A wildfire is raging in the Everglades. The rangers are trying to catch an alligator, with a head of a young man in its mouth. Alexx and Eric arrive at the scene. The man was apparently shot dead before the alligator got to him. The rangers wrestle with the alligator, Eric gets the body. Alexx and Eric get the body on a boat. There is a lightning storm approaching, a nasty one without rain. A lightning bolt strikes nearby, starting a fierce fire almost like an explosion that almost catches their boat. They ride away just in nick of time.
Horatio arrives where the body is carried. He thinks that there may have been explosives or accelerants where the body was found. Horatio says that the crime scene must be found and processed quickly, or they will lose jurisdiction to the fire.
Calleigh and Eric arrive at the possible crime scene, where inmates are being brought in from the County Jail to help fight the fire. Eric kicks out from the scene a camerawoman who wanted exlusives. A fireman picks on an inmate and get in a fight, which Horatio breaks.
Calleigh joins Alexx in the processing of the body. Typical shotgun wound. Ammunition is lead, not lawful because it pollutes the Glades, suggesting that it may be possibly homemade. In the pocket of the victim are keys and a College of Miami card with a magnetic strip.
Eric finds the blood trail that the alligator made when dragging the body, and Horatio finds the spot where the body was probably shot. Horatio then notices that the fire broke through the fire line set up by the Fire Chief.
Horatio and Eric return to the fire line, where they spot a dead body of an inmate firefighter, pierced in his gut by a shovel and pinned to the tree. The inmate was the one that was in the fight earlier. Detective Frank Tripp, now at the scene, says the inmates brought in were supposed to be non-violent. Horatio thinks that someone got through the crack; this is a work of a seasoned killer.
Eric takes photos of the scene. The shovel is a fold-up type, standard issue to the firefighters. Eric finds a red card near the body, the red card (Fire Fighter Certification) of the hotshot firefighter, Craig Adams, who had picked on the inmate earlier. Craig says he has been fighting the fire all this time, he must have dropped it somewhere. He hates working with inmates. He wants real firemen for backup, not having to babysit inmates, but the inmates are sent in because they are cheaper. But he says he hadn't seen the dead inmate. Horatio asks to see his gear. Craig says he didn't do it. His shovel is still there. Frank gets a call. There is an inmate firefighter missing, Cyrus Everton, but he is still in the Jail. How can the same inmate be at two places? Frank and Horatio head to the County Jail.
Frank questions Cyrus, who is without his wristband. Frank smells bacon fat on Cyrus' wrist, so the wristband was slid off. Frank asks who got the wristband. Cyrun is in jail for contempt of court because he brought a weapon into the courtroom and threatened the defendant. The defendant was a big movie star, Ty Radcliffe. Cyrus claims the movie star had raped his nine-year-old son. But he ends up in here while the child molester goes free. Cyrus swapped bracelets with someone who would take out the movie star for him. He won't give the name. Horatio looks over the inmate log, and notices there is Todd Kendrick, a serial killer who was pending death row. Horatio guesses that Cyrus swapped bracelets with Kendrick, created a diversion, then provided him with fire equipment so Kendrick can get on the bus unnnoticed. Cyrus had let loose a monster on the street.
At the station, Horatio and Eric try to warn and offer protection to Ty Radcliffe. His attorney claims that this is harrassment. They do not want to see policemen anywhere near him, or they will sue.
Calleigh and Ryan are on campus, questioning a girl who says she's never been in the Everglades. But her keys were out there. She lent the keys to her boyfriend, Jeff McGill. Calleigh shows her the photo of the dead young man. It isn't Jeff, but Paul Trevers, one of Jeff's frat brothers. Jeff and Paul had mentioned getting booze Friday night, 190 proof, which is 95% pure grain alcohol, illegal in Florida. They knew someone who made it. The girl turns her cell on, and there is a message from Jeff. Calleigh listens to it, where there are several gunshots and a boy saying that they are being shot at. They were being hunted. Jeff is still out there. Calleigh asks Ryan to get in touch with the service provider to get the coordinates for the phone.
The two fly out by chopper. There is a burnt out shed with distilling equipment. Ryan finds Jeff's phone on the ground. They find a local living nearby, and go speak to him, Dale Buford. The three head for the garage, and find a shotgun, just like the one that killed Paul. Also there are tools to make buckshots. Dale Buford admits he makes his own shots, but sneers, how could they prove they were the shots that killed Paul. Calleigh accuses Dale that the accelerant used in his still ignited the fire where the body was found. Dale claims he hasn't fired a single round today. Dale tells them to ask his brother, who is out there somewhere. Since Jeff's message had him running, but it's hard to outrun a bullet, Calleigh and Ryan decide to check out hospitals and homicide.
Suzie is at the station to see Horatio, needing help on paperwork regarding Ray's pension. Suzie needs the money badly, because Madison has what doctors call AML, acute myelogenous leukemia, a blood cancer. Horatio assures Suzie that since they are family, not to worry about the money, go back to Madison who needs her. Yelina steps in and shakes hands with Suzie. Horatio tells Yelina there is no problem.
Calleigh arrives at a hospital, where Jeff is being hospitalized for gunshot wounds. She speaks with him, and he tells her that he had heard there was a place in the Glades selling alcohol cheap. Jeff thought the man was just haggling about the price when he grabbed his shotgun, and they just ran. Calleigh shows him a picture of Dale Buford, but he is not the pursuer, although he looked similar, "rural".
Ryan has Norm Buford brought in. Norm rambles on that he has seen no college boy. Calleigh tests his hands for gun shot residue. Norm empties his pockets as told. Ryan finds a wallet with the name of the frat Paul is in. Norm still insists he didn't kill Paul. Norm says he was after a marsh rabbit when he tripped over the dead body, and took the wallet from the body.
Calleigh makes the buckshots using the tools and supplies taken from the Bufords. There was no GSR on Norm's hands, but Ryan finds the marks from the buckshot in Paul's chest match the buckshot Calleigh made. Cutting off the sprue from the bullet mold leaves a unique tool mark on the shot. The Bufords' ammunition killed Paul Travers. Norm still challenges Calleigh to put the shotgun in either his or his brother's hand.
Frank gets off a call that the lab was looking for Horatio. His realtor in the Keys had returned a call. Horatio is thinking about selling some land down there. Frank has tons of files on Kendrick. County Jail was Kendrick's last chance before sentencing. Kendrick will probably start not on Radcliffe but on someone more personal.
Eric is in the lab with Aaron looking over the shovel that Kendrick must have used to kill the fellow inmate. There is peet (found all over the Everglades), blood, and man-made fish food.
Eric and Frank visit an abandoned fish farm which is walking distance from the fire line, to see what Kendrick was digging for. They find an empty gun case. Fellow inmate must have seen Kendrick digging it up; that must be the reason he got killed with the shovel. Eric takes photos of the case. Space in the case is for a 45. Frank finds footprint patterns differrent from Kendrick's. There are turkey vultures flying about nearby. Vultures mean only one thing. They approach a small shed where the vultures are gathering. Lying inside is a dead woman, Claire Bushnell, the videographer whom Eric had chased away earlier. Eric feels bad. She has on the sneakers seen where the gun case was found. Kendrick probably caught her camera on him, taken her to her car, then killed her. Kendrick not only has a gun but also a car.
Horatio and Eric guess that someone must have buried the gun for Kendrick. The visitor Kendrick had in the last two days was Patty Johanson. Frank and Horatio question Patty, who says is an ex-girlfriend of Kendrick and has been trying to get rid of him for two years. She made the visit so he would leave here alone forever. He had told her to go to his mother's place, get a box from the garage, and bury it in an abandoned fish farm by the lightpost. She knew the box had a gun and bullets, but didn't think it was for him. She thought it was for Larry VanOwen, who had the cell next to Kendrick until released a month ago.
Larry VanOwen has quite a record, not for murder but for armed robbery. The money was never recovered, so he must have bragged about it, and Kendrick must have known. His address is at Cutler Bay Marina. Horatio and Frank approach the boat, and hear moaning. Larry has a machete in his stomach. Horatio talks to him, telling him that if he pulls out the blade, Larry will bleed to death, so don't touch it. Nevertheless, Larry pulls it out, and bleeds to death. The money box is empty. The movie star's house is next.
A police squad enters the house of Ty Radcliffe. Ty is found down, shot in the groins. There is a gun lying next to the body. Maybe Kendrick is also hit. Horatio asks for road blocks. Eric finds a blood trail out the back door. It ends at the dock. Horatio asks Eric for the dogs. Frank tells Horatio that the office said Suzie is trying to get a hold of him, asking him to come to the hospital.
Horatio gets to the hopital. He tells Suzie not to worry about the bills. Suzie is not worried about the bills anymore. Her bone marrow doesn't match. So they need a donor. Horatio has an idea. He is going to have himself tested.
At the Radcliffe residence, Eric takes photos of the dead man. Alexx arrives, late because she stopped by Dade Memorial to pick up a body, and is in awe of the movie star house. She finds keypads outside the bedroom door, which is strange. Eric says there is a motion detector in front of the bedroom door and down the hall. But the remaining security in the house is basic. The bedroom is more secure than the house itself. There is another keypad, which leads not to just a room but a special room with a large bed, TV, and plenty of toys. Eric and Alexx are convinced that Ty Radcliffe was a child molester.
Alexx's van is stopped, then passed at a road block. A sheet in the back of the van is turning red with blood. Horatio is having his blood drawn at the hospital. Eric is taking photos of the blood trail outside the Radcliffe house. Eric finds something in the bushes - a foot with a name tag for a body from Dade Memorial. Driving the van, Alexx suddenly has a gun to her head. It is Kendrick. Horatio receives a call from Eric that Alexx is in trouble.
Kendrick tells Alexx to pull over. He asks for her badge. He recites her address and notices the photo of her children. Alexx says she has moved, but Kendrick says if she does not do as he says, he will kill her children. They get out of the van.
Eric blames himself for not checking the van. Horatio and Frank tell him it's not his fault. They figure that since Alexx is a doctor, Kendrick will first have her fix his wound, but then he will kill her.
Alexx patches up Kendrick. He has one more stop to make, so he makes Alexx drive with him in the passenger seat. Eric and Horatio try to make use of the mileage tracking device put in all county vehicles. They are activated remotely in order to locate Alexx's van. It is in Miami Shores. But the van is not moving.
Kendrick still has Alexx at gunpoint as he forces her into a large house. In the house, a boy is playing TV games. Kendrick calls to the boy, Joey Everton. The mother is taking a nap. Kendrick has both Joey and Alexx at gunpoint now, and tells Joey to show him his father's office. Kendrick takes some papers out of the file drawer. He then takes Alexx and Joey to the van, and shows Joey the dead face of Ty Radcliffe. Joey screams. Kendrick tries to get the two down on the ground, but Alexx fights Kendrick to free Joey. As Kendrick is about to shoot her, there are sirens. As police cars arrive, Kendrick flees on a motorcycle. Horatio finds Alexx, calms her down, tells her that a car is already at her house, and has an officer take her home. Horatio gets a call from the hospital. He is not a match. He confirms that the best bet would be a relative. He calls Yelina.
Calleigh is buzzed to reception. Pam Carpenter, the girl that Calleigh had spoken to on campus, is asking about Paul Travers. Pam is here for his personal effects. She is in the wrong building, she needs to go to the Medical Examiner's. But only family can claim personal effects. Pam says she sort of is. Calleigh is confused; Jeff was her boyfriend. But Pam says, you can't help whom you fall in love with. Jeff doesn't know yet. Pam and Paul were planning to tell him later. Calleigh asks Pam to stay there and not to answer the cell phone.
Calleigh asks Jeff to come in and sit. Jeff would prefer to stand. He is bleeding; stich must have been pulled. Calleigh notices there is black substance in his hair. She asks for some of his hair for exclusionary purpose, and he is willing to give. She cuts the hair strands with the substance. Calleigh loads the shotgun and shoots the shotgun at the range, and cuts her hair with the wadding that came from the gun. Ryan and Calleigh go see Jeff. They tell him that he must have shot Paul, because the wadding in his hair matched the wadding from her experiment. Jeff gives in. He had found out over the weekend about Paul and Pam. The entire campus knew. He and Paul made the moonshine run. Jeff sneaked into the Bufords' garage to get the gun, then shot Paul for lying to him for months. Then as he tried to sneak the gun back to nail the blame on the Bufords, Norm found him and began shooting at him.
Horatio and Yelina have a seat in the office. Horatio explains that Madison is not really his daughter. Yelina is confused at first, then gets it. Madison is Ray's daughter. Horatio has known all along. He explains that Madison is sick and needs bone marrow from a relative. That means Ray Jr. Yelina can't. Madison is not Yelina's family.
Horatio goes to the County Jail to speak with Cyrus. He tells Cyrus that Kendrick had held his son at gunpoint and picked up a file. Horatio needs Cyrus to tell him everything he told Kendrick. Cyrus answers that he told Kendrick that he installed security systems and that his clients, about fifty of them, always forgot their passcodes and called him at night so that he kept them in his office. Horatio pumps Cyrus to come up with the ricehst client he mentioned. That would be Russell Chan.
Horatio drives in. The Chan house has already been hit. There is a boat missing that has headed to the Everglades. A chopper is on it. Horatio and Eric also get on his tail.
They have a wild chase in the Glades. They exchange multiple gunfire. Kendrick is apprehended by the fire. He goes on land and tries to run by foot, but the police is right behind him. They order him to put the gun down, and he does, but then he runs into the fire. No way can he make it through the fire.
A burnt body is found in the ashes of the Glades. The face is indistinguishable. But Alexx identifies the bandage on the stomach. She was the one who put it on herself. She had to make sure. Kendrick is dead.
Horatio is at the hospital with Suzie and Madison. He is telling Suzie not to give up hope. Yelina enters the hospital room with Ray Jr. Horatio smiles.