Roller derby is a spectacularly violent full-contact sport that hasn’t really gotten much fictional mileage apart from the Ellen Page flick Whip It (and arguably James Caan’s Rollerball.)  Well, this week’s episode is set to set that deficit straight, as the requisite murder takes place in – surprise! – a roller rink.  Read on to find out the details!

The Players:

  • Director: Sam Hill
  • Written By: Corey Evett and Matt Partney
  • Cast: David Caruso, Emily Procter, Adam Rodriguez, Eva LaRue, Jonathan Togo, Rex Linn, Omar Benson Miller

Episode Title: “Wheel’s Up”

When a young woman is found beaten to death in a roller derby bathroom, the team has to figure out who would want her dead.  There’s no shortage of suspects, as the roller derby-ers are always raring for a fight and the promoters are not much better.  But when the techs discover evidence of domestic abuse, the case takes on a whole new dimension.

The Good:

  • You Spin Me Right Round: The episode’s main setting and plot revolved around a roller derby, and while it sounds a little gimmicky it’s actually quite an inspired choice.  The vast amounts of violence and on-court anger make it perfect for a murder investigation, and every time the camera cuts to the action it’s always fun, fast-paced, and hectic – which makes it great to watch.  Really, the only bad thing about it was that they spent far too little time actually in the rink.
  • Computers for Dummies: While CSI: Miami’s computers are usually used for silly things, this time around we see a simulation that’s not only possible, it’s actually something that would be useful in a real-life investigation.  The techs use the computer to simply log the amount of force they use to hit a dummy, which in turn tells them that it’s unlikely that the blow came from a weak-armed woman.  This is the kind of thing that you see in, say, Mythbusters, and it’s shocking to see real science on a show as unrealistic as CSI: Miami

The Bad:

  • Break a Leg: In this week’s installment of unnecessary CGI sequences, the doc tells us about a broken bone – and then we get to see a poorly-modeled version of that bone as it breaks.  Either the folks writing CSI: Miami think their audience can’t understand the most basic of medical maladies without labeled diagrams, or they suddenly realized that they hadn’t modeled anything dumb with a computer recently.
  • Dirty Horatio: We know H doesn’t take kindly to women-abusers, but in this episode he clearly goes way over the line when he viciously beats a man despite having no evidence whatsoever.  He’s done this in previous episodes, and frankly it’s gotten to the point where he no longer seems like a badass loner cop who plays by his own rules – he just seems like a thug.  All we can say is the next episode better be about him getting written up on police brutality charges.
  • Keep on Guessing: Look, we don’t want our murder mysteries to give us easy, solvable-in-seconds capers, but at the same time we should be able to have some idea who might have done it.  In this episode, we’re given absolutely no evidence as to who the real killer is until the final minutes, when they show us the murder weapon and force out a confession.  Keeping us guessing by withholding information is both a bad plot device and annoying to the viewer.

The Quotable:

  • A few of the excellent roller derby names: Wrath of Connie, Miami Spice, Doctor Strangelumps, D’Beat Down, Tara and Feathered
  • “Gentlemen, it’s called blunt.  Force.  Trauma.   YEAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!”
  • “Rollerskater struck down before her time.” “What, like that 70s movie with Raquel Welch?”
  • “Oh my god that’s the sexiest scariest thing I’ve ever seen.” “HA HA HA I told you!”
  • “Well I am the biggest sports fan you will ever see but that is just stupid.”
  • “Connie Briggs is dead, Jake.” “How?” “How about you tell me?”


Although it was fun in the rink, the overall plot seemed rather disjointed and haphazardly constructed.  Still, it was fun and the science was surprisingly solid, so if you don’t get ticked off by unsolvable-until-the-end mysteries then this episode is for you.

Rating: 7/10

New episodes air every Sunday on CBS at 10 pm!

Photo Gallery: