Tuesday, November 18, 2008

CSI Miami Gone Baby Gone: Wrong Baby Wrong

Another episode of CSI Miami that had possibilities. Another story ruined by the absence of drama, stiff acting, and a laughable story.

“Gone Baby Gone” opened with Jill Walsh (Teri Polo), who is out walking with her baby, Sofie, when a couple approaches, claiming Jill stole their baby. While a man restrains Jill, seemingly assuming she was a kidnapper, the couple that accused her of stealing the baby runs off with her child. It’s a scenario that frankly could actually be believable. Soon afterwards, Horatio Caine (David Caruso) arrives on the scene, askance, and when Jill asks if she will ever see Sofie again, he responds, "You will. " Of course, he didn’t specific if she’d see her ALIVE again. And then…the opening scream.

At the Walsh home, Jill is surrounded by her husband Stuart (Mark Humphrey) and son Keith (Steven R. McQueen – grandson of THE Steve McQueen). Calleigh (Emily Procter) obtains DNA samples from the family, and the traditional phone taps are in place. It’s surprising anyone would kidnap a child for ransom any more since they should know that their calls can be easily traced. But, these kidnappers are not so bright, and they call, asking for $500,000 and keep the call short so the call can’t be traced.

But, even though Horatio seemed to promise Jill that Sofie would be returned to them, Calleigh throws cold water on that by telling Jill that if she pays the ransom, there will be no reason to keep Sofie alive, saying "If you give them what you want, they will kill your daughter…You can't blame yourself. These are professional criminals. This is what they do!" I suppose that amateur criminals would keep the baby alive?

Eric (Adam Rodriguez) is investigating a broken window in the house, and Keith informs him that someone threw a baseball through the window the previous week. Keith kept the ball, and Eric improvises and uses a blowdryer to get prints off the ball. No match.

At the kidnapping scene, Horatio notices that the area where the kidnapping took place had no surveillance cameras, which means the kidnappers had some knowledge of the area prior to the crime. Ryan (Jonathan Togo) checks the trash bins in the area to find the baby’s clothes, to which Horatio remarks "They changed her clothes because they're planning to keep her alive." I’m not quite sure how he would arrive at that conclusion; I would think the kidnappers changed the clothes just to disguise the baby so they could get her out. The clothes yield a DNA match to Marty Ellis (Bradley Snedeker), and Jill positively identifies him as one of the kidnappers. Horatio and his posse arrive at Ellis’ home, and he’s dead by gunshot. It’s assumed that Marty’s female partner in crime killed him and took the baby, which makes them think she’ll also kill the baby.

Back at the Walsh house, it’s discovered that Keith swapped the SIM card in the cell phone being used by the Walsh parents, and was intercepting the kidnapper’s calls. I suppose no one noticed he was hovering over the phone? And Keith has also taken the money from his parent’s safe in order to pay the ransom. Meanwhile, Eric borrows some equipment from ME Dr. Price (Megalyn Echikunwoke) to help him get evidence off the insides of the baseball. He does, and it’s a chemical used in photo development. This implicates Brad Garland (Peter Porte), the Walsh’s next-door neighbor who is a photographer and still develops his pictures in his home the old fashioned way. It seems odd that this show, which seems to use all the real and imagined technology, that they still have a photographer who still uses 35mm film and develops his own pictures. Horatio is then questioning Garland, who admits to throwing the baseball because Keith annoys him and he was trying to teach Keith a lesson.

Meanwhile, Eric catches up with Keith, and it seems Keith met the kidnappers in the park, gave the kidnappers the money, but got stiffed and did not get the baby. At the park, Horatio and his crew talk to people in the area, but the eagle eyed Horatio, with his magic sunglasses of infinite vision, spots a pacifier lying in the grass under the park bench where the drop was made. He removes his sunglasses to better see the binky, touching it without any protective gloves on.

At the lab, Natalia (Eva La Rue) gets DNA off the binky and discovers that Stuart is not Sofie’s baby daddy, which means Jill lied to them. Horatio questions Jill and gives her the news, to which see seems somewhat disappointed. She hoped Stuart was the baby daddy, because she only had one fling with Brad Garland, the photographer. It is amazing in this day and age that people don’t know that all it takes is one fling. (Didn't they use protection? What is it with these people?)

Brad Garland is back being interrogated, and seems shocked that he is Sofie’s biological father. He hopes they find her, but doesn’t want to get saddled with child support.

Dr. Price has managed to get the fragmented bullet out of Marty Ellis, and Calleigh works magic to identify the bullet and match it to a casing found at a recent robbery of a jewelry store. She also gets a suspect: Carla Hoyle (Alexandra Holden). Now that’s some magic bullet!

It seems only a blink later that Horatio and his posse have Carla face down on the pavement. Carla admits killing Ellis, and says she gave the baby to the man who hired her, Rodrigo Sanchez (Mario Prado Jr.), the man who just happened to restrain Jill when her baby was being kidnapped. It seems he made it look like he was stopping Jill from kidnapping the baby, when he was really part of the plot. Horatio instructs them to "seal off this city. " Yeah, sure, they'll get right on it now that someone already had plenty of time to leave.

Natalia and Frank (Rex Linn) search Sanchez's locker at the restaurant where he works and find a hidden compartment. The find a journal and a picture of Jill and Sophie Walsh, the photo apparently taken by Garland. Natalia states the obvious and says. "I think Garland and Rodrigo were in on this together." She is just brilliant, I tell you!

Garland is back in interrogation, and he admits that he knew Sophie was his child. He used the baseball to break into the house and steal some of the bay’s hair for a DNA. It made me wonder, the Walsh family has all this money and a safe in the house, but no alarm system? It seems that Garland was able to walk right in and find the baby’s room and take hair without the worry of being caught. Anyway, he does a home DNA test which must have been done at warp speed, seeing that he had to mail it in and get the results back in the time that the window was broken and he planned the kidnapping. Keith said the window was only broken about a week before. That is some fast mail and DNA turnaround! Anyway, Garland said he went to see a lawyer, who said he had no right to the baby, so he decided to take Sofie. But Horatio breaks the bad news to him: Garland’s partner Sanchez is in the wind, presumable along with the money and Sofie.

Sanchez journal also seems to indicate he’s going to sell the baby, and someone is coming from Cape Town that very day. (Now that's fast to arrange a kidnapping and an adoption.) Meanwhile, on the tarmac, a couple disembarks from a private jet and meets Sanchez. The exchange the cash, but before they get the baby, Horatio arrives with sirens blaring, tipping off Sanchez. Sanchez jumps into the car and drives off with Horatio in hot pursuit. Too bad Horatio didn’t seem to call for back up or reinforcements before he arrived, because the ensuing chase caused an accident and Sanchez’s SUV flips. When Sanchez crawls out of the vehicle with his gun drawn, Horatio shoots him dead. Next, we see a cloud of smoke, and Horatio emerging from it, carrying Sofie, who seems to be untouched. Considering the severity of the wreck, that must be some magic car seat. The baby is returned to Jill, who is overjoyed. Horatio stands there, looking like it’s just another day in the life in Miami.

This episode actually started very well, with Teri Polo doing an excellent job as the mother of the kidnapped baby. Sadly, her convincing performance couldn’t save this episode, which was gone, the minute Horatio and his team got the case. The episode clearly descended into cliché, with the typical panicked parents, the renegade son, the convenient evidence, and Horatio being the savior at the end.

But the flaws and holes in the plot were numerous. First, as I mentioned earlier, the turnaround for Garland’s home mail-in paternity test and the evidence of the broken window was just too quick to be credible. One would have to assume at least 3 days just in mail time alone, even if the testing facility was local (and Garland didn’t seem to send it in express.) That doesn’t even take into account how long it would take to actually conduct the test and get the results. I checked a few on line sites and they said their turnaround is five days, unless it’s sent express. I still think this “window” was a little too tight.

Along that line, we have to assume that during that period where the window was broken, Garland did the test and got the results, consulted a lawyer, hand e also had time to set up a kidnapping plot with Sanchez. Let’s go over the kidnap scheme. Sanchez manages to catch someone swiping a credit card off another table to steal the information off the card. Who in their right mind would leave their credit card unattended at a table? Especially a table that is outdoors, no less. I found this ridiculous. Why did Sanchez assume that if they’d steal credit card information they would be willing to steal a baby? That’s quite a leap. Then, what would have happened if the couple refused to cooperate in Sanchez’s scheme? How would he get someone else to kidnap the baby in so short a time? Maybe it’s me, but I found the whole kidnapping plot laughable and completely unrealistic.

I also found it amusing that these professions CSIs had to be constantly reminded to work the case fast because there was a baby involved. If I was Natalia, I would have punched Ryan squarely in the face had he nagged me to hurry. Likewise, Eric thought it was OK to just take Dr. Price’s equipment without permission because there was a baby involved. You know, he does have a cell phone, he could have called her and just asked. For a group of people that are supposed to be on a team, they certainly don’t act like a team.

And what’s the deal with Horatio arriving at the airport with apparently no backup, and with sirens blaring? If he would have had back up, they could have easily surrounded the car and the plane and a chase would not be necessary. If he arrived without his sirens he may have been able to get closer to Sanchez so fleeing would not have been so easy. It was foolish to engage in a chase like that, especially with a child involved. After all, it wasn’t like they were on an urban highway or on streets where someone could have easily disappeared. It was an airport, which may have been easier to close off. I suppose without the chase and resulting car accident, we would not have had the corny scene with Horatio coming out of the cloud of smoke, like some sort of heavenly apparition delivering child from the sky, or some sort of magician pulling off a trick. Scenes like that are what make a joke of the character of Horatio Caine. In fact, the show gets more comic-bookish every week.

And please, will someone do a wardrobe intervention with Ryan? I have no idea who picks his clothes, but I swear he must get them in a clearance bin. He wears the oddest colors. It seems like every week we are treated to some sort of sherbet-type color, like pale orange, lime, raspberry, etc. And he matches the tie in the same color no less. He really needs a makeover.

As far as I’m concerned, “Gone Baby Gone” was bad, baby, bad.

PS How could I forget? This was their 150th episode. Here’s a video where the cast talks about it:

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Vixen said...

Agreed. it was PAINFUL.

Anonymous said...

Not to mention the accident, that would probably have killed the baby...