CSI: Miami--'Throwing Heat'By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 30, 2007 - 7:55 AM GMT
See Also: 'Throwing Heat' Episode Guide
A Cuban refugee runs onto the Miami shore only to be blown sky high by a mine on the beach. When the CSIs arrive on the scene, Frank Tripp accidentally steps on one of the landmines and the bomb squad is called in to defuse the bomb so that the detective can safely step off of it. Alexx and Calleigh are puzzled by the refugees pricey clothes and the expensive food in his stomach, so Delko goes to a bar where refugees are known to do business and speaks to the bartender, Roberto Chavez, but before he can question the man he spots a couple arguing and intervenes when he sees the husband, Vince Henney, hitting his wife, Carmen. Back at the lab, Natalia matches epithelials on an eyepiece from a set of binoculars to a man named Walter Dunley, who tells the CSIs he watches for refugees to call them into the police, not kill them. He says he fell asleep on his watch and was woken by an explosion, but he's able to provide the CSIs with a partial plate and the make of the car another refugee who arrived with their victim drove off in.
The car is traced to a sports agent named Barry Ellis--he's been illegally transporting young men over the border and getting them lucrative baseball deals. He identifies the dead man as Ario and the one who made it as Jorge. The CSIs go to question Jorge at baseball practice and are surprised to learn a third man was on the boat with Jorge and Ario. He hands Horatio a bullet from the third man's gun and Horatio suspects the third passenger may be an assassin. At the lab, Delko is perturbed when a pretty young woman approaches him and proceeds to serve him with a civil suit from Vince Henney. Calleigh is able to trace the bullet to a gun used by a suspected assassin named Alejandro Moreno, but Moreno, now running a cigar shop, suggests a younger man is trying to live up to his legend. Delko gets a surprising call--Vince Henney has been found beaten to death in an alley, but he's surprised to learn that Carmen Henney refuses to drop her husband's lawsuit. Vince and Carmen are scam artists, and Delko was completely taken in by then.
Ryan finds mineral oil on the safety pin from the bomb leading him to the pitcher of the team Jorge just joined, a man named Lou Pennington. Lou, jealous of the younger men being brought over from Cuba to replace him, decided to plant the mines in order to take care of any new recruits. Natalia notices an odd pattern on the prints from the pipe that killed Vince, and Delko recognizes them as the result of citric acid rotting the hands--a condition bartenders often suffer from. Delko tracks down Roberto Chavez and questions him, learning in the process that the bartender found out about Vince and Carmen's scam and wanted in. When Vince refused, he killed him. In order to get a deal, Roberto tells Horatio about an assassin that came in that day talking about an anti-Castro activist named Miguel Santora. The CSIs track down Santora just in time to prevent the assassin from killing his target, though Horatio is forced to shoot the killer in order to stop him. At the lab, Delko tells Calleigh he's settling with Carmen to avoid more scrutiny the lab can't afford.
In many ways, "Throwing Heat" reminded me of earlier Miami episodes, when things were a little simpler. Oh, sure, it started with an explosion (a hallmark of later Miami episodes if there ever was one), but the cases, one overflowing with simmering racial tension and the other featuring a small time scam, feel like they could have been mined from first or second season, and that's a good thing. The terrorist rings and the drug gangs are tiring--surely small-scale crime still happens in Miami? It's nice to see a return to those stories.
The episode starts off on a suspenseful note, with Frank Tripp stepping on a land mine. It reminded me a bit of the opener for "Slow Burn" when the brushfire was headed straight towards Alexx and Delko. Sure, we know our main characters in the opening credits are going to be okay, but it makes for an exciting opening. Seeing the bomb squad technician torch the explosive while Frank's foot is still on it makes for a suspenseful few minutes.
I was relieved when the landmines proved to be the work of one man and not a major conspiracy of some sort or another. I noticed Lou Pennington right away, and though I surmised he might be the murderer--and that his motive would be envy--I wasn't disappointed at the end to discover that there was no convoluted intrigue--just a man with unrealized dreams who was envious of the competition. The most basic and simplest motives are often the most believable.
My only objection with the episode at all was the addition of the third passenger on the boat over--the one who did of course have a convoluted, conspiratorial motive--he was an assassin sent over to take out an anti-Castro activist. Did the story really need this twist? I don't think so. The other cases were more than compelling enough to stand on their own, and there's not really much audience investment in the twist. It's just another chase scene, and a showdown where Horatio gets to pull his gun (and use it this time). It's not egregious, but it wasn't necessary.
Delko gets dealt a tough blow in the episode. His good deed turns into a legal nightmare when Carmen and Vince turn out to be scam artists. Delko learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished, and it's impossible not to feel bad for him when he tells Calleigh at the end of the episode that he settled the case rather than let it go to trial and bring more negative publicity to the lab. It's a move that protects both him and Horatio, since a large part of his concern is their trip down to Brazil at the beginning of the season to catch Marisol's killer ("Rio").
Delko has always had a soft spot for damsels in distress--he's gotten in trouble in the past for helping out women in trouble, and he's was always quick to jump to Natalia Boa Vista's defense when her ex-husband was hassling her. For all his romantic entanglements, Delko is a stand-up guy, which makes it all the harder to see him punished for his attempt to help a woman he thought was in danger.
It's refreshing to see Calleigh and Delko interacting again. Her concern for him is evident when she finds him signing the papers to have his wages garnished, and seeing them talk made me realize how much I've missed seeing them together. Their friendship is one of the more vibrant relationships on the show and it's nice to see that Calleigh is concerned about Delko's plight. Lately it seems like personal friendships of the characters have fallen by the wayside on Miami, so anything that brings them together on a more personal level gets a thumbs up from me.
Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.