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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Living Legend'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 27, 2006 - 8:27 AM GMT

See Also: 'Living Legend' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The car of legendary mob boss Mickey Dunne, who disappeared in the 70s, is discovered in Lake Mead by a Mexican fisherman, to Catherine and Warrick's surprise. Across town at a Karaoke bar, a night of drinking ends badly for wheelchair bound Ken Billings, who makes a new friend that evening only to have the man push him into traffic. When the CSIs get to the body, they find an old photograph of Mickey Dunne in front of the Desert Island casino with four other people in it--and two of them have their faces crossed out. The CSIs question the bartender at the Karaoke bar, who recalls the man Billings drank with and shows them he signed in as Michael Myers. The CSIs pull video footage from the bar and watch the man's performance, noting he made no attempt to shy away from the camera at all. The mystery deepens when the killer strikes again, this time luring Mason Carter, another man from the photograph, into a room and strangling him to death. Another copy of the picture is found in Mason's mouth, with one more man crossed out, and the hotel clerk says the person who checked in was a woman calling herself Pamela Vorhees.

The CSIs examine Mickey Dunne's car and discover his skeleton in pieces. Dr. Robbins pulls a .38 lead bullet out of the skull, typical of the kind cops used in the 70s. Warrick recalls the last person to report seeing Mickey was Eddie Sanchez, a motorcycle cop who disappeared after reporting the sighting. Warrick wonders if perhaps the cop killed Mickey. Catherine recalls meeting Mickey when she was a teen, and making plans to meet him, but the mob boss never showed. Nick is able to clear off one of the photos of Mickey and the four men, and Grissom notes that they appear to be employees of the Desert Island casino. Meanwhile, Brass gets a call from Johnny D'Angelo, one of the other men in the picture, claiming that the ghost of Mickey Dunne is after him. He tells Brass why: he and three other men (including the two that have just been found dead) followed Mickey on the night he disappeared, ran him off the road, shot him and robbed him. Johnny names Derek Paul as the shooter, and the police track him down at his mother's house. Derek denies shooting Mickey and claims by the time they got there, the car was already sinking in the river.

Without any evidence, the CSIs are forced to release Derek, who doesn't survive long: his mother is horrified to discover Johnny D'Angelo over her son's dead body, placing a picture on him. The mystery deepens when the CSIs search for Johnny and find his dead body in an oven at his restaurant. Even more surprising are the lab results that reveal he's been dead for two days. The CSIs turn to the surveillance pictures of all of the killers: Michael Myers, Pamela Vorhees and Johnny D'Angelo and Grissom notes that all three have the exact same distance between their eyes--as does the Mexican fisherman, who signed his media release as F. Krueger. The killer has been wearing disguises and taking on the personas of serial killers from movie franchises such as Halloween, Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. Could it be the missing cop, Eddie Sanchez?

But when the CSIs track down the killer--still disguised as Johnny D'Angelo--they learn it's not Eddie Sanchez but Mickey Dunne himself they've been following. After Derek shot Mickey in the chest, the four men--Derek, Johnny, Ken and Mason--robbed Mickey, pushed his car into the lake and let him for dead. Mickey didn't die; when Eddie came along on his motorcycle, Mickey shot him in cold blood and took off--until he returned nearly thirty years later for revenge. Mickey recognizes Catherine from years before, and tells her he never met up with her because Sam Braun threatened him. The reasoning behind the timing of the killings becomes clear when Mickey starts to go into cardiac arrest--the bullet in his chest has moved, and though doctors are able to revive him, he tells Catherine he only has a week to live because of that bullet. Not so, she smiles--the doctors removed the bullet from Mickey's chest, and he has a long prison term to look forward to.

Analysis:

Who are you indeed? Douglas Petrie and Carol Mendelsohn's clever story plays with the show's theme song and makes good use of The Who's Roger Daltrey in a memorable guest turn. Daltrey could have played any run of the mill killer, but in Petrie and Mendelsohn's script, he's a chameleon who literally changes identities throughout the episode, hiding in plain sight with a different face every time.

I was fairly certain once the story got going that the killer was in fact Mickey Dunne, though the story of Eddie Sanchez made the cop for a decent red herring, and the possibility existed that one of the four had turned on the others--until Johnny's body was discovered in the oven. Given the title of the episode and the stature of the primary guest star, it's fitting that the murderer turns out to be a legendary Vegas mobster.

It's always fun when CSI tackles the good old days. The last time they delved into classic Las Vegas, in "Kiss Kiss, Bye Bye", another living legend, Faye Dunaway, was the guest star. Like Dunaway, Daltrey has a smooth confidence and spark that embodies vintage Sin City. In his confession scene, he's not repentant in the least; he clearly still possesses the bravado and swagger that no doubt made him legendary in the 70s.

It wouldn't be vintage Vegas without a Sam Braun connection, and because he's sadly no longer around in the present, we are left with a reference to his interference when Catherine and Mickey crossed paths. Even back then, Sam was watching over Catherine: he warned Mickey away from her after hearing about their plans to meet. I have to praise the Vegas writers for not letting Sam Braun fade quietly into memory; he was too significant to simply be forgotten, too big a personality to just be gone with no further mention. Kudos to the writers for keeping Sam's name alive.

Seeing the teenaged Catherine was also a treat--at sixteen, she was clearly as precocious as she fears Lindsey might be. It takes real moxie to agree to meet a known mob boss at two in the morning, especially at the age of sixteen. But then, the Catherine we know now is pretty forward and daring, so it's no surprise that as a teen she played with fire. One difference: she's now wise enough to know when something isn't worth her time, as she jauntily tells Mickey.

Both Warrick and Greg seem caught up in the legend of Mickey Dunne; Greg marvels over the gangster's car, while Warrick spouts off the story of Eddie Sanchez like he knows it by heart (which he apparently does). It's fun to see such different male characters--tough guy Warrick and geeky Greg--captivated by the same legend. But then, everybody loves a good mob story, don't they?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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