CSI: Miami--'Shootout'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 4, 2005 - 10:12 PM GMT

See Also: 'Shootout' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A gravely injured woman, Betty Rockman, is brought into the emergency room of Dade Memorial hospital. She's put on a bed next to Calvin Joyner, who is calling for a nurse. Suddenly, another man, Hector del Rio, enters the ER and begins firing at Calvin. Calvin returns fire as people around them scream.

The shootout leaves both men dead. Alexx examines Calvin and determines that he was killed by a shot to the head. Yelina notes a tattoo on Hector's neck, "ESH," which Horatio recognizes as shorthand for the gang East Side Hermanos. When Calleigh arrives at the hospital, Horatio warns her that the scene is already compromised and advises her to work quickly. Across the ER, Ryan notices a woman, Pamela Warren, holding a crying baby. When he approaches her, he notices blood on her sweater, which she claims is from Hector, who was standing next to her. Ryan also spies bruising under the baby's eye and calls for a doctor.

Yelina has IDs on the men and also tells Horatio that Calvin was a member of a rival gang, the Ten-Trays. Alexx finds a cell phone in Hector's pocket, and Horatio decides to dial the last number on it, which is the number of the person who likely alerted Hector that Calvin was at the hospital. When he hits redial, the phone of the orderly, Ramon Morales, begins ringing. Ramone tries to run, but Horatio chases him and cuts off his escape. Back at the police station, Horatio learns that Frank Tripp is familiar with Ramon, who he has arrested on several previous occasions. Ramon alleges that Calvin killed a member of the East Side Hermanos, Palmero, a leader in their gang and that Calvin's murder was revenge for that killing.

Back at the hospital, Ryan and the doctor are examining Pamela's baby, Bethany. Ryan notices petechiae in the baby's eyes, indicating someone may have tried to smother her. Ryan asks the doctor to perform a complete physical on the baby.

In the morgue, Alexx discovers a recent gunshot wound that Calvin never sought medical attention for. She gives the bullet to Calleigh, who then heads to the ER to reconstruct the scene with Delko. Using lasers, they determine that the bullet that killed Calvin came not from Hector's gun but from that of another shooter, who escaped. Outside of the hospital, Eric finds a fancy piece of metal from a tire dub from what he believes was the third shooter's getaway car and traces it to an upscale shop run by one Eddie Davids. Under pressure from Delko, he finally gives up the name of one of his clients: Jesse Nevado, who bought a tire augment like the one Eric is looking for. Nevado claims to have been at the hospital the night before dropping off an under-aged girl. But Calleigh obtains a videotape from a man who was filming his baby's delivery at the time of the shootout that proves otherwise: the squeal of tires can clearly be heard in the aftermath of the shooting. The CSIs examine the car, and Delko finds sunflower seeds still wet from being spit out under the passenger seat and also a hidden safe, which contains a gun.

Pamela is being detained in a holding cell, and Ryan questions her about fibers found in Bethany's mouth. Pamela claims they were from her sweater--she held the baby to her chest to protect her when the gunfire started. Ryan checks out her story, but the fibers from her sweater don't match those from the baby's mouth.

Valera gets the DNA of one Rico Dominguez off of the sunflower seeds from the car. Horatio questions Rico, but it's not long before the man nonchalantly confesses. He's enraged over the lack of police interest in Palmero's death, which was dismissed as a drive-by shooting. Horatio decides to right that wrong.

Ryan accuses Pamela of trying to suffocate Bethany with her blanket, but Pamela staunchly denies this and asks to see the baby. Ryan deflects her request and asks to bandage a bleeding wound on her knee from the commotion in the hospital. He takes a small sample of her blood before dressing the wound.

Calleigh traces the bullet from the wound that Calvin neglected to a gun owned by the orderly, Ramon. Horatio confronts Ramon, who shot Calvin thinking that that Calvin had killed Palmero. When Horatio tells Ramon that Calvin was in jail the night Palmero was killed and couldn't have shot the man, Ramon is unconcerned. He believes the gangs are even, but Horatio wants to find the real killer. Tripp fills him in on the details from the case: Palmero's wife, Ana, was beaten in their bedroom, and his young daughter, Carmen, witnessed the shooting of her father. When Horatio and Tripp go to Ana's house, Jesse Nevado answers the door. He's "stepped up" and is now with Ana.

Horatio asks Ana about her husband's gun, and she turns it over. He spots Carmen playing in the backyard and asks about her father's killer--all she remembers is that she saw fire. Back at CSI, Calleigh fires the gun and matches it to the bullet that killed Palmero. But why would Ana give them the murder weapon, especially when no gun was found at the house the night of the shooting? Ana won't talk and neither with Jesse.

Valera has a surprise for Ryan: DNA proves Pamela isn't Bethany's mother. Ryan confronts Pamela, who admits she's Bethany's nanny. She tells Ryan that Bethany's parents, the Seabornes, neglected her, handing her from nanny to nanny, and Pamela wanted to rescue her. She put the blanket over her mouth when sneaking her out of the Seabornes' house. Ryan tells her that she's lucky Bethany is healthy and wasn't harmed in the process.

Looking at pictures of the crime scene at Palmero's house, Horatio focuses on an indentation made in the bedpost. He says Ana was probably hit with an object. Eric takes a mold of the mark and matches it to a unique belt, one worn by none other than Eddie Davids. Horatio pieces it together: Eddie and Ana were fooling around and he fled when Palmero returned home but left his belt behind. Palmero used it to beat Ana when he realized she'd been unfaithful, but Eddie accosted him on the porch and killed him. And the fire that Carmen saw? Horatio tells Eddie to lift his shirt, revealing a tattoo on his chest of a burning fire.

Outside the labs, Ryan hands Bethany to Mrs. Seaborne, who quickly passes her to a nanny. She's on her cell phone before she even gets behind the wheel of her car. Disturbed, Ryan calls Horatio and together they release Pamela. She thanks Ryan, but he tells her he knows she was trying to help Bethany. Ryan turns to Horatio; he feels bad for Bethany, trapped in an uncaring family.

Analysis:

Both entertaining and a tad convoluted, "Shootout" typifies third season Miami. More often than not, this year Miami frequently features chase scenes, busts or even shootouts (as in "Lost Son" and "Pro Per"). It makes for exciting viewing, and, as I've said before, sets Miami apart from its more staid siblings.

"Shootout" puts the CSIs in the middle of a gang war and though at times it's a bit hard to keep all of the players straight, it's a wild and enjoyable yarn. The irony that the killing that set the events of the episode in motion ends up not being gang-related at all isn't lost on the viewer. Palmero's shooting is assumed to be the act of a rival gang member by those in his own gang, though, and it is the retaliation (the shooting of Calvin in the hospital) that ultimately catches Horatio's eye. It's here where it gets a tad convoluted: Palmero's shooting sets off the shooting of Calvin, which also results in the death of his would-be shooter, Hector, who is backed up by Rico who jumped in a getaway car driven by Jesse, who is currently shacking up with Palmero's wife, Ana. And they were all called to action by Ramon, who is responsible for Calvin's initial gun wound. There are a few too many players the story perhaps could have been simplified a tad by having Ramon be the third gunman in the hospital.

It's fun to see Calleigh and Eric use the lasers to trace the bullet trajectory and come to the conclusion that there was a third shooter in the hospital, but the CSI flashbacks make it pretty clear about ten minutes before Calleigh and Eric realize it. In the flashbacks, Hector fires at Calvin and Calvin returns fire. Hector goes down, but Calvin is at this point not sporting a fatal head wound at this point. Perhaps the writers should have cut those flashbacks or had Calleigh immediately suspect a third shooter to smooth that out a bit.

Another minor quibble: how did Horatio guess or know (I don't know which is correct) about Eddie Davids' tattoo? It's not an obvious leap from what Carmen told him. Maybe he might have suspected a fire t-shirt, but it's a bit of a leap for Horatio to suspect that the man was shirtless and sporting a massive tattoo on his chest. It's a minor quibble, but it was one of those leaps that CSI shows occasionally make and are a bit too big to be ignored completely.

The subplot with the baby would feel a tad extraneous if it didn't give us such wonderful insight into Ryan's character. He somewhat more innocent and more observant than the other CSIs; I doubt that anyone else, with the exception of Horatio, would have taken such a close look at the baby Pamela was holding. Ryan remains a nice contrast to Calleigh and Delko, who are much more experienced and therefore usually able to remain more detached. Ryan, on the other hand, is concerned about both the baby and Pamela. He seems to instinctually trust her, even as he puts the baby's welfare first and continues to investigate what happened.

In the end, his trust isn't misplaced: Pamela may have been careless when she took the Seabornes' baby, but she did have the baby's best interests at heart. In an unusual move, she's released at the end with the help of both Ryan and Horatio. Interestingly, I believe Horatio sees something of himself in Ryan: like Horatio, Ryan goes beyond the evidence and clearly cares about the people affected by the cases he works on. He's very aware of the victims and like Horatio is driven by seeking justice as opposed to just putting the pieces of the puzzle together to come to a conclusion and close a case. I hope the writers explore this similarity further.

One final note: the CSI shows sure are nabbing nifty guest stars these days. The highlight this week was film actress Judy Greer who turned in a sympathetic, vulnerable performance as Pamela. CSI shows sometimes under-utilize their guest stars, but Greer was pitch-perfect in her role, making the subplot even stronger.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.