Picking up right where it left off in the season finale, unlike most CSI plots, this one wasn't a whodunit or a whydunit or even a howdunit. I knew what had happened in the early morning hours after the night shift finished work and shared breakfast together. Outside the diner, down a dark alley, Warrick was sitting alone in his car and something ominous was bound to happen -- and did.
There was no way Warrick was going to survive those shots through the neck. He was bleeding out when Grissom found him and died in Gil's arms. To say this was wrenching emotionally is an understatement. The sight of Grissom returning to the CSI lab covered in Warrick's blood, all of it evidence in the murder investigation, was vivid and gruesome. The look on the faces of the lab techs and co-workers said it all. When Sara appeared a short time later, it was truly like a family member returning home for a funeral. Every member of the cast reacted to Warrick's death with a look or a moment or a line. When Nick was assigned (with Catherine) to investigate Warrick's car, he said, "I feel sorry for whoever did this." It was clear, this case was personal and Grissom's team was going to find the killer.
Since I knew Undersheriff McKeen was the culprit, there was only one truly forensic challenge in the story -- lifting a partial print from the bullet -- so the plot was more about how to get the guy considering his political clout. There was a chase and ultimately a showdown between Nick and McKean, with Stokes taking a shot at the already prone criminal. Did he actually shoot him or was he already shot from his encounter with Pritchard in the car? I'm not sure.
Now that the fate of Warrick Brown has been resolved, I expect ripple affects. Sara could be the key to Gil's decision to leave CSI, which I know is happening because Petersen has only signed for 10 episodes. Another thread is Nick's actions, as well as the reveal that Warrick has a child and was fighting for custody. I can see Katherine keeping track of that child for Warrick.
Other points of interest:
McKeen should have known that the CSI crew wouldn't fall for the frame job on Pritchard. He's worked with them before and should realize they're very good at their jobs.
The revelation that Warrick had a child and was trying to win custody came out of left field. Perhaps it explains his erratic behavior before his death.
I liked Brass's story about joining the Las Vegas P.D. and his rejection of McKeen's graft.
Best moment of the show was Grissom's eulogy for Warrick. Kudos to Petersen.