June 24 2024

CSI Files

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Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — ‘Maid Man’

9 min read

The former mayor of Las Vegas is shot at the opening of the Mob Museum, and the evidence points to a hitman who has been missing for decades.

Synopsis:

Catherine, Greg and DB join Ecklie at the opening of the Mob Museum. Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman gets up to speak and raises his glass to give a toast, but someone shoots him several times. He’s rushed to the hospital, but he will be just fine—he wore a bulletproof suit because he has earned more than a few enemies over the years. Ecklie deals with the press while the CSIs process the scene. They find the gun used to shoot Goodman, as well as evidence of a second shooter who aimed through a glass case filled with items belonging to Lou Gedda. They head out back to see if the shooters might have escaped this way, and they find the body of a dead security guard.

The security guard was killed with a .44, while the two guns used inside the museum were .38s—they’re looking for three shooters. The gun DB found traces back to Vinny Sapphire, a mobster who disappeared in the 1980s. Brass talks to Vinny’s wife, Joanna, who hasn’t heard from him in more than 20 years. A 1979 Cadillac Coup de Ville was seen circling the museum before the shooting, and the license plate ties back to Vinny. The person behind the wheel seems to be wearing Vinny’s signature suit and tie. It looks like Vinny is back.

DB figures out that the security guard was in on the shooting. He was the one who shot out the display case, and he used the chaos as a cover to steal something out of the case. He must have known the shooters, and he trusted them—unfortunately, that trust got him killed once he retrieved what they were after: Lou Gedda’s journal. The last two pages contain a list of names. It’s a hit list, and the last name on the list, Cesare Mastrontonio, belongs to someone who was never born. They locate Vinny’s Cadillac outside a motel, and they find Monique Roberts dead in the room. She was an old friend of Sam Braun, and it looks like she was the getaway driver who shot the security guard. There’s no sign of Gedda’s journal.

Cesare never lived, but they find a record of his death. DB and Greg head to a mausoleum and find Joanna breaking into Cesare’s tomb. She’s cursing her husband when they arrive and take her away. Vinny died from cancer five months ago. He ran off with Monique 20 years ago, and the woman contacted Joanna after his death. They got the journal so they could find Gedda’s hidden stash of money, but it was already gone from the mausoleum when she got there.

Meanwhile, Nick and Morgan head to the Eclipse hotel, where a housekeeper named Maria has been stabbed in the eye with a swizzle stick. The hotel room is registered to a foreign prince, Jalal Najib. Morgan speaks to another housekeeper, Paulette, who says she couldn’t hear any struggle because of the loud party taking place the night before. She saw Maria go into the suite during the party. The prince stays at the hotel a lot, and he always asks for Maria. However, Paulette doesn’t know if the prince ever made inappropriate demands of her.

Nick finds a hidden camera, which is transmitting a remote signal. Fingerprints from the camera lead back to Matthew Lapaz, a former valet at the hotel with priors for drug possession. Nick checks Lapaz’s computer for footage and discovers that the camera was pointed toward a safe. A woman’s hand can be seen switching out the prince’s expensive watch for a counterfeit.

Maria had brand new towels on her cart for the prince’s room, but the towels in the room have been washed. They realize Paulette was involved. It was her hand Nick saw in the footage stealing from the prince. Maria had nothing to do with the theft. She caught Paulette and threatened to go to the head of housekeeping, so Paulette killed her.


Analysis:

“Maid Man” features a guest appearance from former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman, who plays himself in the episode. He becomes the target of a shooting at the opening for the Mob Museum (aka the National Museum of Organized Crime & Law Enforcement), which is a real attraction that will open in Las Vegas in February. The museum isn’t finished yet, so CSI was given the architectural plans so they could create a replica to be featured in the episode. It’s a fun idea, and it’s the sort of story that could only happen in Vegas. As a bonus, the episode brings Greg to the forefront and makes use of his knowledge of Old Vegas, and the audience is reminded of Catherine’s late father, Sam Braun.

As the new man on the team, DB doesn’t know much about Sam, who was killed in the season seven episode “Built to Kill, Part 2”. He assumes Sam was a “goodfella”, and he thinks it’s a great story that Catherine became a CSI considering her father’s history. Catherine and Greg quickly correct his assumption. Sam was “connected”, but he wasn’t a mobster. Greg explains, “When a goodfella wanted to party, Sam was the go-to guy.” Sam would provide the women, supplies, favors and security, and in return, the mobsters hired Sam to run their casinos. Catherine adds that Sam and the other men featured in the museum were “no angels”, but family did come first for these guys. Greg interjects that Sam gave Catherine a casino, but she quickly changes the subject. Later in the episode, Catherine recognizes Monique as a friend of Sam’s from the old days.

Before bullets start flying at the museum opening, Greg points out the unusual appearance of three “mob widows” together at the event. Joanna Sapphire is in the company of two women who became widows thanks to her husband Vinny “Whackjob” Sapphire. Vinny was the hitman for Lou Gedda, whom fans will remember from season eight. The mobster was first encountered in “Cockroaches”, after a dead club owner and a mob hitman were tied to him and his stripclub—but the team couldn’t find the evidence to make an arrest. Warrick Brown went after Gedda and tried to bait the mobster, but Gedda was two steps ahead of him. After Warrick got drunk and slept with a stripper from Gedda’s club, he went to pick up his car and found the cops surrounding a crime scene—the woman was killed and left in his car to frame him. Warrick was cleared of the charges in “Lying Down With Dogs”, but he wouldn’t let the case go. Gedda was murdered in the season eight finale, “For Gedda”, and Warrick was framed. The team helped clear his name, but Warrick was convinced that someone high up in the police department was behind Gedda’s murder. Undersheriff McKeen asked Warrick if he was going to give up on the case, but Warrick swore he was going to get to the bottom of it. McKeen shot him and left him for dead, and the team captured the crooked undersheriff in the season nine premiere, “For Warrick”. Longtime fans will definitely make the connection between the Gedda exhibit in the Mob Museum and the late CSI, but I do wish one of the characters would have mentioned Warrick at some point during “Maid Man”.

DB seems particularly quirky this week. You never quite know what he’s going to do, but you can be sure it’ll be entertaining. There’s rarely a dull moment with DB in the lab, and I love it. Early in the episode, he puts himself in Goodman’s place and gets down on the ground as if he’s been shot. It’s a reminder of the premiere, when Nick first met DB after he saw the man lying down on the floor of the tram. Greg rolls his eyes at DB’s behavior, but the supervisor locates one of the missing bullets beneath the podium. Later in the lab, newcomer Xiomara Garcia comes into his office with the results of the ballistics tests, and she points out that DB likes a good story. She tells him the gun used to shoot the former mayor is tied to a series of unsolved murders from the 1980s. DB yells for Greg to come into the office, and Greg points out the connection between these unsolved cases and Vinny Sapphire’s old employer, Lou Gedda. Vinny killed them all, but he hasn’t been seen for 20 years.

Later in the episode, DB figures out that the security guard was involved in the shooting, and he confirms his theory by telling Greg to shoot him in the face—with a finger gun, of course, not the real thing. He startles Greg by pretending to shoot him several times, and he leaves before he explains to Greg how this demonstration proves anything. Greg is forced to deal with DB’s quirkiness yet again when the supervisor suggests that they look for a death certificate for the nonexistent Cesare Mastrontonio, and the search leads them to a mausoleum. DB buys flowers in the crematory flower shop, and he tells Greg they’re for his wife. When they hear Joanna causing a ruckus up ahead, DB passes the flowers over to Greg, who quickly discards them. As DB leads Joanna away, Greg has to retrieve the woman’s glittery purse. I should probably feel bad for Greg having to put up with so much from DB this week, but I really enjoy the interaction between them.

At the end of the hour, DB fills Ecklie and Sheriff Liston in on Joanna and Monique’s plot. The three of them seem amused by the whole thing, but they’re surprised to see Oscar Goodman walk by them on the way into the interrogation room. He’s going to represent Joanna despite the fact that she tried to kill him. After he walks away, Ecklie says he wants Goodman to represent him if he ever gets in trouble—DB, meanwhile, would like to have the man’s bulletproof suit if he ever finds himself in trouble. Goodman is a nice addition to the episode. He has a real history with the city of Las Vegas, of course, but overall his scenes are simply fun to watch.

Morgan works the B-case with Nick. She is disgusted when she learns that the prince may have made sexual advances toward Maria, although she has no proof that he did. When she heads into the interrogation room with Brass and the prince, she overhears his dismissive comments about the “hired help”. She takes an aggressive stance when she approaches him, and he wonders aloud whether he saw her at the Marquis Day Club—topless. She doesn’t respond to the comment, instead demanding that he remove his watch and jewelry. He asks Brass if there’s a male assistant who can take her place, and she suggests he could pay her a thousand bucks afterward. He hands over his jewelry, and she tells him to open his mouth so she can collect a DNA sample. He looks at Brass, who just stares right back, and he finally opens his mouth so she can swab his cheek.

I like Morgan, and I can identify with her knee-jerk reaction to the prince’s behavior. He definitely seems like a real piece of work when we first see him. However, Nick is right to try to rein her in. He offers some alternative theories when Morgan seems hung up on the prince, and she eventually accepts that he’s not the person they’re looking for. Being unlikeable doesn’t make someone a criminal, and as we see with the prince, that isn’t necessarily all there is to that person. After all, the first time we see him, he’s being interrogated by the police, and Morgan has an attitude toward him from the start. Besides, the guy is a wealthy prince, and he’s clearly used to a certain type of treatment—it’s understandable, albeit annoying.

Morgan warms up to the prince a bit during the course of the episode, once it becomes clear that her first impression of him doesn’t tell the whole story. When Jalal realizes why Maria was killed, he gives Morgan an envelope for Maria’s husband, who is left to take care of their four children on his own. The envelope contains a check for $100,000. Considering that he isn’t guilty of anything other than being rich and privileged, it’s a kind gesture. It won’t bring Maria back, but it might help her family cope with the practical needs the family is left with in the wake of her loss. Life must go on.


See also: “Maid Man” episode guide

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