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CSI: Miami – “LA” – Review
Admission up front: I haven’t seen anything by Rob Zombie. I know him from afar as a horror maestro. He was the guest director last night, and I was intrigued, to be sure. As cool as it is to have guest director (Like Quentin Tarantino did with the original CSI a year or so ago), when you have a scripted crime show with an established template, you know there won’t be a whole lot of difference. Still, Zombie seemed to have some influence with the story line of “LA” (episode title) and its horror elements.
The opening montage showed a giant costumed party, with patrons in masks, dancing to rock music. In another room, the 1922 film Nosferatu was being screened on a wall. In a neat sequence, the images from the film–showing the vampire–echo the dastardly actions taking place in the room. There are a couple of women, a bit too much to drink, the camerawork reinforcing this point with its tipsy-turvy work. Things happen and cut to black. One of the women, Anna, wakes up and discovers her friend, Leslie, dead with a fountain pen stuck in her neck. Needless to say, she loses it.
Horatio and his team arrive. He stands brooding, the black-and-white film etching his face. Tony Enright is trying to “console” Anna…and he’s not succeeding. Well, let’s be honest: he’s not really trying, either. Horatio, as if he was a Western hero, states “I know what you did in LA.” Tony, in a typical arrogant bad guy style, scoffs. Horatio calls him on his “adult entertainment” business. Tony scoffs again. Then Horatio gets his line: “Roll credits. It’s a wrap.”
Walter and Calleigh work the crime scene, and Walter discovers a listening device. Somewhere, they know there is a receiver. Natalia, meanwhile, interviews Anna. Anna has been drugged, and Natalia suggests, delicately, that Anna ought to head to the hospital and get herself checked for signs of possible rape. Natalia also mentions Jesse, and Anne starts to fly off the hook. She accuses him of following her from LA to Miami and of stalking her in Florida. When he walks up to them, Anna gets very angry, so angry, in fact, that Natalia gives Jesse the evil eye and all but dismisses him.
Back at the lab, Dr. Lohman tells Ryan that the victim, Leslie, was not drugged. The murder weapon, the pen, has a fingerprint. The print belongs to Coop Daily, played by Michael Madsen. Coop’s a former football player and he’s very–very–full of himself. Sure, his fingerprints are on the pen. “It’s because I sign a lot of autographs.” In rather humorous banter, he keeps referring to Ryan as “pint size” or “little man.” When Ryan lets out that he’s five foot nine, Coop responds with “My pants are five nine.” Nonetheless, our detectives don’t have much to hold Coop. Calleigh, keeping her disgust in check, tells Coop not to go far. “You’ll be back. I guarantee it.”
Wes Ramsey, the CSI tech guy (see, I learned his name!), isolates the bug found at the crime scene. Oddly, the receiver appears to be in the parking lot of the station. Ryan questions it. Calleigh knows what’s up. She goes straight to…Jesse’s car. He arrives and Calleigh gets meticulously professional. “Open the trunk, Jesse. Back away from the car. Do it!” And Jesse does. Yup, there’s recording equipment in there. I was just coming to get the tape, he says. Yeah, right. Calleigh asks Jesse what he’s doing. In a personal moment, we get to see Jesse’s driving force. The guy (Tony Enright) is a murderer, he says. I think about my wife, Tracy, every day. This guy’s a murderer, and I want to put him away. And the recording of the murder is evidence. The only problem is Jesse’s history as an LAPD officer is tarnished when it comes to Enright and his murder trial. Enright knows this is his literal “get out of jail” free card. The DA tells Horatio she can’t use the recording. The only thing to do: clear Jesse’s name. Off to LA go Horatio and Delko (in his capacity as an officer of the DA).
Cue music: “California Dreamin’” by the Mamas and the Papas. Cue iconic shots of LA with Horatio standing. Cue helicopter landing. Out pops Captain Chris Sutter, played by William Forsythe. He growls about the case being old and settled, but he allows Horatio and Delko to investigate. For anyone not versed in the way of CSI: Miami, you should know right then and there Sutter was hiding something. Only time would tell what it was.
One of the pieces of evidence Horatio and Delko find is the footage of the trial when Malcolm McDowell’s Darren Vogel, the defense attorney for Enright back in the day, shredded Jesse on the stand. It came down to this: a cufflink Jesse found and photographed has disappeared. Without that evidence, Enright walked, and Jesse’s reputation suffered. Soon thereafter, Jesse’s wife was murdered. As the video footage stops, Horatio states the mission: we find the cuff link, we clear Jesse. Delko’s a bit more circumspect–”Or sink him.”
Back in Miami, Natalia lets Anna know that she was raped by a man who wore a condom. Calleigh runs a test and isolates a compound present only in a particular type of condom. She and Ryan confront Coop with the evidence. He’s coy and annoying and lascivious. Then he does the Dumb Criminal Thing: he drops a piece of evidence (lambskin condom) and Ryan does the cop thing: no one said anything about lambskin. Busted! He fesses up that Enright provided Leslie as a prize. Calleigh’s repugnance at Coop is now palpable. He’s hauled off.
In LA, Horatio and Delko have their moment with McDowell at his scene-chewing best. They discover, in the crime scene photos, a freelance photographer, Olivia. She’s doing a photo shoot with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top. When our heroes ask if she remembers the case, not only does she say yes, she gives them the negatives. Of course! This new evidence has a damning shot: Captain Sutter removing the incriminating cufflink. On the empty stage of the Greek Theater, Horatio and Sutter talk. Horatio shows the photo, Sutter confesses. Yeah, he took the cufflink, “but I never knew Jesse had already photographed it.” Horatio needs the cufflink and asks if Sutter still has it. In perhaps the biggest What The Hell Were The Writers Thinking moments this season, Sutter says, “Well, yeah, I have it. Right here in my jacket pocket. I carry it around with me to help me remember how I gave a good cop a bad name.” He pulls it out…and there’s still blood on it. Come on! Are you serious? Like he wouldn’t have gotten rid of the evidence back during the trial. Cop remorse is one thing. This was way over the top on a show known for living over the top. Too much.
Horatio wins (natch) and Sutter gives a press conference extolling the virtue of Jesse Cardoza. It was a press conference Tony Enright didn’t see. As he harangues Trip (yes, he makes a cameo) for the bad coffee, our bald, straight-talking cop lets Enright in on the little news flash: Jesse’s clean and you, Enright, are going down. The closing shot sets up a rivalry between Horatio and McDowell. I enjoyed McDowell doing his thing, so I suspect he’ll be back one day. Jesse walks up to Horatio and says the only thing needed–thanks. Horatio merely replies that “you’d do the same for me.” And we get another personal moment with Jesse when the man who killed his wife is now behind bars. You can tell he’s happy, but he still is without his wife.
I enjoyed this episode, but it wasn’t the best of the season. The personal moments shone for me. Natalia and Anna, speaking about abuse, and Natalia letting Anna know she’s there to talk. Jesse’s quiet moments, in the middle and at the end. And I really enjoyed seeing Delko’s exuberance when Horatio takes him away to LA. Whatever you think of Eric Delko, he will be returning next season. I think it bodes well for some friction between him and Jesse. I’m looking forward to it.