CSI: Miami Season 4, Part 2 Review
Proving that a lack of success with an idea is no obstacle to using it over and over again, I am going to review this half-season of CSI: Miami in exactly the same fashion as the one that preceded it. Anyone who actually likes this show, who even, by some past habit of ingesting enormous quantities of rock star-grade acid, prefers it to CSI: New York, would be well-advised to move quickly on.
Silencer: Music you've never heard of, lots of people incapable of dancing with any sense of rhythm and a double-shooting. Ten years ago, that was the average night out in Belfast but, with better tans, this is Miami and it looks like the Mala Noche, who Caine tangled with earlier in this season, have made it to the beach. That might sound like a simple jaunt across the city but apparently not...it spells an escalation in gang activities in Miami! Fortunately for Horatio, he has a romance to occupy his mind and hands, only it's with Eric's sister Marisol and he's yet to break the news to Eric.
Fade Out: A couple of thieves pull up next to the river just as the drawbridge is raised, trapping them between the water and the police. But as the drawbridge is raised, the arrest is interrupted by the sight of a man hanging from its bottom, shot twice, one through each eye. Looks like a mob hit Horatio." "Yes, and it's time... *puts on sunglasses* ...to hit back!" Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! Only the more Caine investigates the murder, the more it stops looking like a mob hit and more the act of a couple of film students looking to publicise their script. "Sounds like a rental to me!" says Frank. Maybe its being such good friends with Caruso that's given Frank such an insight into straight-to-video movies.
Skeletons: CSI: New York features a man in his underpants being pushed through Central Park in a shopping trolley. CSI: Miami opens with a beach volleyball game. Is it any surprise this is the most-watched of the two? Only a player calls time on the game, feeling something under her feet. Brushing away the sand, she discovers a body, murdered by being strangled with a belt. To Horatio, this means something...the return of Walter Resden, Caine's nemesis! Meanwhile, Natalia Boa Vista has some news for Eric Delko...she's late! "Late for what?" Oh, Eric...
Deviant: Horatio Caine talking to a young girl about a dead child molester. As one whose tone of voice always suggests that he's on the verge of saying, "Would you like to see my puppies?" when speaking to a child, this doesn't stand a chance of looking anything other than very suspicious. Caine's interest is piqued when a child molester is savagely beaten to death in a public park by a gang of four to five men. Alexx believes that she might find broken bones - no shit! - but they're all surprised to find he was stabbed. With the entire neighbourhood claiming to be happy to be rid of the man, it's not going to be easy finding the killer, less so when Alexx joins the list of suspects.
Collision: The CSIs are called to a car accident in which the female driver was killed. "She was hauling ass!" is Frank's thoughts on the crime scene. Er, literally so, as she had the dead body of a man in the boot of the car. But when the dead woman's injuries show up more than the ones that Alexx would expect from a motor accident, including trauma wounds from the butt of a pistol, Caine's suspicions are aroused.
Double Jeopardy: A man is tried for the murder of his wife but the verdict reads NOT GUILTY. But as Stephen Rowe leaves the court a free man, a fisherman pulls the body of Melissa Rowe out of the water. "The verdict is in Frank... *puts on sunglasses* ...but the jury is out!" Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! Caine gets his team back on the case - I'm no lawyer but I suspect they should have done that before the trial went to court - finding that behind the smile and well-tended lawns, sits a neo-nazi who may have killed more than once.
Driven: A gang of thieves raid an exclusive spa, making off with a Lamborghini, a Viper and an Aston Martin. But the gang don't leave before they shoot and kill a young woman. Grand Theft Auto just turned to murder. And this time it's personal, with Eric's sister/Horatio's girlfriend Marisol among those attacked at the spa. "I've never had a baby", she tells Horatio...fast cars, a beautiful woman, murder and now getting laid. It's quite the day for Horatio!
Free Fall: A hopeless actress called Sienna who becomes something of a media darling. Funny how life imitates art, Miss Miller. Two brothers are shot, mob-style, in the back of the head and left for dead. But one survives and with a roll of money in his house, it all points to a drugs cartel looking to recover money the Vargas brothers were trying to launder. But so too were Leo and Sienna when they were arrested on the bridge (Fade Out) and now someone is trying to kill them.
Dead Air: A woman at a beach-side restaurant picks up a call for Mitch...a wrong number? Maybe but it grabs her attention when the woman on the other end of the call tells her that someone is going to kill her. Horatio is - fancy that! - standing nearby and puts his team on red...somewhere out there there's a woman who needs saving. And nothing gets Little Horatio more excited than that.
Open Water: The guest stars come out to play as Sherilyn Fenn and James Remar feature in an episode that opens with a man falling overboard from a cruise ship into, as per the title, a shoal of guppy sharks. Given the stab wound in his leg, they take a very sudden and very unhealthy interest in him. Everyone on board is a suspect, moreso when a second passenger goes missing and the captain appears unwilling to help. Caine is occupied with another matter. "Last week you said that you were there for me. Does that...does that include marriage?" Marisol asks him. "It does!" Awww...
Shock/Rampage/One Of Our Own (3x): "It looks like she was electrocuted at her own party!" What gave that away? The still-sparking tanning lamp in the bathtub alongside the victim perhaps? When a fashion designer is murdered within her own apartment, the guests are many but so too are the suspects. Her boyfriend? Her assistant? Her rival for column inches in the celebrity press? Calleigh and Ryan go in search of the killer while Caine, ever predictable, uncovers a case of a missing girl. Meanwhile, there's a mole within the lab, $12k has gone missing and the FBI have arrived to shut it down. Finally, Horatio's wedding day arrives...but as he takes Marisol in his arms, the dot of a laser sight appears on his back. The Mala Noches are going to end this their way.
If you're coming anew to CSI at this point, you really should have begun elsewhere, especially in light of choosing CSI: Miami as a starting point. New York or Las Vegas would be much better choice. So I would think that this will be familiar to anyone likely to buy it. The splitting of the seasons into two sets apart, Momentum have always done a very good job with CSI and probably one that's easy to overlook given how consistent they've been throughout. In as much as this is my least favourite CSI to watch - the bright oranges and reds of Miami don't appeal to me as much as the blues and greys of New York - this still looks superb.
For a television show, the amount of detail is quite remarkable. Every line on David Caruso's face, and there are many, is clear throughout this DVD presentation and while the swishing about of the camera blurs the picture a little, there is absolutely nothing to criticise as regards the encoding of the picture. This is a vast step up from earlier releases and almost unrecognisable from the television broadcasts on Five, with Momentum really doing this release proud.
The audio track - a DD5.1 track - is also very good with Horatio Caine's enormous car providing a good old rumble out of the subwoofer and the gunshots, particularly in the final two episodes, pinging from all four corners of the room. With subtitles throughout, this is, once again, a very impressive job by Momentum who, if they could only fix this half-season nonsense would be quietly going about doing a superb job with CSI Region 2.
The single feature in this set is included in three parts (18m57s, 13m51s, 11m02s), examining the production of the show from the first script meetings, through production and into the post-production process of special effects, scoring and the recording of dialogue. It starts with the writers and producers sitting around a meeting room shouting out ideas before retiring to their Apple Macs and sofas to hammer out scripts One is surprised to see that David Caruso is not in attendance, although it may be that, by now, the process is so smooth that even the writers know there is going to a CSI: Miami-styled moment between Frank Tripp and Horatio Caine. "Horatio, four vics...one dressed in a Santa suit and three dead prostitutes." "Ho Ho... *puts on sunglasses* ...Ho!" Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh! etc.
The episode being studied is Driven and this feature looks at how it was first pitched as opening in a cancer support group before someone realised that's more Casualty than CSI: Miami and moved the action into an exclusive spa filled with women in bikinis lounging about. After that, it's onto the set, those women and people driving Lamborghinis. Great fun...unlike this feature.
I pulled up short on the final three episodes there as revealing anything of the vast number of twists and turns in the story would rather spoil it for readers who've yet to catch up with this set. Needless to say, if you've been reading my CSI reviews to date, all hundred-and-fifteen of them, you'll know the rocky road to married life taken by Horatio and Marisol and how things turn out. Still, it's been more enjoyable than I'd have thought possible in a it's-still-not-that-good kind of way, almost entirely for those moments of unintentional comedy that Tripp and Caine deliver in every single episode. "Horatio...victim was shot by uniformed officers running from an attempted armed robbery." "He fought the law, Frank... *puts on sunglasses* ...and the law won!" Yeeeeeaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!