Season 3
Number 21
Writer Steven Maeda
Director Joe Chappelle
Original Airdate May 2, 2005
Previous Episode: Killer Date
Next Episode: Vengeance

Recoil is the twenty-first episode in Season Three of CSI: Miami.


After a bitter custody battle, shots are fired outside the courthouse. Bullets fly and the target is the little girl's mother. Horatio goes after the father, who he suspects may not be the girl's biological father after all. However, when the mother's shady past is uncovered, the team finds that she has a lot of enemies who would like to take a shot at her. Meanwhile, Calleigh's father returns to the crime lab for her guidance but for an unexpected reason.


Pandemonium erupts outside the Biscayne Courthouse when a man, Brad Manning, armed with a gun, races to confront his ex-wife, Cheri Lyle, with whom he's embroiled in a major custody battle over their young daughter, Amy. Horatio arrives at the scene as Brad pulls his gun out. Frank Tripp stops a man with a green umbrella whom he recognizes. Horatio yells for Brad to stop, but the man raises his gun. Shots ring out: Cheri is hit, and so is Brad. Ryan, who had been arguing with Calleigh a moment before, pulls her down. After the gunfire ceases, Ryan notices with horror that there's blood on Calleigh's pants and she's not moving.

Eight hours earlier, Brad Manning walked into the Miami PD office to talk to Horatio about his custody case while his ex, Cheri, thanks Calleigh for her help. Brad vows to be at the 4pm hearing that afternoon, and Horatio promises the same. Horatio decides to delve into the records, where he learns there are allegations of abuse from both Brad and Cheri. He pays their little girl, Amy, a visit, and she tells him that she and her father share a secret from the day he picked her up from the playground after school—the day Cheri alleges he tried to kidnap the girl—but she won't tell Horatio what it is. Calleigh and Ryan are working in the lab to discover what happened that day—Brad and Amy were found in an alley, and she had blood on her underwear. But the blood matched neither Amy nor Brad. Calleigh asks Ryan to retest the DNA.

Tripp rear-ends an SUV on his way to a crime scene, but when the driver of the car finds out Tripp’s a cop, he takes off. Meanwhile, Alexx and Delko kneel over the body of Bill Keeler, who plunged to his death from his 16th floor apartment. Alexx notes that his forearms are broken indicating this was no suicide. They look over his apartment and question his neighbor, whom Keeler was leeching satellite feed from, but find nothing concrete. Back at the lab, Ryan has some surprising news: the DNA retest indicates Brad Manning is not Amy’s biological father. When Horatio confronts Brad with the news, he is shocked but ultimately dismisses it. He looks at Amy as his child.

Horatio asks Yelina to run both Brad and Cheri to see if they have out-of-state records. Brad is clean, but Cheri was running an internet personal site with revealing pictures of herself, trying to meet men. She was accused of fraud, extortion and blackmail. When questioned, Cheri defends the site, saying it’s simply an online business. In the morgue, Alexx shows Delko small puncture wounds on Keeler’s hands as well as discoloration on his neck. His public hair was split at the ends, something she tells Delko is found in cases of sexual deviance. Nicole Talcott, the lab’s new DNA expert, tells Horatio that Keeler was a registered sex offender, and that it was his DNA that was in Amy Manning’s underwear. Cheri claims Keeler was her boyfriend, but acts surprised when Horatio tells her he was molesting Amy. Delko found personal ads for Cheri on Keeler’s hard drive which advertised both Cheri and Amy—“2 for the price of 1.” Cheri maintains she was trying to be honest about having a child, but Horatio counters that she was selling her daughter.

Ryan comes to Calleigh with a court order to recheck Brad’s paternity, but to his irritation, Calleigh is called away by her father. Alexx has identified the substance on Keeler’s neck as hair dye, and Horatio think it’s from Brad Manning. He realizes Brad was trying to protect Amy, and that Brad plans to take Cheri out at the courthouse that afternoon. The scene at the beginning replays, with additional footage: Ryan shows Calleigh Brad’s blood sample, which he’s brought to court. She angrily scolds him for violating protocol by taking the blood out of the lab. Tripp spies the man he rear-ended earlier and confronts him, only to have the man suspiciously open an umbrella on a perfectly sunny day. Horatio arrives and tells Brad not to shoot, but as Brad raises his gun, he fires at him. On his way down, Brad gets off a shot. Ryan pulls Calleigh down and sees blood on her leg, but it’s actually the blood from the vial he was holding, which has shattered in his hand. Horatio goes to Brad, who lays dying. Brad begs him not to let Cheri take his daughter, and Horatio promises he won’t let that happen.

Cheri is taken off to the hospital to treat the bullet wound to her shoulder. Horatio asks DCS Investigator Valerie Adams to take Amy into protective custody. Valerie agrees, but only until Cheri is released from the hospital. Tripp interrogates Don Landis, the man with the umbrella, whom he realizes was trying to obstruct the security cameras at the courthouse. Landis admits he picked up a guy at the airport and was driving him around on errands, but when Tripp shows Landis Brad Manning’s photo, Landis says Brad was not the man who hired him.

The evidence leads elsewhere as well: the bullet pulled out of Cheri’s shoulder is from a .45, but Brad had a .38 and Horatio a 9 millimeter. Another shooter was present. Tyler Jensen plays back footage from a news camera for Calleigh, and on it they hear three shots. The second has a slight echo, so Calleigh and Ryan return to the scene and test fire from different locations to recreate the sound. They find the location and near it a bit of charred newspaper, indicating the gun was concealed behind a newspaper. Ryan runs the newspaper and finds it to have soy ink in it, something used in the northeast area of the country. The CSIs cross reference the victims of Cheri’s scam and come up with one Vincent Lesca, in town from New York.

Tripp picks up Vincent at the Shore Club; Delko swabs the man and Landis IDs him as the man who hired him. In the AV lab, Tyler shows Ryan a computer reenactment of the shooting, where they notice that the first two shots were fired almost simultaneously. The shooter wasn’t trying to hit Cheri; he was aiming for Brad. Ryan begins questioning Cheri before Calleigh arrives, and when an irritated Calleigh comes in, she accuses Cheri of hiring Vincent to do away with Brad. Cheri maintains her innocence and reminds them that they can’t prove any of this. Calleigh is frustrated and talks to Horatio, who asks her to call in a favor.

Ryan runs into Calleigh later on, and she’s with her father. Ryan and Kenwall Duquesne exchange cordial greetings. Ryan tries to explain to Calleigh that he left her a message about the interrogation with Cheri, but she is cold to him. Nicole runs Vincent’s DNA and Delko brings the results to the man: he’s Amy’s biological father. Vincent is already aware of the fact that Amy is his child and wanted to kill Brad to get his child. Delko tells him that with an attempted murder charge against him, he stands no chance. Tripp calls Horatio to tell him Amy is missing, but Horatio quickly tracks her down at the library, where the girl is reading a book. She didn’t want to go home with her mother, and finally tells Horatio what her secret was with her father: he was going to take her away where no one could hurt her.

Cheri is grateful when Horatio finds Amy, but is angered when Horatio informs her that Mr. Duquesne is Amy’s lawyer. A judge has granted a petition for Amy to become a ward of the state, and Cheri is arrested for child endangerment and trafficking. Ryan apologizes to Calleigh, who reminds him that knowing one thing about a person doesn’t mean you know everything. Amy says goodbye to Horatio and goes off with the DCS investigator and Calleigh’s father.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Rex Linn as Frank Tripp
  • Brian Poth as Tyler Jenson
  • John Heard as Kenwall Duquesne
  • Tracey Needham as Cheri Lyle
  • Brian Tahash as Don Landis
  • Bill Sage as Brad Manning
  • Liana Liberato as Amy Manning
  • Natalia Baldwin Leon as Female Newscaster
  • David Gianopoulos as Vincent Lesca
  • Paul Green as Greg Rondinelli
  • Kimiko Gelman as Dr. Nicole Talcott
  • McKinley Freeman as MDPD Uniform
  • Michelle Ann Johnson as Valerie Adams


  • The courthouse standoff appears to be inspired by the Tyler courthouse shooting, a similar shooting on courthouse steps involving a family dispute, where the shooter's wife, child, and an intervening bystander were all shot before the shooter died.

See Also []

CSI:Miami Season 3
Lost SonPro PerUnder the InfluenceMurder in a FlashLegalHell NightCrime WaveSpeed KillsPiratedAfter the FallAddictionShootoutCop KillerOne Night StandIdentityNothing to LoseMoney PlaneGame OverSex & TaxesKiller DateRecoilVengeanceWhacked10-7