CSI: Miami--'Triple Threat'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at March 22, 2007 - 4:38 AM GMT

See Also: 'Triple Threat' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Wealthy real estate developer Dominic Whitford is shot dead during a party while his wife Ashley announces the opening of a new children's hospital. Josh Brockner, Dominic's assistant, informs Horatio that Dominic had quite a few enemies, and it turns out the gun he was shot with belonged to one of them: Neil Massey, who claims his gun was stolen and offers an alibi, which checks out. A blood drop found in the bathroom where Dominic was shot matches his wife, Ashley, and she tells the CSIs she had a nosebleed in the bathroom shortly before giving her speech. She leaves her sunglasses in the interrogation room when she leaves and Delko runs after her to return them, only to see her getting into a car with a woman who looks just like her. When he runs the prints on the glasses, he learns they aren't Ashley's.

Natalia interrogates Ashley and the woman with her--her twin, Kayla Selby. Kayla posed as Ashley for the interrogation so that Ashley could be with her son, Noah. The women tell Natalia that Dominic didn't know Ashley had a twin, but Alexx discovers Dominic had a secret of his own when she finds the medical condition of the man on the table doesn't match what's in Dominic's medical records, and evidence of plastic surgery on the man's face reveals he has been surgically altered to look like Dominic. Dominic's assistant, Josh, admits to the CSIs that the dead man is actually Greg Ramsey, a man Dominic hired to pretend to be him at social functions. Josh points the CSIs to the construction site where Dominic is and Horatio finds him--along with the buried body of a young woman. Dominic maintains that he had no idea there was a body at the site, and Horatio takes him into protective custody. Alexx IDs the dead woman as Mia Graham, Dominic's former assistant, and fingerprint evidence reveals that Josh, Dominic's new assistant is in fact her killer.

The CSIs decide to hold off on telling Ashley that her husband is alive, and turn back to Neil Massey, whom they learn once shot at Dominic and Ashley during Ashley's pregnancy, forcing Ashley to have a C-section. Neil claims Ashley and her twin swindled him out of money. Natalia confronts Ashley and Kayla who insist that Neil is obsessed with Ashley. But Natalia finds a discrepancy in their story: Ashley doesn't have a C-section scar and Kayla was in Africa during Ashley's pregnancy. Natalia is shocked with a third identical woman, Beth, enters the room and admits to being Noah's mother. Natalia knows one of the women is the killer, but it is Delko who finds the key when he tells Natalia to test the blood drop from the bathroom for antibodies. When it's found to have antibodies for infectious diseases native to Africa, the CSIs know Kayla is their shooter. But all three conspired to produce a baby and kill Dominic for his money, and all are arrested. Natalia tells them Dominic is in fact alive and will be raising Noah.

Analysis:

Three killers are a charm in this Miami outing, which perfectly illustrates why Miami is often the most outrageously adventurous of the three CSI shows. Would CSI or CSI: New York dare to have triplets as killers in one of their cases? Not likely. CSI had an episode earlier this season in which twins who never knew each other were killed, but it was done with characteristic CSI irony. There's nothing understated, ever, about Miami, and this episode is a great example of how fun the show can be when it goes for the outlandish and nails it.

Twins would have been surprising, but triplets working together on a scam? It's certainly an unexpected twist. This is one episode where it's best to avoid the pre-episode press, which teased the idea but spoiled some of the big reveals and tricks the episode pulled. Is Delko seeing double when he runs outside with Ashley's sunglasses only to see two Ashleys? It's a sly moment, given the earlier scene which revealed that Delko has been seeing double. And then when it seems like there's no way either Ashley or Kayla could have had the child, it's revealed that neither did--because there's a third one!

For her part, Leslie Bibb attacks the part, or rather parts, with aplomb, making each triplet distinct. Ashley is edgily disdainful, Kayla dismissively bored and Beth nervously earnest. I have to say, I was hoping Beth was only in on the pregnancy deception and not the murder plot because Bibb imbued her with a such a sad, lost quality that I empathized with her. Bibb deserves props for three nuanced performances in this episode.

Colin Ferguson as the husband with a manufactured twin also turns in a commendable performance. His likeable demeanor and Horatio's decree that he's a good man tell the audience that he is an admirable guy more than his behavior does, however. He hires a double and doesn't tell his wife, and then goes into hiding when the double is murdered. Not exactly the acts of a great guy, but we do need to feel good about the person little Noah is left with at the end, so I assume that's why Dominic gets the mantle of "good guy" by default. It might have been a slightly stronger ending had Beth turned out to be innocent of being involved in the murder plot and she and Dominic left together to raise Noah.

The subplot is a simple ambition gone awry case, which is a good thing because had the secondary murder been anything more complex, it might have muddied the intricate A-case, to the detriment of the episode. I'm always wary of characters who make a point of introducing themselves to the CSIs using their full names, so when eager beaver Josh Brockner came up to Horatio, he immediately registered on my radar. I just didn't predict how he'd be involved, and revealing that he got his role by actually murdering Dominic's former assistant is a sly jab at the overly ambitious. Sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing.

Delko himself might be overly ambitious, or at least overly optimistic, about his ability to handle his job so soon after taking a bullet to the head. This time around, Delko is seeing double as he studies a blood drop at the crime scene and sees two separate drops. Later on, this gives Delko pause when he spies the two Ashleys, but, fairly certain about what he's seen, he dusts the sunglasses he found for fingerprints and learns they are indeed not Ashley's. Thus far, for every mistake Delko has made, he's balanced it out with a sharp find. Will that continue, or will he make a crucial misstep that he won't be able to make up for at some point?

Adam Rodriguez has completely changed the way he plays Delko, which has made the impact of his injury resonate all the more. Gone is the light-hearted, smooth, confident CSI, the one who liked to banter with Ryan and was confident of his own appeal as well as his skill at his job. Delko is much more hesitant now; he's lost almost all of his confidence. He hangs back where he would have previously charged forward, and he questions himself where before he would have asserted his thoughts. Rodriguez has completely sold the massive change in Delko, not an easy thing to do, especially after playing a character for so many years. His performance truly is impressive.

Ryan Wolfe has been hovering over Delko a bit, but gone is all trace of the animosity that used to exist between the two. Ryan is clearly concerned about Delko, and points out his mistake about the blood drops patiently. Delko, most likely worried about being benched or found unfit for duty, is upset, but Ryan never gets frustrated with him. These two have a unique friendship in the CSI universe, part brotherly love, part rivalry that at times turns not so cordial. But Jonathan Togo makes it obvious in Ryan's scenes with Delko that the younger CSI wants to help, not hinder his friend.

Eva La Rue gets the fun material to work with in this episode, as Natalia is first presented with one woman in interrogation whose story doesn't quite gel, then two (identical!) women and then finally three. La Rue does a great job of getting across Natalia's utter bafflement as her case gets more and more absurd, and yet, somehow she manages to keep up. La Rue gives her all in the scenes, and it's nice to see her character move away from the man troubles that in one form or another have followed her throughout her tenure on the show and really jump head first into a case. And what a case to jump into!

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.