The last time we saw Horatio Caine, he was face down on a tarmac, his fate uncertain.
As the episode opens, a body bag is zipped up. Ryan, who received a mysterious text message reading "It's done" moments after the apparent hit, loads his Caine's body into the back of a van.
Calleigh and Eric arrive at the scene. Frantic, they demand an update on the situation. "Horatio took a round to the chest, and I got here too late," Ryan says. "He's gone. He's dead."
Calleigh wonders how Ryan got to the scene so fast, then comments that her boss certainly had his fair share of enemies. Suddenly, her face goes hard. "We find out," she says.
Eric walks slowly toward a body in the morgue. Is it Caine? He slowly pulls back to the sheet to reveal an unidentified woman. "Where's Lt. Caine?" Eric demands. The coroner explains that he released to the body to a federal agent -- although he can not recall the agent's name.
Back at the tarmac, the media has arrived. Frank, meanwhile, gives Calleigh the report. "A private jet took off right about the time the shot was reported," the sergeant says. "It was bound for Puerto Rico." Frank also explains that Julia and Kyle were on the plane ... but now there's no sign of either.
Natalia examines the crime scene with Eric. She finds a partial shoe print, and another fleck of blood as if the killer bled into Caine's blood pool. Eric, meanwhile, wonders about Wolfe. He was at the scene too soon.
"He's one of us," Natalia protests.
Back at the crime lab, Natalia examines the strange blood sample. It belongs to a criminal ... who was killed in jail the day before. She theorizes that someone stepped in the criminal's blood and might have accidentally transported it to the crime scene.
Seconds later, a recently released convict named Diaz is in custody. His shoe print matches the one found on the tarmac. The bottom of his shoes boast blood stains. "We know you're an associate of Juan Ortega," Eric says.
Diaz, not surprisingly, denies any involvement in the murder, saying he was not sent by Ortega to kill Caine. In fact, he was just there to catch a flight when he heard a shot. Diaz followed the sound, and figured he would just take a picture with his camera phone, send the shot to Ortega and "take credit for the hit."
The photograph of Caine's body shows a reflection, however. Something is perched on top of a nearby hangar. "That's not something," Eric says. "That's someone."
Eric and Calleigh are perched atop the hanger looking down onto the tarmac. "Perfect vantage point for a shooter," Calleigh observes. Indeed. The two search the site and Calleigh discovers a bandage.
"I spoke to agent Caldwell this morning," she says. "He had the same bandage."
Seconds later, Caldwell is in the hot seat. He denies any involvement in the killing of Caine. Both men were trying to nail Ortega for the sale of alloy bullets. But Calleigh has something else: the unnamed agent that signed out Caine's body? The handwriting matches Caldwell's.
Moments later, Calleigh hands Eric Caldwell's PDA. They find a text message: "It's done." But who was it sent to? Eric calls the number and Ryan answers. "It all makes sense now," Eric rages. "How you got there so fast, why you released the body!"
"I was just following orders," Ryan whispers. "From Horatio."
Eric and Calleigh, meanwhile, demand answers. "The only way he was going to survive was to stage his own execution," Ryan says. Caldwell, a crack shot, did the shooting and Ryan was responsible for the blood.
"Where's Horatio now?" Eric asks.
"He could be anywhere," Ryan says.
"Anywhere," apparently, is inside a beautiful home. A still breathing Caine enters, removes his sunglasses and draws his gun. He sneaks around until he finds Kyle and Julia. Breathing a sigh of relief, he holsters his gun. His family is safe. Julia wants to leave, but Caine will not allow it. Not yet.
"I don't want you to see Ron," Caine growls.
"That man is my husband," Julia says.
"And that is your problem," Caine growls in response. "I need four more hours."
Cut to a dusty road in the middle of nowhere. A man named Miguel emerges from an SUV carrying a suitcase. "You saved my life three years ago, lieutenant," Miguel says. "I meant it when I said anything you need."
"Those bullets need to come off the street now," Caine growls.
Miguel hands Caine the briefcase. Inside: $10 million. Caine explains that he couldn't go through the police to get the money because, well, things are a bit "complicated."
"You will retrieve these bullets?" Miguel asks. "Lives will be spared?"
Growls Caine: "If it's the last thing I do."
In the meantime, Eric and Caldwell interrogate Ortega. The criminal mastermind refuses to say who bought fused alloy rounds from him. Eric then volunteers to take Ortega on a drive through gang territory. Ortega appears less than pleased at the prospect of being seen with the police by some of his best clients.
Caine, meanwhile, meets with Yelina, who agrees to take the money and act as a buyer interested in fused alloy bullets. Caine warns her to be careful. He'll be close by when the deal goes down.
Eric and Frank drive Ortega through Miami. The illegal ammo dealer insults his captors when, suddenly, gunfire erupts around the car. Eric and Frank exit the car to find two hooded figures shooting up an armored truck. As the bullets fly, a car slams into Eric's car, freeing Ortega. He escapes on foot.
Later, Frank and Eric take stock. The robbery of the armored truck was almost certainly a ploy to free Ortega. "An ambush," Eric says. And the bullets used in the brazen assault are of a familiar variety to the investigators. "Fused alloys?" Eric asks.
"Yeah, they went right through that bullet-proof armor," Frank says.
Eric talks to one of the armored truck guards, who explains that the traffic light turned red and then stayed red for an inordinate amount of time. Calleigh, meanwhile, has found skin scrapings on the glass of the driver's side door. When one of the shooters reached inside to grab the keys, he left behind a small piece of himself. The results show that the skin belongs to a Todd Keener.
Eric questions Keener. "I don't rat out my boys," the gunman says. "You cops, you just don't get it. You're on the short end. The gangs got all the ammo. You're nothing but ducks on a pond." The alloy bullets, it seems, are everywhere.
Yelina meets with Ron, who looks positively creepy in an all-white suit. She wants to purchase alloy bullets. And how many is she looking to buy? "All of Ortega's supply," she says. "You get those bullets back and I'll make you a very wealthy man." Ron agrees.
Back at the lab, Ryan and Calleigh discover that someone did indeed manipulate the traffic signal so that it stayed red during the assault on the armored truck. Only cops and emergency crews have such devices, however. After a quick trace, the guilty party is revealed: ATF agent Jake Berkeley.
Berkeley is being questioned by Calleigh. She can barely hide her warm feelings for the cop. Not surprisingly, he denies any involvement in the crime, explaining that he has been undercover. The gang took the motorcycle that had the device, and Berkeley hasn't seen it since. He agrees to see what he can find out.
Ron is buying back all the alloy bullets from the local gangs (with Yelina in tow) while Ryan and Eric search for Ortega. The latter two remember that they have Diaz's cell phone. They find a call from Ortega and trace the location of the call: the Everglades airstrip.
At the airstrip, Ortega is about to board a private jet when the police arrives. Caine makes the arrest personally. "Taken down by a dead man," Ortega quips.
Berkeley returns to the lab with a bag full of guns from the gang's safe house. "I have reason to believe that they were used in your ambush today," he says. The man had to break his cover to get the guns. "I didn't do it for the case, Calleigh," he says. "I did it for you." The two share a bittersweet kiss.
Also sharing a kiss: Ron and Julia. Ron explains his scheme to take the alloy bullets to South America by boat and sell them. The two lovebirds are going to be very happy together -- until Julia mentions that she wants a divorce. She walks away, revealing Caine, gun drawn.
"What the hell is this?!" Ron screams.
"It's called irreconcilable differences," Caine growls.
Ron shoots. Caine shoots back, hitting a gas cannister, which explodes setting off the bullets. The boat explodes.
Later, Eric tells Caine that they still can't find Ron's body -- but at least the bullets are gone.
"Whatever it takes, we'll find him," Caine growls.
"It never ends, does it?" Eric asks.
"And it never will," Caine growls.