June 13 2024

CSI Files

An archive of CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds and crime drama news

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Daddy's Little Girl'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 23, 2006 - 5:35 PM GMT

See Also: 'Daddy's Little Girl' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Two women get read for bed after a night of partying and clubbing. When one of the women goes looking for a young man named Ahren, she's horrified to discover him dead in the garage of the house. Ahern Green bled to death after being stabbed in the pelvis. Bianca Desmond, the young woman he lives with, tells Brass that she and Ahren were going to move to Colorado together. The other woman, Chelsea Wannamaker, was just staying the night at their house. Bianca laments her bad luck with men, saying they either leave her or they get killed, drawing Brass's attention. Catherine and Nick are called to a crime scene in a parking garage--Sylvia Mullins, an accoutant, has been struck and killed with her own car. Catherine notices someone popped the ignition and wonders if Sylvia's murder was the result of a carjacking gone wrong.

At Bianca's house, Greg finds bleach from Bianca's cleaning all over the bedroom leading Sara to wonder if she's a meth user. Greg also finds blood drops on the floor. Chelsea admits to Brass that they used cocaine while out clubbing. In the garage, Warrick discovers a bullet hole in a can of soda and retrieves the bullet. Back at the lab, Archie studies the video camera footage from the parking garage where Sylvia was killed but notices that the camera was turned so it would be out of focus an hour before the murder. In the morgue, Dr. Robbins shows Grissom the triangular shape of the wound that killed Ahren. Bobby tells Warrick that there's not enough distinction on the bullet to run it through IBIS, and Hodges has found no GSR on the victim's hands, so he turns to the metallic trace from the floor of the garage. Nick pulls the tape of Sylvia's sessions with her clients and surprised to discover Kelly Gordon paid Sylvia a visit that day. He calls Kelly's parole officer to track her down.

Wendy Simms in the DNA lab gets a hit on the blood drops from Bianca's house--they match a man named Justin Cole. Justin tells the CSIs he used to date Bianca, but that he got shot in the house and told to stay away from her and left after that. The bullet is still in his leg and the CSIs get it extracted to examine it. Warrick and Grissom go over possible weapons in Ahren's murder and discover a screwdriver with prints on it. The prints match a man named Tom Harper who works for the cable company. He says he was at Bianca's house installing DSL and must have left his screwdriver behind. Brass asks him for a copy of the work order to back up his story. Hodges tells the CSIs that the metallic scraping from the floor are titanium, and they don't match Tom Harper's tools. Wendy has some surprising news for Warrick: Ahern was having sex with both Chelsea and Bianca, who are in fact mother and daughter. Brass turns to Harry Desmond, Bianca's father, who denies that he'd have any motive to kill Ahern--as he notes, another guy would come along soon after. He seems surprised to learn his wife was sleeping with Ahren as well.

Nick has Kelly Gordon, who was on her way out of town, brought in for questioning. She says she was seeing Sylvia about her father's estate and denies any desire to kill the woman, who she says was helping her. Nick checks her hands for airbag dust, but they turn up negative. Catherine hasn't found any prints on the security camera, either. Catherine has found evidence that Sylvia did business with banks in the Cayman Islands, suggesting she may have been helping her clients take money out of the country. Nick goes back to his own case to see if he can learn more in comparison, and is surprised to discover another voice on the tape Walter Gordon, Kelly's father, sent to CSI after he buried Nick alive. Nick asks Archie to compare the voice on that tape to Kelly's on Sylvia's.

Warrick is surprised to discover Chelsea had a gun, a .22, and when he asks her about it, she tells him it was stolen out of her purse. She admits to sleeping with Ahren but says it was a one time mistake when she was on ecstasy. She says Bianca and Ahren worked it out. Sara and Warrick go to talk to Bianca again and are shocked when they discover her badly beaten at her house. Sara questions her in the hospital, but Bianca refuses to reveal the name of her attacker. Sara has to settle for the nurse's glove. Back at the labs, Grissom asks Nick how he's doing with Kelly's possible involvement in the case, and Nick tells him Sylvia Mullins was the other voice on Walter Gordon's tape--she was his accomplice. With both Walter and Sylvia dead, the case is officially closed. Elsewhere in the lab, Warrick studies the trace from Bianca's neck--it's a substance commonly found on railroad tracks or telephone polls. Warrick also notices the date on Tom's work order is December 18th, a Sunday, increasing his suspicions. Sara finds two different inks on the order, proving Tom forged the date. The CSIs pull Bianca's phone records and see calls to Tom around the end of her relationship with Justin and just recently, before Ahren's death. Brass and Sara pick up Tom and discover a tap on Bianca's phone--Tom was listening in when Harry called Bianca asking to talk about her proposed move to Colorado. But it wasn't Bianca Tom was talking to--it was Chelsea. Chelsea used Tom's fixation on Bianca to get rid of the men in her life--Justin who she claims was after Bianca's money and Ahren, whom Chelsea herself was attracted to.

Catherine cracks Sylvia's murder case when Archie gets a picture of the hand that turned the camera out of focus--the flower tattoo Kelly's cellmate tattooed on her palm is clearly visible. Sofia and Nick go to arrest Kelly, who calmly tells them that Sylvia told her that her father didn't leave her anything. She didn't believe Walter would leave her bereft, so she killed her. As soon as she finishes telling Nick what she's done, she begins to convulse--she's overdosed on purpose. The drugs in her system quickly finish her off, though Sofia tries to revive her.

Analysis:

I've noticed the CSI shows tend to bury a character's personal story as the B-story in an episode, and I have mixed feelings about that. On one hand, it reinforces the franchise's focus on forensics and science, but it can be frustrating for the viewer, who would rather see more of the personal story than the routine case in the A-story. The character-driven B-story usually carries more emotional impact and thus it's frustrating that less time is devoted to it in the episode than the other case.

In this case, viewers are by far more drawn in by the revelation of Walter Gordon's accomplice and Kelly Gordon's involvement in a murder and the effect this has on Nick Stokes than they are by the weird mother-daughter love triangle. It's the kind of freaky premise CSI cases are often based on, and once again drives home that people are capable of really sick, twisted things, but it lacks the emotional impact of the continuation of the arc begun in "Grave Danger".

That said, the case is interesting and shocking in its own right, especially the revelation that Chelsea is Bianca's mother. The knowledge gives the viewer a new perspective on the opening scene, which viewers are likely supposed to interpret as indicative of a sexual relationship between the two women. It's yet another example of things not being what they first appear on CSI. Mitch Pileggi, best known as Skinner from The X-Files gives a great performance as Harry Desmond, who between his wife and his daughter, looks pretty beaten down. Harry is in serious denial, and Pileggi effectively conveys how much he wants to believe that if he pretends life is normal and good, it will be.

But it is the B-story that grabs longtime fans. Kelly Gordon's confession and then sudden death from an overdose are more than a little conveniently timed. The final scene feels rushed--Kelly tells Nick why she killed Sofia and then immediately goes into convulsions and is dead in less than sixty seconds. Though I absolutely believe that Kelly would rather be dead than back in jail, the rushed scene gives her death less impact than it would have had otherwise. Sofia starts giving her chest compressions, but it seems pretty obvious that she's gone.

The decision to have Kelly kill herself is a surprising one, and depending on whether or not the viewer believes her story is really played out, possibly a limiting one as well. It is painfully clear given the fact that she killed Sylvia that Kelly absolutely did not take Nick's advice at the end of "Grave Danger" when he told her, "Don't take it with you." Kelly did take her anger and pain with her, beginning with her following Nick in "Still Life" as soon as she's released. To her, Nick represents both the system that erroneously put her away and a fellow victim, and it's clear in that episode that her feelings about him are complicated.

But whereas Nick seems to have worked through most of his anger about what happened to him, Kelly is still seething. Her murder of Sylvia is barely premeditated--she thinks to blur the focus of the camera but not to use her un-tattooed hand. Kelly's rage is evident in her tense shoulders and watchful, angry glare. Aimee Graham has done such a convincing job of creating a bitter, unhappy, jaded woman that the viewer can scarcely imagine Kelly as happy and carefree in her pre-incarceration days. Kelly is unfortunately unredeemable in the end. If we believe in her innocence, she is wholly a product of an unjust, mistaken conviction and a prison system that permits abuse among the inmates.

Nick is a foil for Kelly: what happened to him was certainly unjust, but Nick has made a clear decision to move beyond it, so much so that he doesn't even get angry with Grissom when he discovers that Grissom has been hiding the fact that Walter Gordon has an accomplice from him. Nick takes the revelation in stride, and Grissom offers no apologies for conducting the investigation behind his back. The scene between the two where they discuss that Walter's accomplice was Sylvia is extremely muted. Grissom offers only, "So it's over?" It's a very Grissom moment, and Nick seems to realize he shouldn't expect more from his emotionally withdrawn boss.

If "Daddy's Little Girl" does indeed close the chapter on Nick's ordeal in "Grave Danger"--and it certainly seems to, as the death of Kelly Gordon has such a finality to it--then the knowledge that Sylvia was Walter's accomplice is probably the most closure Nick is going to get. There is no explanation offered as to why Sylvia would have helped Walter, other than that it seems he left her the rest of his money to do so. That itself is sad, given that Walter's act left his daughter bereft, not to mention orphaned, upon her release from jail, leading the viewer to conclude that Walter's revenge was more important to him than his daughter's well-being upon her reintroduction back into society. The irony is that with a loving father, or someone who cared about her waiting for her when she was released from jail, might have made all the difference in the world for Kelly. Ultimately, her father failed her as badly as the system did.

Discuss this reviews at Talk CSI!

Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

You may have missed