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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Disarmed And Dangerous'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 3, 2009 - 2:34 AM GMT

See Also: 'Disarmed and Dangerous' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

Federal Agent William Ray Hatford is murdered in a bathroom at a gas station. His cohorts, Miles Beckman and Emma Stanley, call Las Vegas PD. Catherine and Ray Langston join Brass at the scene, where they discover a particularly gruesome crime scene awaiting them in the bathroom. One of Hatford's arms is found severed from his body, while Langston discovers a bloody lump of muscle mass by one of the toilets. The agent's gun, badge and wallet are missing. In the morgue, Langston attempts to take the dead man's prints and discovers his ridge detail seems to have been surgically removed. On the surveillance video at the gas station, Greg spots a large man driving a vintage car with blood on his face around the time of the murder. Brass speaks with Agents Beckman and Stanley, who promise him the full cooperation of the FBI. The pair tells Riley and Nick their assignment was infiltrating a human trafficking ring run by a man known as "Os Punho," which is Portuguese for "The Fist." Drs. Robbins and Langston examine the muscle mass Ray found in the bathroom and discover it was likely torn out of the attacker's body. Hemorrhage lines indicate the killer was on steroids. Riley and Catherine view tapes from the FBI agents that show Hatford questioning Vinnie, a large, heavily muscled man and think he might be their killer. They question a well known steroid dealer with only a few days left in jail and lean on him to get him to give them Vinnie's last name: Mingus. Brass, Nick and the feds go to apprehend Vinnie at a Supreme Force Fighter match. They find the crazed man with a fight doctor; he ends up charging them, seizing a gun as he rants about how there aren't any bullets in the guns, and shooting himself in the head!

Agents Beckman and Stanley return to their mission while Langston goes over the gun, believed to be Hatford's, found among Vinnie's possessions. He's surprised to find it's a street piece rather than a standard issue gun. Nick approaches Catherine: he's found a Jane Doe who was murdered recently on one of the FBI interview tapes. The girl, who identifies herself as "Rio" on the tape, was only 16 and had been forced into prostitution. On the tape, she made it clear she'd prefer jail to forced prostitution, but the Feds didn't arrest her. As Ray finds Hatford's prints all over the gun from Vinnie's bag, Wendy Simms makes a startling discovery when she sends Hatford's DNA to Quantico: the FBI have no record of any agent named William Ray Hatford. Brass arrives at a disturbing crime scene as the news comes in: Emma Stanley has been shot execution-style in the back of the head. When he looks for Miles Beckman, who was in the crowd just a moment ago, he finds the man gone. David Phillips runs her prints and finds that her real name was Emma Moslin, and she did two years in jail for prostitution. A real FBI agent, Paul Briggs, confirms what the team has now realized: the trio of Hatford, Stanley and Beckman were only posing as FBI agents. The team manages to track them down via the corporation they created to rent the offices in Las Vegas: I Can See For Miles. The street address is a Halfway Home where the man at the desk recognizes Miles as a resident named Miles Gelson, and also identifies Hatford as Billy Ray Salvo. He shows them to Miles' room where the traumatized man is sitting on the floor. Keeping up the pretense, he asks Brass to cuff him before leading him out. Brass acquiesces only to have a drive by shooter take a shot at Miles as they lead him to the car. Brass gives chase only to have the shooter crash his car. The man is dead when Brass catches up to the car.

Riley and Langston go over the trio's evidence ledger, but they aren't able to to figure out the codes Miles and his cohorts used to identify the evidence. Langston brings Miles an entry in the ledger that corresponds to the day Rio was murdered and talks him into identifying the code. Miles finally relents, telling Langston one code stands for "Little Guy Dropped Gun Down Sewer--Unable to Apprehend Perp" and the other, which matches up to a gun the trio had in an evidence box, stands for "Gun Little Bastard Dropped--Gonna Nail His Ass." Wendy swabs the gun for blood and finds that the shooter cut himself while loading the weapon. She gets a hit on the DNA: Reynaldo Fino--the fight doctor who was treating Mingus. The LVPD storms Fino's place and finds the doctor surrounded by the women he's imprisoned and forced into slavery. Ray tells Miles that Fino was caught and the girls freed--thanks in large part to Miles and his friends. Langston offers Miles a copy of Don Quixote and tells him that there are medications that could help him. "The windmills you tilted at really were giants," the new CSI observes.

Analysis:

Though there were little things about the supposed FBI agents that stood out as odd, I have to give writers Dustin Lee Abraham and Evan Dunsky credit for dropping the hints subtly enough that I didn't really start to suspect they were actual fakes until the end of the first act of the episode. There were little things that stood out, like how cooperative they were with the Las Vegas PD--since when have the Feds on a CSI show ever been easy-going and helpful? My initial thought was that the team had gone rogue--that perhaps they'd somehow run afoul of their superiors and were running their own operation. What really struck me was the way Emma smiled as Miles ran down the way the steroid dealer's prison sentence could be extended from a mere 22 days left to 22 years. Her pride was evident, and I wondered if perhaps she had feelings for her fellow agent. But I also found it off; after all, Feds aren't prone to being proud of each other for knowing the ins and outs of the law. Paula Malcomson plays the moment well, letting the audience know there's something behind Emma's smile but not totally clueing us in on what it means.

Mingus's ramblings are what let us know something is really off; when the man, hyped up on drugs and ostensibly making no sense, is so confident that the guns aren't loaded that he raises one to his head and fires, I realized something was definitely off about the FBI agents he encountered. Drug-addled or not, I didn't believe he was so out of touch with reality that he'd raise a gun to his head and fire if he didn't truly believe it wasn't loaded. Wild as his appearance was, what he was saying made sense. What didn't make sense is that he got so far once he got a gun off an officer. Any other suspect would have gotten shot by Brass and his cohorts by then; Vinnie never would have been able to aim that gun at his own head and fire. The moment is a shocking one, but it stretches credibility more than a little.

It's also a bit of a reach that the fake trio would have been able to pull off their scam for so long. Wouldn't someone from the department have called Quantico to file an official report about Hatford's death? I would think that higher ups would be called in immediately. I also would have thought Hatford's obviously removed fingerprints would have been another red flag, but then, Langston, a newbie CSI, was the one who caught their absence and might not have realized the significance. That being said, I did like the way the story unfolded, with the fake feds involved with the hunt for and capture of their comrade's killer until Wendy sends Hatford's DNA to Quantico and gets the news that no such agent existed at the FBI--at the same time Brass is called to the scene of Emma's murder. Poor Miles, traumatized, runs back to the halfway home, likely realizing he's bitten off more than he can chew, but unwilling to totally give up the illusion.

Langston seems to be settling into his new job fairly well. He recognizes that the muscle he finds isn't from their victim but rather the man's killer, and he and Dr. Robbins literally cook the muscle in order to identify and examine it. Robbins and Ray have a nice rapport--the two doctors speak the same language, much the way coroner-turned-CSI Sheldon Hawkes and ME Sid Hammerback do on CSI: New York. Ray is clearly at ease with him. He's also settled in enough to find Hodges annoying. When Hodges mentions that he's "save[d] the best for last," Langston bemoans that the phrase is "already getting old." Poor Hodges' obsequiousness isn't likely to go over any better with Ray than it did with Grissom.

Langston clearly seeks a connection with people involved in the cases he investigates in a way Grissom never did. In "One to Go", Langston thought the answer to finding the cabin where Maureen Masters was being kept hinged on getting jailed killer Nathan Haskell to give away the location, while Grissom favored a more scientific method. Grissom won that round; Haskell saw through Langston's deception. In "The Grave Shift", Langston attempted to intervene when Richard Palento got rough with his son, Alex, only to get shot down by Riley. Later, when he tried to reach out to the boy, Alex literally spit in his face. When he discovered that Jim Hilliard had falsified his robbery report, claiming the robber had broken in when in fact, the culprit was a prostitute he'd hired, Catherine flat out told him there was no point in getting involved legally. Langston scored a small victory when he clued Mrs. Hilliard in on the circumstances of the theft, creating a bit of marital misery for the philandering husband. Just from looking at his first few cases, it's clear that Langston is a man who gets personally involved in the cases--that he feels a personal responsibility towards those whose lives are affected by the crimes he investigates.

Langston is more successful in this episode than he's been in the past. While Haskell was a master manipulator and Hilliard escaped any legal repercussions for his deception, Miles has sincere motives and has gotten in way over his head. Frank Whaley plays Miles as both earnest and traumatized--the rush he clearly feels from spouting off legalese dissipates as soon as Emma is murdered. Laurence Fishburne showcases Langston's compassion as he deals with the damaged man, first getting through to him in order to get Miles to translate the codes he and his cohorts came up with, and then coming back in the end to share the outcome of the case. While Brass is angry with Miles for the number of people who died as a result of the deception he and the others perpetuated, Langston points out the good Miles and his friends did--they saved a lot of young women. Miles and his friends went up against a shady, scary group, and though it cost them dearly, in the end, they prevailed. Langston allows Miles the victory, and also offers him advice to improve his situation. Unlike Alex in "The Grave Shift," Miles doesn't turn away from it, giving Ray his first real personal victory as a CSI.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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