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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Double-Cross'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 15, 2006 - 4:55 AM GMT

See Also: 'Double-Cross' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The body of a woman is found crucified in a church, strung up above the altar. Dr. Robbins determines she was killed between 2 and 4am, and that she suffered a blunt force trauma to the head but was still alive when she was strung up. She suffocated to death, able to breathe out but not in. The popular new priest, Father Frank Berlin, arrives and is shaken by the sight of the body but denies knowing the woman. Greg spots blood on his jacket, but Father Frank is reluctant to give up his clothes. The CSIs get to work--Sara gets scrapings from under the woman's nails, Catherine finds the keys to her car outside the church and recovers the vehicle parked close by, while Warrick and Nick find the tools being used to restore the church--a ladder, rope, a hammer and nails--that were used to make the crucifix. Grissom notices marks around the woman's neck resemble rosary beads. Since the blood on Frank's clothes didn't match the woman, his attention turns to the nuns. Bovine hair on the scaffold puzzles the CSIs.

The car keys lead the CSIs to a man named Hugo Bombay, who tells them he lent it to a friend of his named Charlotte Danville. The unfortunate Charlotte was a lounge singer at the Gorilla Room prior to her death, and patrons recall her fighting with a man named Cody White the night she died. Cody, a used car dealer, has Charlotte's own car at his lot, and Brass impounds it. In Charlotte's apartment, Catherine and Sofia discover the woman knew both Frank and Cody from all the way back to high school. Photographs and videos indicate the three were once an inseparable threesome--and that Charlotte dated Frank before he entered seminary, and that she went to the prom with Cody. Catherine finds semen on Charlotte's sheets, while Sofia discovers whisky bottles in Charlotte's trash and health food and vitamins in her cabinets, leading the women to wonder if Charlotte was pregnant. They also find a rosary in the apartment, which Sara takes to Grissom. It's a match for the one he collected from Father Frank. When the CSIs go to question Frank, they discover him in a scuffle with Cody. Both claim they were fighting over the church renovations, which Cody was financing.

Grissom asks Frank about the rosary found at Charlotte's, but Sister Bridget, a young, attractive nun bursts in with a hammer and claims she killed Charlotte, but Grissom tells her she simply wasn't physically capable of raising the crucifix up using the pulley. Father Frank is looking more and more guilty: his semen is found Charlotte's bed, and Cody, who paid for Charlotte's condo and car, tells the CSIs that she and Frank were more than friends. Frank confesses to killing Charlotte, but Grissom has his doubts. Further investigation reveals that Charlotte's blood is on Cody's boots. When Cody found out Charlotte had cheated on him with Frank and that the priest was planning to leave his position to be with Charlotte, he lost his temper and killed her, Sofia tells Cody that DNA revealed the child Charlotte was carrying was his. As Cody is lead away, Frank tells Grissom that his religion gives him no option but to forgive Cody.

Analysis:

If I'm not mistaken, the last time we saw Grissom in church was "Harvest". In that episode, the taciturn CSI was forced to arrest a dying boy in church; this time around, he has to pursue a priest who is hiding his link to the woman found crucified in his church. It's only natural that given the setting, the CSIs' own religious beliefs come to the surface.

While some might be surprised that Grissom doesn't simply dismiss religion as dogma without proof behind it, Grissom is a consummate scientist above all else, and he's unwilling to dismiss anything without evidence to the contrary. So it's not really surprising to see him take a more open-minded stance on religion that Sara would. Much as they discussed death at the end of "Way to Go", Sara and Grissom have a brief religious discussion in the morgue. Their rhythm together is perfect, and I was actually surprised when Sara asked Grissom if he was offended by her comments--these two communicate so well that I can't see Grissom misunderstanding what she's saying.

The romance between the pair remains subtle and largely in the background, fitting for two characters who are by nature quite private and circumspect. Grissom calling Sara "dear" was affectionate but not overtly demonstrative; more is said silently between this couple than is expressed verbally. This is a large part of why they work so well together, both as a team on a case and as a couple.

Catherine has a moment in church that shows she's still grappling with Sam Braun's death. She lights a candle for him, mourning the father she never quite got to know well enough. Sam Braun was a complicated man, and always left both the audience and Catherine hungry for a deeper understanding of him. I'm glad to see that the episode he passed away in, "Built to Kill, Part 2" wasn't the last we heard of him.

Surprisingly, given how badly he was beaten in "Fannysmakin'", the episode prior to this one, Greg is back on duty. The bruising from the attack is still evident on his face, and a concerned Catherine asks him how he's doing. Greg has definitely toughened up since he suffered tremors after being wounded in a lab explosion in "Play with Fire". The physical evidence of his ordeal aside, Greg seems remarkably composed and collected. The lab worker-turned-CSI has definitely toughened up.

As for the case itself, though I wasn't surprised Cody was the killer, the story held my interest the whole time. It reminded me a bit of the Edward Norton--Ben Stiller--Jenna Elfman romantic comedy Keeping the Faith, which was also a love triangle involving a trio of childhood friends, one of whom was a priest. The similarities more or less stop there--Keeping the Faith was a comedy with strong friendships that transcend the triangle; that's clearly not the case here.

The excellent guest cast also deserves a mention for making the episode a success. Tim Guinee is fantastic as Father Frank, capturing the priest's guilt and remorse as well as his resignation at the end of the episode, when he tells Grissom he has to forgive Cody, as it's Christ's mandate. Sean Patrick Flannery is memorable as the selfish and spurned Cody, and Meredith Monroe, who made an impression in CSI: Miami's "Under the Influence". as a deluded and homicidal stalker, makes a splash as a nun so desperate to save the handsome Father Frank that she confesses to a murder she didn't commit.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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