Nate Haskell resurfaces, and the Las Vegas Crime Lab goes on the hunt for the elusive serial killer.
The team receives a video from the parents of Vivian Tinsdale, Nate Haskell’s fiancée. Vivian is tied up and bruised, and Haskell speaks directly to Langston while his face is hidden in shadow. He suggests that Langston is afraid to catch him because he sees himself in the serial killer. Vivian’s parents are hesitant to cooperate because their daughter has mental problems and only comes to them when she wants money—they don’t think the video is real, but they agree to work with the LVPD in case Haskell contacts them again. When they get a call from Haskell, Vivian’s father goes to a park at a specified time. A cellphone planted nearby rings, and Vivian’s father speaks to Haskell without letting the police hear the conversation. Langston recognizes another one of Haskell’s brides, Tina Vincent, standing nearby. Langston runs out and grabs her, but she simply laughs when he demands to know where Haskell is hiding.
The team is suspicious of Vivian’s father, and they get a search warrant to look through his home. When they check his computer, they find a video file sent from Haskell a week before the video they received. In this video, Haskell references ‘secrets’ that Vivian shared with him about her father, and Haskell blackmails the man for $2 million—that explains why he didn’t try very hard to find his daughter. The team is called back to the house after Tinsdale kills himself, and there’s a new video from Haskell on the computer. Haskell mentions a video of Tinsdale abusing his daughter, which he says he’s going to send to the LVPD. Tinsdale’s wife knew about the abuse, but she claims Vivian was the aggressor.
Meanwhile, the CSIs try to identify some remains found in a barn in Nessus, a rural area just outside of the city. There is a woman’s body, with the hands and head cut off, as well as a pair of male hands. The hands lead them back to a plastic surgeon named Dr Kole, and the team finds blood pools in his abandoned medical office. They believe the remains belong to Dr Kole and his nurse, Teagan Murphy. They were shot here and dismembered somewhere else. A bullet lodged in the wall matches the gun used during Haskell’s escape from prison, so they know at least one of Haskell’s brides is involved. A medical record is missing, and the team decides that it must belong to Haskell. They wonder if he was the patient being worked on when the doctor and nurse were killed, but it turns out the man on the table was someone else. Calvin Frost was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and he was taken.
The team goes back to the farm where the bodies were found, and the farmer, Arvin Thorpe, recognizes Tina as a cousin’s daughter. He says she’s been staying in a nearby house for a while, and Nick and Greg head over to the house to look for evidence. They find the electronic equipment used to make the videos sent to Tinsdale, and they hear cello music playing upstairs. They find several dead bodies and body parts in the bathroom, including Frost, Dr Kole, Nurse Teagan and Vivian’s head and hands—it was her body left in the barn.
The CSIs are surprised to discover that the videos were all filmed at the same time eight weeks ago, just one day after Haskell escaped from prison. As the pieces come together, the team realizes that this has all been made to look like Haskell is in Vegas when he is in fact long gone. Tina and Vivian killed the doctor and nurse, and they forced Frost to help them carry the bodies back to the farm. Frost was then killed, and Tina turned on Vivian and killed her as well. She dismembered the bodies and distributed the parts before heading off to Los Angeles to be with Haskell.
“Father of the Bride” brings the Nate Haskell storyline to the forefront as the team tries to track down the serial killer once and for all. Haskell was first introduced back in season nine as Gil Grissom was preparing to leave the Las Vegas Crime Lab. Haskell appeared in “19 Down” and “One to Go”, where he did a series of video conferences with Langston’s criminology class at West Las Vegas University. Grissom attended several of Langston’s classes when a current case revealed ties to Haskell’s crimes. Langston was drawn into the investigation, and he decided to become a CSI following Grissom’s departure. Haskell popped up again during the Dr Jekyll storyline last season, and he stabbed Langston at the end of “Meat Jekyll”. Haskell has been a background presence for much of CSI’s eleventh season, and he’s been looming over Langston’s head since his escape in “Targets of Obsession” following his trial for attempting to kill the CSI. Haskell sees a connection between himself and Langston, which is represented by the presence of the MAO-A “warrior gene” referenced during the trial. The men are presented as two very different individuals with certain common characteristics who have taken vastly different courses in their lives. Langston has been pulled into Haskell’s web, and Haskell enjoys taunting him. When Haskell resurfaces in “Father of the Bride”, his actions are ultimately centered around getting Langston’s attention.
Langston is, of course, going after Haskell with single-minded intensity. It’s personal for Langston, but I’m surprised they don’t pull him off the case as soon as he tackles Tina Vincent in the park and starts yelling in her face. They know she’s one of Haskell’s brides, but at this point they don’t know that she’s responsible for multiple homicides. Langston’s behavior crosses the line, yet he continues to work the case. Later on, he starts to charge out of the lab after the team discovers that Tinsdale was blackmailed into giving Haskell $2 million. Catherine stops him and points out that Haskell is trying to play a game with him. Langston seems eager to play along, but Catherine is able to rein him in—at least for now. It’s only a matter of time before Langston charges off in search of Haskell. As I said in my review for “Unleashed”, it seems pretty clear at this point that Langston will bring Haskell down; however, I’m curious to see just how far Langston will go before it’s all over.
Overall, the storyline this week seemed unnecessarily complicated. The team had no idea where Haskell was—why bother taking such elaborate steps to make the CSIs think he was still in Vegas? And why kill Dr Kole and Nurse Teagan? Haskell kept his face in the shadows during the videos, but I didn’t see anything different about his appearance at the end of the episode. If he didn’t get plastic surgery from Dr Kole, what is the connection? Was the file Tina stole really Haskell’s file? If so, I have no idea what sort of work was done on him. I’m curious to see if Dr Kole’s involvement with Haskell is revisited before the end of the season.
Haskell is making things even more personal for Langston, and we see the killer with Haskell’s ex-wife and her new husband at the end of the episode. This can’t end well for the couple, although I do hope they both come through it alive. Haskell is a cold-blooded killer, and Tina is no better, so I’m not too confident about that, but Haskell might just let them live if it fits into the cat-and-mouse game he’s playing with Langston. People close to Horatio Caine over on CSI: Miami have suffered just because they were connected to him—the death of his wife Marisol immediately comes to mind. Is Langston going to fall into the same string of bad luck? Gloria and her husband have been targeted because of their connection to Langston, but I hope that trend ends with this storyline. That sort of thing works better on Miami, which has a very different feel than CSI—I don’t think it would work for Langston to be similarly cursed. However, to be fair, this particular storyline has been percolating for a long time; Haskell’s vendetta against Langston isn’t automatically a sign of things to come.
“Father of the Bride” marks the all-too-brief return of Sofia Curtis, who was last seen in “Dead Doll” at the start of season eight. The character has been promoted to Deputy Chief, and it’s great to see her back in the lab after several years. Unfortunately, Sofia is only in a few scenes, and she doesn’t have a major role in the plot. In her recent interview with CSI Files, Louise Lombard said there are “no specific plans” to bring Sofia back again, but I have my fingers crossed that fans will get to see more of the new Deputy Chief during season twelve.
The episode ends with a “To be continued” message after Haskell and Tina set their sights on Langston’s ex-wife. The storyline is complex, and hopefully some of my lingering questions will be answered before the end of the next episode. There are only two more weeks until the eleventh season comes to a close, and it will be nice to see the team take Haskell down before the summer hiatus begins.
See also: “Father of the Bride” episode guide