June 13 2024

CSI Files

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Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation–‘Sin City Blue’

6 min read

When a man is caught carrying human remains, Langston believes he might be one step closer to catching Dr. Jekyll.

Synopsis:

A man named Juan Rivera is caught in the Vegas desert with a truck full of human remains. When the CSIs arrive at the scene, Langston discovers organs that were removed with surgical precision alongside the body of a boy, he wonders if Juan was making a waste dump for the elusive Dr. Jekyll. Nick finds a shipping order for a store called Botanica Ventura in the truck. Detective Cavaliere questions Juan, who tells him that a man pays him $20 to take his trash up into the mountains. The only name he offers for the man is “doctor.” In autopsy, Doc Robbins determines the splenectomy that led to the boy’s death was in fact an attempt to save his life but because he had a clotting disorder, he bled out. The CSIs get an ID on the boy, Eduardo, and pay a visit to Botanica Ventura, where they meet the owner, Jeffrey Hughes, who claims to be an herbalist. Langston and Nick check the back room and Langston discovers blood in the grout in between the tiles of the floor. Wendy finds DNA from two different donors in the grout, but when she asks Langston for his to exclude him, he refuses. Langston questions Hughes, who defends his actions, insisting he helps those who don’t have insurance. He tells Langston he tried to save Eduardo’s life but the boy bled out—even Eduardo’s mother doesn’t blame him. When Langston asks him about Jekyll’s victims, Joey Bigalow and Bernard Higgins, Hughes seems genuinely confused. Langston concludes Hughes isn’t the elusive Dr. Jekyll—just a man genuinely trying to help the uninsured. Langston asks Nick for help with a Spanish language translation of a flier for the clinic he volunteers at.

The underwear clad body of twenty-three-year-old Karen Jones is found in the hallway of a Vegas hotel. The CSIs question several other guests on the floor and learn most of the rooms are taken up by attendees of a conference for actuaries. Catherine and Greg study the surveillance footage from the cameras at the hotel and discover that Karen argued with a dark haired woman before trying, unsuccessfully, to pick up a man using an ATM. Catherine and Greg track down the hotel room Karen was renting and find the body of the dark-haired woman, whose wallet identifies her as Jillian Rose, in the hollowed out box spring in the bed in the room. Turning back to the surveillance cameras, Catherine and Greg find Jillian also tried to pick up the ATM guy—and she was successful. They check hotel records and find his name is Donald Fiore. When they check his room, the find a pair of silver shoes hidden in an air conditioning vent and Karen’s silver dress down the toilet. Catherine has Fiore brought in, and the man claims he was set up: Jillian seduced him and ran away with his ATM card. Her friend, Karen, came back with a gun trying to get more money out of him, and he insists he killed her in self-defense. Greg and Catherine are able to link him to Jillian’s murder when they return to the hotel room and find the murder weapon: a plastic trash bag with Jillian’s lipstick on one side and Fiore’s prints on the other. Afraid his wealthy wife would find out about his indiscretion and leave him, he followed Jillian from the hotel to get his wallet back and killed her. Karen came after him to demand he pay her fifty grand to not turn him in.

Analysis:

A promising lead on the season’s big bad, Dr. Jekyll, turns out to be a red herring—and a pretty obvious one at that—in this episode, which is something of a mixed bag. I doubt anyone really expected Dr. Jekyll to get snared in this episode, but given his MO, I didn’t really believe he’d hire a hapless truck driver to dump his medical waste either. After all, as we saw in “Ghost Town” and “Appendicitement”, Dr. Jekyll views himself as something of an artist, deftly tying a small intestine into a bow and making tiny, precise cuts. From what we’ve seen, he’s neither messy nor careless, which is why I didn’t believe for a minute in the possibility that the person Juan was dumping waste for was the serial killer Langston has been seeking. Obviously given the timing of this episode, in the middle of the season rather than towards the end, getting a big lead or clue on Dr. Jekyll’s identity was unlikely, but it might have been nice if it hadn’t been such an obvious red herring.

That being said, it was refreshing to have what appeared to be a sadistic science experiment gone wrong turn out to be an attempt to save a life. Jeffrey Hughes is a sympathetic figure, someone Langston even relates to, as evinced by his effort to further Hughes’ cause to get under-the-radar patients medical help, albeit in a more legal manner. Played by the talented James Frain, Hughes is a compellingly earnest figure, one the audience likes almost immediately, and Langston, despite his initial suspicions about Hughes possibly being Jekyll, seems to feel the same way, especially once he picks up on the sincerity of Hughes’ convictions. In the end, of course, it’s proven that Hughes isn’t the elusive Jekyll, and Langston is no closer to the sinister doctor than he was when the episode began.

More interesting than red herring storyline is Langston’s refusal to let Wendy take a sample of his DNA and enter it into the system. His vehemence leads the audience to wonder exactly what is behind the adamant refusal. Is it just that the idea of his DNA in the system makes him uncomfortable? Does it have something to do with his father, a violent man Langston is perhaps afraid he might take after? Could it be that his DNA might link him to a crime? The last one is the least likely, but then, his response felt so extreme that one has to wonder if he is hiding something. Wendy is clearly taken aback but recovers quickly and doesn’t press the issue. I hope we’ll find out before too long why Langston refused to enter his DNA into the database, and if he’s got something to hide.

The secondary case in the episode feels very familiar—a con gone wrong where the con men, or in this case women, end up paying dearly for their attempted crime. The sleazy businessman cheating on his wife and trying to conceal the fact, the beautiful young women teaming up for a con, the CSIs finding the crucial piece of evidence when it looks like the killer’s false story is going to fly… we’ve seen this all before, done with more depth and nuance. The storyline, while serviceable, doesn’t offer many memorable moments, save for a brief fun appearance by CSI Supervising Producer Dustin Lee Abraham as a hotel guest who partied hard the night before. Greg is visibly put off by him in a brief scene that offers up a fun, inside joke moment for die hard fans of the show, many of whom follow the writer’s popular Twitter.

Viewers also get a glimpse of Nick on the phone, having what appears to be a pretty personal conversation. Might Nick have a new girlfriend? Sparks flew between Nick and counselor April Martin in “Death and the Maiden” when he sought her advice about a case in which a young man had been raped. April was initially dismissive of Nick, before realizing the CSI had come to her with sincere intentions to try to help the boy. CSI is generally much more circumspect about romance than the two spin-off shows, but it would definitely be nice to see Nick, who hasn’t really had a big romantic storyline since the first season, find a little happiness in love. With Catherine and Detective Vartann possibly on their way to a relationship, there could be plenty of love in the air at the Las Vegas lab this season, especially if April—or whoever Nick was on the phone with—makes an appearance.

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