CSI: Miami--'Wrecking Crew'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 6, 2008 - 2:44 AM GMT

See Also: 'Wrecking Crew' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

In a safe house in a condominium building in downtown Miami, Calleigh and Delko are watching over William Campbell, who overheard a hit being carried out on behalf of mobster Joey Salucci. Campbell goes over his testimony: he was at Spiral bar and went to the bathroom when he heard someone come in and shoot a man named AJ Watkins for "Joey Salucci's daughter." Watkins' body hasn't been found, so the state's case against Salucci hinges on Campbell. Calleigh and Delko are preparing to take Campbell to testify when a crane slams into building! It breaks through the window and takes off part of the floor in the unit. Calleigh holds onto William, who hangs between floors, but she loses her grip on him and he plunges to his death. After Horatio arrives, the CSIs question Travis Drake, the site owner, who tells them construction was halted when he couldn't afford to continue the construction. Horatio pays a visit to Joey Salucci at the grave of his daughter, Emma. Emma was killed after she fell asleep on the beach after a bonfire and AJ Watkins accidentally ran her over while driving his ATV. Horatio reminds the man that it was an accident, but Salucci clearly held Watkins responsible. Ryan examines the crane's control area and recovers a black box there. He also finds blood in the cabin, which he's able to trace to a man named Kurt Greenwood, who claims he was simply in the cabin to retrieve drugs he left behind after the site was shut down. After a tense encounter with Campbell's widow, Beth, and their son, Noah, Calleigh goes back to the site to look for more clues with Ryan. Ryan notices charcoal grey paint transfer on some of the shattered glass while Calleigh finds fresh tire treads. After finding the make and model of the car, they're able to trace it to a man named Mick Ragosa.

When the CSIs find Ragosa, they discover his car is damaged. He admits to being a friend of Salucci, and claims he went to the safe house to persuade Campbell not to testify. He got there just as the crane was slamming into the building; some of the wreckage fell onto his car, damaging it. He claims not to have seen the person operating the crane, and the black box from the crane's cabin backs him up: apparently it was being operate remotely when it slammed into the building. Lab tech Jane Bartlett is able to pinpoint the killer's likely location: the top floor of a parking structure. They find the remote in a trashcan and are able to get DNA off goggles found with it. The CSIs are stunned when the DNA matches Campbell's son Noah. Noah admits to them that he was angry at the prospect of going into the witness protection program and changing his whole life for his father's testimony. He wanted to scare his father with the crane, and never intended to hurt him. He's horrified that he killed his father--as is his mother, who apologizes to Calleigh for their earlier confrontation.

Horatio is determined to put Salucci away for AJ Watkins' murder, so he puts the CSIs on the case. After retrieving the tape of Campbell's 911 call, Calleigh is able to hear the sound of a toilet flushing in the background--perhaps the sound of the killer flushing evidence? Ryan and Natalia go back to the club and retrieve a 9-millimeter cartridge from the toilet. Using a new piece of equipment in the lab to recover a fingerprint on the cartridge, Horatio is able to match the print to Mick Ragosa. Ragosa won't talk, refusing to give up the location of Watkins' body. Calleigh and Ryan find blood in Ragosa's car, proving that he used the vehicle to transport Watkins' body. Ryan finds a shovel with sand on it--burned sand. Horatio concludes that AJ was killed at the site of Emma's accidental death. AJ's body is dug up and Dr. Tara Price makes a startling discovery: AJ was shot in the kneecap, but the actual cause of his death was strangulation. Dr. Price finds pollen residue on his skin from a white lily--the kind of flower Horatio recalls Salucci leaving at his daughter's grave. Horatio brings the mobster in: Mick Ragosa may have started the job, but Joey finished it. Horatio tells Salucci he's not the law, and Salucci reminds him there's a big difference between the law and justice. As Salucci is led away, Horatio looks at a picture of his son Kyle and Calleigh visits the morgue and imagines she'd been able to save Campbell.

Analysis:

Easily the best episode of the seventh season so far, "Wrecking Crew" quickly fills viewers in on a case already in progress and then quickly kills the very sympathetic character who happens to be the key witness in a case against a mobster for two reasons: dumb (bad) luck and because he's an honest man. Tim DeKay is the perfect actor to play Campbell because he's immediately sympathetic. DeKay has a genuinely earnest demeanor that immediately makes the viewer like and trust him. He's convincing as an Everyman who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time--at least for him. In his one scene at the episode's beginning--and other than the teaser, we only see him in flashbacks--DeKay sells Campbell's hesitation, nervousness and resolve as he grapples with his decision to testify against Salucci.

The teaser ends with a powerful emotional moment--Calleigh loses her grip on poor Campbell and watches in horror as he falls to his death. The moment is prolonged--she makes eye contact with him after the crane has done its damage, sees him fall and jumps forward to catch him, grabbing onto his hand. We know the odds aren't in her favor; women generally don't have the upper body strength men do, and Campbell certainly outweighs Calleigh. She valiantly holds on for a few seconds, but we can see it in her eyes: Calleigh knows she physically can't hang on. Emily Procter conveys Calleigh's realization, and her horror when she has it, incredibly effectively. We're with Calleigh in the moment, as the knowledge flashes across her face and she loses her grip on Campbell.

Calleigh clearly blames herself for Campbell's death, and her confrontation with Campbell's wife doesn't make things any easier on her. When she tries to tell Beth Campbell that William was a brave man, Beth's response is to slap Calleigh. Delko, who is standing by her side, starts instinctively but realizes he can't chastise the grieving woman. He diverts her attention instead, asking her to trust that they'll find the person responsible for killing her husband. Once Beth has stepped away, he asks Calleigh if she's okay and she answers with a very frank and honest, "No." Calleigh usually plays her cards close to her chest, so her straightforward answer to Delko is indicative of two things: how much this case has gotten to her, and how much she does trust Delko. When Ryan asks her later about the altercation, she shuts him down by saying, "You should know I don't want to talk about it." Even though she doesn't get into specifics with Delko, she's at least willing to open up to him enough to tell him she's not okay.

After all the focus on Salucci and his thugs, it turns out that Campbell's sullen son, Noah, is actually the one responsible for his death. Everyone is stunned, especially Beth Campbell, who has the good grace to apologize to Calleigh. Melinda McGraw, fresh off a stint on Mad Men as Don Draper's shrewd lover, Bobbie Bartlett, is incredibly effective here as a woman who is clearly in shock at the way her world is falling apart around her. First she loses her husband, then she finds out her son is responsible--it's amazing she doesn't fall apart. The guest-casting overall for the episode is very strong, and helps the audience to sympathize with the characters.

Joey Salucci isn't the typical mobster we usually see in Miami episodes. I admit to being hesitant as soon as I heard there was another mobster involved; Miami too often falls back on the big, bad, powerful bad guys who are surrounded by minions--but of course conveniently get taken down by Horatio at the end of the day. Salucci isn't quite the usual cardboard mobster Horatio butts heads with. For one, he doesn't seem to be surrounded by an endless supply of henchmen willing to mindlessly do his bidding. The one underling we do meet, Mick Ragosa, is less of a brainwashed baddie than a man who seems genuinely loyal to his boss. He defends Salucci, telling Horatio and Tripp they should "lay off" his boss.

Salucci is also very real in his grief in a way that most of the people Horatio goes up against aren't. He's got a legitimate reason to be angry, even if his way of dealing with his grief is totally wrong. Horatio seems to sympathize with the man even as he makes it clear he won't condone his murder of Watkins. At the end of the episode, he takes out a picture of Kyle and takes a good long look at it. I hope this isn't foreshadowing something bad happening to Kyle--Horatio has already had enough loss in his life. I'd think he'd relate a little more to Mrs. Campbell than to Salucci: like her, he has a son who has made some bad decisions and run afoul of the law.

The episode's comic relief comes from Ryan, who is asked to climb atop the crane and and search the control area. Poor Ryan is afraid of heights, and Jonathan Togo conveys his nervous energy perfectly. I felt bad for Ryan when he tried to talk to Calleigh about her encounter with Mrs. Campbell and she shut him down; even after all of these years, Ryan is still somewhat of an outsider among the team. He's never quite fit in, and, aside from Horatio's bid to fool Ron Saris, rarely is taken into any confidences. Ryan hasn't had much to do lately, so here's hoping we'll see more from him soon.

The episode's penultimate scene is a heartbreaking one: Calleigh goes to see Campbell's body in the morgue and imagines that instead of watching helplessly as he fell to his death, she was able to lift him up to safety with superhuman strength. It's an achingly vivid moment, one that the audience can connect to in a visceral way, for who among us hasn't looked back at a moment with regret and imagined it turned out differently? It's a poignant conclusion to a moving, powerful episode.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.