CSI: Miami--'Rio'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 19, 2006 - 6:42 PM GMT

See Also: 'Rio' Episode Guide


Horatio Caine and Eric Delko arrive in Rio de Janeiro with revenge on their mind, intent on hunting down Antonio Riaz, the killer of Horatio's wife and Eric's sister, Marisol. Riaz haughtily taunts Horatio as he's released by Brazilian authorities who aren't convinced by the Miami DA's case against him. Horatio pays a visit to Yelina Salas, his brother Ray's wife, fearing that Ray is embroiled with the drug lord. His fears are confirmed, and worse, he learns his nephew, Ray Jr., might also be involved. Calleigh is at charge back in the lab, and she and Dan Cooper identify a substance on Ray's shoe that leads Horatio and Delko into a rainforest in the heart of Rio. It's too late for Ray--he's found beaten and barely alive. Horatio stands by helplessly as his brother passes away, and he vows to protect his nephew. Yelina uses a GPS tracker on Ray Jr.'s watch to locate the boy, but he's with Riaz and the drug lord spirits him away before Horatio can stop him.

Back in Miami, Ryan reluctantly accompanies new CSI--and former mole--Natalia Boa Vista on a case. Fanny Silver lies dead in her house, and suspicion falls on her husband, Carl. Natalia assures Fanny's son, Scott, that the killer will be brought to justice. Scott is certain that Carl killed his mother, but the real culprit proves to be a painter who took Fanny's friendliness as flirting and assaulted her. Convinced Carl killed his mother, Scott fatally shoots him. Ryan is disgusted, convinced that Natalia is to blame for assuring the boy Carl would be punished. Calleigh is more forgiving, and even takes apart the boy's insanity plea.

When Horatio and Delko learn Ray Jr. and several other boys were spirited away by a woman, Horatio realizes his nephew is being used by Riaz as a drug mule. Yelina shows him latex gloves with the tips cut off in Ray's backpack, indicating he's carrying heroin pellets. Delko hunts Riaz down and takes him on. Just as it looks like the CSI is going to lose the fight, Horatio shows up and finishes Riaz, at last avenging Marisol's death. Hoping to find Ray Jr. in Miami, Horatio and Delko return to their home base with Yelina. They soon find the woman, Anna, and one of the boys, dead in a warehouse. Anna tells them the boy started to get sick and she called a man to help. The man killed the boy and took the drugs he was carrying from his body.

Epithelials from the phone the man abandoned lead the CSIs to Angel Delmonte, a known associate of Miami drug lord Diago Matos. Matos denies knowledge of the boys' whereabouts, but Horatio knows he's lying. Ray Jr. calls Yelina to tell her he's carrying the drugs to save his father, but he hangs up before she can tell him his father is dead. The other boy traveling with Ray Jr. turns up in the hospital, ill from the drugs in his body, and he gives up the location of Ray Jr. and Matos's scheduled meet. Horatio interrupts a tense showdown between the two. He gets Ray Jr. to drop his gun, but Matos fires off a shot and Horatio fires at him, killing the drug lord. Horatio reluctantly bids farewell to Yelina and Ray Jr., but not before reminding Yelina they have family in Miami.


That Miami's fifth season opens firing on all cylinders should surprise no one at this point. Since the third season, the show has been moving from a straightforward procedural to a bona fide action adventure show, and one has to wonder if it's the thrills that have made it the number one show in the world, trumping even the first CSI incarnation.

Viewers who tune into Miami for excitement got plenty of it in "Rio." Horatio got to take down not one but two drug lords; one would think the bad guys would know better than to try to fake Horatio out by pretending to be down for the count and then attacking. Of course, their actions justify Horatio's, and he doesn't seem to upset about having to finish them off. Horatio's heroism is part of the fun of his character, and it's always satisfying to see him bag the bad guys.

Less satisfying is the way Raymond Caine is dispatched. His final moments and Horatio's reaction are pitch perfect; David Caruso's delivery of Horatio's final line to Raymond--"I love you"--is particularly moving. But we're never quite sure why Ray got involved with Riaz, other than that he seems to gravitate towards trouble. It might have been nice to have more of an explanation as to why Ray squandered his second chance in Brazil.

Also puzzling is Yelina's passivity in the face of Ray's behavior and her son's involvement in the drug world. I suppose after the third season turned Yelina's character into something of a limpid victim it fits that she's fallen back into that role with Ray, but I still miss the Yelina of old, the one who boldly confronted Horatio about their mutual feelings in "Blood Brothers". We've seen her be weak with men with both Stetler and Ray, but one would hope she would have stepped up where her son was involved. It's always great to see Sofia Milos and her chemistry with Horatio is definitely still there, but it was by no means a glorious return for her character.

Ray Jr. has grown from surly adolescent to surly teen and is no more charming than he was in the show's third season. Why Riaz would go through the elaborate motions of having Ray Jr. be a drug runner for him rather than just killing him isn't clear. Riaz wants to get to Horatio, but he doesn't seem the sophisticated sort by any means; his methods in the past (murdering Marisol and Ray) have been much more direct. Indeed, the story would have been more interesting if we'd seen more of Riaz, more of what makes him tick. He could have been a much more interesting nemesis than he was.

One thing no one can fault Miami for is not using its setting to the fullest. There are some truly glorious, beautiful shots of Brazil, most notably the ones of Horatio on top of the mountain and the shots of the busy city streets of Rio de Janeiro. Miami has always utilized vivid colors particularly well, and that's certainly the case in this episode. Some of the shots are simply breathtaking.

Life is good back at the lab as well, and it's a treat to see Calleigh in charge. This episode makes it clear she could easily run her own lab, and she shows both fortitude and judiciousness in her actions. Unlike Ryan, she can't indulge any personal irritation she might have towards Natalia Boa Vista; she's remarkably professional towards the woman who betrayed the lab last season. Emily Procter is particularly good in this episode, showing off both Calleigh's shrewd intelligence and wisdom, and proving she's every bit this show's leading lady.

We're never given an explanation as to why Natalia decided to become a CSI (other than to give her more screen time, presumably), but she's certainly not having an easy time of it. I appreciated Ryan's unease with her presence and downright distrust and disdain of her. In many ways, he's the voice of the viewers, many of whom have a strong dislike of the woman who betrayed the lab. She doesn't do much to redeem herself in this episode; indeed, she makes a critical mistake when she sympathizes with Scott's rage towards his stepfather. Though it might be a while before she becomes a sympathetic character (if ever), but the conflict is interesting to watch.

Both La Rue and Rex Linn have become series regulars this year, and certainly in the case of the latter it's a long deserved move. Though Frank Tripp doesn't have much to do in this episode, his presence on screen is always a delight, and he adds an authentic grit to the show. Hopefully we'll be seeing more of Frank this season.

It will be interesting to see where this year takes Miami. The show is facing tough competition from timeslot rival Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and though Miami came out solidly on top last night, it remains to be seen whether Studio 60 will build a loyal audience or falter in the face of the competition. The preview for the second episode revealed that it will center around a gang which is sure to deliver plenty of action, but I hope the show does get away from gangs and drug warfare a little bit. After a while, the evil drug lords and menacing gang members all start to blend into one another.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.