CSI: Miami--'Seeing Red'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 22, 2009 - 11:45 PM GMT

See Also: 'Seeing Red' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Russian mob leader Ivan Sarnoff starts to eat his lunch and is soon coughing up blood. He's taken in an ambulance to the hospital, but on the way there, a car and an SUV cut off the ambulance and force it on to a set of train tracks--right in the path of an oncoming train. The train strikes the vehicle, sending it spiraling. In the melee, Sarnoff grabs a gun and flees--firing at both the police car that has arrived and the people in the two cars that cut off the ambulance. Sarnoff escapes, and Horatio arrives just in time to see Officer Jeff Harris, the man guarding Sarnoff, die at the scene. Horatio confronts Gregor Kasparov, Ivan's number two, but the man claims he wasn't involved and that he's been behind the bar all day long. Yelina Salas, undercover as an assassin for Kasparov, backs him up--and throws a drink at Horatio, prompting him to have her arrested for show in front of Kasparov. In the privacy of the interrogation room, Yelina tells Horatio that the Russians just lost a shipment of guns to federal agents. Sarnoff was the one who set up the deal with the guns from jail. Concerned for Yelina's safety, Horatio gives her a GPS tracker with a panic button. Calleigh and Delko have identified the owner of the silver BMW: Anthony Green. Green tells the CSIs that he was carjacked the afternoon before and insists that he had nothing to do with the attack on the ambulance that morning. Though the primary VIN number has been scratched off of the SUV, Ryan locates a secondary VIN number on it and links the car to a Jacob Yarovski. Yarovski tells the CSIs that Sarnoff bungled the gun deal and the Russians decided to eliminate him. They used rat poison to draw him out of the jail with the intention of killing him publicly to make an example of him.

Calleigh continues to examine the images recorded at the scene during the attack on the ambulance and finds a disturbing one: Delko's father, Alexander Sharova, behind the wheel of Anthony Green's car at the scene. Calleigh confronts Delko, who defends his father and insists he wasn't involved. Calleigh warns him not to talk to his father, and urges him not to cross the line. Yelina meets Kasparov in the Everglades and finds his associate digging a shallow grave. Kasparov tells her to make sure Sarnoff ends up in that grave--or else she will. Sarnoff abducts a doctor named Sarah Fordham and forces her to treat him. After he lets her go, she tells the CSIs that he won't survive the rat poisoning without real treatment. She gives them the bandages he left behind and Ryan recognizes the logo of Sarnoff's boxing club on them. Horatio and Ryan pay Peter Morenko, who is running the club now, a visit, and he offers to set up a meeting between Horatio and Sarnoff. Horatio meets with Sarnoff, who tells him they have a common enemy in Kasparov and offers his help in bringing the man down. Horatio wants Sarnoff to go back to jail to pay for the death of Officer Harris. Sarnoff refuses and runs off before Horatio can catch him. Delko meets up with his father at a pier and asks him about the attack on the ambulance. Sherova admits he was there but claims he was forced to be. Delko urges him to get out while he has the chance, but Sherova insists that he would be killed if he left.

Calleigh receives an anonymous tip about Green's car and the team brings the vehicle in. She's suspicious Delko may have had something to do with it, and warns him that if he did, he's an accessory. Delko deflects her questions and Calleigh goes to help Ryan search the car. The two find an ATM receipt from Green's account from the day of the ambulance attack, which contradicts Green's story that his car was stolen the day before. Tripp and Horatio confront the man about the discrepancy, but Horatio is distracted by a call from Yelina, who tells him the Russians are attempting a gun heist in Biscayne. When Ryan arrives at the location, there's nothing there; Yelina was given bad information to divert the team from the real target--the MDPD. The Russians are trying to steal their guns back. Calleigh and Ryan rush to the warehouse and enter a shootout. Calleigh is shocked when she fires at a car and catches sight of Delko driving it, with his father in the passenger seat. The panic device Horatio gave Yelina sends out an alert, sending Horatio to Kasparov's bar. He finds the Russian dying, and Kasparov tells him Sarnoff beat him--and took Yelina. Horatio leaves Kasparov with a gun to finish himself off and pursues Sarnoff and Yelina, chasing them in a parking garage. He manages to head them off, shooting Sarnoff and rescuing Yelina. The team finds Sherova in the Everglades, slumped over his car, but Delko is nowhere to be found. Sherova doesn't remember what happened, but he knows the blood on his clothes isn't his. Horrified that she may have shot Delko, Calleigh stumbles off, telling Horatio that she can't lose Delko.

Analysis:

The action-packed "Seeing Red" moves at a brisk pace--but would we expect anything else from Miami? The show thrives on action, but even though this entry has its share of over-the-top moments, it's never less than entertaining. I admit, I had high hopes for Sarnoff, especially after his meeting with Horatio. He had the chance to rise above the typical Miami villain: Andrew Divoff always gave layered performances as the Russian mob leader, and his willingness to work with Horatio--at least until the CSI wanted to send him back to jail--suggested a crafty shrewdness that made him interesting. Alas, instead, he inexplicably tries to abduct Yelina Salas and ends up getting gunned down by Horatio, presumably fatally. It's too bad the character was never explored in any more depth; the problem most of Horatio's enemies have is that they're too cardboard, and too easily finished off in the end. What did Sarnoff want with Yelina anyway? Are we to presume he knew she was a PI, and connected with Horatio, or was he just trying to make Kasparov's death more agonizing? There's no real obvious reason for him to take her--other than to give Horatio a pressing reason to kill him.

Yelina herself is such a cardboard, passive character it almost defies belief. She cowers in a corner as Sarnoff kills Kasparov not, apparently, seizing the chance to run away while the mobster is focused on beating and killing his number two. Then she does nothing when he forces her into the car and then out of it again--even though she knows Horatio is close, and perhaps could by him some time if she distracted Sarnoff or fought back. It's nothing new for the character--in season three she covered up for Stetler when he was hitting her, and in "10/7" she allowed Horatio to send her off with his brother Ray, the husband who had essentially abandoned her, despite the fact that she and Horatio had developed feelings for each other. It's hard to buy her as a former detective or current private investigator because she's such a wimp! It's hard to look at her as a character at all; she's more like a chess piece for Horatio to use when needed--or to be used against him by his enemies. It's a shame because the character didn't start out that way; back in seasons one and two she had a real spark with Horatio, and seemed to be a truly dynamic woman--and a potential romantic partner for Horatio. Season three turned her into a victim, and she's been on a downward spiral ever since.

Thank goodness Calleigh isn't cut from the same cloth. She's on the offensive here, afraid that Delko is going to make a mistake that could cost him his career--or potentially his life. It's the first test of their new romantic relationship, and Calleigh shows that her faith in him isn't easily shaken, even as she fears he's making a grave mistake. Delko isn't able to give up on his newly discovered father: he meets up with him to do expressly what Calleigh told him not to do--share their findings--and then he tracks him to the warehouse and gets him out just as the police arrive. Did one of Calleigh's bullets actually strike Eric? I doubt it, but if she did, the consequences could definitely put a wedge in their relationship. Even if Delko didn't blame her--and he probably wouldn't--Calleigh would certainly blame herself. Emily Procter does great work here, conveying Calleigh's devastation over first realizing she's shot at Eric and then learning he's missing with a very sympathetic sense of horror. When Calleigh tells Horatio she can't lose Delko, we believe her.

What has happened to Delko? If he wandered off in search of medical aid, it's likely the team would have found him quickly. It doesn't seem that Delko would have willingly abandoned his father at any rate. Was he taken by the Russians? Could he even perhaps be in that shallow grave Kasparov's associate was digging? Delko's fate is definitely the episode's cliffhanger, though there are other unanswered questions that the episode leaves as well, most notably the involvement of Anthony Green, played by former 90210, and more recently Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, star Brian Austin Green. The team links him to the car, invalidating his carjacking story, but Horatio is interrupted by Yelina's call before we get the full story. Is there more to it? Sherova does tell Delko that he wasn't at the scene willingly, so perhaps he was forced there by Green. But to what end? Hopefully this will be answered next season.

I was grateful that one of the Russians explained the reasoning behind the elaborate plot to kill Sarnoff as opposed to just poisoning him in jail and being done with it. Their plan was more than a little over-the-top and clearly allowed for error, since Sarnoff escaped, but at least the Russians had a method to their madness. And certainly forcing an ambulance into the path of an oncoming train makes more of a statement than just poisoning the guy in jail and letting him expire in the cafeteria. The outlandish plan does give Horatio a somber moment with the dying guard, whom the CSI comforts as he dies. Horatio goes so far as to kiss the man's head after he passes away, an incredibly sweet gesture from a character that has become very remote in the last few seasons.

I couldn't help but notice Megalyn Echikunwoke's absence from the opening credits this week. I was curious as to what the fate of Dr. Price would be after she was arrested at the end of "Dissolved", and it would seem her removal from the opening credits is the answer. Much as it was clear that Tara definitely crossed the line over the course of the season by stealing drugs from the personal effects of victims in the morgue, using on the job and even trying to frame someone else for the theft, I'm still surprised and a little disappointed to see her apparently gone for good. Khandi Alexander left some big shoes to fill when she departed towards the end of the show's sixth season, and while I can't say that Dr. Price ever really filled them, Echikunwoke is a talented actress, and given more time and material, I think she could have done much more with the role. From a creative perspective, I loved the storyline of Tara's fall from grace and think it's truly one of the more daring and interesting things the show has done, but I can't help but be sorry that it ended her run on the show. I wonder who will take her place in season eight.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.