"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CSI: Leave Out All The Rest

CSI never fails to make me cry. All those poor dead people, their families, Catherine’s “professional” attire… and this episode tries to hook us all in immediately. It’s a motif that runs throughout the episode – Grissom watching and rewatching a video that seems to be Sara’s final goodbye. Whether or not it is truly the goodbye remains to be seen (and with Jorja Fox’s track record for staying off the show when she’s supposed to be off, I’d have to say it’s doubtful). Either way, Grissom looks pretty broken up about it.

But enough of this sentimental stuff. Let’s get to the “body” of this episode.After a bit of mope time, Grissom decides to get his rear in gear and head over to the crime scene he was supposed to be at awhile ago. There he finds Catherine ankle-deep in mud, trying to preserve a tire track from the monsooning rain. She gives Grissom a mild talking-to about professional duty and then they head over to the body.And what a body it is. The face is completely gone, scraped off. The same for his fingers. From the marks on his shirt (oil and rope burn), they deduce that he was tied to the undercarriage of a vehicle, where his face was dragged off before the rope wore away and he fell out from under. The body is taken away and Doc Robbins gets a crack at him. He finds needle marks around the victim’s nipples, which at first seem to be some sort of drug injection site, but there are no drugs in the victim’s system, so that’s a no-go. He also finds burns on the vic’s tongue – some sort of grilling. Gross. Cause of death is ruled strangulation by someone’s bare hands. Some sort of S&M gone wrong, perhaps?

Meanwhile, Brass is off cheerfully destroying the victim’s property. Upon breaking open the front door of the vic’s house, they discover his ID and learn that his name is Ian Wallace. Nick and Riley search the place and they both find blood in different places. Something obviously went down here. The back door is unlocked and nothing seems to be broken into.

And what’s up with Brass suddenly becoming “Jim”? Did I miss this somewhere along the way? I’m sorry, but he’ll always be Brass to me. It’s more fitting.

Riley uses her keen observational skills to reveal that Ian lived with a female, given the fluffy heart-shaped throw pillow and the women’s magazines. And that’s how they discover her identity: Justine Stefani. And she is nowhere to be found.

Grissom broods a bit more before deciding that a visit to an old friend is just what he needs. He heads over to visit Lady Heather in her new life. She’s no longer a dominatrix – just your run-of-the-mill sex therapist. But Grissom’s not there for a head-shrinking (is that still what they shrink in sex therapy?). He needs professional advice.

Heather takes a look at the pictures of the vic and has some helpful ideas. The needle marks around the nipples are an arrangement called stacking, used in bondage. The tongue burns are too – metal chopsticks are placed around the tongue and electrified. She needs more information about the victim’s habits and lifestyles. Grissom has Nick, Riley, and Greg investigate the vic’s bedroom some more. Nothing at first, and then Riley hits the jackpot. A big toy box under the bed. But there are no tinker toys or Legos in there. Just S&M paraphernalia. They find a bloody shirt in the hamper with blood patterns that match the nipple needles, semen and vaginal fluid on a dresser, but no needles or tongue chopsticks. Nick does find a card for a club by the name over Lower Linx. Heather tells them that that’s an amateur bondage club with a well supplied back room. Maybe they’ll find more toys there.

The first thing Nick and Brass find when they infiltrate the club is the manager, Michelle Tournay. After a bit of badgering she gives them a DNA swab and lets them into her back room. They find the tongue chopsticks there, and another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

Checking in at the lab, the semen is Ian’s, but the vaginal fluid is not Justine’s. Another woman! There is also some blood on the back of the shirt that doesn’t belong to Ian. It could be from someone getting punched. The vaginal fluid does however match the epithelials found on the chopsticks. This could be the dom to Ian’s sub.

Soon enough they find a car burned near the crime scene. It’s Justine’s car, and Justine herself is in it (although all that really remains are her breast implants). She’s a victim now, not a suspect. Her hands were tied, and Doc Robbins determine she was probably hit and killed by her own car before it was torched with her inside.

Brass checks up on Justine’s phone records and sees that the last call was with a Martin Devlin, an insurance agent. He seems innocent enough, until they discover that it’s his blood on the back of Ian’s shirt! His hard-as-a-rock lawyer won’t let him say anything.

That is until they look at Martin’s phone records and find a picture he sent in a text after his call with Justine. It’s a photo of his lawyer and Ian together! He sent it to a number that is just one digit off from Justine’s, so it’s probably just a misdial. Time to talk to the lawyer again. She was involved in a little S&M play with Ian and Martin, but she got a little too involved with Ian. She fell for him, and that made Martin mad. He socked Ian at home, which explains the blood in the hallway. Ian socked back, which explains Martin’s blood on his shirt.

It looks like an open-and-shut case, but unfortunately the CSIs can’t link either Martin or his lawyer to the crime scene. The episode ends with a killer still free and Grissom staying in Lady Heather’s guest room. And is she staying too?

What a disappointment. I suppose even our genius CSIs can’t solve every case. Maybe they should have a separate CSI show for all the cases they just can’t break. Either that, or maybe they should have a CSI: The FUTURE!!! Where CSIs of later generations use their advanced crime-fighting gadgets to solve the cold cases of today. Either way, I’m thinking this won’t be the last we see of this case. Maybe it won’t be resolved next episode, but it’s fairly rare that they won’t tie it up in a nice neat little package for us.

Is Grissom going to leave the show solely for Sara? I hope not. Grissom’s character for so long has boiled down to his respect and passion for his job, and I’d hate to see his character change so drastically because of a failed romance. Even if it was Sara. She couldn’t hack it as a CSI any longer. Grissom doesn’t have to catch that disease as well.

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