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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Bodies In Motion'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at September 27, 2005 - 8:30 PM GMT

See Also: 'Bodies In Motion' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The reunited CSI team arrives at the scene of an explosion in a trailer park. Two people, the owner of the exploded trailer, Selena March and an unidentifed male were killed in the blast. The neighbors gather to watch the commotion but only one, Randy, admits to hearing the explosion, but he tells them he waited five minutes before going to investigate. One of the neighbors points out a nearby car and tells the CSIs it's not Selena's.

The CSIs reunion is short-lived when another case is called in. Catherine takes Warrick to the scene, where they are greeted by a shame-faced Officer Michaels, the cop at the scene when Nick was abducted in "Grave Danger". He shows them to the body of a woman in a bikini who was killed by a blow to the head outside a mini mart. As they examine the body, Catherine notices Warrick is wearing a wedding ring. She asks him about it, and he tells her he got married the day before to Tina, the woman he's been seeing for a while. While Catherine, shocked, absorbs the information, David Phillips tells the CSIs that the woman has been dead for no more than four hours.

Back at the trailer park, Nick tells Grissom he hasn't found any drug paraphenalia, ruling out the theory that the trailer was a Crystal Meth lab. Grissom puzzles over the explosion, which appears to have started in the trailer and then set off the gas main outside. The insurance information in the car by the trailer identifies its owner as Robert Durgee, and the CSIs set off to notify his wife. Back at the lab, the receptionist hands Grissom the recorder from the coffin in which Nick was buried in "Grave Danger," informing him that it was sent over from the nursery where the coffin was found. Grissom takes it and joins Nick and Dr. Robbins in the lab, where the doctor tells them Selena was killed by smoke inhalation but that Robert was killed by a crushing blow to the chest. The CSIs use photo-enhancing techniques to reveal bruises under the skin in the form of tire tracks. Nick puts the treads in the database to narrow down the kind of tires that could have made them.

Brass questions Amber Durgee, who claims she was at midnight bingo when Robert was killed. Brass presses her about her alibi and she admits the man she was with is married. She claims her brother borrowed her truck and she can't contact him. Brass theorizes that she may have discovered Robert's tryst with Selena and rammed her car into the trailer in revenge. Elsewhere in the lab, Sofia Curtis, now a detective after quitting CSI earlier, has returned to work with the CSI team and greets Grissom. He's happy to see her.

In the autopsy theater, Catherine pulls a fleck of what appears to be rust from the head wound of the female victim. Warrick tells Catherine that he showed her picture around strip clubs in the area and no one remembers her working. Catherine says the woman's blood alcohol level was elevated. She was wearing Streets and Sanitation issued boots with the initials EV, which the CSIs trace to Eddie Vonner. Catherine and Detective Vartann question Eddie, who claims the woman came to him barefoot and he gave her his boots and then a lift to the intersection of Industrial and Western, near to where her body was found.

At the scene, Nick and Sara go over the trailer. Nick finds a piece of the exterior wall with a tire tread on it. He also notices blue paint on it and recalls Amber Durgee drives a blue car. Sara wonders if the car was airborne when it hit the trailer, having been propelled upwards by the gas main. Sara leaves Nick to go grab lunch and Nick works on evidence, freezing momentarily when he notices a bug crawling up his arm, causing him to recall the traumatic incidents of a few weeks before.

Warrick and Vartann canvas the area where the woman was found, working out that she probably used a phone after being dropped off. They decide to print the phones and collect the traffic camera footage as well. Back at the lab, Hodges tells the CSIs that the blue paint isn't consistent with Amber's car, meaning that her car couldn't have been the one that hit the trailer. Grissom returns to the scene and find part of a headlight. He concludes that Sara's theory that car hit the trailer from the air is most likely correct.

The headlight comes from a Pontiac, and the CSIs think they have a major lead when they learn of an abandoned blue Pontiac Sunfire has been discovered. Nick, Sara and Sofia go to its location, but when they discover two rotting bodies in the trunk that have clearly been there for more than a few days, they realize the Pontiac couldn't have been at the trailer, and instead they have a new case on their hands.

Archie is analyzing the tape from Nick's coffin but shuts it off when Warrick enters the lab to look at the traffic camera footage. Archie shows the woman arguing with a hooker while she uses the payphone and then he rewinds the footage to show her being thrown out of a fancy limo. An interview with Marcus, the limo driver, reveals that he was giving some corporate bigwigs a 'champagne ride'--a mini strip show inside a limo. Warrick examines the limo and finds the woman's cell phone and is able to identify her as Brooke Harris. Marcus admits he ejected Brooke from the limo after she refused to have sex with one of the men riding in the car. But what was Brooke, a housewife from the suburbs, doing in the car in the first place? Catherine and Vartann visit Giselle, whom Brooke called several times the evening of her murder, at the studio where she teaches stripping lessons. Giselle tells them that Brooke was one of her students and that she wanted to try out her stripping skills for an audience. Catherine suspects Giselle was jealous and hoping to hear that Brooke was humiliated.

Back at the trailer park, Grissom has discovered that Randy Swansiger, the man who claimed to have heard the explosion, has a blue Pontiac Sunfire. An examination of the car reveals that it was recently in an accident. Grisson queries Randy about his DWI convictions and Randy admits he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed his car into Selena's trailer. Case closed. Back at the lab, Sara and Greg turn their attention to extracting the bodies from the Pontiac they discovered. They drain the liquid surrounding the bodies and print the car. Sara finds thirty-four prints in the car, as well as a box of torn up Gooey Buns. Greg finds a bullet fragment.

Hodges informs Catherine and Warrick that the substance in their victim's head wound was in fact rust. Catherine starts to wonder where Brooke's car was parked, but Warrick interrupts her to talk about his marriage. He tells her seeing what happened to Nick made him realize life is short, so he asked his current girlfriend to take the plunge with him. When Catherine says she's happy for him, he questions her, and she admits that losing the possibility of a fantasy can be disheartening.

Bobby Dawson informs Greg that the bullet fragment in their case is a .44, one that is similar to another double homicide that occurred five days before. Sara gives Sofia the prints to run, and Dr. Robbins examines the bodies and tells Sara and Greg that one was a white male in his twenties, while the other is that of a female African American teen. Though they don't find any missing persons report for any white men in their twenties from the last two weeks, they get a lead with a sixteen-year-old girl named Clara James, who could be their victim. Clara's father brings a bunch of personal items to Sofia and tells her that Clara may have been seeing an older man, though he didn't know about it. Clara worked at Gooey Buns, which explains the box in her car, but the girl didn't like them. Sara looks at the buns and realizes they've been torn up, not chewed on. Sara discovers an intact bun and opens it up to find a suspicious substance in it: cocaine.

Catherine and Warrick realize that Brooke probably put her car in a lot and was trying to retrieve it, but because she looked like a prostitute, the attendant wouldn't give her the car unless she paid first. Back at the scene, Warrick finds a bloody pipe at the scene and notes that Officer Michael missed it the first time around. Catherine discovers a homeless man by the side of the mini mart. Brooke had reached into his hat to get money to pay the parking costs and he'd struck her on the head with the pipe, killing her.

One of the prints found on the Pontiac in Sara and Greg's case matches Joey Zack, who has priors for drug trafficking. His print is found on the radio, which is tuned to a small station that only gets good reception in one area: at the drive in movie theater. Traces of candy in the car also suggest the victims were at the theater the night they were murdered. A trip to the Moonlight Drive In reveals that one Darryl Blakely, a former client of Joey Zack's, used to work for the theater until last week. Sara and Greg confer with Grissom and Sofia, positing that Darryl came across Joey's car, got in and ripped apart the Gooey Buns looking for cocaine, and then forced Joey and Clara to drive off somewhere where he killed them before going on to commit the other double homicide. Darryl remains at large, and the CSIs don't have much to offer Clara's father.

Nick is taking Warrick out to the Peppermill to celebrate his marriage, but Catherine opts out, claiming she's headed home to be with her daughter. Grissom joins Archie in the AV lab and listens to the tape. He hears a voice saying "perfect" after Walker's eerie message to Nick, and Grissom is unable to tell if the voice belongs to a man or a woman. But he knows now that Walter Gordon was not working alone.

Analysis:

CSI's sixth season gets off to a puzzling lackluster start with this episode. The team is brought back together with only one little mention--Catherine's quip to Grissom about being separated on her own case so soon--for not one, not two but three rather underwhelming cases. Last year, "Viva Las Vegas" offered four cases but it did so with a zesty energy that illustrated, through the eyes of a new lab tech, how much this group has to contend with. The resolutions of those cases were satisfying.

The same can't really be said here. The randomness of each of the three cases is clearly being played for effect--a man hits a trailer while passed out behind the wheel, a woman steals from a homeless man and gets beaten to death, a former addict stumbles across his old dealer and kills both him and the girl he's with. Three examples of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, of the cruel whimsy of chance. They're all interesting in their own right, except that by the third case--when the CSIs simply discuss what must have happened, without even having caught the suspect!--the whole thing feels more than a little anti-climactic. This could have been lessened by sticking the discussion of the third case in before Catherine and Warrick solve their case. At the very least, couching the discussion between the two cases in which the hapless perpetrators were apprehended would have made the discussion-as-resolution feel slightly less unsatisfactory. I understand the purpose of it--not all criminals are apprehended, even when the officials know who is responsible for a crime--but that doesn't always make for exciting TV.

No explanation is given for Catherine stepping down as swing shift supervisor. I assume that she felt it was conflicting with her parenting--"Weeping Willows" sort of hinted at it, though that episode implied that it was also her attempt to have a social life that interfered with her time with Lindsay. An explanation would be nice since Catherine returning to Grissom's team is a demotion of sorts, but hopefully we'll have one in the next few episodes. Grissom's request in the finale was a problem for Catherine, or could have been--he asked for his guys back, but did that include Catherine, or was he just talking about Warrick and Nick? And what if he has gotten them back, leaving Catherine with a new staff (and perhaps a lot of resentment). It's a conflict it seems the writers have chosen not to play up, for better or worse.

One conflict that gets explored in surprising depth is Catherine and Warrick's on-going attraction to each other, which is seriously complicated by Warrick's marriage. The marriage comes out of left field, not just for the audience, but for Catherine as well, and though she shies away from discussing it at first, when Warrick presses her, she's refreshingly direct about it. Her explanation about how it feels to lose a fantasy rings completely true, and gives just the right amount of weight to the flirtation between the two. Her decision not to join Nick and Warrick to celebrate Warrick's wedding suggests that it might take Catherine a little while to work through her feelings for Warrick.

The after-effects of Nick's abduction in "Grave Danger" are still being felt by the entire team. Warrick's shotgun wedding shows he's still mulling over how close he came to being in that coffin rather than Nick, and his words from last season about how he wouldn't have lasted as long are still fresh in the viewer's memory. Nick pauses after Sara leaves him alone at the crime scene and freezes when he sees a cockroach crawling up his arm, clearly bringing back memories of the fire ants from the coffin. Officer Michael is back and as incompetent as ever. And Grissom hasn't dropped the case--he's analyzing the tape from Nick's coffin, and now that he believes there is an accomplice, Grissom is in his element, pursuing the evidence in a case he clearly doesn't feel resolved.

The newly-sympathetic Ecklie is nowhere to be found, but Sofia Curtis is back in her new role as a detective, and it suits her. Whether she was shimmying out of an evening gown into a CSI jumpsuit or chasing after a suspect with a gun, Sofia always seemed somewhat out of place as a CSI. She has piercing insight into human nature--not just of suspects, but also of those around her. Last season, she noticed Greg's glumness right away and cautions him not to lose his sense of humor, and when Ecklie demoted her she knew the reason behind it right away. She has a strength and confidence that feels more fully formed as a detective, and it's good to see her back.

Though the episode itself is unremarkable, "Bodies in Motion" promises the start of an interesting year, for it is the familiar CSIs that we've come to know over the past five years who are in motion--Warrick with his new marriage, Sara with her confessions to Grissom from last year, Greg with his new role as a CSI, Nick as he grapples with the aftermath of his abduction, Catherine as she figures out how the pieces of her life fit together and Grissom as he realizes just how much his team means to him. It promises to be a rewarding year.

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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