CSI: Miami--'Cop Killer'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 19, 2005 - 11:47 PM GMT

See Also: 'Cop Killer' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Patrick Brookner is on a ride-along with Officer Rich Insko when Insko pulls over a car with expired plates. Patrick wants to accompany the officer, but Insko tells him to stay in the police cruiser. Insko approaches the stopped car and gets the driver's license. He clips it to his pocket and starts to check his clipboard when two shots are fired from the car and Insko goes down. Patrick looks on in horror.

When Horatio arrives at the scene, Alexx tells him Insko was shot twice: one bullet hit his protective vest; the fatal one hit him in the head. When Horatio notices two coffee cups in Insko's car, he learns that Insko had a ride-along. No one has seen Patrick--the teen is missing. Calleigh notices that there are no casings present and assumes that they must have ended up in the shooter's car. Delko runs the plates and matches them to a black SUV, but the tire treads are too small for an SUV. The plates on the shooter's car were stolen from another vehicle.

In the morgue, Alexx hands Horatio the bullet that was caught in Insko's vest. She notices a piece of plastic on it: part of a Florida driver's license. The bullet went through the license of the driver of the car, which Insko has clipped to his pocket. Calleigh identifies the shooter's car as a Mitsubishi Eclipse based on it's wheel patterns. Patrol officers divert a suspect in a Mitsubishi Eclipse and come up with an unlikely suspect: sixteen-year-old Missy Marshall. Ryan smells ammonia in the backseat of the car--he thinks Patrick was held there, and relived himself.

Calleigh and Yelina question Missy, who tells them that a man she was with, known as "JoJo," shot the officer. She claims she just met him that morning at the mall. She says she was just going out to get donuts and that JoJo told her if she wasn't back in twenty minutes that he would kill Patrick. Rebecca Nevins interrupts the interrogation, reminding Yelina that they can't question a sixteen-year-old minor without supervision. Yelina bristles, asking if Rebecca is questioning her conduct. She reminds Rebecca that it's her case, and Rebecca counters that eventually it will be hers, and comments that "there seems to be a lot of that going around lately."

Going over the car, Ryan notes that the prints on the wheel are too large to be female, but can't come up with anything else. Horatio tells him to keep at it. Meanwhile, a carjacking suspect named Jake has turned up with Insko's gun. He claims to have found the gun, but Missy identifies him as JoJo. Horatio doesn't believe her.

Calleigh examines the gun and finds blood on the handle; if JoJo snatched the gun right after he killed Insko like Missy claims, there would have been no time for blood from Insko's head wound to pool down by the gun on his belt. Jake was telling the truth, meaning he isn't JoJo.

Ryan finds a parking permit for the Faircrest Hotel under the car's hood. The manager recognizes Missy's picture and shows them a picture of the guy who she's been seeing at the hotel for the last few months: John Johnson a.k.a. JoJo. Horatio and Ryan go to JoJo's room, but though he's not there they find evidence that he and Missy were in the habit of robbing convenience stores. Back at CSI, Missy's mom, Carla, has arrived and is in denial about her daughter's deeds. Missy claims JoJo told her that he loved her and needed her.

Calleigh and Ryan go over the mini mart robberies over the last two months and are able to pinpoint two possible targets for JoJo if he's run out of money. Luckily for them, they're right on the money: JoJo has just robbed a mini mart and left Patrick behind, bound with duct tape by the freezer section. Horatio is immediately suspicious that the cashier was nearly beaten to death while Patrick doesn't have a scratch on him. Ryan and Tyler go over the store's surveillance tape and note that JoJo took a box of motion-sickness medicine off the counter. Delko also notices tape marks on the tape used to bind Patrick, as well as the roll that the tape came from. Patrick tied himself up.

Horatio and Delko question the boy, who finally admits he tied himself up. He says he always wanted to be a cop and that he froze up when Insko was shot. When JoJo left him in the store, JoJo told him he wasn't worth the bullet it would take to shoot him. Patrick tells them that he overheard JoJo talking to someone named 'Mr. Fortune.' This clue paired with the anti-nausea medicine leads Horatio and Ryan to the marina, where they catch JoJo on a boat called Mr. Fortune. Ryan pulls the man's driver's license, noting the prominent hole in it. JoJo denies shooting the officer and Ryan notices a burn mark on his face, which he swabs.

Calleigh washes Insko's shirt to see the pattern the GSR on it. Based on the pattern, she determines the shooter had to be three feet away. JoJo was too close in the driver's seat; the shooter was in the passenger seat. Calleigh confronts Missy with the evidence: she shot Insko. The bullet grazed JoJo's face, burning him. Missy is dismissive: she says she didn't plan to kill Insko, but if he'd learned she was a minor he would have kept her away from JoJo. Missy's mother is shaken and blames the incident on JoJo, but Calleigh reminds her that it was Missy who pulled the trigger.

Rebecca tells Horatio that she cut JoJo a deal in order to get him to testify and that he's out on bail. Horatio is upset--JoJo is an accessory. He thinks Rebecca should have relied on their evidence, but she believes she needs a witness. They're interrupted by Yelina who tells them that there's been a shooting at the Faircrest Hotel. When the CSIs arrive, they find JoJo dead in his hotel room. Ryan finds some kind of residue under JoJo's fingernails. He suspects the killer hid in the closet. Calleigh notices a shattered bullet on the floor--the first shot was discharged into the floor, indicating an inexperienced shooter.

When Missy's mother Carla is found blocks from the hotel with a gun, the CSIs think they've found their killer. But she tells them that she was angry but never went to the hotel room, and her gun corroborates her story: it hasn't been fired lately. They next turn their attention to the hotel manager, but he has vast experience with guns and for him to own one would violate his probation. Horatio's suspicion finally lands on Patrick and when he's brought in for question, Horatio immediately notices a bullet fragment in his shoe. Sure enough, Patrick is the guilty party: JoJo shattered his dreams of becoming a police officer.

Afterwards, Rebecca tells Horatio that Patrick will be tried as an adult. She suggests dinner, but Horatio turns her down. When he turns her down for dessert, she asks him if this is about what she said to Yelina. He says no and she guesses it's about the deal with JoJo. She stands by her decision, and Horatio stands by his.

Analysis:

"Cop Killer" is another one of those thrilling, twisting, wild Miami yarns that we've come to expect from the show's third season, and this episode has a kind of 'full circle' feel to it. Officer Insko is killed by Missy and Patrick is abducted by her and JoJo; after JoJo lets him go saying he's not even worth a bullet, Patrick kills JoJo. There's a kind of symmetry, and sadness, to it: one career is cut short, but another is cut off before it can even begin.

As much as I love Miami, of all the CSI shows it's probably the one that plays fast and loose with evidence the most often. The fact that JoJo steals a box of Dramamine and is talking about someone named 'Mr. Fortune' leads the CSIs to conclude he's going to flee by boat? And Calleigh and Ryan are able to predict which mini mart JoJo will rob? The Miami CSIs often go on intuition more than their Las Vegas or New York counterparts, but there are logical leaps and then there are ones that are a bit too extreme to be believed.

Missy was an entertaining and unlikely villainess--a junior sociopath who seemed to have no remorse about killing Officer Insko and no problem lying to try to protect herself (and JoJo, but she probably would have given him up in the end if it came down to his life or hers). Patrick isn't much better in the end: he finds out he might not (yet) have what it takes to be a police officer and kills the man who ridiculed him, thus taking away any chance that he ever will become an officer. I can't imagine paroled killers ever get into the academy, whereas a scared seventeen-year-old could have toughened up in time.

Maybe Missy, JoJo and Patrick weren't a very sympathetic bunch, but I sure did feel bad for Rebecca Nevins this week. First, the writers decided to assassinate her character by having her get witchy on Yelina. The fact that she's right--Yelina and Calleigh shouldn't be question a minor without a parent and/or a laywer--is lost in her nasty parting words to Yelina. The confrontation between the two was fine until then, and it's understandable that there might be some tension over Horatio--that is, if Yelina even knows that Horatio has been seeing Rebecca. The viewer doesn't know if she does, an oversight in my opinion.

Character assassination point number two comes when Rebecca offers JoJo, a convenience store robber and statutory rapist, a deal. On one hand, it's understandable: she wants to get Missy convicted and the initial questioning with her before her mother was present will probably be thrown out in court. But, as we know, with CSI everything comes down to the evidence, which Horatio thinks they have enough of. The fact that Horatio refers to JoJo as a cop killer clearly indicates that he thinks JoJo is essentially as guilty as Missy is in Insko's death.

The break up at the end isn't exactly a surprise given Horatio's attitude after Rebecca cuts JoJo the deal, but it does make him come off as pretty self-righteous. We're supposed to side with him because of the attitude Rebecca copped with Yelina earlier in the episode, but the manufactured feel of it left me feeling the writers' manipulations more than anything else. This is a woman who Horatio chose to confide in a few episodes ago about Speed's death, something very personal and traumatic for him. One would assume they had built up a fair amount of trust in that time period. It seems petty of him to throw that away because they disagreed on a plea bargain.

Ultimately, though, I feel it's the viewers who got cheated. The situation was ripe for drama, but the potential was never utilized. As I said earlier, we don't even know if Yelina knew about Horatio and Rebecca's romance, and we certainly don't have any idea about how she might have felt about it. Rebecca's character never really got developed: in one episode, she was a sympathetic ear for Horatio who clearly cared about him; several episodes later, she's displaying a hefty mean-streak. Rebecca was ultimately whatever the plot called for, but I can't see any reason for the romance. In the end, it came to nothing and did nothing for any of the main characters, save for the sole instance of letting Horatio open up for once. It's too bad the writers didn't let him open up more before the abrupt end of the romance.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.