|Minor Character: Miami|
|Family||2 unnamed ex-wives|
|Pathology|| Dirty Cop|
|Portrayed By||David Lee Smith|
|First Appearance||Blood Brothers|
Rick Stetler was an officer of the Internal Affairs Bureau in the MDPD in CSI: Miami. He left the series in season 8, facing capital charges for stealing old evidence, evidence tampering and the murder of ASA Rebecca Nevins (episode 823, "Time Bomb").
Rick Stetler spent twenty years working for the Miami Dade Police Department as an Internal Affairs Officer, reaching the rank of Sergeant. He was unable to reach the rank of Lieutenant as he and Caine were both up for promotion and Caine got it. Stetler believed that he had better points and should have received the promotion, feeling that Caine used special favors, and resented Caine for this. This led to him coming down harder on the CSI team than he needed to, although he did take their side on occasion.
Personally Stetler has been married - and divorced - twice, as well as having a personal relationship with Yelina Salas, Caine's sister in law. During the relationship there were implications that he was abusive, suggesting one possible reason for the breakdown of his marriages, although Stetler himself appeared to blame his job (episode 823, "Time Bomb").
Stetler first appears when Caine and his team investigated the Cruz brothers. He informs Caine that he has been assigned as the LAPD's liaison with the Mayor's office and Caine congratulates him. Stetler then asks Caine if he thinks Yelina Salas is ready to date again and Caine advises him to ask her himself as he won't know and Stetler leaves. He later runs into Yelina at a restaurant and asks her out explaining what Horatio told him (episode 201, "Blood Brothers").
Stetler later appeared when a patrol officer named Dan Cofield was killed in action and tells Caine he wants to be kept in the loop on the investigation. It is also revealed that after Yelina found out Caine had a daughter (actually his brother's) she and Stetler started dating. When it is revealed that Cofield gave a call-girl money as a confidential informant, Stetler suggests to Caine that Cofield was corrupt and paying the girl for sex, which Caine rebukes. Caine eventually discovers the girl was being paid to catch a pair of armed robbers and was killed by them. As Stetler leaves with Yelina for their date he congratulates Caine on catching the killers and Caine tells Stetler if Cofield's wife doesn't receive Cofield's pension as a result of Caine clearing Cofield, Caine will come after him. It is later revealed that Stetler is opening an investigation in Caine (episode 220,"The Oath").
He appeared later to lead an IA investigation into the destruction of evidence relating to the exploitation and death of Ashley Anders by her porn movie producer. His suspicions initially fell on Eric Delko, since he was the last to handle the recording, although his antagonism towards Caine could have influenced his decision to persecute Delko. In the end, it turned out that an inmate trustee was responsible, who was bribed by the producer's lawyer. Stetler was forced to apologize to Caine, but he pointed out that it was Delko he should be apologizing to - possibly indicating once again that he was attacking Caine by persecuting Delko as it was Caine that he appeared to need to apologize to (episode 224, "Innocent").
During this season, Stetler began to show an interest in Yelina Salas, Caine's brother's widow. Stetler even turned to Caine for advice on the subject, asking if he felt Yelina was ready for a new relationship. This relationship added a new dimension to the character, showing his feelings and that he was able to set aside his antagonism towards Caine.
Stetler appears much more often in Season 3, both in his relationship with Yelina Salas, who is more prominent in this series, and professionally. He also has a fractured relationship with Yelina's son, Ray Jr., who resents the man and turns to Caine to replace his lost father-figure.
Stetler arrives after Tim Speedle is shot and killed in the line of duty and Stetler advise Caine see a counselor, which Caine rebukes. Stetler suspects (correctly) that Speedle's gun didn't fire because of poor gun maintenance (like in "Dispo Day") but Calleigh covers it up. Stetler later attends Speedle's funeral (episode 301 "Lost Son"). When a murderer named Byron Middlebrook decides to represent himself, Stetler volunteers his services to help Caine fight back the scrutiny he will stir up. Caine politely tells Stetler they will manage and thanks him for the offer. Stetler is later revealed to be living with Yelina when Middlebrook sends a hitman to kill the only eyewitness (episode 302 "Pro Per"). Stetler and Yelina go out of town on vacation and leave Ray Jr. with Yelina's mother, but come back after he is nearly arrested for murder (episode 306 "Hell Night").
Significantly, Caine finds Yelina has a bruise on her face that he suspects was caused by Stetler, suggesting that Stetler is an abusive boyfriend and furthering the rift in the two mens' relationship. Stetler later investigates Caine and Delko after they kill two armed robbers in the line of duty. Despite Caine insisting they were justified, Stetler still pushes the investigation forward and Caine threatens to kill him if he touches Yelina like that again. Stetler takes Caine's weapon as Caine leaves the scene so he can investigate the robbery, though both are eventually cleared (episode 307 "Crime Wave"). Stetler investigates Caine after a suspect claims that Caine dislocated his shoulder during his arrest. Stetler tries using this case to sink Caine but Calleigh proves the suspect is lying and in fact, dislocated his own shoulder (episode 310 "After the Fall").
Stetler later investigates Delko again after Delko's badge is lost after a midnight hook-up, and is later stolen by the girl's brother to commit a murder. Stetler interrogates him about the woman who has his badge and blames the entire thing on Speedle's death, causing Delko to leave in anger. Caine later questions him on Bob Keaton (Caine's brother's killer) being out of prison, but Stetler reveals he didn't even know he was let out, even offering to help find him but Caine declines his help. (episode 320, "Killer Date"). Stetler is later kicked out of Yelina's house after she breaks-up with Stetler and things get violent when Yelina had to punch him in the face. (episode 323, "Whacked")
Stetler appears in the season primarily as an investigator and antagonist and even reveals his motives for doing so. Stetler briefly mentions he took a trip to New York where he met some people that knew Caine and is later seen eyeing Caine in a church from a distance (episode 401, "From the Grave"). Caine later reveals to Stetler that the DA from New York was trying to build a case against Caine for murdering the man who killed his mother (episode 408, "Nailed").
Stetler later criticizes Caine for assigning Officer Aaron Jessop to protect Jennifer Wilson from a person from his past (episode 403 "Prey"). He once again investigates Caine after his girlfriend Rachel Turner turns up murdered and Caine is the prime suspect. He claims Caine came back to the scene of his own crime to clean up after himself and doesn't believe he confronted Walter Resden, her real killer. Stetler subsequently arrested Caine for murder but evidence is eventually uncovered proving Resden was present and framed Caine, who is subsequently released (episode 406 "Under Suspicion").
When Johnny Nixon accuses Delko of buying marijuana from him, Stetler personally handles the case and demands Delko give a urine sample, interrogate his colleagues, and to interview Nixon. Stetler manages to get Wolfe to reveal he saw rolling papers in Delko's possession and when Delko pops positive for THC, Stetler relieves him from duty and arrests him in the Crime Lab in front of all his colleagues to spite Caine. His case eventually falls apart after Nixon's involvement in a murder is uncovered and Monica West drops the case (episode 410 "Shattered"). He interviews Ryan Wolfe and Caine after Caine shoots and kills a suspect in their case and both claim Wolfe didn't have a clear shot, which is why he didn't fire (episode 419 "Driven").
Stetler appeared infrequently in season 5, mainly taking on a role as a reluctant ally. He showed some signs of decency and consideration - he agrees to help Caine investigate a biker gang selling tactical weapons, albeit begrudgingly (episode 502, "Going Under"). He later warned Caine that he wouldn't be able to protect him if Caine went against a corrupt city official, which was not helpful but showed some concern for Caine, rather than using the opportunity to damage the career of the man he resented (episode 517, "A Grizzly Murder"). When Wolfe is caught on tape giving a bookie and arson-murder suspect money, Caine brings Stetler in. When Wolfe denies that the man is his bookie, Stetler later fires Wolfe and confiscates Wolfe's badge and gun (episode 522, "Burned"). When Wolfe applies to get his job back, Stetler has Wolfe review all his cases in preparation for the appeals about to be filed by people he helped convict. He later questions Wolfe about $6,400 he deposited into his account, implying he pocketed money from parking violations and makes him account for it by the end of the day, or he will not get his job back (episode 524, "Born to Kill").
This is the beginning of developing Stetler's character in favor of the Crime Lab. When the crime lab or the team were being targeted he stepped up to protect or help the lab, indicating a loyalty to his team. This helped flesh out the character and make him appear more sympathetic to the audience, rather than merely another bad guy.
When Caine's involvement in a grand jury case involving the Argento's mob is revealed, Stetler alerts Caine and offers him police protection, but Caine declines (episode 602, "Cyber-Lebrity"). He later appeared to help the Crime Lab supercede a court order to reclaim a murder victim's body. While he is at the lab, he sees Delko supposedly hugging Natalia Boa Vista and assumes they are dating again (in reality, Delko was comforting Boa Vista after her shoulder popped out of place and he put it back). Stetler tells Delko about the changes in department policy about dating coworkers and Delko lets it slip that CSI Duquesne and Detective Jake Berkeley are dating, assuming he was talking about them. Stetler thanks him for the information and removes Berkley from the case as a result (episode 605, "Deep Freeze").
When Caine picks up Joe LeBrock's son Scott, Stetler reveals the FBI are surveilling him in relation to a current case and send Stetler to tell Caine to let him go, which Caine agrees to do (episode 607, "Chain Reaction"). Stetler later investigates CSI Duquesne after she shoots and kills the driver of a car trying to run her over and a civilian is apparently killed as a result. Stetler has her submit to a breathalyzer test which comes below the legal limit, but Stetler puts her under review until the investigation is over. Stetler tells Caine that because of the case the brass are concerned about a wrongful death suit against the city. Stetler questions Duquesne again after a receipt shows she apparently have six drinks while Duquesne claims to only have had two and she won't reveal who she drank with. Duquesne is eventually cleared when evidence reveals the truth and that she was justified (episode 609, "Stand Your Ground").
He later warned Caine to fight extradition for the murder of Antonio Riaz, suspecting that if Caine was extradited he would be killed, but Caine says fighting it won't make a difference (episode 615, "Ambush"). When Kurt Rossi starts targeting the team, Stetler is forced to tell Duquesne that he gave the State's Attorney a video from Dan Cooper's website showing her reading from a list of instructions to process a crime scene, making her evidence inadmissible. Duquesne defends herself and gets angry at Stetler, but he tells her everyone knows she is innocent (episode 620, "Down to the Wire").
Stetler appeared infrequently in season seven, only appearing twice and both times he is acting as Ron Saris' handler when he makes a deal to turn into a confidential informant (episode 721, "Chip/Tuck"). He later arrests M.E. Tara Price after it is discovered she is addicted to pills she steals from dead bodies and framed Julia Winston for the crimes, causing her to shoot up the morgue (episode 724, "Dissolved").
It is later revealed that Stetler was promoted to Lieutenant and was placed in charge of S.O.C (a SWAT team), the promotion he was denied when Caine received his. He is called when an armed gunman takes the crime lab hostage, but the shooter says he will only talk to Caine and Stetler turns the phone over to him after he arrives. While Stetler is favoring a breach while Caine wants to talk to him and Caine does that. Stetler later protests when Caine goes to the hostage taker but lets him through. When he asks for $100,000 and a helicopter, Stetler agrees and gets the cash from a check cashing place he knows while MDPD provides the helicopter. All the hostages are rescued and the perpetrator is caught. (episode 802, "Hostile Takeover")
Stetler interviews Duquesne and Delko in relation to him helping his father flee a shooting where Duquesne shot at them, not knowing Delko was in the car. Stetler tries turning them against each other but Delko is eventually cleared of any wrongdoing (episode 803, "Bolt Action"). Stetler later questions Duquesne about some discrepancies with her Hummer's milage logs. Duquesne eventually realizes that CSI Jesse Cardoza was the one responsible but covers for him when Stetler mentions going to talk to him about it (episode 812, "Show Stopper").
When $100,000 in stolen diamonds is taken from the MDPD Crime Lab, Stetler arrives to investigate and criticizes the evidence locker officer for not noticing. When it is discovered someone used the robbers' own tech to knock out the surveillance cameras, Stetler accuses CSIs Wolfe and Walter Simmons, who vehemently deny involvement and Caine dismisses him. Stetler and Caine fight over who should lead the investigation with Caine ultimately taking the lead (episode 821, "Meltdown"). When he learns about Delko's investigation into the lab, Stetler stops by to offer Delko his respect and the full support of IA in his investigation but Delko thinks he wants the credit for the press cameras. Delko warns him not go to the press and that he was working on something big, confident the CSIs will be cleared and Stetler leaves (episode 822, "Mommie Deadest").
After Assistant State's Attorney Nevins is assassinated with bomb hidden in a car, and Delko is almost killed giving her a report on his investigation, Caine briefs Stetler. Caine tells Stetler that the car was checked out months ago by a MDPD Detective named Steven Carmichael, who was murdered two years ago by a drug lord. Realizing the thief was using the name of a dead cop to check cars out of impound, Stetler tells Caine to pull all files involving Carmichael and to keep him apprised and to wait for him before Caine conducts any interviews.
Meanwhile the bomb car's GPS is discovered, leading the team to Wolfe's house, where they find the missing diamonds with Stetler present at the scene. Stetler pounces on and has Wolfe escorted out of his house. Stetler theorizes that Wolfe stole all that property to pay off some old gambling debts and had Nivens killed when she got too close. Stetler points out Wolfe was the last to handle the diamonds before they went missing and has Wolfe arrested and perp walks him through the Crime Lab, despite Caine's protests. Stetler is called back when they are told they have bacterial DNA evidence identifying the thief: Stetler. Caine, Delko, and Wolfe reveal that they took his DNA from a folder he handled when interrogating Wolfe and Olansky (who was his accomplice) flipped on him, revealing him to be Carmichael.
Stetler then reveals he got his start stealing cars from impound after the real Carmichael borrowed a Porsche for a case and after he got killed, nobody cared. He blackmailed Olansky into signing out the cars to his fake name by threatening to sabotage one of his drug tests. Stetler used Olansky to steal 15 cars out of impound (including the one used to kill Nevins) over the next two years. After Olansky was transferred to the evidence locker, Stetler used Olansky's position as cover to steal small amounts of drugs and money and eventually recruited John "Sully" Sullivan, a retired cop, (who committed suicide by cop after getting caught) to tip him to old evidence nobody would miss (like heroin from an old bust Sully worked). The diamonds he stole while Olansky disabled the cameras was going to be his last score, until he realized the State's Attorney's Office was investigating the thefts. Stetler learned through Sully about a bomber that Nevins prosecuted ten years ago and hired him to kill Nevins and Delko to cover his tracks, and to start the GPS at Wolfe's house to frame him. Stetler then planted the diamonds in Wolfe's house to buy time and frame him in the process. He blames his crimes on the department before he is arrested for stealing over $3,000,000 worth of seized property, evidence tampering, and the capital murder of Rebecca Nevins and is perp walked by Wolfe, like Stetler did to him. (episode 823, "Time Bomb")
- Officer Olansky (incarcerated)
- Retired Detective John "Sully" Sullivan (deceased)
- Drew Pollack (incarcerated)
- 2004: Yelina Salas (assaulted)
- May 17, 2010: The car bombing (Pollack built and detonated the bomb in the trunk of a Cutlass supplied by Stetler; one fatality)