Tuesday, October 7, 2008

CSI: Miami “And How Does That Make You Kill?” Killed the Drama

As I watched last night’s episode of CSI Miami “And How Does That Make You Kill?” I was struck by the fact that it could have actually been a decent story. But CSI Miami’s penchant for style over substance just killed it.

This episode is about the murder of the daughter of Eric Delko’s (Adam Rodriguez) therapist, Dr. Rachel Marsh (Gail O’Grady). While investigating the murder, it’s discovered that the doctor's confidential patient files were missing, including the doctor’s file on Eric. Later, the therapist herself is murdered.

The episode falls down in several places. First and foremost is that everything just seems to be too easy. It seems like it’s almost no effort for them to identity potential murder suspects. The suspects are too quick to give the investigators information. Even the red herrings (the patient who also happened to be a “cutter”) just so happened to leave enough evidence to point to her; after all they needed to add someone to the mix just to try to make things interesting. The problem is, it doesn’t. In fact, the show has become so rote that the drama is completely absent. Also sapping the drama is the repeated problem with the criminals on this show – they confess far too easily. Maybe it’s the Miami sun that is cooking their brains and taking away their self-preservation instinct? Think about it – if a person is willing to kill to protect something that they value, shouldn’t that same person want to continue to protect it by keeping their mouth shut?

Adding to the problem is the one dimensional performance of David Caruso, to the point where the character of Horatio Caine has become nothing but a man who seems more concerned with how he poses for the suspects he is questioning. While there are some people out there who will grab onto my comments and try to twist them into something damning about Caruso, let me assure you that they are not intended to be. Frankly, I think that the show is doing a terrible disservice to Caruso’s portrayal of Horatio Caine. Some may dispute that it is Caruso himself that is driving the persona of Caine, and that may be partly true. But, I do believe that Caruso can play Horatio with more of an edge and less "drama queen" if he were given a script and story lines that weren’t so insipid. If I didn’t know better, I’d think that the show’s producers are happy with Horatio Caine drawing such constant ridicule. Viewers, however, or becoming less happy with what I see as an insult to their intelligence. Caruso deserves better.

Also odd is that Calleigh (Emily Procter), always the stickler for rules, regulations, and ethics, seems to give those up pretty quickly when Eric tells her that looking at the patient files will help them direct them to evidence that could help them identify the doctor’s murderer. Of course, Calleigh would have the chance to read Eric’s file if she looked at those confidential files, so she may have had other motivations to break rules. Still, if they did find information in those files that led them to the killer, wouldn’t that be considered “fruit from the poisonous tree” and also be thrown out? If you get evidence in an illegal manner, that evidence is not admissible. Why would Calleigh take that chance? I guess reading the deep dark secrets of Eric is just too tempting. Of course, she is rewarded for breaking rules when she reads Eric's true feelings for her.

Let’s not forget the most ridiculous part of the show. As they are reading the doctor's files, the words from some of the files and the voices of the patients are superimposed over Eric and Calleigh. But it’s the words flashing on the screen that was too corny for words. I laughed when the line from Eric’s file is read about him putting things in perspective that his words were written across the screen - in perspective. It seemed amateur and cheesy. In fact, that whole scene seemed ridiculous, like if they had to spell it out for us that they were reading the files of the patients and putting the evidence together for us, as if we couldn’t follow the simple plot to begin with. Again, it was style over substance.

One positive addition to the show is the character of Dr. Tara Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke) who I think seems far more believable in her role than her predecessor, Khandi Alexander. The only thing that seemed off was Dr. Price removing a bullet from the murdered body of Eric’s doctor in the parking lot.

It’s a shame that the producers and writers of CSI Miami don’t take the show very seriously. While CSI and CSI NY seem to be relatively respected shows, CSI Miami is viewed as the joke of the franchise. If they tried harder, they really could make the show much better. If they just turned down the ham with Caruso he may actually be able to show his acting range. It IS there, I just know it.



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2 comments:

Vixen said...

Bad script or not a decent actors can make a watchable performance out of the worst script. But then it is David Caruso we are talking about here!

Sara said...

Very good review. Looks like Caruso's fugitive Austrian stalker paid you a visit as "Vixen." She's still hiding out in Mexico.

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