Miami. Day. Inside a high-rise building. Calleigh and Eric pay a visit to William Campbell, who flatly refuses to testify in an upcoming case. Eric is less than pleased. "If you don't take the stand, we can't indict Joey Salucci," he explains. "We can't try him for murder." Calleigh assures Campbell he will be kept safe from the most infamous gangster in Miami. "You win," Campbell says. He will testify after all.
Calleigh and Campbell run through the testimony. Campbell entered a club restroom and saw a man named A.J. Watkins. After Campbell went into the stall, he overheard a man enter the bathroom, mention the name Joey Salucci and then shoot. When Campbell emerged sometime later, Watkins' body was gone. That's why Campbell's testimony is so crucial: the victim's body was never found.
Suddenly, the shadow of a massive crane can be seen approaching the windows. Before you can say "Spider-Man 3," the crane rips through the window, crushing everything in its path. Calleigh and Eric run -- but Campbell isn't so lucky. He slips through a gash in the floor and is impaled on a steel cable.
YEEE-OWWW!!! Cue opening credits!
Caine arrives at the scene, clutching a pair of sunglasses. He knows who is responsible: Joey Salucci. "And he just used the biggest murder weapon in Miami," Caine growls. But how to prove it? Calleigh interviews the construction manager, who says he pulled the plug on the site a week prior. The man admits to knowing Salucci but refuses any knowledge of a criminal plot. "Don't go far," Calleigh warns.
Caine, meanwhile, has gone to visit Salucci at the grave of the criminal mastermind's daughter. "Nobody should ever lose a child," Caine growls. In a grainy FLASHBACK, we see the girl died in a four-wheeler accident on the beach. The man riding four wheelers with Salucci's pride and joy was none other than A.J. Watkins. In fact, it was Watkins' four wheeler which crushed the young, connected woman. Back in the present, Salucci grins, claiming news of Watkins' death is "news to me." Caine isn't buying it -- and neither are we.
Back at the scene, Ryan searches the crane operator's seat frin some few hundred feet above the ground. He notices a "black box" device that records all of the crane's movements as well as a red streak on the wall. "I think we got some blood up here," he says.
Natalia, after some off-screen fancy lab work, pulls up a profile. The blood belongs to a Kurt Greenfield, who has a long list of priors. Seconds later, Greenfield is in the hot seat. Not surprisingly, the suspect denies all knowledge of the incident. Greenfield admits to working at the construction site up until a week ago. He explains he snuck back into the crane cab to retrieve his "uppers" -- but that's it. "You gotta believe me," he says.
"Mr. Greenfield, I don't have to do anything," Caine growls.
In the meantime, Campbell's widow and son confront Calleigh and Eric, blaming the CSI officers for the death of their loved one. "We're going to find who did this, "Eric vows -- but Mrs. Campbell wants nothing to do with his guarantees. She slaps Calleigh across the face for good measure. "I won't make the same mistake twice," she spits.
One too-long commercial break later, Calleigh works the crime scene with Ryan. They notice a pair of fresh tire tracks -- odd as the site has been shut down for some time. Ryan also finds shattered glass flecked with auto paint. One super-cool computer montage later, the team discovers the tire tracks belongs to a BMW convertible registered to Mick Ragosa, a known associate of Joey Salucci. Now THAT's police work.
Second later, Caine and Frank pull over Ragosa, who drives just such a car. Ragosa says he plays poker with Salucci "from time to time," but that's it. Frank isn't buying it -- and tells the goon in not-so-subtle terms. Ragosa finally admits to following Campbell to the safe house "when suddenly it started raining glass." Just a henchman in the wrong place at the wrong time? Caine lets the man go ... for now.
Back at the lab, Natalia examines the black box and discovers the manual controls for the crane never moved. "So the crane was being remotely operated," she explains to the inattentive viewer. Bartlett explains the crane could only be operated in such a way from a 500-foot radius. And wouldn't you know it? A parking structure just down the street would offer the perfect vantage point.
Calleigh and Eric investigate the parking structure. And wouldn't you know it? They find the bulky remote in a rooftop trashcan. One super-cool montage later, Valera discovers shocking news: skin fragments left on the remote belong to Campbell's son! Say it so, Valera!
Before you can say "stunning plot twist," Calleigh brings Noah Campbell in for questioning. "I didn't mean to, I swear," he says. "When he decided to testify, he made that decision all by himself ... the witness protection program? I have a life! Friends!" So, basically, junior learned to operate a crane on the Internet, swiped a remote and got to work. Only things went wrong. Noah only wanted to scare dad so he wouldn't testify. The boy never meant to kill pops. But he did. Oops.
Case closed, right? Don't bet on it. A certain presumed dead man named A.J. Watkins STILL doesn't have a murderer. Caine, wearing sunglasses, all but promises a gloating Salucci the killer will be brought to justice -- and it's not wise to argue with a man in sunglasses that damn cool.
Caine immediately gets to work, telling Eric to request a recording of the 911 call Campbell made from the club restroom. Eric smiles. Why didn't anyone else think of that? A short time later, Calleigh and Bartlett analyze the call and discover the sound of a flushing toilet. "So the killer shoots and then takes a bathroom break?" Bartlett asks. Says Calleigh: "No. He was flushing evidence."
Natalia and Ryan arrive at the club to investigate the bathroom. They sink a camera into the toilet bowl and quickly spot a nine-millimeter shell casing. Now it's Caines turn to perform some fancy lab work. He uncovers a print on the casing belonging to none other than Mick Ragosa.
Seconds later, Ragosa finds himself in the interrogation room. Caine explains the henchman's prints were found on a bullet casing at the scene. In a FLASHBACK, we see Ragosa shooting Watkins and then flushing the bullet. As faithful viewers know, flashbacks never lie. Still: no body, no case. "Good luck pinning anything on me," Ragosa quips. Growls Caine: "Stick around, Mick."
Calleigh and Ryan take a closer look at Ragosa's car. They hope to prove the same car was used to transport Watkins' body. Indeed, the duo finds a veritable "murder kit" in the trunk -- shovel, rope, tape, etc. One super-cool montage later, Ryan discovers burnt sand on the edge of the shovel. He theorizes Watkins was buried on a beach near a bonfire. Caine's eyes light up. Was Salucci actually stupid enough to bury the body where his daughter died? A certain sunglasses-wearing cop certainly thinks so -- and so do we.
Not long after, Watkins body is found. But the cause of death wasn't a gunshot. Watkins, as it turns out, has one bullet wound in his kneecap. No, poor A.J. died of strangulation. Calleigh finds residue on Watkins' neck -- pollen from a lily. Caine's eyes light up again. Salucci was placing lilies on his daughters grave just the other day.
Salucci is brought in for questioning. "Mick started the job on A.J., but you finished it off," Caine growls. We see just that scenario in a FLASHBACK: an injured Watkins begs for his life in the sand before Salucci strangles him. "He had to answer for what he did," Salucci says. Growls Caine: "So do you."
CSI 1, Salucci 0.