Miami. Marina. Elevated subway train. I imagine that elevated subway trains can't be much fun during hurricanes. Skyscraper. Ditto. Highway. Trees. Boredom setting in. Feminine panting. Ominous strings. Ennui. Suddenly, we're in a controversial Nike commercial, minus the chainsaw-wielding psycho killer and any sense of fun. An athletic thirtysomething with an eerily immobile ponytail huffs her way through the woods, leaping underfoot obstacles and dodging low-slung branches. Stretched across her heaving bosom upon her beater tee is the name and logo of "Cabrerra University." She seems a little old to be a student. Perhaps she's the cross-country coach. Or she could be a faculty member. Or the wife of a faculty member. Or an alumna. Perhaps you're wondering why I'm not getting to the point here. For this I have an answer: The first ninety seconds of this episode contain nothing but shots of this woman running. There are a lot of sequences like this tonight -- random people performing endless tasks that never really forward the plot along. God, this show is dull. If this were the Vegas version, we'd already have nine attractive corpses littering the frame amid hordes of big-haired good-time gals flashing fake rocks, gimlet-eyed broads marking cards, and feisty yet vertically-challenged conventioneers, while Darling Nicky jots down Gil's latest transgression in his Rage Journal. Maybe life moves at a more languid pace in Dade County. And look at that -- while lapsing into the first of many comas this evening, I completely missed Ms. Maidenform Sports Bra stumbling on a root. She plows facefirst into the ground as the camera switches angles to take in the bound, bare, masculine legs of tonight's A-plot victim dangling a good ten feet above the ground. Ms. Maidenform draws herself up, gets an eyeful of the dead guy, gasps, and darts off from whence she came. The camera focuses in on the twine knotted around the dead guy's ankles.
Some time later, the camera cuts to give us our first full view of the corpse. Dark-haired male, late thirties to early forties, hands lashed behind his back, strangled by the rope connecting him to the bough of the tree. The network's sense of propriety dictates that our corpse sport a pair of dark, baggy boxers. The network's sense of propriety does not, however, dictate we be spared the sight of the numerous bruises and puncture wounds that cover our corpse's torso and legs. A spear-bald gentleman the captioning identifies as "Bernstein" notes, "Sixteen years on the job, and I've never seen anything like this." Apparently, it's a first for Horatio as well. Ms. Maidenform believes the deceased was a professor at the university, but there's no confirmation of this. Bernstein and Horatio quickly reject autoerotic asphyxiation and suicide as possible causes of death as the camera lingers lovingly on the corpse's scarred chest and abs. "So where does this leave us now?" Bernstein asks. Skirting the edges of necrophiliac bondage porn, if you ask me. He's not asking me, though, so he'll have to settle for Horatio's retort: "Up a tree." Shut up, Horatio.
Credits. Even the spin-off's theme song blows.