CSI Miami Episode 715

Remember how I said there were no courts in Miami? Well, turns out I was wrong. There are. It’s just that all of their walls are made of glass, allowing for the distracting sight of people walking behind witnesses while they testify. Also, they possess no juries, and no permanent seating for the audience.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

Anyhow, we’re in court, where a country club employee is being accused using a belt to strangling a random woman. Amazingly, his lawyer is played by Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, who for the rest of the episode I will be referring to by his preferred name, ‘Stay-Puft’.

Callie takes the stand and announces that the victim’s hair and saliva was on the accused’s shirt. Despite the fact that the accused’s story of getting evidence on him while performing CPR on the victim is completely plausible, Callie announces he’s the killer. Things look extra bad because the accused had threatened the victim and told her to leave the country club ‘or else’ just before the crime was comitted.

The man is quickly convicted, and that’s where the perposterousness begins. We discover that the murder was just six weeks earlier. And that the victim’s corpse has been in cold storage that entire time. Yes, a trial in the world of CSI:Miami happens a month and a half after the crime was comitted.

While the accused is being convicted Horatio stops by the morgue and discovers the victim’s body is infested with flies – which couldn’t possibly have happened if she’d died in the clubhouse! So their theory of the crime can’t be right! What a crazy moral dilemma they’re being put in! They just convicted an innocent man, and now they have to re-open the case, a move that I’m sure will be protested by the arrogant DA, who’s satisfied with a win on her record, and Horatio’s going to have to deal with pressure from the mayor to shut down-

Wait? What’s that? There’s no one in charge of Horatio, and he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants to? Oh. Okay, then.

As the investigation begins we’re offered a paltry explanation for how the trial happened so fast: Stay-Puft waived pre-trial motions and discovery time. Which is all possible, but there would still have to be an open slot on the court’s calendar, and given how crime-ridden Miami is, that seems like a stretch. Also suspicious? Stay-Puft didn’t call the accused to the stand to explain what his fight with the victim was about. More on that later.

First, let’s check in with Stay-Puft, demonstrating to the world why it took him a decade as a rap superstar to become famous enough to land a minor role on a disreputable TV show

To paraphrase TV Funhouse, stick to doing…um, whatever it is that you actually do, Stay-Puft.

The witness is quickly located in an emergency room (after a suicide attempt). She explains that she saw the victim’s body being moved from the crime scene (a dirty alley) on the day of the murder. She offers no explanation for why she didn’t mention it earlier, but does let it drop that Stay Puft didn’t seem particularly interested in her testimony. Confirming that the fly was from the alley and that the victim was moved in her own car, the team begins looking for evidence of who the real killer might be. Their only clue? A bloodstain that looks like it was left by a golf glove!

Somehow it never occurred to anyone to just ask the accused what the victim was into. Horatio finally does, and explains that the victim was a gold-digger who used to hang around the club, looking for a rich husband. Did he not tell any of this to the team at the time of his arrest? Because the fact that they didn’t look into and of the other possible suspects (the rich, possibly married, guys she dated) makes them look pretty damned incompetant.

When Horatio goes to talk to her last boyfriend, another golfer happens to be there at the same time – wearing just the kind of glove he’s looking for! Hilariously the guy volunteers that the glove doesn’t have any blood on it, despite the fact that Horatio hadn’t mentioned blood, or why he wanted to see the glove. So they drag him back to the lab, where they want to test his DNA against a sample found in the air filter. Who should show up at the last minute to keep them from doing that? Stay Puft! Yup, he’s the real killer’s lawyer as well. Weird that this episode isn’t featuring a mystery at all, isn’t it?

It did, however, give us possibly the most useless montage in the the show’s history, which is saying quite a lot, actually.

Yeah, they just wasted a minute of your time to show you that they found nothing. Does anyone really enjoy these montages so much that they understand why it’s important to show them rather than just use the five seconds of dialogue necessary to convey the information?

Horatio swings by the courthouse to get a warrant for the golfer’s DNA. For some reason he goes to the exact same judge who presided over the case. Which seems like a conflict, but whatever. The judge explains that the golfer is an upstanding member of the community, and shouldn’t be bothered with things like this. In other news, apparently the witness has disappeared from the hospital and can’t be found.

How is this all taking place during a single day? And how did the golfer manage to track down and kidnap the witness?

In the next scene Horatio goes to the prison to talk to the accused, who’s shocked to discover that Stay Puft is working for the golfer. Which means that Stay Puft took on a conflict-causing client without informing his other client about the conflict, which he can be censured for doing. He can also be censured for, you know, helping frame an innocent man for the crime, but whatever. The accused frops the next bread crumb – he was ironing his clothes in the locker room when a call came that caused him to leave his locker unattended, and that’s when the body was put inside it. Somehow it doesn’t occur to Horatio to ask who the call was from, since it seems like the call was designed to get the accused away from his locker, but it’s not like Horatio’s good at his job, so let’s move on.

Remember how I said this episode was exceptionally stupid? Yeah, here it comes. They get the iron out of storage and test the DNA on it (apparently it burned someone) – it matches the air filter DNA! Just then Stay Puft shows up, demanding they stop all of their tests. It seems that when Callie went to pick up the evidence, she stopped for fifteen minutes to help with a bad car accident. Stay Puft explains that this violated the chain of custody, since no one was in the car with the evidence at the time. Except that whenever evidence is moved like that seals are put on the boxes at the depot and taken off at the crime lab – as long as they’re undisturbed, you can’t plausibly make an argument that the evidence was tampered with.

See, there they are.

Of course, since the writers want us to think that Stay Puft is a good lawyer, the characters are stymied by his brilliant maneuvering. Of course, it’s not really all that important that they get the iron into evidence – the DNA on the filter is enough to convict, and the iron doesn’t get them the golfer’s DNA.

Still, smuggy is pissed off enough at Stay Puft that he decides to go and harass the golfer for minor traffic violations. Stay Puft is there, though, and manages to get smuggy to back off without searching the car. In another example of just how super-fast the justice system works in this world, by the time smuggy gets back to base there’s already an internal affairs complaint against him.

Rather amazingly the cellphone pictures smuggy takes when leaving the scene prove to be the thing that breaks the case! Through the gap in his broken taillight the team sees a human eye! The witness was in the trunk, and broke the light from the inside. But didn’t scream or move even slightly when the cops pulled the car over. Which is just crazy plausible.

This finally nets them their warrant, but a search of the golfer’s house doesn’t turn anything up. Where could she be? In an amazing character twist, Stay Puft actually seems concerned that his client has kidnapped someone. Which is odd for a guy who helped him frame an innocent man, but hey, it’s Stay Puft. Maybe he doesn’t want his character to seem like such a bad guy. He even tells Horatio that the girl is most likely hidden on a piece of property outside of town.

Now they’ve got one last clue – the girl is wrapped up in the mylar blankets that smuggy saw in the golfer’s car. Yup, not only did he not kill the witness, but for some reason he anticipated that someone was going to be using infra-red cameras to look for her, and that he should bring along non-conductive blankets to help hide her. So wait, why didn’t he kill the witness and dump her by the side of the road?

Because then the episode would lack the touching moment of Horatio saving her:

The next day the case is wrapping up, with the golfer confessing and explaining his motive. The victim was going to tell the wife about their affair, blah, blah, blah. The ridiculous part of this whole scheme is the plan to frame the accused. Following this show’s recent trend of unbelievably contrived frame-jobs, after killing the victim the golfer decided to, instead of just leaving her in the alley, carting her all the way across town to plant in the locker of the guy she’d had a fight with this afternoon. Assuming everyone would remember the accused’s public fight with her, and not his own, which happened moments earlier, or possibly later. The timeline’s a little muddled.

So he called his good friend the judge to help him move the body. Because that’s what good friends do. Somehow no one noticed them carting the body in broad daylight across a crowded parking lot, either.

No mention is made of the fact that he got Stay Puft to take the accused’s case so he could botch it and cover for his rich client. I’m not sure why, since that clearly happened. In fact, Stay Puft isn’t mentioned again.

Which means the entire scheme depended on the accused both having no alibi and finding the body alone, all while in the middle of a busy country club locker room.

You know, if the cop’s plan to frame that eye doctor hadn’t been so awful, I’d say this was the worst frame-job I’d ever seen in fiction. Also hilarious is the final scene, for reasons I’ll let you see for yourselves:

I love all of the gravity they’re putting into these scenes – the black and white photography. The judge tortured by the way he betrayed his oath. The drama is undercut a little by the fact that the judge sent an innocent man to prison… for one day. Until one day earlier the accused was in jail awaiting the outcome of his trial. He didn’t actually get to prison until one day earlier, and then he was released less than 24 hours later. It’s a scummy thing for the judge to have done, of course, but as far as long-term consequences go, it’s pretty weak. Especially since a civil lawsuit will no doubt nab the accused basically everything the judge currently owns.

With the golfer and the judge arrested, and the accused cut loose, the show comes to an end. With, seriously, no one mentioning the fact that Stay Puft was clearly in on the scheme. Hell, how else would the accused have even gotten a slick, high-priced defense attorney?

There were no false accusations this week (just a wrongful conviction), so instead I’m going to present to you some truly bad FX work.

In the flashback detailing the victim’s murder, we get to see the fly that would break the case landing on her face.

Ouch. Here’s a tip, FX people – if you’re going to cover your frame with all manner of grimy after-effects and washed-out colour treatments, remember to apply them to the CGI characters as well, huh?

Oh, and things that exist have shadows. Just FYI.

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