Questions about CSI:Miami’s Season Nine Finale

Sunset Over (CSI) Miami by The Daily Ornellas
Who could be against this scenery?
Why do so many people dog CSI: Miami?

It wins its time slot (Mondays or Sundays) all the time.  It’s routinely in the top 15 or 20 of all shows.  The cinematography is gorgeous, it has beautiful people and interesting stories. It also has David Caruso. I know for some, that’s enough not to watch. I’m here to tell you something: you are missing out if you don’t watch this show.

Some critics think CSI: Miami is too unreal. Hello? If this discussion is not about The Wire, then just about all other police shows are unreal. Nine years ago, CSI: Miami had the luxury of launching its pilot episode wrapped within an episode of the original CSI. There was a crime in Las Vegas that led to Miami where we basically got the mission statement directly from Emily Proctor’s character Calleigh Duquesne, “We do things more fanciful down here.” In the original CSI, you have the Land of Perpetual Shadow, pretty people wearing sexy clothing, and interesting characters. In CSI: Miami, Anthony Zuiker pitched the Land of Perpetual Sunset, prettier people wearing sexier clothing, and characters who are equally as interesting.

Emily Proctor as Calleigh Duquesne from CSI:Miami
Emily Proctor as Calleigh Duquesne from CSI:Miami
Throughout nine seasons, this group has experienced life, death, and everything in between. Calleigh is great, because she’s a blonde Southern belle who knows and likes guns, takes her job way too seriously, and has to deal with an alcoholic father. Hunky Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez) is a Cuban underwater recovery expert who learns his dad is actually a Soviet, the very man who put a hit on him. Ouch! If you’re okay with guys who are less hunky and noirish, also prone to wearing pastel ties with jeans and to gambling problems, Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) is your guy. Omar Miller plays Walter Simmons, a Louisianian and art theft expert who’s come up from the night shift.  And no TV police drama would be complete without a wise-cracking, blue-collar sergeant, played to perfection by Rex Linn. And, truth be told, Linn’s Frank Tripp gets all the best lines.

CSI:Miami’s Horatio Caine and Walter Simmons from Season 9 finale
Hands on hips teamwork: Horatio Caine and Walter Simmons
For all of the sometimes stereotypical characters this show presents, I’ve cometo love and appreciate their differences. My enjoyment of this show even prompted me to write episode recaps for season eight, a practice I stopped once CSI: Miami got booted from Mondays to Sundays, and the beginning of episodes kept getting delayed because of the vicissitudes of the NFL. Perhaps I wasn’t the only one peeved. I can’t help but wonder if the creative team involved with CSI: Miami, slighted at the time slot change, wanted to make sure and produce higher quality episodes this season. They succeeded.

Season Nine began by including the real-life pregnancy of actress Emily Proctor. The producers kept her in the lab—usually behind something solid—and promoted Eva LaRue’s character, Natalia Boa Vista, to the field. Boa Vista’s interplay with the other characters brings subtle humor to their grim jobs. She’s also had to deal with hearing loss, the result of an explosion, and has had some great scenes with David Caruso’s Horatio Caine. I can’t help but wonder if Season Ten will allow both actresses to share the spotlight.

What's with the eye rolls when I mention David Caruso?

David Caruso as Horatio Caine in Mayday, the Season 9 finale of CSI:Miami
David Caruso as Horatio Caine in Mayday, the Season 9 finale of CSI:Miami

For CSI: Miami, the spotlight will always be on Horatio Caine. Every show on television needs a star, and David Caruso is it. Caine, from the first scene of the pilot, demonstrates what kind of man he is. Caine approaches a lost seven year-old in the Everglades. They talk and he mentions that people are looking for her. He sits next to her and says, “Why don't we sit here and let them find us together.” As a new dad in 2002 when this show aired, I was hooked. To paraphrase, he had me at “together.”

Empathy is a good thing in a TV cop. There’s a lot of it and, some could argue, there’s more empathy in TV cop shows than in squad rooms around the country. Be that as it may, Caine has it in spades, especially with children, which makes his dark side all the more interesting. This season’s arc had the framework of a massive jailbreak and the CSIs tracking down the convicts. Naturally, Memmo Fierro—the man who killed Caine’s wife (and Delko’s sister) a few seasons back—was among them. In one episode, Caine has the drop on Fierro.  “Are you at peace with your decision, lieutenant?” Fierro asks Caine. “I am,” is the reply. You can tell Caine gives some consideration to killing Fierro and cleaning up the mess later. But he arrests the felon and sends him back to 

jail. If there’s a flaw in Caine, it’s that he tends always to come out on the right side. Even in the most dire of circumstances, he’s steely-eyed and confident, despite the fact that it usually means more grief for him.

Now you’re dying to know about the finale, aren’t you?

SPOILERS AHEAD!

In the final episode, “Mayday,” Caine and Tripp fly the last escaped felon, Jack Toller, back to Miami. When the steward of the private plane draws his gun, Caine attempts talking, but things go south—the steward’s dead, the pilot’s dead, the co-pilot’s injured, but lands the plane. Escapee Toller, played with cruel relish by Callum Keith Rennie, escapes. . .again. Yeah, yeah,I know.  The CSIs and Caine pursue him as he kills one woman, takes another hostage, and coerces his old cell mate into doing his bidding.

After a tip by the distraught cell mate, Caine and Natalia plan on meeting him at a pier, thinking he has intel on Toller. Without warning, Caine is shot. The look of utter shock and pain on Caine’s face as he realizes he’s hit is money! That’s the type of gravitas Caruso brings. Caine struggles to help Natalia, but she’s put in the trunk of a car, and the best he can do is get off a few wild shots. The deed’s done, the trunk’s closed, and the car’s sent into the water. The final sounds we hear—to last us the next five months—are Natalia’s screams and the busy signal on her phone.

For anyone who hasn't watched CSI: Miami in a long time, take a look over the summer. CBS even has recent episodes online. I suspect you'll enjoy it. You might be surprised.

Top Image via The Daily Ornellas on flickr


Scott D. Parker is a professional writer who discusses books, music, and history on his own blog, and is a regular columnist for Do Some Damage.

Comments

  1. Laura K. Curtis

    You almost make me want to watch it. Almost. If they’d get rid of David Caruso, I could go back to it. But I hate him with an abiding passion. That stupid, smug head tilt before he speaks–why can the man not look straight ahead while he’s talking?

  2. Julie D.

    Oh, my goodness. OK, I’ll begin by saying that I became a writer because of CSI: Miami, and that is NOT a compliment to the show. God forgive me, I tried. I really did, and I was IN LOVE with the show well into season 4. It started like gangbusters. I mean, how can you NOT tune in week after week after that scene (as described above) with Caine (Caruso) sitting on a log in the Everglades with that little girl. I can have an all night discussion with anyone who will listen on some great scenes and some good points about the show, all involving David Caruso on-screen. Caruso became a star thanks to NYPD Blue, and for good reason. But he has become lost on this show, or maybe the show lost him, since about season 4. Between that short-lived marriage to a girl way too young for him (and Delko’s sister to boot) to the ridiculous season nine finale, they have missed the boat time and time again. The writing is atrocious and the story lines even more so. Dear David Caruso, once you’ve tired of this show, I have a role for you. I have a novel to send you. Email me.

    Julie
    http://www.testarossabook.com

  3. Steve Oerkfitz

    Possibly the worst acting on TV. The entire cast is bad but Emily Proctor is the standout. Terrible.

  4. ScottDParker

    Laura – With all the Caruso hate out there, what I wonder is why? That’s the big mystery to me. And, believe me: I roll my eyes when he does his head cock thing and the sunglasses have become a cliche. He’s a lot like Roger Moore’s version of James Bond: just a bit cheesy, but still does a good job and has fun doing it.

    Julie – The Marisol/Caine union was a little weird, I’ll grant you that. I’ve always had a soft spot for Sofia Milos’s Yelina Salas character. She’s age appropriate and has the gravitas to stand with Caine.

    As to the writing, yes, sometimes there are some far-fetched stories. Even my wife, another fan of the show, groans at some of the stuff they come up with. And, yes, there are a lot of “as you know, Bob” moments. But it’s a network cop show. They’ve got 48 minutes to tell the story that would likely span days in real life. But CSI: Miami isn’t real life. And I don’t think the creators even tried to make it real. It’s just fun.

    Steve – When you count “TV” as including basic and premium cable, a lot of network TV acting pales. But, then again, that’s what we get with networks. Sometimes I think CSI: Miami suffers from the Michael Crichton Syndrome: cool plots with characters that serve the plot. But within that framework, the folks in Miami do well. In fact, my favorite episode of the season is one written and directed by Adam Rodriguez. I found it fascinating to see how an actor on the show “sees” the show. I think Rodriguez should write an episode per year from here on out.

  5. Randy Johnson

    You’ve got one booster, Scott. I still enjoy the show. The original is beginning to wear a little thin though.

    On the subject of Caruso’s head tilt and his slow manner os speaking at times, I remember somewhere someone asking what was the matter with him and the answer was “acting.”

  6. Shelby

    So who shot JR? Oops. That’s our hero taking a slug — guess he is not infallible after all? Forgot that Kevlar vest again. Like you, Scott, I noticed the look of utter disbelief, then pain as he crumbled and his determination to at least fire his weapon, hoping to accomplish something. That was one loud shot, coming out of nowhere and does anyone care “who dunnit?” Surely not the irate father, but was Toller even in the area? Was this a foreshadowing of things to come? It does look like surgery time for our hero, though. I hope he is not patched up in the opening scenes and back on the job in a jiffy.

    Funny how most of the complaints people make regarding the show and the acting, are pretty spot on. It just seems that that which rankles some, tickles others. I liked your comparison to Roger Moore, Scot. That Mr. Caruso has found a character whom he can have some fun with is obvious. Am a bit relieved that the sunglasses shtick seems to have run its course, and now I am ready for him to embrace a lighter wardrobe again — one more fitting to the Florida lifestyle. I will watch the show until Horatio rides his hummer into the sunset (I wrote an article a few years ago titled ‘The Return of the Lonesome Cowboy’ and still tend to think of Lt. Caine in that light) no matter what night it airs or what time it actually appears. I think CBS made a BIG mistake in moving it, but they have made mistakes before and will do so again. At least Horatio did not shoot himself in the foot like TPTB! Season 9 rocked as far as I’m concerned.

  7. samantha

    Oh, how I’ve missed your reviews, Scott. As Shelby says, most of the complaints are spot on and what rankles some, tickles others.
    I’ve always felt that those chronic complainers simply are looking for a different type of drama, one that falls in line with their own perceptions. Therefore, they fail to appreciate the comedic value of Caruso’s cheesy one-liners, or Emily’s and Natalia’s pronounced cleavage and unfathomable stilettos.
    Most of the head-tilt or hip-stance haters seem to see no problem with another show’s schtick with a boss who routinely gives the hunk one upside the head or an analyst who sleeps in a coffin. A schtick is a schtick. Each of these procedurals has its own gimmicks. Accept them for what they are, looking beyond to the development of the individual character.
    On the whole, Season Nine’s finale has been one of the best. After an accelerated course in CSI Miami and the world of Horatio Caine, I’ve become fairly immune to any over-the-summer, producer generated hype. There’s a glimmer of hope that TPTB will inject enough realism into Season Ten Premier to account for a respectable recovery period for Horatio and a realistic rescue of Natalia.
    I feared CSI Miami’s new on again, off again, nearly-always-delayed Sunday time slot would be their death knell, but they’ve managed to maintain a very respectable viewership. That’s a huge credit to everyone associated with the show.
    By the way, I agree with you that Adam’s first venture into writing and directing was a success. I hope he gets another chance in the new season.
    Thanks, Scott, for a great review.

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