Miami. Highway. Trees. Calleigh's POV through the lens of her still camera allows us a couple of blink-and-you'll-miss-them shots of a pulley and some rusted chains wound around a tree branch. From her perch on a ladder, Calleigh announces that the rust from the chains has transferred to the bark, meaning the pulley system's been part of this particular tree for quite some time. Meanwhile, Alexx snaps off a few photos of her own from the ground as she notes that the corpse is scarred from head to foot. Speedle's on his hands and knees in the dirt ten yards from the tree, uncovering scraps of bloodstained fabric and the remains of a Dalmatian that had been similarly tortured and executed. Horatio, of course, stands off to one side playing pocket pool while everyone else actually works for his or her paycheck. Bald Bernstein sidles over to reveal that the deceased was one "Adam Metzger, cultural anthropologist." "Teaches at the university," Bernstein adds. "Well, he just took a permanent sabbatical, didn't he?" Horatio bloviates. Shut it, you tool. Who thought dragging David Caruso back to prime time was a good idea?
After another lingering shot of the strung-up deceased, we cut to Metzger's glazed expression as his eyes stare blindly up at the morgue's ceiling. Alexx states for the benefit of the radio audience, "Eyes open." Horatio, for a change, has forsworn his skybox to join her on the morgue floor by the body. Peering through a magnifying lens into Metzger's irises, Alexx is surprised to find retinal burns. "How could he get snow blindness in Miami?" Horatio asks as the TMICam shoots into Metzger's skull for a glimpse of the scorched tissue in his eyes. Alexx can't answer that, but does discover that the professor's eyelids have been glued open. Blurry, overexposed shot of the paralyzed prof's eyelids being glued open by a hand of indeterminate gender. Alexx and Horatio bang their heads together and decide that the killer either wanted the professor to see something, or wanted the professor to see nothing. That's helpful. Not. Alexx moves on to the corpse's other wounds, enumerating nine six-inch-deep puncture wounds possibly from an icepick, eight twelve-inch contusions indicating blunt force, fourteen one- to two-inch cuts likely from a razor blade, and a series of needle marks on the soles of the feet for a total of sixty-two ante-mortem wounds, none of which were fatal. The professor died of asphyxiation when hoisted into the tree. To determine how long his torture session lasted, Alexx examines the abrasions on the palms of the professor's hands. We learn that the skin's four stages of healing involve scab formation, epithelial regeneration, hyperplasia, and regression of granulation tissues. The TMICam helpfully walks us through each stage. As these particular scrapes are in the second stage, Alexx estimates that "his body went through four to six hours of healing." "Or four to six hours of torture," Horatio adds. Okay, that's three scenes in a row wherein David Caruso has claimed the final line for himself. Egomaniacal blowhard jackass.
Over on the banks of a sun-dappled canal, we're "treated" to nearly two full minutes of Sevilla watching a four-door sedan being pulled from the water. She's pensive. Or, like me, she could be listening to her fingernails grow. Eric "Token" Delko arrives and starts firing off shots of the dripping car. He briefly scans the ground and, noting the absence of skid marks, assumes that the car was pushed into the water. Or the driver fell asleep at the wheel and plowed into the creek. Or it's been so long since the car sank that any skid marks or tire tracks would have been obliterated by later traffic and rainfall. But don't mind me, Token. I'm just thinking out loud, here. A police diver who receives neither a name nor subsequent screentime in this episode heartily greets Token with a couple of jokingly snide remarks. They deduce that the car sank quickly, as the windows are wide open. We witness a brief dramatic reenactment of the car sinking quickly, because the windows are wide open, before Token grabs a screwdriver and mallet from his toolbox to jimmy the trunk's lock. The dank stench of putrescent flesh rolls out of the vehicle long before Token eases the trunk completely open. Token, Sevilla, and the nameless diver gag and cover their noses as the camera lingers on the bloated, waterlogged corpse within. Captain Nemo bolts to "secure the tow" while Token exposits that three or four weeks' worth of bacterial infestation have ballooned the corpse with rancid gas. I dare the producers to arrange for scratch-and-sniff inserts in major-market newspapers the days this show airs during the next sweeps period, so that CSI devotees can get the full Odorama experience in the comfort of their own homes come February. Sevilla, disgusted, guesses the corpse was the victim of a mob hit. Token points out that drugs might be involved. Captain Nemo inadvertently jostles the car while securing the tow line, and Water Boy's bloated remains explode. Token howls and bitches while flicking corpse bits off his arms. Sevilla, repulsed, turns on her headlights before turning away. Hey, watch it, lady! You could poke somebody's eyes out with those things.