CSI: Miami--'Felony Flight'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 9, 2005 - 9:38 PM GMT

See Also: 'Felony Flight' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A quartet of teens get more than they bargained for when they go to help the survivors of a small plane crash. They are greeted by convicted murderer Henry Darius, who shoots them dead and steals their car, taking fellow convict Ken Hastings with him. When the CSIs arrive, Horatio quickly concludes that the plane has been sabotaged. Darius was on his way to Miami from New York to help authorities find the body of one of his victims, Lydia Johnson, a young woman he shot to death in her car in front of her young son, Adam. Darius is now free, armed and dangerous. Delko confirms Horatio's suspicions about the plane being sabotaged: someone punctured the coolant duct, releasing hot gas and eventually causing the engine to fail. Tripp tells Horatio that Mac Taylor has offered to fly down to Miami to help recapture Darius, and Horatio takes him up on the offer.

Lydia's husband James is upset to learn of Darius's escape--he and his son want closure. Horatio thinks it's possible that Darius wasn't his wife's killer, despite his confession. Calleigh and Ryan go over the tape of Darius's confession looking for clues. They zero in on Darius's cryptic statement that "Mr. Hoberman helped him" bury the body and search the papers around the time of Lydia's death for references to any Mr. Hoberman. Calleigh finds an obituary for an Albert Hoberman for the day before Lydia was killed and they go to dig up his grave, hoping Lydia's body will be inside. Hoberman is the only one in the coffin, but they do find a shovel beneath the coffin with blood on it. Delko finds the pilot's notes and discovers he was planning on diverting to Opa-Locka Airport before the plane crashed. Horatio and Tripp race there to find Joann Nivens waiting for Henry--she was his pen pal while he was in jail. She denies that she was waiting for him, but Tripp finds twenty grand in her purse. Before they can investigate further, Tripp gets a call: the car Darius stole has been spotted.

A helicopter follows the car and shorts out its battery, but Darius escapes, leaving Ken behind. Ken claims Darius forced him to sabotage the plane and then dragged him along on a killing spree at a sorority house at Miami University. The CSIs rush to the scene only to discover several dead girls spread out throughout the house. Alexx sadly goes over the bodies, but Calleigh follows a blood path and discovers one survivor hiding in a cabinet. Back at the lab, Ryan has determined the blood on the shovel was Lydia's, but Horatio doesn't think Darius buried her. He talks to Lydia's son, Adam, who tells him that after his mother drove him to soccer practice he looked back to see a man with long hair in the front seat of his mother's car. While he goes off with a sketch artist, Tripp and Delko seek out Lydia's minivan, which is still impounded and Delko finds a CD in the player--a homemade one by someone named Brian Miller. Tripp and Delko pay Brian a visit and he tells them he accosted James Johnson, a record executive, in his car a day before his wife's murder to play the CD for him, but that Johnson dismissed it as awful and gave him his card. Horatio is upset that James didn't tell him about this a year ago, and is even more frustrated when he discovers James and his wife swapped cars the day of her murder.

Kimberly, the surviving sorority girl identifies Darius as the man who attacked her and tells Calleigh that he was looking for Alexa Endecott, one of the third year sorority sisters and a wealthy heiress. She recalls Alexa was at the Coco Riding Club. Mac Taylor arrives, Horatio fills him in and the two race to the riding club only to discover Alexa's abandoned horse. They discover a wounded security guard whose gun and car are missing. Horatio and Mac call Darius on the security walkie-talkie, but he refuses to let them talk to Alexa. Darius tears out the walkie-talkie. By the time the CSIs find the car, Darius has abandoned it. The video system is still in tact, and they discover a piece of paper with coordinates on it in the car--the burial site for Lydia Johnson perhaps? Dan Cooper traces the location and the CSIs race there and trace the body by means of the battery in Lydia's watch. Alexx helps dig her up and IDs her. She finds James Johnson's folded up business card in Lydia's pocket. Horatio suspects James, who had a five million dollar life insurance policy on his wife, but he denies involvement. A print on the car leads the CSIs to Brian Miller, who admits that after James rejected his music, he hired a guy to 'scare' James. But he says the guy went by 'Rosey' and claims Darius was not the man he hired. In the morgue, Alexx shows Horatio two bullet wounds--one in the scapula and the fatal shot to the head.

Mac and Calleigh go over the video from the car Darius stole and witness him killing a motorist for his car and driving off. Alexa Endecott manages to get off a call to home, saying she's been taken by a man. Horatio and Mac recognize the sound of the horn in the background: the Staten Island Ferry. Darius and Alexa are already in New York, thanks to Joann Nivens, who gave Darius her private plane. Darius claims he was going to New York to make things right, and Mac and Horatio are hot on his tail.

Analysis:

It's always hard to judge the first part of a two-parter before seeing the conclusion, but "Felony Flight" is a mostly strong start to the crossover sequence that will finish up on CSI: New York. One thing bothered me throughout the episode and that was why the CSIs were so focused on finding Lydia Johnson's body while Henry Darius, a serial killer who has apparently started a new killing spree upon escaping from custody, is loose. The Lydia Johnson case is interesting enough as an ordinary case, but I have to say I would assume tracking and finding Darius would take precedence over discovering Lydia's body, even moreso after Horatio voiced his opinion that Darius was not the one who killed Lydia.

I'm not sure where the Lydia Johnson case is going, though I'm hoping it will ultimately be significant to Darius's case. Since he knew where Lydia was buried, he must be connected somehow. Until Brian Miller claimed Darius wasn't the man he knows as Rosey, I assumed that Rosey was simply Darius in a wig. But then, I also assumed that the case was closed when Alexx found the folded up business card in Lydia's pocket. Why would Horatio go back to James Johnson and not straight to Brian Miller, who told them Johnson gave him his card before kicking him out of his car. I'm reserving judgment until "Manhattan Manhunt," but I'm hoping the CSIs were right to pursue the case and not just turn it over to Natalia Boa Vista.

Darius himself could have used a little more screentime--there wasn't much to distinguish him from the killers who the CSIs chase week in and week out. Sure, his video confession is slightly creepy, but he doesn't reach the heights of Todd Coombs in CSI's "Bloodlines", Dr. Ivanov from New York's "Blink" or even James Badge Dale's eerie Adam Trent from CSI's "Committed". Dale, who played an earnest young Counter Terrorism Agent in 24, joins a small group of actors who have appeared on all three CSI shows, and his turn in "Committed" proves he has the chops to play a memorable villain. The script doesn't give him much to work with, though, so hopefully the second installment will reveal more about Darius and allow Dale to show his range.

After a few uneven episodes, Horatio is back in fine form with David Caruso getting back to the kind of emoting that made Horatio such a sympathetic and compelling lead in the first three seasons of Miami. He's always at his best when crusading for justice in the name of children and he shares some nice scenes with young Adam Johnson. Horatio seems genuinely perplexed and frustrated when he learns James Johnson didn't share several pieces of information with him that might be crucial to the case.

After all the hype of Gary Sinise's presence on Miami, he doesn't really have much to do. Mac doesn't even make an appearance until the halfway mark, and then he seems to just trail Horatio and offer a few helpful observations here and there. He doesn't even get to identify the sound of the Staten Island Ferry's whistle without help from his Miami counterpart. That said, Sinise and Caruso do work extremely well together, with Horatio's fiery drive balanced by Sinise's more taciturn approach. Their natural rapport builds upon what was started in "MIA-NYC--NonStop".

Because of the nature of event episodes like crossovers, the other Miami regulars naturally fall to the wayside somewhat, and the same will probably be true in the New York episode. I hope in the conclusion we'll see more of Mac's involvement in Darius's case, and word has it we'll be finding out more about Horatio's past in New York. Most of all, I hope the story builds on the momentum that the cliffhanger ending brings.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.