The first thing we see on screen is a giant cruise ship docked in the harbor. However, we do not see scores of passengers in the throes of the Norwalk virus; nor do we see David Foster Wallace being marched up the gangplank at gunpoint, weeping, "I swore I'd never do this again!" Then we see a cluster of official-looking skyscrapers (like many other things in Miami, these are vaguely pastel), and then we flash to the Miami-Dade county courthouse, where a three-ring media circus is already in full swing. In the first ring: scores of blow-dried newsdroids solemnly telling the camera what's what; in the second ring, security personnel trying to beat back the reporters, and in the third ring, a group of ambulatory newshounds running alongside an official-looking sedan and asking the occupant within, Councilwoman Escalante, all sorts of questions about housekeeper Abigail Sandoval and her husband's relationship with Sandoval. The last question echoes as Escalante heads inside: "How will your husband's murder trial affect your re-election campaign?"
We won't know, because it's time for us to get an arty, brooding shot of Horatio sitting alone in a gray-carpeted, gray-upholstered lounge. He's dressed in a uncharacteristically bright color for him: navy blue. As Horatio sits, he flips through a case file, looking at a nice portrait of Mr. Escalante, then several not-so-nice crime scene photos. We then flash back to a scene that by virtue of taking place in blurry slow motion just barely makes the censor's cut: an undressed man pinning a woman down on a bed in a hotel room as she hollers in Spanish for him to stop and let her go, and then adds something about his wife (I can't tell what). Back in the present, Horatio ponders a photo of the woman in a car for a moment. Then we flash back again, and the woman's sliding behind the wheel of her car in a big hurry. Naturally, the starter falters, which is just enough time for her to get shot in the head. Horatio checks the photo of the partially-submerged car, and we get the flashback of someone pushing the car into a canal on a foggy, but not rainy, night. Horatio rises long enough to watch Mr. Escalante get escorted past, and he practically flutters his eyelashes and simpers. It's unsettling. Escalante smirks in response, and Horatio smiles. It's all subtextual in a way I'm not comfortable contemplating.
Then we go to a courtroom with the world's most lenient judge; he's busy hanging out on the bench while everyone else tries to get their acts together. I thought the whole point to being a judge was that you made everyone wait for you, not vice-versa. ["Obviously not a veteran of New York City jury duty, where everyone waits for everything." -- Sars] Well, maybe there are a few other perks -- deciding who lives and who dies, wearing those chic black robes, maybe snagging a television deal so you can berate total losers for the delectation of daytime shut-ins -- but the waiting thing seems like one of those perks that the judge would really like. Why have a bailiff otherwise?
Anyway, while things are settling down, Mr. Escalante shoots the missus the same conspiratorial grin; she tells him to straighten his tie. Horatio glowers at the back of Escalante's neck until he's distracted by Speedle whispering, "Hey, Horatio, we've got a problem." Horatio replies irritably, "Speed, I'm under subpoena. I'm about to testify." Speedle tells him, "You might want to reconsider that. Remember that call I rolled out on this morning, the Jane Doe?" Horatio nods. Speedle whispers, "She was familiar." "How familiar?" asks Horatio. Speedle sighs: "Young, pretty, Latina. Single gunshot, close-range, left temple." Cut to Escalante checking out Horatio's conversation and turning back with a serene look on his face. Horatio decides, "Testimony, schmestimony!" and whips out the cell to ask Alexx about the Jane Doe. We see Alexx slicing away, saying, "I just got her, Horatio. I'll have results within the hour." That's not good enough for Horatio. Alexx then warps space and time to comply with His Broodingness's request, and checks the stomach, noting, "Mint leaves in her stomach. Swallowed whole. I'm guessing tox will say they're from a mojito, just like Abby Sandoval." Horatio thanks Alexx, then goes down to blow the DA's day, telling him, "There's a flag on the play, Don. I can't testify today." The DA is justifiably perturbed and wants to know why not. Horatio lies in response. DA Don points out, "You were the last nail in the coffin. That's why I've been saving you for last." Too bad, Don. Horatio's all, "Don, I need you to give me more time." Don replies, "Your grandma better be bleeding from her eyeballs. Twenty-four hours."