CSI: Miami--'Raising Caine'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 15, 2008 - 9:43 PM GMT

See Also: 'Raising Caine' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Billionaire philanthropist Bill Winston is found dead in his study by his housekeeper, Pamela Osborne, the victim of a single gunshot wound to the chest. Horatio is shocked to learn that the man's wife is none other than Julia Winston--the mother of his son Kyle. She tells Horatio that she left Kyle with her mother until she could afford to take care of him, but he ended up in foster care before she was able to claim him. She and Bill were only married for two months. The CSIs question Bill's lawyer, Larry Winston, who admits he was outside the door when Bill was killed, waiting for the man to sign some papers for him. When Larry heard the gunshot, he went in, found Bill dead, collected Bill's papers and left--his only priority to get his client's affairs in order. He refuses to tell the CSIs what the papers were for without a warrant. Horatio is distracted by Kyle's impending trial; Assistant State's Attorney Rebecca Nevins is pushing for Kathleen Newberry, the woman who Kyle briefly abducted under duress in "Dangerous Son" to give a testimony that will put Kyle behind bars for a long time. Horatio has decided to petition for custody of Kyle in the wake of Julia's return.

When Alexx theorizes that Bill was shot from below based on the bullet's path in his body, Delko and Calleigh find a wine cellar beneath Bill's study. Hair and blood found on a vent in the ceiling lead the CSIs to Rob Mason, who insists he was just trying to get insider tips from spying on Bill. His hands test negative for GSR. The CSIs finally obtain their warrant for the papers Bill's lawyers have, and they're surprised to learn they're annulment papers. Bill was seeking an annulment from Julia on the basis of fraud; she used five different identities over fifteen years. When they discover a lipstick smudge on the papers, they realize Julia has seen them. Horatio goes to speak with Julia, and Tripp discovers a gun in a hidden compartment in her car. She's taken into custody, but prints on the gun prove to match Rob Mason, not Julia. The CSIs find GSR in his pockets where he wiped his hands, and Rob tells them that Julia blackmailed him into killing her husband after she learned he was using a fake identity. Calleigh is skeptical and points out there's no physical evidence tying Julia to the crime, which forces the CSIs to release her.

Kyle's trial hits a standstill when Kathleen Newberry is nowhere to be found. Horatio's team finds evidence at her house that she left in a hurry, and a currency band suggests she was paid off to do so. Trace left behind from the bag proves to be cleaning solvent for marble floors, leading the CSIs to suggest Julia and Pamela Osborne. Julia doesn't deny paying Kathleen off. Without Kathleen, the judge dismisses the charges against Kyle and the boy is free. He chooses to go with Julia, who has also petitioned for custody, rather than Horatio. Calleigh has tracked Kathleen's car through a Sunpass toll device and decides with Delko to find her. As Julia drives off with Kyle, Kathleen wakes up in her car, duct-taped to the wheel as the car sinks into a lake....

Analysis:

Can I call foul? How can the last episode of CSI: Miami completed before the writers strike end on a cliffhanger? I had a bad feeling when Calleigh stated that she had a bad feeling about Kathleen Newberry hightailing it out of town, one that was reinforced by the fact that the episode had fewer than ten minutes left. Sure enough as Julia Winston is carting Kyle off, we see Kathleen wake up in her car, hands duct-taped to the wheel just as its plunging into a lake. Since it seems apparent that Julia paid Kathleen off, is it safe to assume that she also is behind the attempt to kill her? Or is someone framing Julia now? It could be a while before we find out.

What is it with Horatio's bad taste in women? We have not one but two Horatio Caine cast-offs in this episode: Rebecca Nevins and Julia Winston. Each in her own way has proved herself unscrupulous. Rebecca continues her crusade against Kyle; when Kathleen says she wants to bring up her husband's involvement in her kidnapping, Rebecca steers her away from the idea, saying that the goal of her testimony should be to make sure Kyle goes to jail right alongside her husband. Rebecca's definitely has an agenda. It's not clear whether she's actually out to get at Horatio through his son or she's just so determined to get a conviction despite whatever mitigating circumstances exist, but she's certainly not playing fair.

Julia is even more nefarious. Did we really expect anything else, given the way Elizabeth Berkley slunk into the room and greeted Horatio? She practically oozed evil. What bothers me most is the predictability of it all; Horatio wants custody of Kyle and so does Julia, so naturally she's guilty of bribery, blackmail and murder. Miami is a show that tends to deal in black and white; if you're with Horatio, you're good, if you oppose him, you're bad. I think this episode, and Julia's character in general, might have benefitted from a few shades of gray, however. If Horatio is such a good judge of character, how did he miss the evil oozing from Julia's pores? Maybe she hasn't always been that way, but I think the audience could have better connected to Horatio and Julia's previous relationship if it wasn't so obvious that Julia is bad to the bone. At least Rebecca was sympathetic about Speed's death when she and Horatio were dating.

That being said, "Raising Caine" is without a doubt an incredibly entertaining episode. Both cases are personal for Horatio; his ex-lover is a suspect in one and his son is on trial in the other. The scene where Horatio preps Kyle for court is particularly well done. It's nice to see Horatio actually connecting with someone else on a deeply personal level. The empathy his character has for others is something that drew me to him initially, so seeing that side of Horatio is always refreshing. Horatio and Kyle haven't had much time to get to know each other, but there's something heartwarming about hearing Kyle call Horatio "Dad." It's a sweet moment.

I have to wonder why Kyle would choose to go with Julia other than as a machination of the plot to create more drama and agony for Horatio. Kyle might have issues with his dad never being there for him, but at least Horatio has the excuse that he was literally unaware of Kyle's existence. Julia actually gave Kyle up, and even if she claims it was for his own good, that's something a teenager would resent. It stretches credibility that Kyle would choose Julia over Horatio when she suddenly reappears in his life, and it feels unnatural. Poor Evan Ellingson has enough on his plate having to make Kyle into something other than the angry, troubled, but deep down good hearted kid cliche, and having Kyle make decisions that simply seem to serve the plot only make his job harder. I don't think Kyle has the depth of Reed Garrett, Mac's stepson on CSI: NY, but he's got potential--if the writers give him more to work with.

The Miami team felt awfully gossipy this week: Natalia tells Calleigh about Alexx being in a fender-bender, Calleigh fills Natalia in on Julia and Horatio's relationship and Ryan posits to Natalia that Horatio will probably win custody of Kyle. I've come to notice that this is often how personal information will get shared or discussed on the show--one character will ask another character how he or she is doing or a character will comment to another character about a member of the team and then after a brief exchange it's back to the business of processing evidence and sharing results. At times the device works better than others. In this episode, one would expect a little more jaw-dropping and whispering about the reappearance of Horatio's baby momma at the time his son just happens to be going to trial.

I'm happy to see that Ryan is still a bit prickly even after his return to the team. He comes up to Natalia eager to learn the results of the evidence she's processing. Natalia bristles at his abrupt tone and calls him out on it. Jonathan Togo and Eva LaRue play off each other well in this scene. I like that she doesn't let him push her around. Ryan's interpersonal skills aren't the best and I imagine sometimes he comes off as more aggressive and pushy than he means to, but it's nice to see Natalia hold her own against him. Might there still be tension from the time he reported that she left evidence in her car during a session at the shooting range in "Inside Out"?

If this is indeed the final episode of the season--and at presstime the WGA and AMPTP are no closer to a resolution than they were when the strike began back in November--it could be a long wait before viewers see the resolution of Horatio's family drama. Julia certainly seems to be guilty of something--it's all but certain she bribed Kathleen Newberry and Rob Mason's story about her blackmailing him into killing her husband is sure convincing. Is she also responsible for Kathleen's impending watery death? It seems possible, though one has to wonder why Julia would go to the trouble of paying Kathleen off only to devise an elaborate way to kill her. We could have a while to wait to find out if Julia is behind Kathleen's predicament, and if Calleigh and Delko will reach her in time.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.