'Rap Sheet'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 12, 2004 - 9:53 PM GMT

See Also: 'Rap Sheet' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

10-Large, a rapper, takes the stage at a Miami club. He performs as the crowd dances. Suddenly, the sound of gunshots are heard, and 10-Large goes down. His body guards rush around him, save for one, who's been hit.

The CSIs arrive on the scene. Alexx examines the body of 10-Large's guard, whose name was Billy. She believes his death was an accident and that the shooter was trying to hit 10-Large, who took a gunshot to the shoulder. Horatio questions 10-Large, but he's belligerant and rejects Horatio's offer of help.

Calleigh and Delko examine two video recordings of the concert in the hopes of getting the location of the shooter. When they notice a concertgoer snapping pictures with a camera phone, they confiscate all of the camera phones hoping for a significant find. Speedle notices a man glowering at the stage in a photo.

The man is Thug G, a rival of 10-Large who believes 10-Large has ripped off some of his songs. Horatio notes that the shooter was familiar with the rap song, since the shooter's firing coincided with gunshots in the song. Thug G is definant, until Horatio notes that 10-Large has a restraining order against him, and he's in violation of it.

Calleigh tests Thug G's gun, but it's not a match for the bullets from the club. The bullet that killed Billy, however, went through Billy and into 10-Large's shoulder, which is where it still is. Horatio goes to talk to 10-Large to convince him to turn over the bullet, and he finds 10-Large rapping with some of his friends on a patio at a restaurant. 10-Large refuses to give up the bullet, and Horatio turns to leave. As he does, he spots a black car driving towards them, window rolling down. Horatio dives and knocks 10-Large down as shots are fired from the car. Horatio jumps up, gun drawn, but the car is already turning the corner. He turns to 10-Large and requests the bullet again.

Alexx is examining Billy's body when she hears an odd knocking sound. She approaches the morgue storage cabinets and opens one up, pulling out the body of a young woman, Veronica Grant. She starts to examine her and is shocked when Veronica's eyes pop open! Alexx questions an EMT, who tells her that Veronica was pronounced dead at the scene of a car accident.

Delko and Speedle head to the scene to examine Veronica's car. They determine that Veronica suffered from hypothermia from exposure which mimicked death. They examine her car, and are surprised to find blood on the passanger side, and a severed toe nail. The men look up to discover the body of a young blonde woman, Nicole, who was thrown from the car and impaled on the tree above the car.

10-Large's personal doctor removed the bullet from his shoulder. Horatio asks 10-Large about Pimp Hop, his rival, and if he might have been the one who tried to kill him, but 10-Large tells him that Pimp Hop is on tour in Japan. 10-Large leaves and on his way out runs into Thug G. The two exchange words and look like they're about to fight. Horatio tells 10-Large to leave.

Calleigh, Detective Tripp, and Horatio reenact the shooting, and determine that the shooter had to be backstage. He would have had a clear shot at 10-Large, so why was Billy hit? Because Billy was the target, Horatio realizes.

Alexx examines Nicole and determines that she was dead before she hit the tree. She notes curvy puncture wounds on her body; she was stabbed. Veronica tells Speedle and Delko that Nicole was her girlfriend. Veronica's skin was found under Nicole's nails, but she swears she'd never have hurt Nicole. Speedle and Delko visit the women's house, where they see signs of a struggle--a broken wine bottle and a corkscrew, which was used to kill Nicole.

Horatio, curious about Billy's pricey watch, goes to the security firm he worked for and talks to the supervisor, Mr. Bingham. Horatio finds it curious that Billy had just been put on 10-Large's team the day he was killed. This leads Horatio to Billy's former employer, Dan Dakota, a sportscaster. Dan tells Horatio he gave Billy the watch, but admits that he fired Billy because Billy got drunk and used his car one night without permission. Horatio finds blood and brain matter on the front fender.

Speedle and Delko discover a small bit of a green label on the edge of the wine bottle Nicole used to defend herself. It is similar to the label from Veronica's gym shirt, but hers is untorn and her skin in the corresponding area unscratched. Veronica tells the men that her ex-boyfriend may have had wanted to hurt her or Nicole. When they question him, he's arrogant and dismissive, but they manage to get his shirt and a towel with his sweat on it.

The hit and run with Dakota's car corresponds with a victim: 18-year-old Trevor Lees. Horatio is sure he can match Trevor's death with Billy's joyride. Meanwhile, Speedle and Delko have luck as well: the label scrap matches Nicole's ex-boyfriend's shirt, and his blood is a match for the blood on the wine bottle. Delko tells Veronica that Nicole was still alive when she came home, and that Veronica must have tried to take her to the hospital. Nicole died on the way, and Veronica crashed the car. Veronica tells him she hopes she never regains her own memories of that night.

Horatio's case takes an interesting twist. Billy's shooter is identified as Craig Waters, a man with a long record, who just happens to be Dan Dakota's new bodyguard. Horatio wonders why the clues keep leading back to Dakota, and he receives his answer when the car company reveals a call logged when the car's system set off a safety trigger after hitting Trevor. The call went through to the driver: Dan, not Billy. Billy realized what happened and was going to turn Dan in, so Dan had him killed by Craig. "Too bad you can't get Craig to do your time," Horatio says to Dan.

Analysis:

A thoroughly enjoyable episode, despite some rather far-fetched plotting. Seeing what Alexx thought was a dead body come back to life was pretty surprising, and it was explained reasonably enough to be believable. But the already-dead body of Nicole getting impaled on the tree and not noticed at first? That's pretty shocking as well. Still, the story was so entertaining it didn't really matter. And the end of that plot, when Veronica told Delko she hoped she never got her memory back, was quite moving. No one would want to remember what she went through that night.

The A-plot has equally far-fetched elements. What ever happened to that black car? Who were the men shooting at 10-Large? Are we to believe getting shot at is just business as usual for a rapper? Even if that were true, wouldn't Horatio follow up? Though it's possible he was so disgusted by 10-Large's insolent attitude and repeated refusals of Horatio's offers to help that perhaps he just threw up his hands in disgust.

Another quibble: the CSI shots are getting more detailed. These guys can figure out how someone was stabbed or where a shooter stood, but why is dialogue being included? Did Dan Dakota really tell Horatio that Billy gave him 48 hours to turn himself in when he stumbled drunk out of his SUV after killing Trevor? There's no way the CSIs would know that at that point; Dan would have to give a confession first. A minor nitpick, perhaps, but one that nicks away at the credibility of the show.

All these complaints might make the episode sound like a poor one, but it wasn't. Miami has a slickness that its predecessor lacks; the characters toss off witty comebacks to suspects and witnesses and make it work. Both stories were compelling in this episode; the A-story had a unexpected resolution, while the B-story had an emotional one. Per usual, David Caruso turned in a compelling performance; he delivers his lines with such a smarmy gusto that it's impossible not to like him. It's as if he's laughing derisively at the suspects for daring to think they could get away with murder. With Horatio on the case, the scorn is not misplaced.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer for Trek Nation and CSI Files.