CSI: Miami--'The DeLuca Motel'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at December 10, 2008 - 10:39 PM GMT

See Also: 'The DeLuca Motel' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The DeLuca Motel is the temporary home of CSI Eric Delko; he carefully checks his car before going in it for change for a soda. When he gets to his room, a bullet slams through the window, grazing Delko's arm as he ducks for cover. Delko escapes with just a scrape, but a young man isn't so lucky: he's found dead in the hotel pool, a blindfold covering his eyes and a single gunshot wound to his chest. While Calleigh and Tripp examine the room their victim came from, Ryan removes the shattered bullet from the wall in Delko's room. He asks Delko about why he's at the motel and Delko deflects, claiming he's having his condo remodeled. A pin with Greek letters for Beta Sigma Mu on the body and fibers caught in the window allow the CSIs to identify the victim as Seth Copeland. They question his frat brother, Neil Scofield, who admits to hazing Seth. After gunshots rang out, Neil fled the room, leaving Seth behind. He didn't report what happened, afraid it would make him look guilty. Calleigh and Delko return to the hotel room and are able to approximate the bullet's trajectory; it leads right to the place where Delko recalls seeing a couple arguing the day before. Horatio and Delko question Molly Reston and her husband Carl, who has priors for assault. Both claim they had just gone in their room when the shots were fired.

After a conversation with Ryan about a note he found in Delko's hotel room, Horatio pays a visit to Enrico Moldano, the bartender at the bar referred to on Delko's note. Enrico admits to Horatio that Delko wanted something from Cuba, but he won't tell Horatio what it was. Calleigh and Tripp search the Restons' motel room, suspicious by their lack of luggage. Calleigh notices a vent in the room that's been disturbed and climbs up into it--only to discover the body of a man in the next room over, in a bathtub filled with ice! The very pregnant resident of the room, Linda Bowen, tells the CSIs that her boyfriend Joel dropped dead shortly after telling her he found a way to support them. Afraid of having to live without her boyfriend's disability checks, she concealed the body. Calleigh tells her they'll determine if Joel's death was in fact natural. Ryan tells Delko he discovered the bullet in his motel room wall is a different calibre from the one in Seth; there are two different shooters. Ryan asks Delko if someone is gunning for him, and Delko admits he's not sure and that he's been staying at the motel because he feared he was under surveillance. Realizing Enrico was the only one who knew where he was, he goes to confront the bartender--only to find him dead in the alley behind the bar he worked in. Delko calls for back up, and when Horatio arrives, he pulls Delko off the case, concerned by the violence surrounding the CSI. Delko admits to Horatio that Enrico had gotten a copy of his birth certificate for him from Cuba. Dr. Price notes lipstick trace on the Enrico's lips and wonders if he was killed by a woman. Ryan finds a .38 pistol and matches it to the bullet that killed Seth Copeland. He also finds Carl Reston's prints on it. Horatio and Tripp interrogate the Restons again; they admit to arguing over a missing stash of cash. During the argument, Carl pulled his gun on Molly, and it went off when she pushed it away. Panicked, he ditched the gun; he recalls it fired again when he tossed it into a barrel. Ryan goes back to the hotel and finds a hole in a barrel that backs up his story. He and Natalia also notice three tire treads and surmise they came from an ATV.

Calleigh pays Linda Bowen a visit and tells her Joel did indeed die of natural causes. She asks about Joel's windfall, and the young woman claims she didn't know what it was. Calleigh searches the area where Joel collapsed, discovering a bag of cash stashed in the hotel's ice storage unit. While the team works the case, Delko sits down with his mother, Carmen, and asks about his real father, telling her he knows the truth: he was born in Cuba, not America as she claims. He asks about Alexander Sherova, the name on the birth certificate, and she tells him his father was a bad man and urges Delko to let it go. Suspecting the money the Restons had was from illegal activities, Calleigh pressures Molly Reston to give it up, allowing Calleigh to turn around and give it to Linda Bowen, under a Miami statue that allows found money to be claimed by the person who found it if it's not claimed by another owner. The $26,000 will give Linda a fresh start. The grateful woman hugs Calleigh. Natalia and Horatio go over the tire treads and identify the ATV as a Cam Am Spyder. They look at women owners of the vehicle and Horatio recognizes one of them, Kate Hawkes, as a woman he saw with Enrico when he first went to see the man. The CSIs track Kate down and she tells them the attack on Delko was "just a job." Carl Reston's accidental shooting of Seth Copeland at the same time Kate fired at Delko compromised her and forced her to hide--and then take the .38 and use it to shoot Enrico. Kate seems willing to trade Alexander Sherova's location for a deal, but Horatio surmises she doesn't actually know his whereabouts. Horatio approaches Delko to caution him that Sherova isn't going away; that this is just the beginning.

Analysis:

"The DeLuca Motel" doesn't feel like a typical episode of CSI: Miami--and that's a good thing. Not that action isn't fun, but it so often overshadows the characters that we don't get the nice through lines that pop up in this episode. Delko's search for the truth about his father, Calleigh's compassion for the struggling young pregnant woman and Ryan's concern for Delko were all far more interesting than any explosion ever will be. Even the opening of the episode was different, at least in the respect that it involved one of the show's main characters. The setting isn't a glamorous Miami party or a trendy club either; it's a run-down motel with some shady clientele. The people are far more real than the trendy hipsters and slick moguls (of legal or illegal enterprises) that we're used to seeing on a weekly basis on the show.

The big news here is Delko's parentage, though I'm slightly confused on that front. Calleigh makes a reference to forgetting that Delko was half-Russian in "Raging Cannibal", so presumably this is something she has known about for a while. Are we supposed to believe, then, that Delko thought his real father was Russian man, but has now learned, in fact, that his real father is a different Russian man from the one he thought? There's no reference here to the man Delko thought was his father before this revelation; perhaps we'll learn more about him in future episodes. It's nice to see Delko with his mother as well; Adam Rodriguez and Adriana Barraza have a natural warmth together in their scene. The two interact like a loving mother and son, and it's clear that Delko's mother concealed his father's identity from him out of concern for him and his safety rather than from any selfish motives.

The confusion about Delko's heritage aside, the episode sets up a potentially fascinating storyline for Delko. By looking up info on Alexander Sherova, Delko has clearly caught the attention of the Russian (presumably he's a mobster, since he's able to put surveillance on Delko, and even call out a hit on him). Sherova would naturally assume Delko, as an officer of the law, is after him for some illegal activity, not a paternity test. Delko's mom tells him that Sherova doesn't know he exists, so Sherova would have no reason to presume the CSI digging up information on him is actually his son. For his part, Delko probably doesn't want to go up to a Russian mobster and say, "Guess what! I'm your son!" Not that he's had any luck actually finding Sherova; even Kate Hawkes, the assassin Sherova hires to take care of his CSI problem, doesn't know where he is.

Delko's peril makes for some nice scenes between him and his co-workers. While the easy choice might have been to lay the emphasis on the exchange between him and Calleigh given how the attraction between them has been building in recent seasons, there's a lot of concern and camaraderie spread around. Ryan's reaction is actually the most notable one; over the course of their relationship, the tension between Ryan and Delko has waxed and waned. There's been a fair amount of conflict between the two, and plenty of verbal sparring and even at times downright hostility. It hasn't flared up recently, though, and it seems the two have finally moved past whatever difference they've had.

Ryan's concern for Delko is genuine; he tries to ask him what's wrong and why he's been hiding out at the motel. Ryan does it a lighthearted manner, jokingly admiring the decor and noting that he bets "the ladies like it." Delko deflects his questions, but not in a hostile way. Ryan even makes a reference to Delko missing a regular hang out, so it's clear the two men have become friendly outside of work. Ryan makes the tough choice to bring the note he finds in Delko's motel room to Horatio, and to mention the explosives detection kit he found among Delko's things. Later, Delko accuses Ryan of "meddling," but there's no anger in his tone. It's nice to see that there's a real closeness between the two, and that Ryan is looking out for Delko.

Horatio is naturally protective; he cautions Delko to be careful, and even takes it upon himself to follow up on the note Ryan brings him. He issues a typical Horatio threat when Enrico won't tell him what Delko came to him for, vowing to "hold [Enrico] responsible if anything happens to Eric." For her part, Calleigh is concerned but doesn't press Delko too hard. The fact that she's the one to ask if his stay at the motel involves his family shows that she is indeed the person closest to Delko, the one who knows about his personal business, at least to some extent. Calleigh lets her guard down a bit when she tells Delko flat out that she doesn't want him to get hurt. Even Dr. Tara Price, the new coroner, chimes in, asking Horatio if Eric is in danger and if there's anything they can do. I can't help but think there's a love triangle being built here, or at the very least an unrequited crush on Tara's part. There's a charge between Tara and Delko in their scenes, mostly coming from her side, and her concern for him certainly didn't come out of nowhere.

Calleigh gets a sweet storyline in the episode as well, in her encounters with Linda Bowen, a down-and-out young pregnant woman who she first takes for a suspect after discovering the woman's boyfriend dead in the bathtub. Calleigh's sympathies are at war with her natural suspicions as a CSI; first she suspects Linda of killing her boyfriend and later she considers the possibility that the woman has obtained some illicitly gotten money. Calleigh clearly wants to trust Linda and sympathizes with her plight, but she knows enough not to presume someone is innocent just because she appears to be. In the end, when the evidence exonerates Linda, Calleigh leans on Molly Reston, subtly threatening her with a police investigation into where she got the money. Molly wisely decides $26,000 isn't worth her freedom and denies the money is hers, allowing Calleigh to give it to Linda. It's a kind, caring gesture, and it's something Calleigh is able to do more or less within the limits of the law to help out someone who clearly needs a helping hand. I love Calleigh's toughness, but it's nice to see a softer side of her, too.

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.