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Slow Burn
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Season 2
Number 14
Writer Michael Ostrowski,
Shane Brennan
Director Joe Chappelle
Original Airdate February 2, 2004
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Slow Burn is the fourteenth episode in season two of CSI: Miami.

Synopsis

While investigating the death of a hunter found shot near a controlled burn in the Everglades, Alexx and Delko must halt their investigation to escape a wildfire the is approaching in order to save their lives. Meanwhile, Horatio and the rest of his team are looking into the death of a woman with human bite marks on her breasts, which leads them to believe that a sexual predator is responsible.

Plot

After the fire they survived under a heat blanket, Alexx and Eric have vision damage, frequently using eye drops. After Delko states that the fire, that was reported to be controlled, came out of nowhere, Horatio and Tripp starts to investigate the surroundings. They find that a fire was caused by a flare, that burned through the dry underground matter in the soil and surfaced near Eric and Alexx. When the reason behind the flare being thrown in the grass is questioned by Tripp, Horatio soon finds a female corpse badly burned.

The case of the hunter is taken up by Delko and Calleigh. They find that the hunter's chair was shot through. They locate the friend of the dead hunter, Joshua Keating. He has a bloodstain on his vest, claimed to belong to squirrels. Delko finds two rifles in the car, one in plain sight, the other hidden behind the driver's seat. The latter turns out to be the murder weapon. Upon analyzing the bloodstain, Valera finds out that the blood belongs to a mountain lion, a protected animal in Florida with only around 50 of them remaining in the Everglades. Keating tells that they had an argument over hunting for them, but he left him alive, and doesn't want to tell anything further. He remains in custody. Later upon examining the murder weapon, Delko notices scratch marks belonging to Keating's dog, which he missed before due to his damaged vision. Facing him with the evidence, Keating confesses, and says that he fled the scene as he became too ashamed when his dog tried to wake up his dead friend. Acquitted and offered a free call by Calleigh, Keating tells his only remaining family is his dog, which has to remain in the custody of Animal Control.

The case of Jane Doe is taken up by Speedle, joined by Tripp and Horatio. They find different tyre tread marks taking a U turn, one in solid shape, the other ruined from speeding off. They have a brief talk with a ranger with burn marks on his jeans. He tells that while on patrol, he kicked off the flare into the water. His story checks out when they analyze the first tyre tread with the solid shape belongs to the ranger's patrol car, which means he maintained a steady speed. The other tread mark is identified, belonging to a unique Ford model. They check through the records of the speed camera on the Everglades roadside. They find a match with the model, belonging to Dale Stahl. Dale has no trace of fire residue and denies any connection to the dead girl, but Horatio has his car impounded and examined, during which Tripp finds a casino card in the back seat belonging to Julie Bryant, and torn out hair that matches DNA with the body in the morgue. Dale says that he picked up a hitchhiker at the casino, and he did a favor by transporting him for sex, but then at the place of the U-turn, another guy stepped up and demanded Julie to leave the car while beating the vehicle with a bat, only for Dale to speed out without her. In the casino, Julie's card is run down by the owner, stating that it is still active and that she spent the last night with Mike Sheridan. Upon spotting him, Horatio immediately spots burn marks on the back of his ear. After questioning, he admits that he is frequently violent with Julie: she left him with Dale to tease him, but he went after her, demanded her to exit the car with hitting its side, but she ran away into the Glades, which he left out of fear after a brief search. After Speed finds his pants in the laundry with burn marks on it, Horatio and Tripp take Mike out to the Everglades for interrogation.

He admits lighting up the flare, but when Tripp accuses him with the murder and drops the image of the corpse, Sheridan tells that the woman on it is not Julie. With Tripp not convinced, Horatio gives Mike a chance, but warns him he plays a dangerous game if he's lying. Horatio gives another look on Dale's car, and he finds that it has no blood marks on the inside, but rather on the outside. He gets a call from Alexx, who recently examined the body again: the victim is identified as Sandy Jane Willis, identified by both her dental records and a match in CODIS, as she was registered missing three years earlier. A unique beating mark is found on her forehead as well, which points back to Dale's ring. Horatio interrogates him again, and by matching his ring to the wound, he realizes the true scenario of the night: Dale first kidnapped Sandy, beating her to death and throwing the corpse into the Glades for the aligators; then he went back to the casino, picked up Julie hoping he can repeat the procedure, but what he didn't count on, was Sheridan coming for her, so he fled the scene after Julie exited the car. Later, Julie appears at the MDPD, searching for Mike. Horatio, who recently checked into Sheridan's battery files and noticed how frequently he beated Julie to the point of her requiring medical attention, tells her that Mike is going to prison for starting the fire and that it is her time to leave him for good. A confused Julie, visibly afraid of her boyfriend, tells Horatio that he'll always find her and stubbornly demands his whereabouts. Horatio gives up, directs her to Mike, and watches as the two kiss each other's shoulders.

The episode ends with Tripp inviting Horatio for a burger and a beer. He accepts, but asks for five minutes: he calls the mother of Sandy, telling her that after the years they found her daughter dead. While he comforts the mother and tells how she can visit her corpse, Alexx is shown placing back Sandy's body into the refrigerator.

Cast

Main Cast

 Guest Cast

  • Sofia Milos as Yelina Salas
  • Rex Linn as Frank Tripp
  • Boti Ann Bliss as Maxine Valera
  • Doug Hutchison as Dale Stahl
  • Harold Sylvester as Joshua Keating
  • Joe Flanigan as Mike Sheridan
  • Keith Diamond as Rick Cuthbert
  • Melinda Page Hamilton as Julie Bryant
  • Michael Edward Rose as Arthur Arturo
  • Greg Travis as Wade Hinkle
  • G. Paul Davis as Card Dealer
  • Kim Kendall as Sandi Willis

See Also

CSI:Miami Season 2
Blood BrothersDead ZoneHard TimeDeath GripThe Best DefenseHurricane AnthonyGrand PrixBig BrotherBaitExtremeComplicationsWitness to MurderBlood MoonSlow BurnStalkerazziInvasionMoney for NothingWannabeDeadlineThe OathNot LandingRap SheetMIA/NYC NonStopInnocent
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