Season 8
Number 20
Writer Melissa Scrivner-Love
Director Tamara Jaron
Original Airdate April 19, 2010
Previous Episode: Spring Breakdown
Next Episode: Meltdown

Backfire is the twentieth episode in Season Eight of CSI: Miami.


The spirit of a victim haunts Calleigh until she is able to solve his murder.


Calleigh rushes into a burning house to save a boy in jeopardy. Though she manages to pull the boy from the fire, he doesn’t survive—and her lungs, already weakened from a bout with a fire last year, are badly affected. Horatio pulls the officer who accompanied Calleigh into the building to safety while Ryan examines the dead boy, Patrick Dawson, and notices burns on his hands, leading Ryan to suspect that he started the fire. Horatio and Tripp speak with his grandfather, Henry Dawson. He tells them that his grandson was supposed to be at school, not at the house, and that the house is being remodeled. The renovations were almost finished. In the morgue, Dr. Loman determines Patrick died of smoke inhalation, and finds chemicals on the boy’s hands. In the lab, Ryan analyzes the chemical and learns it’s turpentine. Walking past Calleigh, he grabs Jesse and Walter and heads back to the Dawson house, hunting for evidence of arson. At the scene, Ryan finds more evidence to support his theory that Patrick started the fire, discovering turpentine at the point of origin. Walter is disturbed by the draftiness of the house, and on the way out Jesse notices that the house has a sprinkler system that didn’t go off during the fire. The CSIs notice a lack of insulation in the house and suspect the contractor did a shoddy job. Horatio questions the man, who claims he was following the minimum required by safety codes. Horatio points out the lack of insulation on the house and arrests the man for negligence.

In the house, Calleigh discovers a second point of origin for the fire—and is thrown when she sees Patrick standing there with her. Freaked out, she retreats to the Hummer and tries to figure why she’s able to see the dead boy. Horatio and Tripp question Stephanie Hollister, a neighbor who had a dispute with Dawson—and set his lawn on fire. Stephanie tells the detectives that Dawson’s contractor started construction at 6am, two hours before he was legally allowed to. Stephanie went over to try to get him to stop, and when he didn’t, she set fire to the lawn in a rage. Suspecting she’s hiding something, Tripp, Walter and Jesse return to the house and find a third point of origin—wax paper on the wall that would have carried the fire slowly, allowing the arsonist to escape. The wax paper is found under the sink, prompting Tripp and Jesse to question Dawson if he started the fire. Dawson claims he and Patrick used it to make paper boats. When Tripp tells Dawson that his grandson missed eight days of school, Patrick, who is observing, says that he skipped school to help with the renovations as a surprise for his grandfather. Patrick is dismayed when the CSIs posit that he started the fire and his grandfather considers the possibility. A puzzled Calleigh follows Natalia and Jesse to the hospital and is shocked to discover she’s actually unconscious in a hospital bed—and on a ventilator. Worried when she sees Delko by her side, Calleigh wonders if she’s dying.

Walter and Jesse go back to the house, where Walter once again notices a draft. They discover the reason for it when they find a wall not sealed up properly—and the dead body of a man behind it! The man is identified as Ralph Zimmerman, a plumber. Dr. Loman determines he was electrocuted, and at the house, the CSIs notice exposed wires and bubbling on the linoleum floor of the kitchen, indicating the presence of water. Realizing this was where Zimmerman was electrocuted, the CSIs check the circuit breaker for tampering and discover Stephanie Hollister’s prints on it. The irate neighbor readily admits to killing the plumber because he refused to stop his noisy work, but denies setting fire to the house. In the house, Walter and Ryan are surprised to discover the sprinkler system is now working, despite the fact that it didn’t go off during the fire. Calleigh thinks she has an idea, but just as she and Patrick are following her hunch on the front lawn, she collapses—as in the hospital, Calleigh starts to flatline! The doctors are able to revive her, and, unable to talk, she writes a message for Delko, a series of numbers that lead Horatio to Dawson’s front lawn—and the pipes running beneath it. Jesse digs down to the pipe where he discovers a bag of dry ice—put there to freeze the pipes and stop the sprinkler from going off. It was definitely sabotage—and a tobacco stain on the bag of dry ice leads the CSIs to Dawson. The old man started the fire hoping to claim the insurance on the house—never knowing his grandson was inside. A recovered Calleigh visits Patrick’s body in the morgue with Delko by her side. She tells the boy to rest in peace and closes the morgue drawer.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Adam Rodríguez as Eric Delko
  • Christian Clemenson as Tom Loman
  • Robert Bailey Jr. as Patrick Dawson
  • John Beasley as Henry Dawson
  • Mike Doyle as Karl Tannen
  • Robin Bartlett as Stephanie Hollister
  • Meghan Markle as Officer Leah Montoya
  • Chris Dollard as Ralph Zimmerman
  • Scott Alan Smith as Doctor
  • Jennifer Weston as Nurse
  • Eugene Shaw as EMT
  • Shaun Vickers as Fireman

See Also[]

CSI:Miami Season 8
Out of TimeHostile TakeoverBolt ActionIn Plane SightBad SeedDude, Where's My Groom?Bone VoyagePoint of ImpactKill ClauseCount Me OutDelko for the DefenseShow StopperDie by the SwordIn the WindMiami, We Have a ProblemL.A.Getting AxedDishonorSpring BreakdownBackfireMeltdownMommie DeadestTime BombAll Fall Down