The twelfth season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation draws to a close as a villain from the CSIs’ past causes fresh trouble for the Las Vegas Police Department.
A triple homicide takes place just down the alley from a campaign dinner in honor of the sheriff. The victims are a drug dealer and his bodyguard, and the third person found dead in the motel room is Veronica Gilmore, the wife of Sheriff Liston’s friend Jack Gilmore. Gilmore had time to head to the motel to commit the murders during Liston’s speech at the dinner, and Nick and Finn locate a duffel bag with bloody warm-up clothes and the handle of a hockey stick. The stick was used to kill Veronica, and the items are all marked with the Las Vegas Silver Strikes logo—that’s Jack Gilmore’s hockey team.
It looks like Gilmore is guilty, but Finn makes a surprising discovery. He has ALS, and he has lost 40% of his upper body strength. He wasn’t capable of using the force necessary to create his wife’s horrific wounds. Someone is setting him up. The person even wore a neoprene suit underneath the warm-ups to preserve Gilmore’s DNA on the inside of the clothing.
Now that they know Gilmore didn’t kill his wife, they think the murder was motivated by drugs. They speak to Lieutenant Kimball, the man in charge of an undercover operation that was going after the drug dealer killed in the motel. He reveals that Veronica Gilmore was a confidential informant, and her death suggests that there’s a leak in the department. The team knows they’re looking for at least one dirty cop.
The gun that was used to kill the drug dealer and his bodyguard traces back to former Undersheriff Jeffrey McKeen, who was Kimball’s partner on the force a long time ago. Kimball helped frame Gilmore for his wife’s death, but he isn’t calling the shots. The team follows Kimball until he leads them to the man in charge of Gilmore’s finances, David Winnock. Winnock sees them and tries to make a run for it, but Ecklie and Nick corner him. He knows he’s doomed, so he aims his gun at the police. Ecklie has no choice but to take him out. A DNA test confirms that Winnock was McKeen’s biological son.
The team has no idea how far the corruption spreads, and Sheriff Liston holds a press conference. An investigation will be launched to clean up the department. No one will be above suspicion—not even the Sheriff herself.
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation ends season twelve with a case that has ties to the past. “Homecoming” starts at a campaign dinner for Sheriff Sherry Liston, who hopes to be re-elected for another term in office. Crime has gone down in the city over the past four years, and she wants to continue her successful run. Unfortunately, a triple homicide is happening at the other end of the alley, where a drug dealer and his bodyguard have been killed. The third victim is Veronica Gilmore, the wife of the Sheriff’s friend Jack Gilmore. It looks as if Jack’s past with the mob has reared its ugly head, but it’s all just a ruse. Gilmore is being set-up, and the crime ties back to former Undersheriff Jeffrey McKeen.
Conor O’Farrell was last seen in the season nine premiere, “For Warrick”, when he was arrested for killing Warrick Brown. Back then, it took all of Nick’s strength to refrain from hurting the man who took his friend’s life. Today, Nick has to face McKeen again when he is connected to their investigation. It’s a tense moment, when Nick and DB are sitting across from McKeen in the interrogation room, and it’s obvious that Nick is using every ounce of self-control to keep from lashing out at the man. McKeen is unrepentant, and he claims that killing Warrick has made him a hero in prison. Nick storms out, kicking his chair in anger, but he doesn’t lay a hand on McKeen. George Eads does a wonderful job in his scenes this week, giving an understated performance that shows just how much anger and pain is seething beneath the surface.
One of the major elements of “Homecoming” is the corruption within the police department. The team has no idea who might be involved, or how deep the corruption runs. It’s hard to know whom to trust, and the season ends with the CSIs—and the audience—wondering what will happen to the LVPD. It’s a tense feeling, especially when you don’t know what else these corrupt cops might be planning, but viewers will have to wait until the fall to see how it all turns out. CBS has already renewed the crime drama for a thirteenth season, which is a good thing since the episode ends with a series of cliffhangers that will have fans talking until September. The state of the LVPD and the instability of the entire department is one cliffhanger, for sure, but there are also several personal cliffhangers that will have viewers guessing until the season thirteen premiere airs later this year.
Nick’s interaction with McKeen this week leaves him questioning his future with the Las Vegas Crime Lab. He realizes that putting Warrick’s killer behind bars has not prevented the man from being able to continue his corrupt behavior, and he feels like their work is pointless. He paraphrases something Catherine said in the season premiere, “73 Seconds”: “If you can’t handle this job, there’s the door.” He’s starting to wonder if it’s worth being a CSI if they aren’t actually taking the bad guys out of the game. He walks away, but I have no doubt that he will be back in the fall. After all, it has already been announced that Eads will return for season thirteen, and I can’t see Nick staying away when the rest of the team needs him.
Nick’s future with the lab is a cliffhanger, but the fate of Conrad Ecklie is an even more pressing concern. We know that Eads will be back in the fall, but Marc Vann is a recurring cast member whose future with the show is not guaranteed. I would be incredibly disappointed to lose Ecklie—Vann is a very talented actor, and his character’s interaction with daughter Morgan Brody has been a real highlight of season twelve. Their relationship gets several moments of focus this week, including the very first scene of the episode. Morgan and David Hodges attend the campaign dinner with their single parents, meaning that Jaclyn Smith is back as Hodges’ mother Olivia. There are certainly sparks between Conrad and Olivia, but nothing concrete has developed between them. At the end of the hour, they make tentative plans to go on a date without their children present, and Hodges and Olivia get into their car and drive away.
Morgan suggests that she and her father go for a walk, and they reminisce about Morgan’s childhood and the tense relationship they’ve had for so many years. It’s obvious that they’re starting to reconnect now, but things end badly when a car drives up and aims a gun out the window. Ecklie throws himself in front of Morgan, and he is shot in the stomach before the car speeds away. It seems clear that McKeen is responsible, manipulating events from prison to go after the man who killed his son. With everything starting to mend between father and daughter, I hope we get to see him recover in the fall.
Family is definitely a theme this week. DB Russell’s wife is introduced, and fans get a glimpse of the strength of their marriage. Peri Gilpin is great as Barbara Russell, and she and Ted Danson have wonderful chemistry during their brief scenes. Barbara knows exactly what it means to be married to a dedicated investigator like DB, but it’s still sad to have to tell their granddaughter Kaitlyn that grandpa won’t be able to spend time with her because of work.
Kaitlyn’s mother Maya is the second of the Russells’ four children that we’ve seen so far. We got to see college freshman Charlie in “Brain Doe” and “Trends With Benefits” earlier this season. We don’t see much of Maya in the finale, but we can be sure she’ll be back in the season thirteen premiere. At the end of the hour, Barbara gets a phonecall and is visibly upset. They follow the instructions of the mysterious man on the phone, rushing upstairs to discover that Kaitlyn is missing. Barbara is distraught, but DB manages to focus despite his pain and anger. He instructs his wife not to touch anything, and I get the feeling these kidnappers have underestimated their adversary. DB Russell may be a laid back boss most of the time, but he’s not going to sit back and let someone hurt his family.
As if the state of the LVPD, Nick’s job, Ecklie’s life and Kaitlyn’s kidnapping aren’t enough cliffhangers for one season finale, Finn is at the center of one more. Viewers learn more about her past with DB Russell throughout the episode this week, finding out that she was asked to hand in her resignation after she illegally obtained a powerful man’s DNA in an attempt to prove that he was connected to a woman’s disappearance back in Seattle. The final scene in Russell’s office suggests that there may be more to the story, and she asks him not to tell her that “it was complicated.” He invites her over to spend time with his daughter and granddaughter, but she says she has plans and walks away. I’m curious to find out what else is going on—bringing in someone from DB’s past was an interesting choice, and there’s still so much to learn about the characters’ relationship.
Finn’s relationship with Detective Carlos Moreno has certainly progressed since they met in “Altered Stakes” last month. The pair is openly flirtatious, indicating that they have been intimate with each other. Moreno is involved this week because he was part of the undercover operation, and his partner, Michael Crenshaw, seems like a crooked cop. At the end of the episode, Finn is at a bar with Moreno, and she is still bothered by her interaction with DB. She doesn’t want to talk about it, though, and Moreno decides to leave. As soon as he’s gone, Crenshaw heads over to the table and starts hitting on Finn. He gets a phone call, but he pulls the phone out of Finn’s grasp when she tries to see who was calling him. She seems slightly suspicious, and she excuses herself to go to the bathroom. Once she’s gone, Crenshaw makes a call, telling the person on the other end that he’s “got eyes on the package.” The audience is left wondering what is going on with Finn, and if she might be in danger.
The fans certainly have a lot to talk about this summer! I hope we get the entire team back, safe and sound, when season thirteen gets underway. Nick is one of the original team members, and he belongs in the Crime Lab. Ecklie is an important recurring character, and his role in Morgan’s life is something that deserves to be explored further. Finn is a fascinating character, and she brings a different sort of energy to the team. DB is a great leader and a really fantastic family man, and I would hate to see anything happen to the people that he loves. It’s just too bad we have to wait several months to find out the resolution to these cliffhangers. Season twelve has been a fun ride, and it has proved that CSI is just as good today as it was when it debuted more than a decade ago. I can’t wait to see what the cast and crew have in store for season thirteen.
See also: “Homecoming” episode guide