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CSI Miami - Stiff - recap

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Written by : published Tuesday 17th January 2012

CSI Miami - Stiff - recap main image

Natalia and Wolfe arrive at a crime scene but she says he must have used the siren to get there before her. Her car alarm keeps going off. Ryan comes to the scene where a super-cool hotelier is worried the other guests will flee. The man, Derek Vaughan, is dead in one of the cabanas by the pool. But Ryan looks in and sees a weird hat floating above the body. 

Natalia meets up with a handsome man who helps her get the alarm from the Hummer off. They make a date and she gives him her card . He is disappointed to see she is ‘officer” Natalia Boa Vista. He says he will call her. 

Then Natalia comes and jokes Wolfe is dreaming. He shows her a picture but the reflection on the wall is what he got. Later when they take the evidence away Eric and Callie remain to do on the site forensics. Ryan notes the gas lever had a big mark on it. The cabana have flashy gas-powered fake fireplaces. The $14,000 a week was the rent on the cabana. Horatio asks the Operations manager for the checks.

Eric finds six different strands of hair and a box of condoms. The victim was a “player”. They discover the dead man was a gigolo using the hotel cabana for his “business" liaisons. They use his checks to find his “clients”. The hotelier’s daughter runs the human resources aspects of the hotel. He paid his rent in combined checks made over to the hotel from various women. 

Tripp reads the checks. Gretchen Cambridge. One of them is a wealthy married woman living in the suburbs. They visit her. Natalia and Tripp question her and she says her husband travels a lot. She is attractive and they don’t get it, but she says her marriage fizzled out and the gigolo Vaughan treated her like gold. Her husband is all about golf and the computer. 

They cover for her when the husband arrives home for the business trip. The husband doesn’t know and he was in Idaho. Natalia says she made a generous donation to the police fund. 

Walter shows Wolfe how the hat was floating. Leaking propane was in the cabana. . The lab IDs the gas and calls Eric who ignores his phone. Callie is also exploring the cabana for evidence. Eric is near the gas lever and cocks his head hearing a noise.  

The lab calls Horatio, who understands the threat and goes running to the cabana. Callie drops a lighter for the gas flames and the place explodes. Eric is thrown unconscious and Callie tries to drag him out Horatio comes crashing in and they drag him to safety. Sirens alarm and the flames are put out but the evidence has all been destroyed.

The explosion prompts an investigation into the gas supply and Horatio discovers an illegal invisible gas instead of federal safety standard odored gas. Romero says he had no idea. Hector Romero says he was not running a prostitution ring. He is ordered to call his supplier right now. 

Horatio tells the hotel manager Mr. Romero that public relations is the least of his problems. They investigate another clue, a burnt piece of paper which is actually a parking pass from a high school. Callie talks to a teacher who used the victim’s services. 

The teacher, Emma Davis, had a nice time and wanted her first time to be good. She was a thirty year old version. But she saw and heard her cabana boy arguing with another man about money. The woman says he treated her well. She wasn’t surprised he ended up dead. She describes the man Vaughan was arguing with about clients and money.

Mitch the propane supplier arrives and Horatio checks him out. Mitch says Romero was in on the job. Hector says he was in on at the HQ. Romero signed the purchase orders for illegal propane. Horatio says the charges are now on him. 

The hotel owner admits everything. He says he cut all the maid staff and rented cabanas to the gigolos to make money. The economy killed their business. There are 200 fireplaces. They burnt through a tanker every week. The charge is now negligent homicide. The victim Derek died of propane asphyxiation.

Natalia’s alarm fixer turns out to to be the gigolo that Emma Davis saw and heard arguing with the victim. They chase him and catch him on the beach. He admits he was angry that he stole Emma from him, virgins represent a lot of money in repeat business. He said Vaughan owed him money and he kept taking his clients. The victim said ‘What are you going to do about it?”.

But in the lab they find dandruff particles in the blood wounds. The dandruff is examined in Trace and they find the flakes are PVC plastic . But they are actually flakes from snow globe particles. Callie says the water glycerin mixture makes the snow float.

Natalie and Walter comb the forensic accounting part of the job. The gigolos got a lot of gifts. They are looking for a gift of a snow globe to the victim.

They go through every bank statement of all of the parties concerned. Walter speaks French so when Natalia declaims the stores he says one is “Boules de neige”; snow globe. Gretchen bought it.

They visit Gretchen’s house for a search. She is angry because she says she gave the snow globe to Derek at his cabana anybody could have hit him with it. Horatio finds a sticky patch in the garage. (The glycerin from the snow globe would have made the snow globe sticky)

They arrest the husband who was in Miami because he stayed home from Idaho and followed her. They do a forensic search of the premises and find particles of the same stuff in the victim’s hammer on the garage floor. 

She says she hit Derek on the back of the head with it. Eric says that is strange, because he was hit on the front of the head with it. 

Horatio says she is covering for someone and the husband says “No more lies”. Gretchen’s husband talks. He watched Gretchen go to the victim. But then she left and then he came in and attacked the man. He hit him with the snow globe. 

He was angry and jealous and thought she bought the snow globe for him. He saw it at Derek’s and lost his temper. The husband and wife realize what a waste they are making of their marriage but the husband didn’t kill the victim, the gas did.

“All those nights alone. I thought you stopped loving me”. Gretchen is shattered. 

“I never did." He is arrested. But Horatio asks when he moved the gas lever. He says he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Erik and Horatio say they believe him. 

There is still the chips on the gas lever from the cabana. These turn out to be made of leather. The propane killed him after the head injury. Horatio has a theory...

Only Hector Romero knew about the odorless propane and he was making money off Derek and would have no motive to kill him.

They let the hotel manager go. At HQ, Romero’s daughter comes to pick him up. They ask to see her shoes. But her feet are affected with frostbite, a common side effect of propane burns. Natalia says she must have been wearing open toed shoes. She was the one who kicked the valve. 

She let the gas loose on the victim because she was in love with him. She knew about him being a prostitute because he handled his checks for the rent, and he saw her on the side but he wouldn’t quit. She was falling in love with him. She knew the next girl he brought in there he’d light the fireplace and they’d both die.

As she is taken away Horatio says to Hector “I hope you’re satisfied”. The daughter is booked, as well as Hector, and Gretchen’s husband is booked as well.

About the author tvqueen


I like to watch TV shows from classic eras as well as contemporary drama and comedy. Science Fiction is fun, and shows like the Cape and Fringe keep hope alive that the medium that produced Space 1999 is alive. Comedy such as 30 Rock is usually, good, but not always. I like Survivor but it has so little to do with survivor skills I am disappointed. Appointment viewing is Grey's Anatomy, NCIS LA, The CSI series for New York and Las Vegas and Miami, with a special shout out for the new Hawaii Five O. Gordon Ramsay's Hells Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are top of the line viewing for the drama comedy Gordon's character and the business lessons they teach.

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