CSI Miami Episode 803 - Puma Village

It’s time for a look at Miami’s official sport… Beach Volleyball! Although, rather strangely, it’s not being played by hot women in sports bras, but rather shirtless young men. What the hell show am I watching? Oh, wait, they keep cutting away to women of a certain age in the crowd.

Could it be that CSI Miami is finally getting around to addressing the red-hot topic of four years ago, Cougars? Well, given that the lady from the still just blew a kiss at one of the players and then had it returned, I’m going to say yes. Also, is that the Relic Hunter in the crowd?

Things take a turn for the less sexy when three of the four guys on the court suddenly seize up and collapse. But what could have killed them that didn’t affect the fourth guy or anyone in the crowd? That’s the mystery the team is going to have to solve, with the aid of a really loud, but largely pointless montage. At the end of the montage Jesse finds some mysterious crystals in the sand. Could they have been poisonous? We’ll have to wait until the end of the credits to find out!

David Caruso interviews Cheryll Ladd and her husband, who were in charge of the volleyball event, and whose daughter went to school with the beach volleyballers when they were state champions. He gets through the conversation without accusing any of them of murder, but that’s not particularly telling, since he rarely accuses people in a group setting.

Then it’s a trip to the morgue, where Christian Clemenson (TV’s Socrates Poole!) is the new ME! He’s not in the opening credits or anything, but I’m happy to see him back at work after the cancellation of Boston Legal. Also, he’s not a very good ME. He fails to notice burn marks all over the victims’ feet. Luckily Horatio’s there to do his job for him, revealing that the men were all electrocuted by suspiciously buried wires! Wait, does sand conduct electricity that well?

A bite mark on one of the victims’ bodies leads them to Ladd’s daughter, whose affections were spurned by the victim… Who was also sleeping with her mother, Cheryl Ladd! Finally they get around to accusing her of murder, which means she can’t be the killer. Hilariously the scene ends with Lab Tech Whose Name I Still Don’t Know explaining to Smuggy what a ‘Cougar’ is, a conversation that would make sense if this episode had been made in 2004. Then Cheryll drops by for a fight with her daughter, and a chance to not get accused of murder a second time!

Then it’s time for a little drama, as Eric drops by the office – things are still weirdly awkward between him and Callie because of the investigation into the shooting. Then we actually see the interviews, where Eric and Callie try to explain why they didn’t do anything wrong, while the IA guy attempts to turn them against each other.

Down in the morgue Christian has some shocking new information – one of the victims was shocked in the chest, rather than the feet! He also misses suspicious black residue around the wound, which suggests he’s outright terrible at his job. This leads to some forced jocularity as the black lab tech (in his first appearance?) calls Jesse ‘John McClane’ because he’d been in a hostage situation. They reveal the preposterous information that the victim had something written on his chest in conductive ink.

The theory of the crime is that this caused the electricity to jump out of the sand and hit him in the heart, ensuring that he’d be killed. So hold on a second – electricity always follows the path of least resistance, right? There’s electricity in the sand, and his feet are in the sand, but somehow there’s less resistance for the electricity to jump four and a half feet through the air and hit him in the chest? I’m not sure that follows…

Following the lead of the initials on the victim’s chest, they talk to the Relic Hunter, who’d had an affair with the burn victim, and used the conductive paint on him. They don’t accuse her of murder, which is good, because that would have been the stupidest murder plot in recent memory, but the fact that they don’t leaves her on the suspect list.

They want to talk to Cheryll (who, according to Relic Hunter, was sleeping with absolutely everyone), but before they talk to her they want to know how the murder was committed. The big clue? Sand around the cable was turned to glass, just like when lightning hits it! Yes, that’s right, the episode just got even stupider. The murder weapon was lightning. The killer put a lightning rod on the beach hooked up to the wire, assuming that it would strike during the game. Also interesting is the a piece of Cheryll’s jewelry that’s lying in the sand next to the lifeguard shack that the lightning rod was attached to! Jesse goes to question Cheryll about this, leading to the obligatory ‘The Graduate’ reference.

This leads to an accusation of murder, meaning that she’s innocent, explaining that the jewelry just fell off. Well, we can’t stop paying attention to her now that she’s been accused, which leaves the husband and Relic Hunter as possible suspects. But the interview with him is inconclusive, as they ask him where he was ‘during the game’, and he has an alibi. Of course his whereabouts during the game are irrelevant, since his part of the murder was committed the night before. Not being smart enough to understand this, they leave without accusing him of anything. Or asking the only relevant question. Which means he’s pretty much got to be the killer at this point, since Relic Hunter hasn’t been a big enough part of the story to remain in contention.

Good old-fashioned canvassing finds them the lightning rod, which was built out of a few golf clubs that were taped together. Rather suspiciously the daughter’s golf clubs are missing from her family’s garage! Clubs that aren’t the same type as was used in the lightning rod – but, of course, we knew that because she’d been accused of murder. Going through the family’s literal dirt laundry reveals a bloodstain and tear on the husband’s clothes… the kind made by a hacksaw!

The husband naturally admits the murder immediately. His motive? His wife’s lack of discretion in her affairs. Which he’s got a point about. I mean at least he goes to the trouble of hiding out in a boat with his girlfriend. Cheryll Ladd actually went to the length of organizing beach volleyball games to show off the 20-year-olds she was having sex with. Making her kind of a disgusting person.

I’m not clear on why he didn’t just kill her instead. Or why he thought he could get lightning to strike during the relatively short window of the volleyball game, and not before or after it. And why did he think no one would notice him planting a lightning rod on a roof, burying two hundred feet of cable in the sand, and then spreading conductive crystals through the sand, all on a busy beach? Wait, because he's not an actual character, just a 'surprising' twist.


Except for a happy coda where we discover that Eric’s not going to be investigated any further, allowing Callie and him to get back together. Aww, I’m so happy for those crazy kids.


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