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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation -- 'Rashomama'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 1, 2006 - 9:49 PM GMT

See Also: 'Rashomama' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The CSIs' latest case runs off course when Nick's car, which is housing all of the evidence in the case, is stolen. The chain of custody is broken, and Grissom and his team have to piece together what they remember about working the scene with the little evidence they have left while they wait for IAB to show up. The victim, Diane Chase, was found tied to the back of the wedding car of her son, Adam, and his new bride, Jill Shoemaker, as they were leaving Cupid's Kiss, where they'd just been married. Diane was a defense attorney for some very powerful people, including a mobster named Dino Fatelli. She recently lost Fatelli's case, landing the mobster in jail. He certainly would have had the resources to kill Diane, and to have Nick's car stolen.

The CSIs recount the interviews they did--Sara talked to the drunken groomsmen, Grissom talked to the bride, and Nick and Greg talked to the bridesmaids. It seems everyone hated Diane, save for her son--she was an overprotective mother who looked down on her new daughter-in-law. The CSIs obtain a copy of the wedding DVD and find Diane was extremely inebriated when she gave her toast. They also spy Ernest Chase, Diane's estranged husband, looking through the window in one of the shots, but the man denies any involvement in her death, and the fact that he spent the night in the drunk tank backs up his story. Greg thinks the key is a statue of Cupid shooting an arrow which he found in the hospitality suite--there was blood on the arrow's tip. Maybe Diane fell on it? When they discover high amounts of diazepam in Diane's system, the CSIs wonder if someone drugged her drink. Jill, the bride, had a prescription for the drug, but she didn't have the opportunity.

The CSIs catch a break when the car Diane was tied to is released to them, and they discover bloody towels in the trunk. When they discover Mikey Shoemaker, the bride's brother, owns a towing service, the CSIs send a team to see if Nick's car is there, and hit gold. Nick has another clue--the jacket he loaned to Mindy, one of the bridesmaids, has blood on it. From there--the pieces fall into place. Valerie, another bridesmaid, has a husband who is a doctor--it was he who gave Jill the prescription for diazepam. Valerie slipped some of the drug in Diane's champagne, causing her to be woozy. Diane went to the hospitality suite, where she confronted another bridesmaid, Lacey, threatening to sue them all for drugging her. Lacey lost her temper and shoved Diane--right into the Cupid statue. Valerie and Lacey went to the other two bridesmaids, Mindy and Cindy, and together the four of them decided to tie Diane to the back of the car and make it look like a mob hit. They also persuaded Mikey to steal Nick's car. By the time IAB gets to the lab, the case is closed.

Analysis:

After a series of darker episodes, it's nice to CSI get back in touch with its lighter side. No one expects a show about murder to be lighthearted most of the time, but CSI has always done a good job with dry humor, and there's plenty of it in this episode (along with straight up comic relief, courtesy of Greg). The key to a humorous episode of CSI is a victim we don't feel too bad for, and in this case it's the vicious mob lawer cum mother-in-law from hell, Diane Chase. The defense attorney is so universally hated that her ex-husband, Ernest (played by the excellent Ray Wise, currently doing a memorable turn in season five of 24 as the vice president), asks if she's really dead, because he's not sure "it's possible to kill the devil."

Veronica Cartwright turns in an excellent performance as Diane, playing up her horrible qualities with relish. The speech she gives slighting the bride is both funny and cringe inducing. It's a moment that perfectly sums up why the character is so wretched. It's a classic situation that never gets old--the docile son, the overbearing mother and the long-suffering bride. The twists that the bridesmaids fulfilled their tradition role all too well--literally protecting the bride by killing her mother-in-law--is a novel and humorous twist.

It's fun to see the scene through each of the CSIs eyes, and to see the different ways they approach the wedding. Each character's approach says so much about him or her. Sara is cynical and guarded but opens up just a bit when the groomsmen joke around with her. Nick is all smiles, approaching the scene with a momentary burst of lightness as he takes in the setting. Interestingly, Sara and Nick have the opposite reaction to the flowers at Cupid's Kiss--Sara immediately identifies them as fakes, while Nick believes they're real. Sara and Nick are opposites in many ways, and this small observation underscores that nicely.

Grissom's reaction might be my favorite. Love and murder are both in the air, but what does Grissom notice? The bugs--in this case, lady bugs. No matter how many times the show comes back to it, Grissom and his bugs never get old. It's so indicative of his character that while his team is focusing on the human element, Grissom is noticing insects. There's something very charming about Grissom and his bug fixation, and the moment brings a smile with it.

Greg's sequence is the most zany, taking on a film noir type quality, and the picture turns to black and white during his scenes (with reds as well, for the women's lipstick--a nice touch). Greg hams it up by recounting his experiences like a detective from the 40s, and the delivery works. It's definitely the laugh out loud moment in the episode.

Given that the season is winding down and the remaining few episodes are likely headed into darker territory, it's nice to have a bit of light humor before things get gloomy. Shakespeare used the technique in his plays, so CSI is taking a cue from the best.

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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