CSI: Miami--'Sex And Taxes'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at April 12, 2005 - 7:05 PM GMT

See Also: 'Sex And Taxes' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Two men exchange gunfire, one on a boat, the other on the marina. It doesn't end well for the one on the boat. The man on the marina, Jason Whitely, claims it was self-defense--the man was trying to steal his boat and shot at him first. Jason shows Horatio a wound he claims came from the other man's gun. But no gun is found on board and when Horatio looks at the papers the man was carrying he realizes the victim, Kevin Renfro, was an IRS agent with orders to seize Jason's boat. The evidence closes in on Jason quickly: Melissa Boone, another IRS agent, informs Horatio that Jason owed sixty thousand dollars in taxes. Delko retrieves the IRS man's gun, which Ryan rushes to Horatio. It turns out to be a key gun--a device which can be used to create keys quickly. Horatio examines Jason's wound and sees powder burns--he was shot at close range. Jason shot himself after killing Kevin. Jason finally relents, angrily lamenting that the IRS was taking his life, piece by piece.

As soon as Horatio closes the case, Frank Tripp calls him to another one: Simon Bremmer, also an IRS agent, lies dead in his car, with two gun shot wounds to the chest. Ryan notices half a blood drop, indicating something was taken from the car, and also a blood trail leading to the car, suggesting Simon was shot away from the vehicle. Calleigh retrieves a 9 millimeter casing and tells Ryan to consult with Delko about the tire treads near the car. Ryan hits the books himself, avoiding Delko, who is irritated that Ryan took the evidence he found to Horatio without him. Delko sees what Ryan is doing and says the treads look like those of a Rolls Royce. Calleigh doesn't have much luck with the bullet--it shattered inside his body. But Alexx notices Mees' lines on Simon's nails: he was being poisoned.

Calleigh and Ryan go to Simon's office and collect his desk items. Ryan looks at the list of potentially dangerous clients and comes up with Russell Edge, who happens to own a Rolls Royce and a 9 millimeter gun. Tripp pays Russell a visit at his house and finds it totally cleaned out. Edge claims to be hiding his assets from his ex-wife Molly. Tripp talks to Molly who offers to turn over copies of Russell's old business files. Calleigh has discovered that Simon was being poisoned with thallium, and Ryan sullenly asks her if she was going to tell him. She's heard about the incident with Delko and he asks her if he should apologize. The CSIs spray Simon's office supplies and find thalium all over everything. Ryan takes the shreddings from Simon's office and gives them to Delko to process as a peace offering. Delko discovers a shredded check for five thousand dollars with a print on it: it belongs to Melissa Boone. Delko confronts Melissa, who admits she shredded some of Simon's checks to slow him down, but denies poisoning or shooting him. Delko spots Mees' lines on her nails and realizes she was poisoned when she was in Simon's office.

Calleigh has another lead: the poison was specifically thallium phosphate, or insecticide. One of Simon's potentially dangerous cases involved Carl Dawson, who owns a nursery that was recently seized by the IRS. Horatio and Tripp head to the nursery where they discover Carl and his two sons, Seth and Timothy, taking things from the confiscated property. Dawson isn't sorry to learn Simon is dead--he says the IRS made a clerical error with his wife's life insurance policy and that he's been paying for their mistake ever since. Dawson's older son, fifteen-year-old Seth, admits to poisoning the IRS caseworker when he delivered his father's checks to Simon.

Accountant Ian Sutter shows Calleigh Russell Edge's assets and they discover a warehouse in the name of one of his deceased racing horses. Calleigh and Ryan find all of Edge's valuables, including a gun cabinet with a 9 millimeter inside. The Rolls isn't present, and when they confront Edge, he denies involvement. Ian locates the rented parking space where the Rolls is being stored and Ryan and Calleigh seize the car. They find semen in the backseat, which turns out to match Simon Brewer. It turns out Russell's wife Molly found out where he was stashing the Rolls and stole it from him. When Simon caught her with it, the two had a tryst in the back seat in exchange for him letting her keep the car. She claims she left him alive.

The CSIs go back to the car and find a bit of mucus on the window of the Rolls. The DNA results reveal the donor is male. When Tripp discovers Simon's briefcase in Dawson's truck, Horatio has Dawson and his sons swabbed. The results reveal that the mucus is from Timothy, Dawson's youngest son. Seth confesses that he and Timothy followed Simon intending to confront him. Seth claims he shot the IRS worker, but Dawson interrupts saying that he shot him. Timothy then confesses: he shot Simon when he and Seth went to confront him. Dawson is distraught. Horatio confronts Melissa Boone and demands she fix the clerical error that cost Dawson and his family so much. She does and Dawson's business is returned to him. Horatio promises to help his sons.

Analysis:

The writers over at CSI: Miami sure do have a healthy sense of humor. An episode featuring the deaths of not one but two IRS workers? That alone is worth a chuckle. That it airs the week many Americans are laboring over tax forms and writing checks to the IRS is a bonus.

The first case wraps surprisingly quickly. It's rare instance where the first person who looks guilty is indeed guilty. Jason Whitely hems and haws and even has an conveniently strange wound from a key gun. I have to admit, when I saw his strange wound I thought for sure he was lying about being shot since it didn't look like a gun shot at all. He wasn't lying about that, even if he did the shooting himself. As soon as the case wrapped (in the first act no less!) there's another dead IRS man demanding attention.

As simple as the first case was, the second more than makes up for it in complications. The murder of Simon Bremmer brings with it a wealth of suspects. Though the IRS jokes are kept to a minimum, the implications are clear: no one liked this guy. Even his own colleague was trying to sabotage him! For a while it feels like the CSIs are going in circles, bouncing from one suspect to another and then back again, and then back again, but the ultimate resolution takes the cake, with each Dawson piping up that he's the culprit. It figures it ends up being the youngest boy, who couldn't be more than six or seven.

Willie Garson, who delighted Sex and the City fans as Stanford Blatch, takes a memorable turn as an accountant who helps the CSIs out in this episode. His scene with Calleigh and Ryan is priceless: he makes nice to Calleigh, who in turn is kind to him, but when Ryan gets huffy with him, he treats the CSI to a scathing but brief glare. Let's hope the Miami team will require his services again.

What is with the bitchy boys of the CSI spin-offs? Over on the original CSI, Catherine and Sara jockey for the position of most mercurial, but on the spin-offs it's the attack of the emotional men. Danny takes the cake on CSI: New York, but Miami has remained relatively conflict-free, with easy-going but tough characters who all get along pretty well for the most part. I guess someone decided that needed shaking up, so enter Darth Ryan. What happened to the sweet, mild-mannered patrolman who joined the team at the beginning of the season and quietly proved he was a competent, thoughtful CSI? The one who used to get sad over dead bodies and went to rescue his elderly uncle from a tsunami.

From what I hear, that Ryan is gone, starting with this episode. First, he can't even help Delko out of the ocean before he races off to take credit for the piece of evidence Delko found. One would hope Horatio would be smart enough to put it together that if the evidence was found underwater, it was Delko who retrieved it, but he makes no note of it when he praises Ryan for his "nice work." Poor Delko--first the writers forget him, and now Horatio. To make matters worse, when Ryan comes to apologize to him (sort of), Ryan gives him the Worst Job Ever--sifting through paper shreddings from Bremmer's office. Oh, I guess dumpster duty would have been worse, but shreddings are pretty bad. Poor Delko--it doesn't look like things get any better for him in the next episode.

So now we have snarky Ryan. He's even suspicious of Calleigh, who has essentially been his mentor since he joined the CSI team. He's certainly worked more with her than he has with Horatio. But he immediately gets huffy with her when he thinks she's not including him on a development with the case even though he's essentially done his best to exclude Delko from the case. Calleigh picks up on his suspicious behavior right away and later on half-jokingly refuses to share her findings with him for fear he might run off to Horatio with them.

So is Ryan just trying to play teacher's pet or is something more sinister going on? My vote is for the latter, given that Ryan glowers at both Calleigh and Delko throughout most of the episode. Given that he's done such a good job making Ryan a sympathetic character since he's joined the show, it's a little disconcerting to see Jonathan Togo acting so surly, but it does give him a chance to showcase his range. And I can't help but look forward to seeing a little conflict brought in. The team has all but ignored Speed's death, which seems to have caused them to all withdraw from each other. Calleigh and Delko must still be close since he confided in her about Ryan, but it seems to be all off screen. Horatio is fairly isolated from his team. Is he the same guy who used to intuit if someone was having a bad reaction to a case? I hope if Ryan does bring strife to the team, it will ultimately serve to bring them closer together. Either way, I can't wait to see where it's headed, and why the boy wonder is starting to lean towards the dark side.

Next week: Delko makes a mistake that has huge ramifications while Horatio learns some startling news about his brother.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.