CSI: Miami – “Show Stopper” – review by Scott Parker

CSI: Miami – “Show Stopper” – review

January 13th, 2010 by Scott Parker 

For the first new episode of the year, CSI: Miami
asks the question: What if Hannah Montana pulled a Michael Jackson?
Let’s be honest–Jackson’s notorious hair fire of 1984 is now pop
culture legend. Montana is a current legend. The actress/singer in this
week’s episode may be named Phoenix, but we all know who she’s standing
in for.

In the opening shots of “Show Stopper,” Phoenix and her band are
rocking the house. The choreography is great, the tune is good, and she
looks hot, especially when she catches on fire mid-song. She falls dead
on stage. Quick as a flash, the EMTs are there, whisking away the
still-alive body of Phoenix. Ferris Bueller’s friend, Cameron, is there
(Alan Ruck), and he’s keeping the press at bay. But he can’t hold back
Horatio Caine. The lieutenant moves forward, with Dr. Tom, the ME, and
investigates the body. Uh-oh, Dr. Tom says, the fire didn’t kill
Phoenix. She was already dead.

With that puzzler, the CSI: Miami team is off. Jesse, Ryan,
and Calleigh investigate the crime scene, interviewing the pyrotechnics
guy who seemed to blow up stuff “by the book.” Phoenix’s make-up lady
told Calleigh that the bronzing make-up was worn every show. It’s also,
Calleigh tells her, an accelerant. Ryan collects cell phones from the
grieving throng outside the arena.

Rick Stetler makes an appearance in this episode. He’s calling
Calleigh on a mileage discrepancy on her expense report. She waffles,
apparently trying to hide the fact that she loaned the car to Jesse.
She tells Rick she’ll figure it out. He gives her a one-day deadline.

After determining Walter is a fan of Phoenix, Ryan and Walter find
evidence of copper wiring in Phoenix’s dress. It’s part of a stun gun
and it helps Dr. Tom with his pronouncement that Phoenix died of a
heart attack. However, the body on the slab isn’t Phoebe Nichols, the
young woman who took the stage name Phoenix. It’s Vanessa Patton, a
back-up dancer and dead (heh) ringer for Phoebe/Phoenix. Horatio calls
Julian Teal, the manager, on the fraud. Julian tells Horatio that
Phoebe bailed on him. That may be, but it’s still fraud.

Phoebe’s mom and former manager wants to see her estranged daughter.
Calleigh doesn’t know where she is but vows to find out. The IT guy in
the lab does with all the confiscated cell phones what Batman did with
them in The Dark Knight, namely uses all the images to
reconstruct the concert. What they see astounds them: Adam Lambert!
Well, not really, but the young man is dressed to look like him. Robbie
is Phoenix’s Number One Fan (uh-oh), and he just wanted to get back a
bracelet from Vanessa the Fake Phoenix. He professes that Phoebe
promised him a managing gig but fame changed her. Jesse and Ryan aren’t
buying it, but Robbie, in his most assertive, teenaged voice blurts out
that he’d tell them if he knew who killed Phoenix.

After a little web surfing, Calleigh and Jesse locate a house owned
by Phoenix’s company. After a testy exchange regarding the mileage
discrepancy, they discover none other than Phoebe herself, drugged and
held captive. Suspicions falls back to Alan Ruck’s hyper doctor who
confesses that his job was to drug her for the three to four months (!)
of the current Phoenix tour. Again, Julian the slimeball manager throws
up the “I’m just doing business” curtain. Horatio just moves forward.

The wound on Phoebe’s arm is, in fact, the incision where a GPS
device was implanted. The unit is still active, and it goes back to the
mom! She’d been ostracized by Julian, and this was the only way she
could keep tabs on her daughter. Interspersed in this action is Phoebe
coming to terms with her fame, Vanessa’s murder, and the desire to go
back in time and just sing for the joy of singing. Calleigh’s there
with her, taking a big sisterly role here. This kind of thing is
usually reserved for Horatio, and it’s great to see another character
step up.

“Adam Lamber” gets tagged with the ownership of the stun gun (after
tracing the serial number on the electrodes) and lets slip that “We”
just wanted to expose Vanessa the Fake Phoenix. Oops! Well, the other
half of the “we” was…the Mom!

Up until the end of the episode, we had a pretty darn good story.
The final scene takes it up to eleven. Jesse and Calleigh are alone in
the police locker room. Calleigh confronts Jesse, telling him she can’t
trust him. She badgers him into revealing what he did with the police
vehicle. He confesses he used it to follow a woman. The man she is
with, he says, is very dangerous. This man killed his wife by slitting
her throat so deep that she was almost decapitated.

Calleigh understands. “He’s in Miami.” 

Jesse looses the bombshell. “He also killed my wife.” He turns and
walks away. Calleigh is left alone, stunned into silence, Emily
Proctor’s face clearly showing the shock and disbelief and grief
Calleigh is entitled to. Brilliant ending, and I’m looking forward to
further developments with this story arc.

I’m also glad to see, in the trailer for next week, that the writers
are following up with Natalia Boa Vista (no-show in Monday’s episode)
and her hearing loss injury suffered when she and Ryan were in a drug
dealer’s house when it exploded. Too often, television writers let
interesting aspects of characters fall by the wayside, kinda like
Horatio’s son from last season (where’s he been this season?).

I thoroughly enjoyed Monday’s episode. A VCR snafu delayed me
watching it until Tuesday evening (thus, this recap is a day late). I
have to admit: watching the episode via CBS.com and my laptop sans
commercials wasn’t a bad thing. Perhaps the future of television is

What did you like about Monday’s episode? How’d you take Calleigh’s
larger role in the episode?
And did you get a feeling that Horatio
distanced himself from Phoebe towards the end of the episode?

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