A young tennis star is killed following a big match, and the CSIs are surprised to discover that Hodges is engaged.
Rising tennis star Claudia Weber gets killed after winning a big match against Tara Janssen. The team finds LSD in her bag, which leads back to Darcy Shaw. The drugs were part of a hypnotherapy treatment; Claudia was trying to recover memories suppressed since she was four years old, of being attacked on a camping trip. Her father says they never went on a camping trip, but those memories do explain what happened the night he found her on the side of the road in Mt Charleston. She had been hit over the head, but she had no memories of the attack or who she was. They only knew her name was Claudia because it was written on her jacket. He and his wife became her foster parents before adopting her. He doesn’t know who her biological parents were, or who “Brent” is. That’s the name Claudia was saying during her hypnosis treatment.
A stuffed bunny in Claudia’s gym bag matches the animal she was holding when she was taken to the hospital after she was found. She saw it for the first time in years, and it triggered her memories. They check the bunny for evidence, finding Claudia’s blood and sulfur. There are several sulfur springs in Mt Charleston, including one less than five miles from where she was rescued. There are two bodies buried in the woods, which belong to Claudia’s biological parents, Martin and Karen Abbot. Martin was a criminal, and he was abusive toward their son Brent. The boy’s mother never protected him, so he took advantage of their camping trip to hit both parents over the head with a shovel, killing them to bury their bodies in the woods. He hit Claudia too, but she was only injured.
The team gets a lead when they look at Marton Abbot’s aliases. One of them was Ernest Prestwich, which is the same name as the janitor who worked at the tennis center. Claudia started calling men named Brent Abbot around the country looking for her brother, and the man decided to come to the tennis match to tell her his side of the story. He didn’t mean to hurt Claudia when they were kids, and he didn’t kill her now. When he went to the court to talk to her, she was gone—but Tara Janssen was there. After the match, Tara told Claudia she was sleeping with her husband, and they’d been having an affair for a year. She was in love with Ivan, and he said he’d leave Claudia for her. Looking at them the night of the match, however, she knew it was never going to happen. Tara has anger issues, so she snapped and killed Claudia for taking everything away from her.
Meanwhile, it is revealed that Hodges got engaged while in Italy, but the USCIS suspects that it’s part of an immigration scam. The team is surprised to learn about the engagement, and Elisabetta is worried that Hodges is ashamed to tell his friends about her. Morgan wonders if Elisabetta is using Hodges, but she gives a character reference to support him because she wants him to be happy.
“Double Fault” makes use of Elisabeth Shue’s tennis skills, including a fun scene where Finn hits the court with 18-time Grand Slam champion and International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert. (Check out a behind the scenes video here.) It was Shue’s suggestion to feature tennis in an episode of CSI and invite famous tennis personalities on the show, so she was thrilled to get the chance to act alongside Evert. The tennis star might be playing herself, but it’s great that she seems natural delivering her scripted lines during the scene with Shue. The episode also features cameos from Olympic gold medalist Lindsay Davenport, who provides commentary on the fictional tennis match with Evert at the beginning of the episode; and tennis commentator Justin Gimelstob, who interviews Claudia and then gets splattered with blood when he finds her body in a ball machine. Like Evert, Davenport and Gimelstob acquit themselves well during their limited screentime. Celebrity cameos can be a fun treat for the audience, especially when the stars in question fit seamlessly into the episode.
The secondary storyline in “Double Fault” drops quite a bomb on the viewers—and the rest of the lab. Hodges got engaged during his trip to Italy, to a beautiful woman named Elisabetta. This is clearly what he meant when he told Morgan in “Homecoming” that his trip to Tuscany was “life changing.” Unfortunately for Hodges and Elisabetta, USCIS thinks this is a green card scam, and Morgan can’t help but wonder as well. After all, they got engaged very quickly, and Hodges didn’t tell them about his fiancée.
Morgan’s reaction is interesting. There have been hints of a possible attraction between her and Hodges, including a kiss in “Karma to Burn”, but other times they seem like nothing more than good friends. Personally, I prefer them as friends, so Hodges marrying a “firecracker” from Italy could be a lot of fun to watch. What’s not so fun, however, is the scene in the lab when Morgan indicates that she doesn’t trust Elisabetta and thinks she’s just using Hodges. Morgan doesn’t know the woman at all, and the only time she saw her, Elisabetta was mostly speaking in Italian—her doubts are not unreasonable, but it seems like she’s judging Elisabetta without giving her a chance, and she takes an accusatory tone with Hodges that clearly hurts his feelings. He’s following his heart, and he wants his friends to support him. In the end, Morgan does just that, and the pair of them share a slightly awkward hug.
I’m curious to see where the storyline goes, and if Elisabetta is genuine in her affections for Hodges, but in the meantime there’s a lot of entertainment value in this relationship. The scene where Elisabetta shows up in the lab is like something out of a soap opera. Elisabetta struggles a bit with her English, Hodges appears to struggle a bit with his Italian, but it’s obvious that they do care for each other despite the fact that this is the very first time the audience (and the other characters) have seen them together. I hope Elisabetta is the real deal, if only for the humor potential of seeing them together (and seeing the rest of the lab react to them together) in later episodes.
See also: “Double Fault” episode guide