'Under the Influence'By Kristine Huntley
Posted at October 5, 2004 - 9:24 PM GMT
See Also: 'Under the Influence' Episode Guide
A young woman, Katrina Hannigan, steps out of an elevator carrying shopping bags full of clothes. She's clearly distressed, almost to the point of tears. She approaches a crowded corner where people are waiting for an approaching bus. Suddenly, she flies out in front of the bus and is struck by it.
Horatio and Yelina arrive to find Katrina dead in the street. Yelina notes that witnesses saw her flying through the air, but when she suggests it may have been suicide, Horatio says that no one spends a thousand dollars on clothes they're not going to wear.
While Alexx examines Katrina’s broken body, patrol officer Ryan Wolfe tells Horatio that while there were no surveillance cameras at the scene, he did manage to locate someone who was taking pictures with a digital camera. Horatio is impressed.
A shoplifter named Pete is picked up with Katrina’s wallet. While he admits to accosting her in the elevator and taking her wallet, Pete insists he had nothing to do with her death. He takes girl’s wallets in elevators, but he doesn’t kill them.
Ryan Wolfe wants a job at CSI, and Yelina puts a good word in for him with Horatio. Wolfe tells Horatio he wants to be a criminalist. Horatio asks to see Ryan’s gun, and he examines it to see how clean it is. Ryan admits he’s somewhat obsessive-compulsive about cleaning his gun, unaware of the fact that this impresses Horatio rather than putting him off.
Calleigh’s father, Kenwall “Duke” Duquesne, shows up the CSI offices looking for his daughter. Disheveled and upset, he tells her he thinks he killed someone when he was in his car. His memory is hazy, but when Calleigh looks at the car she can easily see he hit someone, and she finds blood on the tires of his car. Ashamed, Duke tells his daughter that it’s the first drink he’s had in six months; disappointed, she tells him to take another and watches as he does so.
Yelina identifies Jay Seaver as Katrina’s boyfriend, but before she and Horatio can discuss him, Calleigh enters the station with Duke, saying that he wants to turn himself in to Frank Tripp. Horatio immediately smells the scotch on Duke’s breath, but Calleigh tells him that it’s from the drink she saw him take outside for courage. To Calleigh’s annoyance, Horatio hires Ryan Wolfe on the spot and puts him on Duke’s case. She defers to Horatio’s judgment unhappily. Ryan goes to the CSI lockers to put his patrol gear away in the locker right next to Speedle’s old one.
Alexx tells Horatio that Katrina had some old bruising, but she also shows him a bruise on Katrina’s back. No doubt about it: Katrina was pushed. Yelina and Horatio go to question Jay Seaver, who seems shocked about Katrina’s fate. When they ask him about the bruising, he says he asked Katrina the same thing, and that she claimed they were from being clumsy. Jay says he loved Katrina, but Horatio is skeptical.
Delko and Tyler go over the digital camera that Ryan found at the scene. There aren’t any pictures of Katrina on the camera, but Tyler says he might be able to get an image by magnifying the reflection in the eyes of the people in the pictures.
Calleigh checks up on Ryan, who is processing her father’s car. She’s terse with him, but he holds his own, telling her that the truth is more important than proving himself. Ryan finds evidence that Duke hit a traffic sign as well as a person, and he goes off to process the blood from the tires.
Horatio receives an enlightening call: Patrick Wakefield, an accountant, has been found dead in an elevator shaft. The interesting part? He happens to be a colleague of Jay Seaver’s, a direct competitor for a promotion the two men were up for.
Jay tells Horatio that Patrick was a friend. Finally, he admits to Horatio that he has a stalker: Claudia Sanders. He filed a temporary restraining order against her five months ago, after the pair dated a few times and she proceeded to stalk him. He claims to be afraid of what Claudia will do to him as well.
Horatio brings Claudia into CSI and asks her about Jay. She shares intimate details about Jay and laughs off the TRO. She tells Horatio she’d die for him, and Horatio counters by asking her if she’d kill for him.
Tripp tells Calleigh and Ryan that Duke had been in the Whisky Stop bar the night of the accident, where he’d been running a tab for a while. Ryan tells them he found iron-well spatter in the tire treads, and the three trace Duke’s route, where they find a construction site. As Calleigh looks on from afar, Tripp and Ryan find the body of the man Duke may have killed, a prominent tire mark clear across his chest.
Erik identifies the piece of fabric found on Patrick’s body as part of a uniform. He also found leaf-sheen spray on the body. Claudia, who works for Sunside Greenery as a horticulturist, just happened to have gotten herself a job at Jay’s company maintaining the plants there. Erik heads off to Sunside, where he find a shrine to Jay in Claudia’s locker, as well as the torn uniform and leaf-sheen spray.
Horatio tells Claudia that the evidence proved she killed Patrick. Claudia counters that Patrick was no friend to Jay. Then she tells Horatio her attorney is on the way. Horatio is puzzled, especially when Claudia tells him Jay hired the attorney for her. When Horatio asks Jay to explain his actions, Jay claims he feels responsible for Claudia. Horatio asks Alexx to go back to Katrina’s body and do a pregnancy test on her.
Calleigh tells Duke that a body was found on his route home, but Duke still can’t remember. Ryan arrives to process Duke, but both he and Calleigh are puzzled when Duke touches the back of his neck and comes up with small pieces of glass. Ryan goes back to Duke’s car and finds that the driver’s side window was shattered, clearly broken from the outside.
Tyler finds Katrina in one of the eye reflections, as well as a person clothed in a green uniform: Claudia. Erik finds leaf-sheen on Katrina’s clothes; Claudia pushed her. But when Alexx tells Horatio that Katrina was seven weeks pregnant, Horatio thinks there’s more to the case than meets the eye. He confronts Jay with the news, and theorizes that Claudia killed for him. Horatio wonders what other problem people Claudia took care of for Jay, and decides to go through unsolved cases from the last five months.
Alexx shows Ryan that Travis Madison, the victim found at the construction site, wasn’t killed by the car, but by a blow to the head. Ryan heads back to the construction site looking for the murder weapon, and Calleigh follows him. After a near-miss with an alligator, Ryan emerges with the tool used to kill Travis.
Horatio has found a curious case in the unsolved folder: Martin Perlman, who was stabbed to death the day after purchasing a new condo. Interestingly, that condo is now the home of Jay Seaver. A search of Claudia’s apartment reveals the murder weapon: a box cutter.
A print on the tool from the construction site matches Larry Grill. He was buying drugs from Travis, and killed him when the deal went sour. Then he tried to carjack Duke’s car, breaking the driver’s side window, but Duke sped off, running over Travis’s body in the process.
There’s blood on the box cutter from Claudia’s apartment from Martin and another person, not in CODUS. Jay says Claudia killed Martin, but Horatio says the blood on the box cutter proves Jay, not Claudia, actually killed him. Claudia cleaned up after him, but Jay stabbed him. Claudia has a defense, Horatio notes, because she’s insane, but Jay is just a liar and a killer.
Calleigh tells Duke she can’t stop him from drinking, but she can prevent him from driving. She takes his keys and tells him she’ll meet him at the car. Horatio expresses concern for her, but she says she’s doing “better but not great.” She praises Ryan’s handling of the case, and Horatio agrees. “It’s in his blood,” he notes of the newbie.
It's a three-peat for Miami, which delivered another immensely satisfying episode in "Under the Influence." In a rare occurrence, both the primary and secondary cases are equally engaging, one for its premise and the other for its personal effect on one of the show's main characters. Add in the introduction of newbie Ryan Wolfe, who manages to make quite an impression, and you've got the makings of a very solid, involving episode.
Jonathan Silverman (Jay) and Meredith Monroe (Claudia) turn in zesty performances as the shady accountant and his devoted, creepy stalker. Monroe is particularly adept at capturing Claudia's deluded chipperness; she barely flinches when Horatio nabs her for two murders. She's a little too pathetic to be truly villainous, so it's good that Jay turns out to be a real slimeball. After all, it isn't a Miami episode if Horatio doesn't have someone truly deserving to snarl at.
Poor Calleigh Duquesne. This is the second time she's lied to protect someone she cares about. The first time was when she lied in "Lost Son" to protect Speedle from post-mortem scrutiny from IAB about his firearm maintenance, and now she has her father take a drink to muddy the evidence that proves he was drunk when he was driving his car. Both times, it seems Horatio is on to the deception, but he lets it slide once again, this time perhaps with less justification. Calleigh's disappointment in her father is palpable, but it's clear that she knows there are limits to how far she can go in protecting him. Still, an interesting pattern is developing with Calleigh, and I can't help but wonder if the writers are building up to a moral dilemma for Calleigh and possibly Horatio as well. Will she eventually tell a lie that will have serious repercussions? Will Horatio ultimately have to confront her about covering up evidence? It presents some intriguing possibilities.
Jonathan Togo turns in a strong performance in his first appearance as Ryan Wolfe. He's got some big shoes to fill--Speedle was a much-loved character--but the writers wisely do their best to differentiate Ryan from Speedle in the first episode, without making him irritatingly inexperienced. Horatio's insistance on checking the wannabe CSI's gun for proper maintenance elicits a sad chuckle, as does Ryan's OCD-like obsession with cleaning his firearm.
Ryan's enthusiasm adds a new dynamic to the show. While he might be inexperienced, it's refreshing to see him stand up to Calleigh and tell her that he doesn't feel that he needs to prove himself. He knows to relent, too; he wisely doesn't object when Calleigh tags along to locate the murder weapon in her father's case. But one page he might want to take from his predecessor is his fashion sense. Ryan's choice of black pants, a black t-shirt, an open black button-down shirt with white triangles, and a light grey sports coat would definitely get him a citation from the fashion police. Since he's got the gun-cleaning business down, maybe Horatio could give him a few tips on how to dress.
Next week: A murder at a flash mob leads the CSIs to a corrupt prep school.
Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.