Tuesday, November 4, 2008

CSI Miami “Wrecking Crew” A Total Wreck

This episode actually had possibilities. It had as strong opening. But then it seems to have wrecked itself under the weight of a completely ridiculous story.

In the opening of the episode, Calleigh (Emily Procter) and Eric (Adam Rodriguez) are talking to William Campbell (Tim DeKay) in a high-rise apartment filled with expansive windows. He’s going to testify against the local mob boss, Joey Salucci (James Russo) in a murder trial. It seems they have him in a safe house. Now think about it, how safe would you think you’d be in a high-rise apartment with such expansive windows that it would be easy for anyone to see your every move from another building?

There are other reasons why this place isn’t so safe. While Campbell is going over his testimony for the grand jury, a huge construction crane smashes into the building, throwing the three of them into the wreckage. Calleigh is thrown away from the crumbling edge, Eric is pinned against a wall, but Campbell is hanging over the edge. Calleigh tries to save him, but he falls to his death. And then…without Horatio Caine (David Caruso) present, we hear the traditional opening “scream.” I thought the scream only worked for David Caruso, but I thought maybe the fact that Calleigh got the scream, after her silent gaze down at Campbell’s body, that may, just maybe, this episode had a chance at being good.

I was wrong.

This episode was flawed on so many levels. The most obvious was the murder case for which Campbell was expected to give his grand jury testimony. Calleigh and Eric seemed so sure this would gain them a sure indictment against Salucci. But anyone who has even watched 5 minutes of a credible crime show like Law & Order would know that his testimony meant nothing. Why? Because he SAW nothing. He saw no murder, he only heard a gunshot. There was no body. He never saw the face of the shooter. I’m no lawyer but I think that I could poke tons of holes in this. In fact, if I was on a grand jury, I am not sure this information is strong enough for an indictment.

Another thing that seemed wrong was the construction crane. It looked flimsy for its height. But, the base of the crane at ground level looked wrong. A freestanding crane should be firmly attached or bolted to the ground, and that one looked more like simple red scaffolding at ground level than an actual crane. It looked like a cheesy erector set crane. No, even those look better.

When Ryan (Jonathan Togo) is in the cab of the crane, he finds blood. When Boa Vista (Eva La Rue) is testing the blood sample, she praises it for being “pristine.” Does that mean that the other blood they examine is usually contaminated? I found her observation odd to say the least. And why praise Ryan for collecting a blood that he just happened to find? It’s not like he had anything to do with its quality when it was deposited there. Also, Ryan seemed to be able to find the crane’s black box – which is later called a “tattletale system” too easily. How did he know what it was just by looking at it that it was a system of capturing all the crane’s activity?

One red herring was the project manager, Travis Drake (Joe Penny) who did nothing except volunteer his high-rise property to use as a safe house. Excuse me, but how can a location be considered safe if an outsider volunteers it? His motives for doing so would have been questionable at the time, especially since it was the only finished apartment in the whole high-rise. And how convenient that the construction crane just so happened to be at the exact level of the only finished apartment in the whole building that was on level with the crane? And, lucky for them that there happened to be one car – just one – that was at the construction site that happened to leave pristine tire marks in the nicely placed, undisturbed dirt around the site.

Later, when Eric and Calleigh speak to the Campbell’s wife Beth (Melinda McGraw) and her son Noah (Devon Graye), Beth gives Calleigh a slap on the face for invoking her husband’s name. There are days I have wanted to slap Calleigh for a lot less, so this was a great scene. But, her slap later turns into an apology when she finds that her son is the one who operated the crane by remote and when he lost control, it crashed into the building. Of course, her son got the information on how to do it on the big, bad, internet, which, if you believe these crime shows, only bad things can happen when you get information off the internet.

And I still contend that Miami has the dumbest criminals around. Why would Noah leave the remote in the trash right on top of the building that he operated it from? They made it sound like it was so big that he couldn’t have hid it to remove it. It wasn’t all that big, and frankly, since no one would have been looking at the neighboring building after the crane crashed, he could have walked out the door with it and just thrown it away in some public trash bin. And the man who shot the guy who accidentally killed Salucci’s daughter decides to leave the bullet at the crime scene by flushing it. Now really, wouldn’t it have been smarter to just walk out with it and throw it away in some public trash can a ways away from the crime scene? Also, how did he get out of the club with the guy, who was clearly shot and yelling? If he wasn’t dead when he removed him, how come we didn’t hear him yelling in pain on the 911 call? Did the shooter knock him out too, and if so, how could he NOT be seen dragging out his body? This just didn’t make sense.

But amazingly, while they seemed desperate for Campbell’s testimony with the grand jury in order to indict Salucci, this crack CSI team never seemed to have previously considered checking the audio tape of Campbell’s 911 call before. The 911 call in itself was strange. Think about it – you’re in a public rest room, you’re trying to be quiet so the shooter can’t hear you, yet you get on the phone and whisper? I would think that even despite the loud music, someone would have heard him. And why was the sound of the flushing toilet in the next stall seem so quiet on the 911 call, when the music in the background was so loud? Those public toilets make A LOT of noise when they flush. In fact, ANY toilet makes a lot of noise when it flushes. This just seemed like poor detective work to me that they didn’t check the 911 recording sooner. And lucky for them that the bathroom crime scene remained intact after the shooting because the owner had to close because of lack of business. This allowed them to find the magic shell casing which luckily had a fingerprint burned into it, despite it being flushed. Luck, luck, and more luck.

Of course, they finally get Salucci for the murder of his daughter’s “accidental’ killer when they find lily pollen on the dead man’s body, which luckily Horatio has seen Salucci at his daughter’s grave with the same type of lily. More luck!

All the evidence and the situations surrounding all the crimes in this show are just too convenient. It makes for a boring show and one that is an easy target for ridicule. And David Caruso doesn’t deserve any blame for this one, because it’s the writers who come up with all these contrivances that are really at fault. They’re the real wrecking crew here. In fact, I am starting to feel very sorry for the CSI Miami team because it requires little acting. Emily Procter’s reactions of shock, fear, and then horror when the crane smashes into the building and Campbell falls to his death are later erased as the amateurish story unfolds. Compare this show to any of the CSI and CSI New York shows from this season and it seems clear that while those two continue to maintain a very high quality, CSI Miami is becoming cheesier.

Viewers deserve better. And frankly, so does the cast of CSI Miami.

Check out my blog home page for the latest information, here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!!!! I whole-heartedly agree 100% with your assessment of this episode. Such amateurish writing----in fact, it's been like that all year.

And can we finally---FINALLY!!!---get rid of H's ex and son, once and for all????