CSI: Miami

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Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
Breathe in, Horatio

The sun is either rising or setting. Miami is bathed in its warm golden glow. Then we are taken to an outlying suburban neighborhood where nearly every back yard has its own in-ground swimming pool. As we get a ground-level view, it's easy to surmise that the residents are blowing all their cash on the pool-cleaning service and not, say, lawn care or even exterior paint. We then see a verbal blotched tabby -- that's the specific name for the swirly pattern of black stripes on his fur, according to my The New Encyclopedia of the Cat, which goes on to explain, "There are four basic types of tabby markings in felines: mackerel or striped; classic or blotched; ticked or Abyssinian; and spotted." The book then goes into great detail explaining the genetics determining coat pattern or lack thereof, but I've already paid more attention to this particular cat than the writers are going to, so we'll skip the lecture on the agouti gene and its varied expression, and let the cat lead us into the A-plot of the week.

Anyway, Max the cat evidently decided it would fun to run from its owners, a couple who are valiantly, if stupidly, chasing the cat onto what looks to be an abandoned property. The male half of the couple -- probably wondering why he's the one to chase after her damn cat, which has never given him the time of day -- wanders into the house where the cat retreated. From the lawn, the woman calls, "Rudy?" Let's get this straight: the cat meows, the man calls for the cat, the woman calls for the man. Who calls for her? Anyway, she's looking wary.

In the kitchen, the cat knocks a piece of glass into the sink. I suddenly feel like I'm recapping my home life. There is one significant difference: the Erlenmeyer flask in the sink evidently prompted a noxious chemical reaction which merrily smokes along while Rudy tries to grab for the cat. Max makes an irritated yowl and runs off-camera, never to be seen again. Would that Rudy were so lucky; within seconds, the poor man is overcome by the fumes.

Out in the non-noxious out-of-doors, the woman calls for Rudy, but gets no answer. That would be because he's currently busy dying a painful and horrible death.

Cut to a sheriff in front of the house, completely not encased in protective gear. Horatio zooms in and parks the Humvee dramatically. Environment be damned -- there are crimes to solve! He and Speedle get out and Speedle sniffs the air, noting, "[I] smell ammonia." Horatio tells him, "That's the least of our problems. Anybody in there died instantly. So let's you and I head toward the death chamber completely unprotected." Amid a backdrop of dramatic coughing, Horatio finds out that the woman was passed out on the porch trying to get to her husband, and a neighbor called the whole thing in. Why nobody else was overcome by the fumes is a mystery for the ages. Speedle confirms that the man is still in there, and the deputy who's giving us all this info says, "I attempted entry --" "But you were driven back by the fumes," says Horatio all judgmentally. First, how much of a jerk do you have to be to regard respiring as an act of weakness? Second, was there any good reason to interrupt? No, there was not. Horatio explains, "This is a clan lab house." All of a sudden, I'm flashing to scientists in white coats and pointy hoods. Speedle clarifies that "clan" in this case does not mean a group of racist idiots, but rather "clandestine," as in a clandestine drug lab; he adds, "There's no telling what's in there." Horatio says, "We'd better figure it out, and we'd better get it contained before more people die."

Roger Daltrey agrees. However, Roger does not question -- as I do -- why nobody's called in the hazmat team already.

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CSI: Miami




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