Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation–‘Irradiator’

A home invasion that leads to a double murder gives the Vegas team an unexpected lead on serial killer Dr. Jekyll.


The CSIs arrive at the residence of Tom and Lisa Layman: the site of a grizzly double-murder. The family dog is dead outside, while the couple lies slain inside the house, the victims of gunfire. Nick finds the couple’s young daughter, Gracie, hiding in her room and coaxes the terrified girl out of her hiding place. Greg discovers tool marks and a print on the window, matching the gardener. Brass questions the man, who admits to stealing a video game from the house but insists he had nothing to do with the murders. Nick shows Gracie the man’s picture, but she can’t tell him whether he was the one who shot her parents. Though the gardener’s shoes are the right size, there’s no blood on them. Hodges analyzes metallic trace from the scene, leading Sara to wonder if the killer was an industrial worker. Sara and Nick return to the house and follow a trail of titanium dust to the neighbor’s house. There, they find .22 bullets matching the ones that killed the Laymans and a shirt covered in blood splatter. They learn the identity of the neighbor is Jack Herson, and that he hated the Laymans’ dog. In the basement, Langston discovers a diagram for a surgical tool used in neurosurgery. Suspecting Herson knows Dr. Jekyll, the serial killer surgeon the team has been pursuing, he and Nick spray a metal table down and find it covered in blood. Langston finds a radiator plug missing, and inside discovers a small piece of paper with “GITA 11.32” written on it. The LVPD tracks Herson to his aunt’s house, and discover the armed man inside. Herson shoots his aunt and then collapses, dead.

In the morgue, Langston and Doc Robbins discover tiny radiation seeds in Herson’s head—clearly Jekyll’s handiwork. Doc Robbins and Langston realize the radiation likely caused Herson to act out in rage, killing the Laymans and their dog over relatively minor provocation. Langston and Hodges are able to identify the seeds as Iridium 192 and trace them to a biomedical company. They do some digging and discover a doctor at Saint Sebastian Hospital named William Burke recently placed an order for Iridium 192. Brass and Langston question the doctor, who tells them that he and his physics students were using the seeds, and were the only ones who have access. Burke recognizes Langston from his book, and accuses him of smearing the entire surgical profession, causing the CSI to lash out and hit him. Brass gets Burke to back off his plans for a lawsuit, leaving Nick and Langston to review security tapes with one of the guards. The guard notices that a man was using a code that belongs to a female doctor. When they learn the code was activated four minutes ago on the fifth floor, Nick and Langston put the hospital in lockdown and go on a hunt for Dr. Jekyll. Langston catches sight of a man in surgical scrubs who flees. The CSIs chases him throughout the hospital, through the kitchen and to the basement, only to be knocked out by the killer. Jekyll grabs Langston’s ID badge and runs…


Did anyone really think the team was going to catch Dr. Jekyll in this one? Had it aired on May 20th and not April 8th, perhaps, but since we’re a good month and a half away from the season finale, there wasn’t a chance in hell Langston was going to collar Dr. Jekyll in this episode. Timing-wise, it’s just not right, and that’s fine, though I can’t help but wish the chase had been a bit more original. Rather than trying to employ the element of surprise, the CSIs alert the killer to their presence by locking down the hospital, and then proceed to storm the fifth floor. Jekyll catches sight of Langston and runs. He proceeds to hide under a blanket in a room, which Langston of course walks right by… only to double back a minute later to find the blanket thrown off, and the killer escaped! Then Langston chases Jekyll through a busy kitchen that leads to a deserted storage room, where he’s promptly knocked out by the serial killer. And then Jekyll takes Langston’s badge, because the rule in the media is that all serial killers must be as obsessed with their pursuers as the pursuer is with catching them.

Luckily Dr. Jekyll is a creation inventive enough to transcend the rather mundane (at least to this point) pursuit. The idea of a doctor who does surgery on people with the intent to kill them and without their knowledge is a terrifying one. Like hapless Bernard Higgins in “Appendicitement”, Herson has no idea Jekyll has operated on him, though the schematics for the neurosurgical tool in his basement indicate he likely had contact with the killer, and was designing equipment for him. Murdering people who could identify them is something killers do, but the way Jekyll turns them into living science experiments is pretty novel. Most people have an inherent fear of surgery of any kind, so what Dr. Jekyll does taps into a pretty primal fear. Jekyll also has a fondness for quoting passages; here he pulls an apt one from the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Now that Jekyll has Langston’s badge, is he going to fixate on the CSI? Is he going to use the badge to get into the lab? Is it possible that the season is building to a climax where there’s a race to figure out if Jekyll has operated on one of the CSIs without their knowledge? At the end of the episode, I’m not sure the team is any closer to learning Jekyll’s identity or catching him, unless by chance they get lucky and there’s footage of Jekyll revealing his face further back on the security cameras. It’s doubtful. No doubt as the end of the season gets closer, Jekyll will strike again… building up, I’m sure, to the finale, which may or may not be a cliffhanger. If the path is familiar, let’s hope the storylines aren’t. Jekyll is a fascinating villain thus far; I hope the episodes leading up to his eventual capture (dead or alive) are more original than the chase scene in this one was.

Doc Robbins and Langston share a fun scene together when they get into Herson’s head, literally, chasing the source of the glow that showed up on the dead man’s X-ray. Laurence Fishburne and Robert David Hall have a great rapport, and their scenes together are always a treat. Like Drs. Hawkes and Hammerback on CSI: New York, the two share a knowledge of the medical profession and human anatomy, which adds a sense of shared discovery and a charged energy to their scenes. They speak the same language, and get excited about the same things. Dr. Jekyll is just the kind of serial killer that would fascinate these two.

Langston’s temper finally flares up when Dr. Burke recognizes him and starts accusing him of vilifying surgeons in his book Angel of Death. Burke gets pretty vicious in his criticisms of Langston, until the CSI finally lashes out and strikes the man, shocking Burke, Brass and possibly even himself. After more or less strong-arming Burke into not suing by reminding him that the radiation seeds are his responsibility, Brass offers Langston some advice: if his action wasn’t just born out of frustration over Jekyll and was about the past, he should drop it. Brass probably doesn’t realize that “the past” doesn’t just encompass Langston’s book, but his fear that he may have inherited some sort of violence gene from his father. If that is the case, can Langston just “drop it”? Or find some way to transcend it? Langston doesn’t offer any answer to Brass, so the audience doesn’t get to see what he’s thinking, but based on some of his inquiries and observations in the past, we can guess.

As ever, Hodges is a welcome source of comic relief. Langston notices Hodges is wearing no fewer than three lead aprons, and naturally asks the lab rat why he’s so suited up. Hodges sniffs that “despite [his] aversion to children,” he has to look out for his sperm count. Wallace Langham‘s persnickety lab tech can always be relied upon to add a little lightness to a show that otherwise tends towards the serious, especially in an episode featuring a double murder and the dogged pursuit of a terrifying serial killer.

Source: "Irradiator"

Kristine Huntley


Kristine Huntley

Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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