CSI: Miami--'Shattered'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 29, 2005 - 6:38 PM GMT

See Also: 'Shattered' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Horatio and Tripp stand over the body of Jay Fisher, a jeweler and suspected drug dealer who has been killed by three gunshot wounds. The men are surprised when drug dealer Johnny Nixon crashes through the skylight and falls on Fisher's body. The officers prepare to haul Johnny away, but he tries to bargain with them: he has info on a cop who has been buying pot from him: Eric Delko. Horatio is skeptical, but Nixon has Delko's number programmed into his cell phone. Back at the station, Johnny tells Tripp that he was upstairs and overheard an argument between Jay and someone else. He never saw the other person. Delko spots Johnny through the interrogation window and Horatio tells him what Johnny has accused him of. Delko admits its true but says there are extenuating circumstances. Just as Horatio cautions Delko not to talk to Internal Affairs, Rick Stetler comes around the corner demanding a urine sample. After he leaves, Delko tells Horatio he doesn't smoke pot.

At Jay Fisher's house, Alexx examines Jay's body while Calleigh collects casings, finding four rather than three. Alexx tells Calleigh what Johnny said about Delko, but neither woman believes Delko is guilty. Natalia Boa Vista, who lives a few blocks down from Jay, stops by the crime scene and ask Ryan if she can observe. She finds a crucial piece of evidence by stepping on it--a shard of glass, possibly from the getaway car. In the lab, Ryan gets the security etching number from the glass and traces it to a car belonging to Deana Walters. Tripp has Deana pulled over and she admits that she fought with Jay Prince--because she hadn't paid him he wanted to take back a gold grill she has on her upper teeth. They fought and she kneed him in the groin, but she claims there was no gun involved. Tripp is skeptical, especially when he finds a 9-millimeter gun--the kind that killed Jay Fisher--under the driver's seat of her car.

Back at the lab, Stetler interviews Calleigh and then Ryan while Delko gives a supervised urine sample. Calleigh tells the IAB officer that she has never seen Delko purchase or use marijuana, nor has she seen him with drug paraphernalia. Ryan answers in the negative to both questions, but hedges when the last one is asked, recalling seeing rolling papers in Delko's kit once. He tries to say he thought they were for tobacco, but Stetler isn't buying it. Calleigh is frustrated to find Jim Markham hasn't processed the bullets from the shooting and she's fed up with his blase attitude. She tells him she's having him transferred and reclaims the ballistics lab. After testing Deana's gun, Calleigh tells Ryan it's not the murder weapon. Johnny also tested negative for GSR, ruling him out as a murder suspect. Calleigh turns to Ryan's crime scene photos and is disturbed to see they're blurry. She sends him to Alexx, who looks in his eye and discovers that he has an infection in the eye that was shot with a nail gun only a few weeks ago. She prescribes an antibiotic for him but implores him to see an optometrist. Ryan is afraid if he loses his sight, he'll lose his job as a CSI as well.

Tripp and Calleigh take the crime lab dummy to Jay's house to determine where both he and the shooter were standing at the time of the murder. Calleigh recovers another bullet, this one from a .45, from the wall and determines that there were two guns and therefore two shooters. She sees the ground outside one of the windows is disturbed and takes prints, leading the CSIs to Duane "Bull" Merrick, a California resident the CSIs track to a local motel. Bull has cameras, maps and guns in his room, leading the CSIs to realize he's a bounty hunter. They bring him in and look at his surveillance photos. Calleigh determines that Bull's bullet, the .45, didn't kill Fisher. He must have shot first and the second man fired the two fatal shots afterwards. Calleigh is able to get an image from the photos of the second shooter. Horatio shows Bull the picture and asks him for the identity of the man, clearly the bounty hunter's target. Bull refuses to give up the man's name.

Delko's urine sample comes back positive for THC and Stetler has him relieved of duty. Horatio finally confronts Stetler, saying that he knows this about the two of them. Stetler tells Horatio that Horatio got the promotion to lieutenant that he wanted, and that his IA work is the only hope he has of being promoted. Ryan takes the profile picture of the second shooter to Dan Cooper in the AV lab and Dan begins a facial reconstruction and database search. Calleigh finds a wad of gum on Johnny's tracksuit from his fall and takes it to DNA. While Valera runs it, Natalia Boa Vista tells Ryan she remembers seeing a truck with California license plates parked outside her house. Valera gets a DNA hit: the second shooter is Byron Diller, a man wanted for a DUI that killed an entire family. Byron has several aliases and different mug shots--he's been getting plastic surgery to conceal his identity. Tripp thinks Byron might pay a visit to a plastic surgeon in town, a shady guy who does work out of his house. When Tripp and Horatio drop by the plastic surgeon's house, they hear gun shots and go to the back of the house to discover the surgeon shooting at two men escaping on a boat: Byron and Bull, who has obviously caught his quarry.

Bull takes Byron straight to booking, hoping to get the slip that will guarantee his payday. Horatio and Tripp cut him off before he turns Byron in. Byron is shocked to learn he's wanted for murder and tells them he ran off after the first shot and that he heard two more as he was fleeing. Natalia shows Ryan the place in front of her house where the truck was parked and he recovers a 9-millimeter gun from the bushes. The weapon has Bull's prints all over it--Bull shot Fisher to protect his paycheck. Horatio wants to know who tipped Bull off that Byron was at Fisher's house, and Bull names Johnny, making him an accomplice in the murder. Marisol Delko, Eric's sister, pays Horatio a visit to tell him the truth about the marijuana. Eric was buying it for her--she has been battling cancer for the last eight months and Eric has been paying for everything, sitting with her while she smokes pot for the pain, helping her eat and taking her everywhere she needs to go. Horatio promises her Delko won't get fired. He confronts Stetler and Monica West from the State's Attorney's office, who has come down to investigate the case. Horatio tells her the only evidence against Delko is the word of a drug dealer and the urine test, which Horatio says is from passive exposure. West drops the charges. Horatio tells Delko the good news, and Delko apologizes for not coming to him sooner and promises it won't happen again.

Analysis:

The biggest problem "Shattered" faces is trying to mix a personal story while still doing justice to the mystery at hand, and both end up short-changed: the former because it doesn't get enough focus and the latter because it simply isn't as interesting as the former. The culmination of Delko's money problems and shady dealings is only naturally going to be more gripping to the audience because it involves a main character. If there's any single failing all three CSI shows are guilty of, it's not putting enough faith into their characters. I know forensic science is the star, but that doesn't mean the people investigating the crimes week after week aren't of utmost interest to the audience. They are. I think that's why other criminal investigation shows that focus a little more on their characters, like Without a Trace, NCIS and Criminal Minds, are gaining on the CSI trio in the ratings.

After weeks of build-up, we have the answers about Delko but very little insight into the emotional turmoil he surely must have been going through. Adam Rodriguez does the best he can with what he's been given--subtly conveying Delko's sense of righteousness and the toll this has obviously been taking on him, but he's given little chance to do more other than apologize to Horatio. The man has been carrying this secret for months--taking care of his sister and doing something he knows is illegal in the best interests of a loved one, and yet we never really get to how it's affected him. He's dignified and apologetic with Horatio and defiant with Stetler, but we never get to see any of the feelings beneath his stoic demeanor.

I would have loved a scene between either Delko and Calleigh or Delko and Ryan. I think Calleigh is the most likely person for Delko to have confided in--given her warmth and their long-standing friendship, she's an obvious choice. It would have been great to see a scene between Ryan and Delko, too. Ryan didn't exactly sell him out--he was being honest--but given the fact that until a few weeks ago the two were at odds, it's entirely possible Delko saw it that way. Or does Delko realize Ryan was just being honest? There's no way to tell.

That Delko was buying marijuana for his sister isn't exactly a surprising revelation--after he ran into her at the hospital it pretty much all came together. While he's been late a few times, it's not like Delko has been wandering around crime scenes with red eyes or missing important clues. It's nice to see that aside from Ryan (who is still relatively new), none of Delko's teammates suspected for a minute that he was actually doing the drugs. It's refreshing to see smart characters actually acting smart (as opposed to jumping to conclusions right away), but it makes sense with this group: they're CSIs and are supposed to consider all the evidence.

But that doesn't mean that I buy Horatio being able to explain away Delko testing positive for THC. Horatio had no proof the exposure was secondary and I can't believe it's that easy to do away with a positive test. I could buy that the state's attorney would dismiss the drug dealer's claim, but not the positive test. Even if Delko's exposure was secondary (something Horatio can't prove), it still means he was a witness to something illegal that presumably he didn't report.

I could practically spot smoke coming out of Stetler's ears when the state's attorney decided not to prosecute Delko. Stetler, who sometimes is quite sympathetic, came across as little more than a cartoon villain in this episode, disappointingly so. And we find out the whole basis for Stetler's rivalry with Horatio is...the fact that Horatio was promoted over him? It's so...pat. What about Yelina? The simmering competition between Horatio and Stetler over Yelina during seasons two and three was much more interesting and credible. It seems as though the writers felt the need to give Stetler a new reason to nip at Horatio's heels, as if viewers may have forgotten Yelina? Not likely. It's much more believable that Stetler is ticked off with Horatio for spiriting her away.

The case itself isn't compelling enough to make the audience want to turn away from the investigation into Delko's possible drug use. The bounty hunter is a cardboard figure, never achieving the status of a worthy nemesis for Horatio. "Nailed" is a good example of an episode that blended a personal story and a case much better, most likely because the case itself was interesting enough to keep the audience involved even while they were concerned about Ryan's fate. I hope this isn't the last we hear of Delko's problems--it was wrapped up awfully neatly, and it would be nice if this wasn't the final word.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.