006 - 9:36 PM GMT

See Also: 'Open Water' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

To the horror of the passengers on a luxury cruise ship, Mike Harris has gone overboard is torn to pieces by sharks before he's rescued. Horatio Caine suspects foul play as soon as he spots blood and a shoeprint on the railing of the deck. The shoeprint belongs to first mate Keith Murray, who claims he found Mike on the deck, disoriented, and struggled with him to get him away from the railing. A glass from Mike's cabin explains his state--he was drugged with diazepam, a sleep aid. There's also seventy grand missing from his safe, so the CSIs turn to Mike's new wife, Gwen Creighton, who Mike met and married on the cruise ship. Gwen tells them Mike was planning to take her teenage daughter, Mandy, to a show the afternoon he was killed in an attempt to bond with her. Mandy claims Mike never arrived to take her to the show. Delko recovers one of the sharks that consumed Mike, and Alexx is able to recover the man's leg. She notices a wound made by a knife, and not a shark's tooth, sending Delko and Ryan back to the ship to discover who stabbed the man.

Horatio is distracted from the case when Marisol Delko tells him an Agent Wynn from the FBI interrogated her about the situation in the lab and her arrest for marijuana possession. Angry, Horatio confronts the man and tells him to stay away from Marisol, though Wynn remains skeptical about the lab. On the ship, Ryan discovers blood spatter on the newly painted molding in a hallway, and a trip to the ship's sickbay reveals another mystery: the ship's doctor was treating Rebecca Faraday, a patient who she suspected may have had bird flu. The ship's captain, Quentin Taylor, asked her to hold off on alerting the CDC. When Delko angrily confronts him about it, Taylor insists he was trying to avoid creating a panic. Fingerprints on Gwen Creighton's access card, which was used to open Mike's safe, come back to Barry Judd, the ship's magician. He says Gwen was flirting with and he performed a trick to impress her--stealing the card, but he claims he gave it right back. His story doesn't hold up when Calleigh finds the stolen money in his magic kit. He denies killing Mike--he noticed the man on the bed after he took the money, but ran out without confronting him.

Valera finds dandruff in the glass that was spiked with diazepam, and she matches it to Mandy Creighton. The girl admits she didn't want to spend her last night on the cruise with her new stepfather; she was embroiled in a shipboard romance. Her paramour turns out to be Keith Murray, the first mate--he was the one who gave her the diazepam. Keith denies killing Mike; he only tried to calm him. Delko is looking for Rebecca Faraday, but no one has seen her on short. Delko and Officer Jessop scour the garbage room on the ship, which is virtually empty because Taylor was dumping most of the ship's waste into the ocean illegally, but they do find the body of Rebecca Faraday, with ligature marks around her neck, which Horatio recognizes as matching those of a strap from a pair of binoculars, which leads him to Taylor. Taylor claimed she was endangering the entire ship, but Horatio tells him the diagnosis of avian flu was an incorrect one. Another piece of evidence from the shark's stomach reveals Mike's killer: fabric from a dress, which matches the one Mandy is wearing. Calleigh talks to the girl--she resented her mother for marrying for a fifth time and took out her anger on Mike, stabbing him and pushing him overboard. The cases closed, Horatio finally gets to spend some time with Marisol, and the two decide to marry.

Analysis:

A cruise ship is the perfect setting for a Miami murder, and this episode does not disappoint. While I think the secondary case, with the girl who possibly had avian flu was unnecessary, the primary case was engaging and had a powerful resolution. Even though Mandy took her anger out on the wrong person, and took that anger way too far, she was still a sympathetic character, and Calleigh's quiet reaction underscored that. Calleigh doesn't have an answer for the troubled girl when she asks, "Why am I not enough for my mother?" Courtnee Draper gives an emotional performance that allows the audience to sympathize with her character even if we can't approve of what she did.

James Remar, whose many credits include a turn on Sex and the City as Samantha's slick hotelier boyfriend Richard, makes a mark as the ship's captain, whose avarice trumps his humanity when he kills Rebecca Faraday to avoid having her interfere with the cruise. Remar adds shades of grey to what could have been a cardboard villain; though we know Taylor killed Rebecca to prevent her from grounding the cruise, Remar makes it credible that Taylor has tricked himself into believing he killed her to avoid panic and the spread of the disease.

The writers amp up the mole storyline this week by showing someone photographing Delko and Horatio as they talk. Does this eliminate Delko as a suspect? It's possible, if it was indeed the mole taking the pictures and not an FBI agent or one of the mole's contacts. Or could it be Ryan, photographing them on some order from Horatio? Without more information, it's impossible to tell. Carolina also pointed out to me that Calleigh not answering Joseph's pages right away might be significant, especially given that that scene followed the one where Horatio and Delko were being photographed. Could Calleigh be the mole? I have to admit, on the list of suspects, I've always considered her the least likely, in large part because losing the radiant Emily Procter would be a major detriment to the show.

Horatio and Marisol's relationship still puzzles me. I liked that he called her "sweetheart" this week--it's the first term of endearment I've heard pass between them. I still find their interactions awkward, and I think their decision to marry is played out in a pretty strange way. Horatio doesn't get down on one knee; nor does Marisol for that matter. Rather she asks him if when he said he'd be there for her, if that included marriage. His "yes" comes pretty quickly. But why haven't we seen this couple so much as kiss yet? Hopefully it will come next week at the wedding.

Delko is obviously feeling pretty out of the loop--he's tense and short with Ryan when Ryan ask him about Marisol being questioned by the FBI. Delko knows something is going on with Horatio and his sister, but I doubt he knows the extent of it. I wish he hadn't been pushed so completely to the side when Horatio stepped up as a knight in shining armor to swoop in and take care of Marisol. Eric needed help, given his financial situation, but it seems as thought he and Marisol barely interact anymore.

I also wish Marisol didn't seem so completely childlike--it makes her relationship with an older man problematic. Alana De La Garza's wide-eyed performance emphasizes Marisol's innocence and her sweetness, and though it doesn't seem that Horatio is taking advantage of her in any way, it does make him seem more like her guardian angel than her lover. If we're to believe these two as a couple, we need a little more heat between them.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.