CSI Miami Episode 801

CSI Miami is back! Catch the fever! Whooo!

Okay, seriously though, there was something of a cliffhanger last time, with Eric stumbling out of the car he rescued his father in, after having been accidentally shot by Callie. Why, you may ask, did he leave the car and go wandering into the everglades? That’s not a question I have an answer to. Hopefully Eric will survive long enough to tell us all.

Horatio and the team finds Eric barely conscious by the side of a road, and as they perform extreme life-saving measures Eric drifts off into a flashback. We can tell it’s a flashback rather than a dream sequence because of two factors – 1: A little countdown showing the year roll back to 1997, and 2: song choice.

That’s an oddly correct song choice for setting the date, from a show that’s usually way behind the times. After all, they did a ‘the Bachelor’ episode roughly five years after everyone stopped caring about the Bachelor. I’m surprised he wasn’t listening to Nirvana.

Rather puzzlingly, the episode opens with Eric seemingly working as a police tow truck operator, out hunting for salvage. During his duties he happens across a car dumped in the swamp with a body in the trunk! He calls homicide, and who should turn up but Horatio, before his key discovery of sunglasses or a fashion sense.

Ah, so this is going to be one of those episodes, a ‘Last Crusade’, where we find out how a single day in someone’s life created all of the significant characteristics that we primarily identify them with.

Really confusingly, their conversation suggests that I’ve misunderstood the premise, and Eric isn’t actually a cop at this point, just a tow-truck operator who's somehow good friends with a homicide detective. Huh? Before explanations can be offered, the opening credits kick in, and we learn that a new cast member has been added! Oh, and the hospital that Eric was taken to is the one where Creepy ME works, and once again she doesn’t recuse herself from a case that she may have a strong emotional interest in. Because she’s a professional.

Back in ’97 Horatio walks Eric through a crime scene, because it’s completely normal for you to let a tow-truck operator hang out by a dead body and ask questions about it. Horatio and his pre-Frank partner visit the husband, and we finally learn the origin of Horatio’s groundbreaking interview technique.

Isn’t it crazy how reticent Horatio is here, when in twelve short years that’s how he’s going to be dealing with literally everyone he meets?

Meanwhile, in the present, they don’t know whether Eric is going to survive the shooting! Callie, understandably, feels very guilty about this. Wait, what happened to Eric’s dad? Doesn’t he have some information to offer or something? Man, I wish I’d watched the guest star list more closely.

Over in the past Horatio swings by the creepy ME’s lab and does some investigating. He discovers that the victim hadn’t been in a fight, and was likely taken utterly by surprise when it came to the whole ‘being murdered’ thing. Upstairs Callie is reporting for first day on the special investigations squad – you’ll note that they didn’t get a different set to represent the past, but just dressed their ultra-futuristic police station with filing cabinets and loose pieces of paper.

How very retro. Callie is rescued from sexual harassment by the New Guy, who was apparently a guy on the CSI team at the time, although he’s leaving that very day, which explains why even though no one’s ever mentioned him, he’ll show up later in the episode and everyone will act like he’s an old pal. Subtle, CSI.

Jesse (that’s his name, BTW – man, I like it when I see the first episode in which a character appears – so much simpler than going to IMDB) also shows Callie the crime lab, which is hilariously underfunded.

At Horatio’s request Jesse heads out to the victim’s home to look for traces of blood. He manages to find some, proving that the victim was killer in her own home, and that the killer attempted to clean up! Horatio swings by the crime lab to find out about the bullet found at the scene, and even though the present head of the crime lab thinks there’s a definitive connection between the killshot and the bullets found in the house, Callie uses Science to show him up in front of Horatio! Which is totally a thing you should do on your first day at a new job in front of your direct supervisor.

After a quick flash to the future, we meet the next member of our team, you know, before there was a team.

Not that I’m unhappy to see Horaitio’s pal Frank, but is Rory Cochrane ever going to show up? The possibility of his appearance is basically the only reason I’m putting up with this flashback structure. Frank reports a Peeping Tom in the neighborhood where the murder happened, so Horatio has him brought in. After a quick accusation of murder, they let him go. Horatio protests the situation, though, announcing that because the gardener had mud on his shoes, he must be the killer!

Then it’s time for when Callie met Eric, revealing that he asked her out the first time they met! Aw, how sweet. Horatio and Callie then look over the car that Eric dropped off, and discover that it was in an accident before going into the water, setting off the airbag! Which means they can test the gardener for airbag dust!

Back at the crime scene, Jesse is somehow still looking for blood spatter. Seriously, he said he was going to use luminol to look for blood, then we cut away for roughly three hours worth of scenes, and when we cut back, he’s only then starting to spray things. That’s just poor temporal editing, guys.

A swing by the morgue leads to the next unsettling reveal, that the victim’s corpse was molested after death. Thanks for that, CSI. Although the very next scene has a cute meta-joke about the show – when asked to give up their shirt to be tested for particles, a character asks ‘how come I’ve never heard about this on TV?’ Because CSI wouldn’t premiere for another three years, of course!

Science proves that the gardener was the one who drove the car into the swamp, but the DA Horatio goes to see won’t believe this whole ‘science’ voodoo bull. He, like Horatio’s ignorant partner, just assumes the husband is the killer even though there’s no evidence to implicate him in the crime. Because, you see, in the year 1997, no one had even heard of this whole ‘evidence’ or ‘science’ stuff! Yeah, the world of CSI in 1997 is basically the movie Sleepy Hollow, except with yellow colour filters instead of blue.

Then it’s time for Caruso’s tearful emmy clip at Eric’s bedside, lamenting all the people’s he’s lost over the run of the show (his wife, brother, Rory Cochrane, who, by the way, where is?).

Then it’s time for some more flashbacking. Horatio visits the scene of the likely car crash with Eric, who uses his knowledge of swampland to lead Horatio to the missing gun! Which, along with a beer can and milk carton, floated into a nearby pipe.

Wait, hold on. Do guns float? Let’s use our good friend the webternet to check on this one. Well, unloaded a gun is two points of steel, so I’m guessing that no, they don’t float.

Now it’s time for another cutaway to Jesse, who’s now spent half the show spritzing a bottle of luminol on walls, floors, and windows. Finally he gets done with the scut work, and drops by to talk to Horatio, who already has a photo of the mystery blood drops that Jesse found at the crime scene twenty seconds ago.

Wait, isn’t this 1997? The whole premise of this episode so far has been how primitive the technology is – so wouldn’t Jesse have had to get that film developed? You know, I get that we’re supposed to suspend our disbelief about these episodes all taking place in a single day, but this is just getting crazy. And it has to be taking place in a single day, because they’ve stressed time and again that Jesse only has five hours left on the job.

It turns out that the blood spatter on the window was the key element of the case, because the shooter would have undoubtedly been hit by a little blood when he shot the victim. They search the gardener’s undershirt for evidence of blood, which is a little odd, since he was wearing an overshirt at the time that they’ve already tested. Science manages to find blood on the gardener, but not enough for the two tests required by law!

Luckily science has an answer, blood multiplication, which only the FBI is doing! And who works at the FBI 12 years ago, that other woman from the lab whose name I still don’t know! Which seems like quite a demotion, if you ask me. I mean, Eric went from being a two-truck operator to working for the police, lab woman went from working for the FBI. Was there a drug scandal? Did she accidentally shoot one of her own people? Will we ever find out? The answers are yes, yes (because of the first yes), and no.

The gardener is thrown in jail thanks to science, rather than prejudice, and it all happens without him bothering to give the kind of detailed confession that the killers normally do. Now that Horatio’s new-fangled ‘science’ has managed to solve a case the chief decides to put together a whole new ‘CSI’ division. On his way out the door Jesse recommends Rory Cochrane for the new team, so while he doesn’t show up, at least there’s a nod.

The flashback ends with Horatio taking off his tie, and Eric giving him a pair of sunglasses, finishing his transformation from random drab cop to the fashion plate we all know and love.

Horatio then tells Eric to become a cop, which apparently Eric does, which leads to him getting shot a dozen years later, making this whole situation Horatio’s fault, if you stop to think about it. Meanwhile, in the future, Eric finally wakes up from his coma, meaning that he’ll have to live to deal with the legal consequences of rescuing his father from that gunfight the Russian Mob was having with the police.

Or maybe they’re just hoping we’ll forget about that. Once again, we’ll have to wait a week to find out.

For the record, here are the things that all happened in a single day 12 years ago – Horatio met Callie, Frank, and Lab Woman, heard about Tim, convinced Eric to become a cop, got sunglasses and a fashion sense, founded the CSI team, started posing with the sun behind him so that he'll look like a renaissance fresco of a saint, and learned to accuse every single person he meets of the crime until he randomly happens to be right.

Take that, River Phoenix! Looks like we’ve got a new definitive flashback day!

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