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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'A Bullet Runs Through It, Part One'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 14, 2005 - 9:43 PM GMT

See Also: 'A Bullet Runs Through It, Part One' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Sofia Curtis and Jim Brass are in the middle of a car chase with several other police cruisers. The car carrying the four suspects they're pursuing is weaving wildly through a poorer section of Las Vegas. The suspects are firing at the cop cars with automatic weapons, until their car overturns. The police cars stop, but the suspects jump out of the cars and continue to fire at the officers. Sergeants Adams and Carroll and Officers Bell and Davis, the original pursuing officers, return fire along with Sofia and Brass until Bell is shot in the neck. The suspects use the opportunity to flee; Carroll and Davis pursue, with Sofia and Brass behind them. Sofia shoots one of the suspects in the leg and after securing him runs to find Officer Davis out of ammunition and facing a suspect aiming a gun at him. Sofia shoots him. Davis, nervous, touches the suspect's gun after he goes down. Brass catches up to Officer Carroll, and sees him facing off with another suspect, who has a lowered weapon. When the suspect makes a move, Carroll fires three shots into his chest, killin him. When the CSIs arrive on the scene, three of the suspects are dead, with one on the run. Bell is DOA.

The CSIs find a gravely wounded teenager who has been shot in the back. His bike is missing; the fourth suspect stole it to escape the scene. Grissom splits the team up to go over the very large crime scene. Members of the largely Hispanic neighborhood are already gathering to watch the proceedings. Grissom bags the gun the suspect Carroll and Brass pursued was carrying and observes a woman and man watching from a nearby window. Back at the station, the under-sheriff tells Brass he did a good job, but Brass is not consoled. He sits with Sofia before being called in by Detective Nestor Ortega, who sits with Catherine to take Brass's statement. Brass tells them he and Sofia had closed a case and were stopping for a bite to eat when they observed the suspects' car followed by the police cars race by and they jumped in their car, intent on helping the officers. Brass can't recall seeing the specific shot that hit Bell. Brass ran after Carroll, but his age slowed him down, and Carroll fired on the suspect when he got to the alley.

The residents of the neighborhood crowd around the crime scene just past the tape, angry and upset about the carnage in their neighborhood. Nick questions several people, but no one saw anything. In the ally where Carroll shot the suspect, Grissom finds three cartridges--all from the cops. The suspect's gun was empty--why didn't he drop it to avoid being fired upon? The CSIs continue to work the massive crime scene: Sara pulls bullets out of one woman's house, Bobby Dawson and Hodges go over one of the suspect's guns and Nick processes their car for prints. The heat is turned up on the entire department when Danilo Zamesca, the father of Geraldo, the teen boy who was shot by the fourth suspect and is now in the hospital with his future uncertain, speaks out angrily to the press. Danilo blames the police for the shootout and for Geraldo getting caught in the crossfire so to speak. Warrick runs into trouble at the crime scene when a woman crosses the line and he sends her back, only to have a man who is with her assault him before being pulled back by several police officers. Tensions are high.

Ortega, with Catherine next to him, questions Sofia. Sofia recalls she and Brass were behind Officer Bell, and also remembers that he took a shot to the torso which was caught by his vest. After Adams told her he would handle Bell, Sofia took off in pursuit of the suspects. She tells Ortega she fired on one of the suspects when she came upon him pointing his gun at Officer Davis. Davis touched the suspect's gun after the shooting, but Sofia says he was acting on survival instinct. The situation continues to get worse when the family of one of the suspects decides to sue the department for wrongful death. Detective Cavaliere has managed to identify the fourth suspect: Jose Fausto. Catherine goes over the 911 calls and finds the one that came in when the whole chase began: the officers were pulling over a Buick when the suspects' car cut in and they switched pursuits. None of the officers knows what became of the Buick. Grissom tracks Greg down along the path of the car chase and finds a hubcap from a Buick in good condition.

Nick is going over the gun from Rosario, the suspect Sofia and Davis pursued and he discovers a bullet was shot into the gun, rendering it useless. Warrick goes over the gun to prove that Rosario was holding the gun during the shootout and that one of the officers must have fired a round directly into his gun. Catherine pulls the bullet out of Bell's vest, but Robbins has some truly disturbing news for Grissom at the post op: the shot that killed Bell went through his neck from the left to the right meaning it came from the directions the other officers were firing from. Bell was killed by friendly fire. Warrick, Cavaliere and Vartann trace Jose to a hotel and arrest him, but as they're leading him out, a shot rings out, hitting Jose right in the chest, killing him. The CSIs and cops look around but no one can tell where the shot came from.

Analysis:

The opening sequence of this episode is a mess, and I mean that in a good way. The opening scene is frenetic, full of tension and confusion. The grey cast to the scene lacks the usual luster of the glitzy hotels of Las Vegas or the green and blue sheen of the labs. Bullets fly everywhere, and the scene is exhausting to watch. Looking back at it from the end of the episode, it's easy to see how in the confusion no one would have known exactly where the bullet that hit Bell came from, and sadly, it's also easy to see how in the confusion, one of the other officers could have shot him.

Was it Sofia? Certainly given the locations of each of the officers, she's the most likely candidate. Louise Lombard gives Sofia a weary, shell-shocked demeanor throughout the episode. She and Paul Guilfoyle mirror each other's bewildered shock in matching interrogation scenes. When they meet briefly in Brass's office, few words pass between them, but their expressions show that neither has quite digested what's happened.

They don't really have a chance before they're whisked off to an intense interrogation with the steely Detective Ortega, played with a fantastic cool by Nestor Serrano, who portrayed one of 24's most compelling villains last season. First James Badge Dale on Miami and New York and now Serrano: this is clearly the week for former 24 actors. Serrano strikes just the right balance as an IAB officer: he's neither too judgmental nor too soft. He simply asks questions and hears Sofia and Brass out.

The CSIs fade into the background in this episode somewhat, understandably. Brass and Sofia are front and center, and their fellow detectives Cavaliere and Vartann seem highly energized. But the CSIs have to focus on the evidence, and the whole team is spread out canvassing the neighborhood and going over the plethora of evidence. Greg is saddled with the most daunting task: going over the entire twenty block length leading up to the place where the car flipped over. When Grissom checks on him halfway through the episode, poor Greg is only at block ten. Greg's complaints about the enormity of the task give the viewer a real look at some of the tediousness that goes along with the job, something rarely glimpsed during the show's usual (and necessary) fast pace.

I'm a little skeptical about the shooting of Jose. Unless it was a cop angry about Bell's death, why would the shooter take out Jose in front of a bunch of cops? If he/she knew where Jose was, why not shoot him before the cops came, and if not, how would the killer just happen to know when and where the cops were going to arrest him? I think the killer is Adams, who would have access to the arrest information (I'm sure he either heard about it around the station or that one of his cop buddies would have told him) and would have motive as well, since he likely isn't privy to the information that Bell was killed by friendly fire. And even if he did know, he'd probably still blame Jose.

I'm extremely curious to see which officer will turn out to be Bell's inadvertent killer. Or will it turn out that there was some mysterious fifth shooter behind the cops' location? Either way, the mere possibility is going to take its toll of Sofia. CSI: NY tackled a similar storyline last season in "On the Job" when CSI Danny Messer pursued a suspect and got exchanged fire with him in a subway station, leaving an undercover officer dead. Danny fell apart under the combined pressure of department scrutiny and his own certainty about what happened, which didn't line up with the evidence. The scene in the subway station in that episode is very much like the opening scene of this episode: confusing, fast and unsettling. Both episodes put the audience right in the scene with the officers, and both highlight just how confusing and scary it is to be in the middle of a gun battle.

Two part episodes are tricky because the second half has to build upon and offer a satisfying conclusion to the first entry. "Manhattan Manhunt" was able to do it, but "Felony Flight" wasn't the strongest episode. I suspect the two parts of "A Bullet Runs Through It" will feel much more like one cohesive episode, more like "Grave Danger" would feel like if it were split into two episodes rather than a pair of crossover episodes. The first half is solid--let's hope the second half delivers.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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