Review: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation — ‘Passed Pawns’

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A man is found stabbed to death after winning $350,000 at a casino, and Morgan works with a dayshift CSI to solve the case.

Synopsis:

Jeremy Sikes pawned a ring and a watch for $200, taking the money to the Pike’s Gambling Hall. He won big, taking home $350,000 playing blackjack. He took his winnings in a briefcase and left the casino, but he’s found stabbed to death in an alley with the empty briefcase in a nearby dumpster. Morgan and dayshift CSI Sean Yaeger visit Ruby’s Silver State Pawn Shop and collect the pawned ring and watch, and they realize the watch belonged to Simon Holt. He was killed two months ago during a home invasion gone wrong, and his wife Kristi was the blackjack dealer when Sikes hit his winning streak. The team wonders if Kristi hired Sikes to kill her husband and worked with him to cheat the casino, but she was being interrogated by the pit boss, Bobby Esposito, at the time of the murder. The card machines prove there was no tampering involved.

Surveillance footage from the pawn shop shows another Pike’s employee, Alonso Pierce, pawning a speaker set the night of the murder, and the money Sikes won is stuffed inside. But Alonso doesn’t have blood on him from stabbing a man 12 times, so they know he isn’t the killer. Instead, he becomes another victim when he’s found dead in the trunk of his own car, with Bobby standing over him. Bobby couldn’t let anyone steal from the casino, and he doesn’t regret killing Alonso.

A closer look at Sikes’ wounds shows that he was shot twice, and the bullets were dug out of his back before he was stabbed to cover up the gunshots. This is similar to the death of an informant two years ago. The suspect back then was Louis Delgado, who had ties to the Mala Noche drug cartel. Delgado was shot during a home invasion a month ago, and he’s the owner of the ring Sikes pawned for money. Sikes was involved in a series of robberies, which were cover-ups for homicides. He was committing hits for the people he was robbing, and his payment was items that were not reported missing by the owners. Kristi hired the man to kill her husband, but she never met him and had no idea it was the same man in the casino. The broker who set up the hit was at Ruby’s pawn shop, and the team returns to find that the place has been shot up by Delgado’s men, killing one of Ruby’s sons. Ruby found drugs that Sikes stole from Delgado and sold them. She killed Sikes and tried to frame Delgado for the murder. Delgado’s men shot up the pawn shop and took Ruby’s other son, Zeke, because they wanted their drugs back. Brass confronts Delgado and gets him to give up Zeke’s location.


Analysis:

“Passed Pawns” introduces Sean Yaeger, the dayshift CSI played by Matt Davis. It’s the first episode of a recurring role, and I’m looking forward to his future appearances. In his first scene, Sean and Morgan butt heads when he arrives at the crime scene and tells her the graveshift ended two hours before, and the case belongs to the dayshift. Morgan isn’t impressed and refuses to leave, and Sean threatens to contact her supervisor—just as DB walks up. DB basically tells them to play nice, and the pair of them have no choice but to work together to solve the case. Despite the conflict between them, Morgan and Sean work well together, and it’s obvious that Sean is a competent CSI. By the end of the hour, he and Morgan have come to respect each other as colleagues, and it’ll be interesting to see if they work together again during Davis’s next episode. I wouldn’t mind seeing him interact with the rest of the team as well, but it’s fun to see these two work together as well-matched, talented young CSIs.

DB’s wife Barbara is back this week. Ted Danson and Peri Gilpin have a wonderful chemistry in their scenes, so I really enjoy seeing them play off each other. DB and Barbara clearly love each other very much, and their marriage has weathered a lot of stormy weather—even the closest couples have rough moments, and they face one this week. Barbara is worried about her husband, and she thinks his job is getting to him. He’s too busy to spend much time with her until the end of the hour, and he had no idea that their son Charlie (last seen in “Pick and Roll”) was offered the chance to play basketball for Eastern Indiana. If Charlie moves away for college, DB and Barbara have less of a reason to stay in Vegas. She’s ready to head back to Seattle and move into the house they used to dream of owning. It’s a sweet story that offers insight into their marriage, but DB is surprised to find out that she spoke to the owners about buying it. In the end, he promises to go with her to speak to the owners eventually, but not yet—he still has work to do in the Las Vegas Crime Lab. I love DB as the boss and the Team Dad, so I’m glad he won’t be leaving any time soon.

Brass has several interesting scenes this week. In the interrogation with Bobby Esposito, the man mentions Old Vegas and how things used to be in the past, including a reference to Sam Braun. The man doesn’t regret killing Alonso because he considered it a matter of honor, and he seems to think Brass knows where he’s coming from. Brass doesn’t go so far as to kill anyone, but he doesn’t hesitate to shoot one of Delgado’s men in the leg to get him to give up where they’re keeping Zeke. Pulling his gun out around a drug dealer is asking for trouble, and he has several weapons trained on him in the scene. Brass points out that “we all gotta die some time,” and whether or not they all make it home is Delgado’s call. In the end, his method is successful, and they save Zeke, but it seems like a reckless move. The events of “Skin in the Game” and “The Devil and DB Russell” aren’t mentioned this week, but it’s obvious that Brass’s personal life is having a profound effect on his behavior on the job.

The cast and crew filmed this episode, along with the next two, simultaneously—that sounds confusing and stressful for everyone involved! The result seems to be that different characters will get the majority of the focus in each episode, and “Passed Pawns” is heavy on Morgan and DB, with a side of Brass. Nick is still MIA due to George Eads’ leave of absence, but other characters have only a scene or two. I like the whole cast, so it’s disappointing not to see them much in a given episode, but I think this is a good opportunity as well. The relationship between DB and his wife, Morgan’s interaction with Sean, and Brass channeling Old Vegas are all interesting to watch, and I’m looking forward to what’s in store for the rest of the team when they move to the forefront during one of the next two episodes.


See also: “Passed Pawns” episode guide

Rachel Trongo

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Rachel Trongo

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