CSI: Miami--'Skeletons'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 8, 2006 - 6:29 PM GMT

See Also: 'Skeletons' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Delko and Dan Cooper head to the beach to take in a volleyball tournament, and Dan is duly impressed when not one but two hot women approach Delko and lament that he didn't call them as promised. But the men are soon distracted when one of the tournament players discovers a man's body in the sand. There's no ID on him, but when Alexx points out that it appears he was strangled with a man's belt, Horatio's guard goes up, recalling that Walter Resden killed several of his victims with belts. Dan Cooper spots blood in a trashcan nearby and Delko recovers a silver belt buckle from its depths. Detective Tripp has some upsetting news for Horatio--Jennifer Wilson isn't at her apartment, and she recently dismissed her police detail. Horatio has her located and meets her at the station. When he learns she's dating a man she met on the internet named Lee who convinced her she didn't need police protection, he takes her Blackberry to trace the man. Calleigh asks Natalia Boa Vista to compare the blood from the trashcan to her cold cases, and is concerned when she notices how pale Natalia is. Natalia tells her she has the flu, but seems out of sorts. Delko interrogates Manuel Martinez, the beach maintenance supervisor, whose belt buckle Delko found in the trash can. Manuel admits to being paid a thousand dollars to dump a body, but says he couldn't see the man who gave him the cash. Delko arrests him.

Back at the morgue, Alexx has IDed the victim as Oscar Vega, a postal worker. She pulls a key from his throat and gives it to Horatio. Horatio and Tripp go to Vega's house, but the key doesn't work in his door. When they spot two prone people inside, they break into the house. A man and a woman are dead on the floor--posed exactly the way Jennifer Wilson's parents were found. Horatio calls Jennifer to tell her Resden is back. Back at the lab, Dan Cooper, unaware Natalia and Delko are dating, tells Natalia about meeting Delko's previous conquests. An angry Natalia storms past Delko, and Delko is frustrated when he discovers what Dan told Natalia. At the police station, Horatio tells Jennifer that the e-mails from her new suitor were traced back to a cafe and the cafe owner identified Resden as Lee. "Lee" shows up at the station and Horatio's fears are confirmed, though Jennifer wavers. Resden claims their meeting was a coincidence but Horatio has him pulled in for questioning in the latest set of murders.

At the crime scene, Calleigh and Ryan go over the room while Alexx examines the bodies and notices they are cool to the touch. Their liver temp is cooler than the room around them, indicating they were stored and brought to the house. Ryan smells pine cleaner and heads back to the lab, an idea taking form. Though Manuel isn't able to ID Resden as the man who brought him the body, Ryan scans him with zNose, a device that would pick up the aroma particles of pine cleaner on him. Resden has a story planned already: he was cleaning his truck that morning. The CSIs scan his truck and find evidence of pine cleaner. Horatio calls the State's Attorney and learns they don't have enough to hold Resden. Resden leaves, Jennifer in tow. At the lab, Delko corners Natalia who tells him she's late. When he catches her meaning, he asks her what they should do. She tells him she's going to her doctor to have a pregnancy test.

Calleigh tells Ryan that the couple had freezer burn on their bodies but aren't decaying, indicating they've been dead just about three months. Judging from their stomach contents and the timeline, Calleigh matches their victims up with a missing couple from Cincinnati, Ohio: Clint and Beverly Holtz. The CSIs figure out that in order to transport the victims from Ohio to Florida, Resden would have needed a freezer truck. Calleigh and Ryan pull the records of all of Resden's suspected victims and finds a surprising connection between one member of each of the couples: they all were in foster care and lived with Morris and Helena Yates in New York in the early 80s. The only surviving foster child from that era is John Massry, and he lives in Miami. Horatio guesses the key from Oscar's throat is his and the CSIs storm his house and find him vacuuming. John has bottle upon bottle of pine cleaner but he denies any involvement in the Resden killings. John recalls Walter and says their foster father, Morris Yates, was especially abusive to him. John tried to stick up for Walter once but Morris beat him down and sent him away. Horatio thinks Resden stole John's key so that John would tell Horatio what happened to Resden while in the Yates' care.

Natalia has some good news for Delko: her pregnancy test was negative. Both are relieved, but the incident seems to spell the end to their brief affair. An abandoned freezer truck is brought into CSI and Ryan and Delko comb it for clues. It's been scrubbed down, but Delko hits the jackpot when he uncovers the seat belt fastener and finds epithelials on it. Resden is about to finish his long quest for revenge with a final victim: Morris Yates, who is now living in Miami. Horatio walks in on a face off between Resden and Yates, who is continuing to goad his foster son, even at gunpoint. Horatio is forced to shoot Resden, but Yates challenges the CSI. Horatio offers to let Yates take a swing at him, but the cowardly man is unable to. Horatio dismisses him and turns to Resden, who wants Horatio to take a message to Jennifer from him. Horatio refuses--as far as Jennifer is concerned, Resden is gone for good. Horatio goes to Jennifer to tell her that her ordeal is finally over, and confides in her that his own father was very much like the abusive Yates.

Analysis:

An old nemesis resurfaces, bodies piling up, a pregnancy scare, a surprising revelation about a character's past--yes, sweeps are upon us. "Skeletons" feels like the ultimate sweeps episode, and there's a lot packed into 42 minutes. It makes for exciting viewing even if upon reflection there are some things in the episode that just boggle the mind. It's not quite as satisfying a conclusion to the Resden saga as I was hoping for, perhaps because in the end the conclusion wasn't all that original and Resden didn't end up being all that memorable a villain. I found Henry Darius of "Felony Flight" and CSI: NY's "Manhattan Manhunt" to be much more compelling, and even he fell into the same category as Resden, the "my sad childhood made me a serial killer."

Resden showed promise in his first appearance in "Under Suspicion" and in the first half of this episode, when Damian Young plays up Resden's sleaze factor so much that the guy positively radiates creep. But by the end he's just another killer with daddy issues (see Darius), or rather foster daddy issues in this case. Horatio's conclusion that Resden led him to Massry so that Massry could tell him what Resden went through as a child makes me wonder why Resden went to the trouble of trying to frame Horatio for murder in "Under Suspicion." Does he want to take Horatio down or does he want Horatio's sympathy?

Much like Mac Taylor showed contempt for Henry Darius at the end of "Manhattan Manhunt" when Darius told him his sob story, Horatio has no sympathy to offer Resden. Whatever he went through as a child doesn't cancel out or even mitigate the fact that he killed people in cold blood. In an age where it often seems like there is an inordinate focus on the hard luck stories of murderers, rapists and child molesters, it's good to see the CSI shows take a hard line on showing sympathy for killers. Horatio's big revelation presents a powerful contrast: Horatio, too, grew up with an abusive parent, but he chose the opposite path. Rather than to take his anger and resentment and use it as an excuse to hurt others, Horatio turned to law enforcement and to the task of putting those who hurt others away for good. The contrast is a stark one, and does much to undercut the misguided idea that we should have sympathy for those who harm others simply because they themselves were hurt.

The most baffling mystery in this episode is not what drives Resden but rather what on earth is wrong with Jennifer Wilson. Even after learning her boyfriend Lee--who she's only met a couple of times!--is in fact Walter Resden, the prime suspect in her parents' murders, she still goes off with him when he's released from jail. It goes beyond puzzling into the realm of insulting--CSI: Miami had the unfortunate habit of showing women as floozies who blindly and foolishly follow bad men. From the girl who covered for her Mala Noche boyfriend when the police came calling in "From the Grave" to the young woman who helps Darius, her pen pal in jail, escape Miami in "Felony Flight," how often have we seen women who are little more than puppets for the bad men they love. Jennifer Wilson is by far the worst--Horatio has protected her for half of her life, and I didn't believe for a second that any young woman with two brain cells to rub together would believe the word of a man she had only met a few times over one who had protected her for half of her life. Not to mention that Resden came off as extra oily and insincere in that scene. It's frustrating to see women portrayed so negatively, but in addition to that, it just stretched credibility too far.

Speaking of credibility, what happened to Ryan being sidelined while he took the second course of antibiotics. In "Fade Out" the doctor Ryan visits specifically tells him not to work while his eye heals, cautioning that he could need surgery if his eye doesn't improve. So...why is Ryan working the case and taking photographs as though none of that happened this week? It's as though the writers completely forgot that Ryan is having issues with his eye. Even if he's gone back to work against doctor's orders--and it's entirely possible, given what we've seen of Ryan that he might do that--he shouldn't be photographing crime scenes given that his crime scene photos have been coming out blurry. That's just sloppy.

At least Natalia gets good news from her doctor this week when she learns she's not pregnant with Delko's child. The looks of relief on both her and Delko's faces are so jubilant that it's no surprise tha the pregnancy scare brings their short-lived affair to a screeching halt. Given Natalia's insistence that she's only been with Eric since her divorce and the number of women we see in this episode who've presumably slept with Eric (three) indicate maybe they're not so well-matched after all. He clearly isn't ready to settle down. I do have one question, though--how is it that pregnancy tests "don't work" for Natalia? I know they're not 100% accurate, but I wouldn't think they just don't ever work on some people. And just how many has she taken?

We get a mole hint so obvious this week that I'm convinced it's a red herring: Valera is clearly listening in when Horatio and Delko are discussing the Resden case. She's got that sinister "I'm paying close attention" glint in her eye, but if Valera's the mole, that moment was the most obvious giveaway I've ever seen. Valera was initially my top pick for the mole--she was fired last year from the lab after a slip-up and could conceivably be carrying a grudge, but I would hope that whoever the mole is will be hinted at in a more subtle fashion.

What about Dan Cooper, who got a bit more screentime in this episode? I have to admit after "Skeletons" I'm really hoping it's not him. I like the lovable little nerd. I've enjoyed Brendan Fehr since his Roswell days, and the character of Dan Cooper has a charming goofiness to him. His reaction on the beach to Delko's former flings approaching them was spot on and very funny and the way he talks to Natalia about Delko's prowess suggest he wants Delko to be his Yoda in the dating field. Given that he's out of the loop about Delko and Natalia, maybe Dan isn't as on top of things as we were led to believe earlier in the season. Wouldn't any mole worth his/her salt be up on all the gossip?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.