CSI: Miami--'Wet Foot/Dry Foot'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 16, 2008 - 12:55 AM GMT

See Also: 'Wet Foot/Dry Foot' Episode Guide

With the CSI franchise in reruns for the summer, CSI Files is taking the opportunity to go back to the beginning, offering reviews of episodes from the early seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami, many of which aired before the site's 2003 founding! The retro reviews will run for the duration of the summer until new episodes of the franchise start to air in the fall.

Synopsis:

A group of men on a fishing trip get more than they bargained for when they catch a shark and discover part of a human torso and an arm in its belly. Megan finds a bullet hole in the torso, indicating the victim's fate was the result of foul play. Alexx recovers the bullet from the body, and Horatio notices a tattoo on the victim's arm indicating he was a member of an anti-Castro movement in Cuba. Speedle and Delko locate the abandoned boat the man likely traveled in from Cuba on the shore, and discover both a bullet and blood on the boat. Blood on the boat proves to be a match to their victim, but blood on the bullet belongs to a female victim. The team heads back to the boat, where Horatio and Delko discover a secret chamber, leading them to suspect the boat captain was smuggling drugs in addition to refugees. The female victim is found floating in an inner tube, a gunshot wound to her leg and a tourniquet wrapped around it, which didn't prevent her from bleeding to death. With a necklace found on the dead woman in hand, Horatio turns to a Cuban immigrant connection named Basilio, who leads him to the De Sotos. Estella De Soto identifies the dead woman as her niece Elena, but they won't let him speak to Elena's brother, Pedro, who came over with her.

Speedle views the surveillance tapes from the pier where the boat was found and points out a suspicious truck that lingered. Horatio thinks the truck was used to smuggle drugs. Material from the male victim's shirt matches that found in Elena's wound, and male skin cells in the tourniquet allow Horatio to get a warrant to search Pedro De Santo's room. A gun is discovered hidden in a vacuum cleaner bag, which Calleigh matches to all the bullets in the case. Megan and Horatio question Captain Robert Norton, the man who piloted the boat. They put it together: Norton, running both drugs and refugees to Miami, had to make a choice between the cargo when a vicious storm struck. He forced his passengers off the ship with a gun that went off when one of the men fought back. Having solved the mystery of one death, Horatio turns to Pedro. The young man and his sister were stranded at sea, with only one inner tube. When they spotted a coast guard ship, Elena implored Pedro to shoot her, knowing that they wouldn't send her back to Cuba if she was wounded. Pedro reluctantly complied and then was forced to watch in horror as the boat changed course and Elena bled to death. Devastated, Pedro swam to shore. Horatio is able to procure the young man citizenship in exchange for his testimony.

Analysis:

The third episode of Miami delves into the Cuban connection the city has. Two refugees are found dead, never having made it to the shores of Miami. Horatio brings up the "wet foot/dry foot" policy: if refugees are caught in the water, they're sent back to Cuba, but if they make it to land, they're allowed to stay. Achieving the latter is worth risking death for, as we learn at the end of the episode from Pedro, who was willing to shoot his own sister in the hopes that the coast guard would pick her up and not force her to return to Cuba. Pedro is obviously stricken by her death; at the same time, he maintains that he did what he had to do. Likewise, the male passenger on the boat--who is never identified--was willing to fight with the armed captain to stay on the boat.

Horatio is clearly in touch with the Cuban community in this episode; he approaches Basilio counting on the man to be a liaison for him, to point him in the direction of recent immigrants. There's clearly a trust established between the two men for Basilio to even work with Horatio, who, as an officer of the law, might frown upon illegal immigration. The relationship, and Horatio's compassion for the refugees, further paint him as a man who looks beyond the letter of the law, and operates very much based on his own moral code. While it might at times be at odds with his duties as an enforcer of the law, at this point it's not directly in opposition to them, as it will be in later seasons.

The supporting characters get rounded out a bit as well. Calleigh and Eric's close relationship is established with a flirtatious but deep conversation between the two. Eric asks if he can stay over at Calleigh's place as he's getting some heat from the Cuban community, and Calleigh's response is to jokingly tell him, "No midnight tiptoes." But the conversation turns more personal when Eric reveals that he, too, made the journey from Cuba to Miami--in his mother's belly. Echoes of the sexual tension that will be played up in later seasons are evident even in this early episode: the fact that Calleigh's first thought, after Eric has asked to stay with her, is to playfully tell him not to plan on any late night shenanigans.

Delko's relationship with Speedle is similarly playful. When he discovers the contents of the shark's stomach were varied and plentiful, he notes that sharks are "liberal eaters, like Speedle." Delko and Speedle's playful but always friendly banter is fun to watch, and stands in contrast to Delko's relationship with Speedle's successor, Ryan Wolfe, with whom he shares a much less friendly rapport. In this early episode, though, it's apparent that the team likes each other and gets along very well. In the early seasons, the Miami team truly felt like a family, and that camaraderie is evident here.

Megan Donner remains the odd-woman out in that family. She pulls Speedle off the assignment Horatio gave him to decipher a note found on the boat to scour the surveillance tapes. Speedle flat out asks her if he works for her or Horatio, immediately sensing the discordance there. While Horatio appears to be attempting to include her--he brings her with him to meet his Cuban contact--Megan remains wary. It's understandable; after all, Horatio is essentially her replacement. Though I still find no fault with Kim Delaney's performance, it's clear the character doesn't quite gel with the others. She's ill at ease even with Speedle, who definitely seems to feel some loyalty towards her. It's a shame she never gelled, because as later seasons prove, Horatio is a character who definitely needs a counterbalance.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.