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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Time Of Your Death'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 8, 2006 - 9:57 PM GMT

See Also: 'Time Of Your Death' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

A young man named Jeff Powell meets his end outside the Palermo hotel by the landing deck. Catherine notices white paint on his clothes and traces his path back up to the loading docks and through the service entrance. Catherine and Nick go to the man's hotel room and find evidence of a wild evening--the bed has clearly been used, and they discover cocaine in Jeff's luggage. Catherine finds a blonde hair in the bed and puzzles over an expensive leather jacket that doesn't seem to match Jeff's other clothes. They also find Jeff's wallet, with a corporate Visa card issued to Sheritown, Inc. Back at the morgue, David Phillips and Warrick puzzle over a red wine stain on Jeff's boxers, while Dr. Robbins shows Catherine that Jeff was killed by a blow to the neck that crushed several bones and caused him to asphyxiate.

Archie starts in on the video surveillance tapes from the hotel and spots a blonde with Jeff. She goes back to his room with him and leaves hours later, only minutes after Jeff does. Jeff walks out of the hotel, but the CSIs can't tell where he's going as he's blocked on camera by two larger men. Nick learns that Jeff made several big clothing purchases with the blonde woman, and Catherine learns that the rented Ferrari Jeff was driving was damaged. Traces of pool chalk on Jeff's hands lead the CSIs to a pool hall near the Palermo where Jeff and the woman were playing pool, and the owner recognizes and names the woman as Heidi Wolff when pressed. The CSIs bring Heidi in, and she admits to sleeping with Jeff but claims she bolted when he got serious on her. She was just looking for a fun time.

The CSIs trace the corporate card to Mick Sheridan, Jeff's boss, a Hollywood producer. Jeff was his assistant, and Mick had given him the Vegas vacation as a gift after Jeff saved him millions in his divorce. Paint trace on the Ferrari is a match for a black Corvette, and the CSIs trace the Corvette to the same place the Ferrari was rented from. The man who rented it that night, Randy Bolen, is a former stuntman with a record for assault. Randy played pool against Jeff that night and lost. He admits to following Jeff and Heidi and side swiping their car, but is surprised to learn Jeff is dead. In the AV lab, Archie has located the tape with Heidi and Jeff's meeting on it--she walked up to him and sat down next to him, crying, and pointing across the casino at someone off camera. Jeff comforted her and when he turned away for a moment, she spilled her wine on him--intentionally. Archie notices a thick wad of cash in her wallet, indicating she wasn't rolling Jeff for the money. The CSIs are also surprised to learn it was Heidi and not Jeff that rented the Ferrari with a corporate account--Caprice.

The CSIs track down the elusive Caprice Unlimited and find the enigmatic Anthony Caprice organizing a fantasy weekend complete with girls dressed as geisha for a golfing group. Caprice specializes in fantasy fulfillment--Heidi and Randy were hired to give Jeff his fantasy weekend in Vegas, complete with romance and excitement. He emphasizes that Heidi was not paid to sleep with Jeff. The CSIs turn back to Mick Sheridan, who payed for the weekend--was it a payoff for the cocaine in Jeff's possession? Mick clams up. The CSIs turn back to the tapes--and to Heidi pointing off in the distance. Her scenario was to convince Jeff she had a boyfriend--did she name someone? She did--a high roller named Dennis Kim playing at the private baccarat table. Jeff left Heidi's side and confronted the man who he thought was her boyfriend and afterwards, Kim's two bodyguards followed Jeff out of the building where they beat him to teach him a lesson. A powerful kick aimed at his neck ended his life.

Analysis:

Be careful what you wish for. Is there such a thing as too much good luck? Feeling invincible is an incredible feeling--an amazing rush--but it's a dangerous high because of course in truth no one is actually invincible. Jeff learns this the hard way when riding the thrill of sex, a big win at pool and a spending jag, he cockily confronts the man he believes broke the heart of his new love. More likely than not the feelings of love are also an illusion, spurred on by the fantasy of the evening, but Jeff never gets to find out if this is the case.

This episode features a few recognizable faces. Most notable is 80's movie icon Judd Nelson, best known for roles St. Elmo's Fire and The Breakfast Club, who hits all the right notes as a sleazy, ruffled movie producer. Also turning in a memorable performance is Julie Benz of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, who is perfect as Vegas party girl Heidi Wolff. Benz, whose breathy voice is well suited to her role, also appeared in CSI: Miami this season as a long-suffering wife in "Deviant". And I'm pretty sure that Kyle Howard, who played the ill-fated Jeff, played the student who pretended to be in love with paleontology professor Ross Gellar in order to illicit sympathy--and a higher grade--in Friends.

There's always something a bit anti-climactic when an episode doesn't end in the interrogation room, or at least with a confrontation with the killer. In this case, we learn through a discussion that the CSIs have figured out the bodyguards killed poor Jeff. The case comes together nicely in that essentially it is because Heidi plays her role so convincingly and Jeff becomes so wrapped up in the fantasy that he confronts someone who isn't actually a Caprice employee, but I still would have liked a final scene with either the bodyguards or Kim.

There's a significant look between Grissom and Sara at the end of the episode, and one more ambiguous one earlier on when Caprice tells them he hopes all of their fantasies come true. I think Caprice's comment was vague enough that it doesn't have to be interpreted as a suggestion of about their feelings towards each other. Sure, Caprice is into fantasy-fulfillment, but he talks to Grissom and Sara for all of three minutes and can tell there's something brewing there? I'm not sure I buy that, especially since Sara and Grissom have been more low key together this season than in previous ones.

The last look between the two isn't ambiguous, though. Could Grissom be finally realizing that life might hold something for him beyond his beloved bugs? Dangerous though it may sometimes be, there's something to be said for fantasy fulfillment, especially when the fantasy is as long standing as the dance between Grissom and Sara has been. I wouldn't object to seeing something finally happen between the pair.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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