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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'For Gedda'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 17, 2008 - 1:11 AM GMT

See Also: 'For Gedda' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A funeral comes to a shocking halt when the coffin being carried breaks, revealing not one but two dead bodies. The second man is identified as Leonard Hayner, a former cop turned PI. Warrick is shocked when he recognizes the man; Hodges sees the CSI take a call in Grissom's office and rush off. Archie recovers a taped PI session from Hayner's files with incriminating comments from Lou Gedda, a mobster Warrick has tangled with in the past. Hours later, Warrick is found, gun in hand, leaning over the bloody, beaten body of Gedda at Gedda's strip club, the Pigalle. As a stunned Brass and Grissom look on, Warrick is arrested for the murder. The night shift team is taken off the case since it involves one of their own. Warrick is interrogated by IAB officer Wagenbach, and the CSI admits to being the one to hire the PI to investigate Gedda. But Warrick claims he can't remember anything after getting the call from Gedda and arriving at the Pigalle. Wagenbach presents the evidence against him: his handcuffs were restraining Gedda, he's covered in Gedda's blood, and Gedda was murdered with bullets from his gun. Even Warrick admits how damning the evidence is, but he sticks to his story that he can't recall what happened.

Grissom goes to Ecklie and asks to see the files for the case, and Ecklie agrees to make copies for him. Catherine offers Warrick a few words of encouragement. Grissom, Nick and Hodges discover a break in the blood splatter on Warrick's shirt, indicating someone could have been holding Warrick up from behind and firing his gun. Grissom also notices the ligature marks on Gedda's wrist indicate the handcuffs he was bound with were three millimeters thicker than Warrick's. Grissom and his team go over the case files, noting the presence of chloroform in Gedda's blood. They test Warrick for it, but the tests come up negative, and Hodges notes the drug would be out of his system by now even if it had been present. Undersheriff McKeen tells Warrick the DA is willing to consider a charge of manslaughter. Catherine finds chloroform in the PI's body, linking his murder to Gedda's. Grissom recalls Warrick's suspicions that Gedda had a mole in the department. He looks at both crime scenes and is able to identify fingerprints from one officer at both scenes, and on the coffin the PI's body was found in: Daniel Pritchard. Grissom goes through the officer's locker, finding his handcuffs missing but discovering the key to them covered in blood.

With conclusive evidence that Warrick was framed, Grissom tells the CSI he's going to be freed. He notes that he's asked the Undersheriff to suspend and demote Warrick instead of firing him, and he'd hopeful McKeen will agree. A free man once again, Warrick takes the team to a dive diner for breakfast. After the rest of their colleagues have left, Nick suggests grabbing a beer, but Warrick opts to go home for a shower instead. Leaving Nick behind to flirt with the waitress, Warrick goes to his car, but before he can drive off, Undersheriff McKeen shows up. McKeen asks Warrick if he's going to drop the investigation, but while the CSI promises not to go rogue again, he suspects someone higher up than Pritchard is responsible for Gedda's death and he's determined to find that person. McKeen nods and tells Warrick he's a great CSI--and then he shoots Warrick twice. As Warrick dies, McKeen wipes down the gun, tosses it in Warrick's car and walks away.

Analysis:

I knew it was coming. Not when I saw the preview for this episode. Not when Warrick was found covered in blood holding a gun by Gedda's body. Not when it became apparent Warrick was being framed. Not even when Warrick was cleared and Grissom told him he wasn't going to lose his job. No, it wasn't until the CSIs were all together in the diner for breakfast that I got a sinking feeling in my stomach: one character has already exited alive this season, and such luck was not going to strike twice.

Which isn't to say that the moment when Undersheriff McKean shot Warrick wasn't incredibly shocking: it was. It was probably the most shocking thing I've seen in any CSI show, ever, despite that strong, sinking feeling I had that something bad was about to happen to Warrick. When he got into his car, I had the momentary fear it was going to explode; I'm thankful it didn't go that way--the character deserved a less cliched and more memorable send off. And he got one. The Undersheriff was clearly trying to determine how much Warrick knew and if he was going to let matters rest. When it became clear he wasn't, the Undersheriff noted what a great CSI Warrick was--and then shot him twice.

The scene is completely devastating. I have to admit, I hadn't realized how attached I was to the characters in the original CSI until this scene. While the spin-offs delve into their characters messy personal lives fairly frequently, CSI goes to that well sparingly, only showing the audience snippets here and there, often through dialogue or through a passing conversation (like Warrick had with Tina in "Bang Bang" when he caught her in the casino). Very rarely does an episode delve full on into a character's personal life. But watching Warrick die on screen was downright gut-wrenching, and showed me that indeed, just because the Vegas show deals out character moments in smaller, less frequent installments doesn't mean I'm any less attached to the characters.

Warrick's sad fate makes the scene in the diner that precedes it achingly bittersweet. The team is celebrating Warrick's exoneration, actually able to share a meal together, which is something they rarely have time for. The cast has a fantastic camaraderie, which is highlighted in this scene as much by their body language and laughter as it is by what they say to each other (which really isn't much, at least not on screen). When Catherine leans in and embraces Warrick, kissing him on the cheek, it's a moment radiating lost chances; the two have such fantastic chemistry, and in season five there were moments that suggested the mutual attraction might be going somewhere, but ultimately it never did.

After the rest of the team leaves, Nick lingers, suggesting to Warrick that they grab a beer together. It's fitting that Nick is the last one of the team to see Warrick--their relationship as competitive colleagues and friends was established in the "Pilot", and throughout the years it's been built upon and enriched. Though there's always been an undercurrent of competitiveness between the two, what has always been at the forefront is the bond between them. When Nick was abducted and buried alive in "Grave Danger", Warrick was deeply affected, and I suspect that it will be Nick who takes Warrick's death the hardest, not only because of their friendship but because while he stayed behind to flirt with the waitress, Warrick was being shot. Though Nick bears no fault in that, I suspect he'll feel guilty nonetheless.

I've focused on the last five minutes for the majority of this review, in part because what precedes those five minutes is so incredibly and brilliantly--yes, brilliantly--banal. Warrick's nemesis ends up dead, Warrick is at the scene with a gun, covered in blood, he can't remember anything but of course, he's the prime suspect. The audience knows Warrick didn't do it, the team knows he didn't do it--now it just has to be proven. It's all pretty clichéd--the evidence looks damning, but we know he's been framed.

So why is that brilliant? Because it lulls the audience into a false sense of security. We've seen this story before. We know Warrick's not going to jail. We know how the CSIs work. We know they'll find some evidence one way or another that clears Warrick. It's simple, it's easy and because it was so rout, I didn't think very far ahead, I didn't think--well, what happens when they do clear him? It wasn't until Grissom was smiling and telling Warrick that he was pretty sure he could save his job that I started to get that bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. The drama has played out and Warrick is in fact cleared, but there are about five minutes left to go. That's when I realized something bad was coming, and I suspect that this is exactly when the writers wanted us to realize this. Because in a character's final episode, it never ends this neatly.

Gary Dourdan gives a phenomenal performance, limning the depths of Warrick's confusion and anger over the situation he finds himself in. Warrick's intensity has always been his touchstone, and I honestly cannot imagine the show without him. More than anyone else on the show, Warrick has been the maverick character, the one who steps outside the lines and makes mistakes and jeopardizes his career in doing so. Shows, especially police procedural shows, need characters like Warrick, characters who cross the lines because they have a fire and a drive that compels them to do so. Dourdan made Warrick a rebel without ever making Warrick's outbursts and transgressions seem stock. He will be greatly missed.

And what of Undersheriff McKeen? Presumably the storyline will continue into next season, with the undersheriff as the bad guy we'll love to hate. I personally can't wait for the team to figure out he's the one who killed Warrick. They might have an unlikely ally in Conrad Ecklie, who actually sticks his neck out for the team twice in this episode, first by giving Grissom the case files and second by not kicking Catherine out of Warrick's apartment when she comes to get Warrick a change of clothes. Ecklie didn't have to help them out in either instance, and I suspect he could have gotten in trouble for giving Grissom the reports from the case. It's nice to see him helping Grissom and the team out, and that his transition from Grissom's nemesis to only occasionally adversarial co-worker is continuing.

It's also great to see Greg's book has been completed and has advanced to the stage where it's being considered for publication. But on a slightly nit-picky note, it's highly unlikely that he'd be headed to Los Angeles to meet with publishers, as the majority of publishing houses' main offices are located in New York City. But it will be nice to see the lab tech-turned-CSI get published, if that is indeed in the cards for him, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the book will be dedicated to his fallen colleague, Warrick Brown.

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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