|Minor Character: Miami|
|Portrayed By||David Lee Smith|
|First Appearance||Blood Brothers|
Sergeant 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. ("Time Bomb")
Rick Stetler spent twenty years working for the Miami Dade Police Department as an Internal Affairs Officer, reaching the rank of Sergeant and Head of S.O.C. Swat Team. 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 ex-sister in law. During the relationship there were suspicions that he was abusive, suggesting one possible reason for the breakdown of his marriages, although Stetler himself appeared to blame his job ("Time Bomb").
Stetler first appears in season 2, while Caine and his team investigated the Cruz brothers ("Blood Brothers"). He later appeared in The Oath, attempting to discredit Dan Cofield, a Patrol Officer who was killed in action, as there was evidence to suggest he was corrupt, though this was later proven false, as his wife would not receive Cofield's pension otherwise ("The Oath").
He appeared later in the season 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. ("Innocent")
During this season, Stetler began to show an interest in Yelina Sarris, Caine's brother's ex-wife. 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. Significantly, during the episode Crime Wave, 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 men's relationship. 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.
Later in the season he and Delko once again fall on the wrong sides of the interrogation table, as Delko's badge is lost and used in a crime in Killer Date. Delko had been intimately involved with a girl when he lost it and the girl's brother stole it. He is last seen in Whacked, where he is leaving Yelina's house as Caine is entering, and is significantly absent in 10-7, the following (and final) episode of this season, where Yelina's son, Ray Jr. is kidnapped. At the end of the episode, Yelina and Ray Jr. leave for Brazil, reuniting with Ray Sr. who they had believed to be dead, and putting an end to the relationship between Yelina and Stetler.
Stetler appeared infrequently in these seasons, mainly taking on a role as antagonist and investigator. He showed some signs of decency and consideration - in "A Grizzly Murder" he 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. He also warned Caine to fight extradition for the murder of Antonio Riaz, suspecting that if Caine was extradited he would be killed. 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.
Stetler was a significant character in season 8, starting with the episode "Hostile Takeover", where he was promoted to Lieutenant in Charge of S.O.C (a SWAT team), the promotion he was denied when Caine received his. Despite this, he maintained an IA role, appearing in the episode "Meltdown". During this episode, diamonds were seized as evidence by the CSI team, however after being admitted as evidence many of the diamonds went missing. IA and Stetler stepped in, suspecting that a member of the team had committed the offense, and Stetler attacked both Wolfe, who signed the diamonds in, and Walter Simmons, and trying to nail one of them for the crime. Caine was eventually forced to step in, while Delko returned to the lab, investigating the robbery along with ASA Rebecca Nivens.
A couple of episodes later, in "Time Bomb", Assistant State's Attorney Nivens is assassinated when a car containing a bomb is driven close to her and blown up - Delko, who was meeting her to give a report on the search for the diamonds, was also a target. During the investigation it is revealed that a dead undercover officer has been signing out cars from the evidence lockup, one of which was the bomb. The car thefts are apparently connected to the theft of the diamonds, and half a million dollars worth of heroine, which leads to a retired cop. Meanwhile the bomb car's GPS is discovered, leading the team to Ryan Wolfe's house, where they find the missing diamonds.
Stetler pounces on and arrests Wolfe, and the lack of evidence in his favor leads Boa Vista to match bacterial DNA, which can remain on the hands for up to two weeks. The officer in charge of the evidence locker is discovered to have been the same officer who worked in the car pound and signed out the missing cars to the dead officer, and the retired cop is discovered to have been involved as well. The cop commits 'suicide by cop', by threatening to shoot Caine and forcing another cop to shoot him. The officer, however, gives Caine a name - and using bacterial matching, Caine and Boa Vista prove that Stetler was the one who was stealing from evidence, framed Wolfe for it, killed Nivens and attempted to kill Delko. Another man, who served 10 years for an identical bomb in a restaurant, was arrested for creating and possibly detonating the bomb, however Stetler was also charged with Niven's murder.
- CSI: Miami
- Season 2
- Season 3
- Season 4
- Season 5
- Season 6
- Season 8
- Hostile Takeover
- Time Bomb