CSI: Miami--'Three-Way'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 20, 2005 - 8:29 PM GMT

See Also: 'Three-Way' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The body of pool boy Armando Diaz is discovered outside the Hotel Graciana. The manager, Craig Seaborn, identifies him and is surprised when Horatio shows him the keycard to the penthouse suite, which Armando had on his body. While Alexx goes over the body, Horatio is called away by the chief, who tells Horatio that there are concerns about his team. Ryan is looked at as a news leak, Delko has money problems and Calleigh left a job in ballistics that she was qualified for, leaving the lab in the lurch. Horatio is skeptical and suspects someone is gunning for his team, but the chief suggests Horatio let his team run this current case on their own.

Calleigh is irritated that Delko didn’t restock the back-up kit, so she borrows some things from his kit. Tripp has gathered together the three women renting the penthouse suite—Beth Jacobson, Felicia Hardy and Yvette Travers. The three young women had come to the hotel for a wives weekend, to get away and have some fun in the sun. The CSIs split up the crime scene. Calleigh heads into the bathroom where she sees blood splatter on the ceiling. The floor has been cleaned, so Calleigh tracks down the maid and sure enough, finds bloody towels and a towel rod wrapped up in the hamper. Calleigh also finds a hair on the towel, which Valera points out the hair is from an African American, leading Calleigh to Beth Jacobson. Beth admits she and Armando had been about to have sex, but he wasn’t able to perform. When she confronted him about it, he got violent and she hit him with the shower rod to protect herself. Calleigh thinks she has the case in the bag, but Delko has a different theory.

After Ryan notices rolling papers in his kit, a frustrated Delko goes off to one of the bedrooms and finds used condoms and blood on the headboard. The room was Felicia Hardy’s, and when Delko tracks her down outside the hotel, her husband Steve is already with her, ready to take her home. But when the DNA on the condom matches Felicia and the victims, Delko has her brought in. Felicia came across Armando in their suite, and he seemed very excited to see her. They had sex three times, and on the last round Armando hit his head on the frame of the bed and fell to the side. Felicia assumed he was just sleeping. Case closed? Ryan has come to a different conclusion.

After Ryan and Delko exchange words in the elevator, Ryan follows a trail of gravitational blood spatter to the back stairwell, where he finds blood on one of the railings and a contact lens. On his way into the labs, Ryan runs into newswoman Erica Sikes, who demands money for the recording device Ryan took from her to use on an earlier case. After he gives her part of it, he goes to the lab to analyze a bloody shoe print found in the stairwell. The logo on the tread, Prada, leads him back to Craig Seaborn, the hotel manager. Seaborn says he was called to the suite to dispose of a body, but when he got to the suite, there was no body. He found Armando in the stairwell, but when he moved him to his car, he was shocked to discover the man was still alive. Armando gave him a ring he had to let him go, which Ryan confiscates. It’s a wedding ring, with Yvette’s name inscribed in it. Ryan questions Yvette, who admits to hooking up with Armando earlier that day. He stole her ring and when she ran into him later in the stairwell she confronted him about it. They argued and he ended up falling. She went to retrieve her ring but fled when she heard Craig coming. She denies calling him.

So now the CSIs must ferret out who killed Armando. But when Horatio says Alexx discovered in the autopsy that his neck was snapped, and not from the fall down the stairs. Given that their three suspects are women, the CSIs have to go back to the drawing board. They take samples from Armando’s shirt and hair and find lint and laundry detergent, which Delko recalls also noticing on Felicia’s luggage. They take a trip to the hotel laundry room and find a bloody print, which they match to Steve, Felicia’s husband. Felicia is shocked by the accusation—she and her husband haven’t been close in months. Why would he be following her in Miami? But then she puts it together—he was following one of her friends, Yvette, with whom he’d been having an affair. As the CSIs look on, Steve Hardy is lead away and the three former friends part ways.

Analysis:

"Three-Way" is a clever concept episode that doesn't quite have the story to match the idea behind it, and yet it's inventive, clever and different enough that one is tempted to overlook the faults and focus on its strengths. The idea of three CSIs coming to different conclusions about the same case is an intriguing premise, but the problem inherent in the story is that each of the three CSIs must overlook other evidence in order to come to their conclusions. How could the examination of one room, ignoring the others, lead to conclusive proof? Wouldn't the CSIs have sat down to confer at some point about their initial analyses of the individual rooms? Would Delko really believe that a healthy young man hit his head hard enough during intercourse to die from the blood loss?

There are two touchstones in the recounting: one where the CSIs are in the elevator and then later on when Calleigh and Delko observe Ryan handing Erica Sikes money. In the case of the latter, what Calleigh and Ryan observe--the tail end of the conversation in which Ryan gives Erica money for the recording device the CSIs busted in "From the Grave" --is something a lot more innocuous than either Calleigh or Delko assumes. Calleigh looks on with concern, while Delko goes much further by assuming that Ryan is paying Erica off to get more airtime. (Which doesn't make a lot of sense--wouldn't it be the other way around?) Ryan's words from earlier, when he encourages Delko not to jump to conclusions about others, clearly had no impact. Though given that they were delivered right after Ryan commented on the rolling papers in Delko's kit, it's somewhat understandable. Presumably this is going to kick off the subplot in which Eric uses pot, but would he really be stupid enough to keep the rolling papers in his crime scene kit?

Of the three CSIs, Calleigh far and away fares the best in the episode. From her point-of-view (the first presented) it's easy to see how it looks like an open-and-shut case. The premise Delko buys is a lot less believable--the guy hits his head on the bed during sex hard enough for it to kill him? That seems kind of far-fetched to me. Ryan doesn't really seem to jump to any conclusions--it seems clear that he's got only pieces of the story.

I don't know if I've ever seen a victim take so much abuse in the space of a single CSI show episode. Armando gets hit in the head three times with a towel rod, then goes on to have sex three times, hits his head on the bed-frame, falls down a flight of stairs and still survives. By the stair part, I was chuckling. The poor guy was a regular human pinata.

Whenever I'm able to spot the killer right away, I always wonder whether it's the writing or whether I've seen too many episodes of the CSI shows. But I was able to guess that Steve was the killer the minute I saw him standing next to Felicia. The husband who just happens to be in town already to pick his wife up before the body is even cold? It was no surprise to learn he hadn't just arrived, though the CSIs noticing rain spatter on his car window was one of the thinnest pieces of evidence I've ever seen. Is Miami the only place in the entire area that had a sun-shower that day? And what if the guy hasn't had his car washed in a while and the spatter is actually from a shower that happened a week ago? That was too great a leap.

Horatio is noticeably absent for most of the episode, except to have a worrying conversation with the police chief and to chide the team for neglecting to attend the post with Alexx. That Horatio's team is being scrutinized is nothing new, though where was Stetler and why did he leave the police chief to do his work? He usually loves to watch over the CSI team himself. Regardless, two out of the three problem areas ring true. I'm not surprised that Calleigh's resignation from ballistics is creating waves among the higher-ups. Calleigh was obviously talented at what she did, and her replacement, Jim, is clearly not (or at least, he's slow and possibly lazy). I don't imagine rushed transfers like Calleigh's are smiled upon, though I don't know if it's enough to question her competency.

Ryan's leaks to the news are more worrying. Though to be fair to poor Ryan, it seems like since his one misstep in "10-7", Erica has been all but stalking him, hoping to get more dirt out of him. Still, once you've been tarred with the brush of being a snitch, it's hard to recover from that. Despite Natalia Boa Vista's dismissal of Ryan's leaks, it's a serious matter, especially if it hampers an investigation. Still, it's clear that Delko isn't going to be giving Ryan the benefit of the doubt anytime soon.

I am assuming Delko is the team member with money problems (process of elimination), but since when? This is the first we've heard of Delko's alleged money problems. Wouldn't it have made more sense to reference the incident the season before when he lost his badge while having sex with a stranger against the wall of a building? Eric is also apparently dumb enough to not only smoke marijuana (a drug which stays in the user's system for a significant period of time) but also to keep the rolling papers in his kit. I assume Delko is still suffering from losing his best friend last season, but is he looking to be caught or are we actually supposed to think he's dumb enough to do some of the things he's done recently?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.