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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Who And What'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 29, 2008 - 10:53 PM GMT

See Also: 'Who and What' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

The bodies of a woman and a ten-year-old boy are found beaten to death in a Las Vegas apartment. The woman is identified as Carmen Davis but it is the unidentified boy who brings FBI Special Agent Jack Malone to Las Vegas. Based on the similarities of the attack to one that occurred in New York six years ago, Malone suspects the child may be Jason Tyler, a boy who was abducted at the age of four after his babysitter was murdered. The CSIs discover missing jewelry and gambling sites in Carmen's computer history, leading them to Tom Michaels, a card shark they suspect was staying with Carmen. He runs when they try to arrest him but Malone and the team soon learns that it was because he stole from his church, not because he raped and murdered Carmen and killed the boy. In fact, the boy was his son, Evan, and Michaels is crushed to learn he's dead. Hodges finds fertilizer on the boy's body, and Nick and Brass track Carmen's stolen jewelry to a palm shop and learn that the man who brought the jewelry in asked for directions to the Tangiers casino. While Nick and Archie study the surveillance footage, the CSIs get a call: a couple has been bludgeoned to death in Boulder, Nevada in a similar manner to the way Carmen and the boy were killed.

Archie is able to get a logo off the killer's hat: Hargrain Harvest. Nick notices the killer looking at a poster with a waitress at South Point Casino in Boulder on it, and when they see the killer called information, Nick gets the phone records and learns he was calling to get Gina Farentino's information. Malone and Nick go to the casino and learn their suspect won $2,500 and talked to Gina but was rebuffed. They're able to get his prints off tax forms he filled out at the casino. The CSIs get another call: their suspect has shot an officer who pulled him over. On the camera in the officer's car, they see the man wave to someone else in the car. Catherine phones Grissom: AFIS got a hit on the prints to a man named Terry Lee Wicker who spent two years in Sing Sing and was married to Gina when he did time. Grissom and Malone find Gina's car abandoned by a cross-country train stop and they leap on the train hoping to catch Terry. But when they find a man with the hat Terry was wearing, they learn Terry paid him a hundred bucks to wear the hat and take the train. Grissom and Malone return to the car and find Gina's body in the trunk. They learn Gina had a son, Kobe, and that a man matching Terry's description picked him up from school. Meanwhile, Terry and Kobe are on their way out of town on a bus....

Analysis:

Action-packed is the best way to describe the first part of the CSI/Without a Trace crossover. Watching a manhunt unfold always makes for exciting television and the luxury of having two hours in which to tell the story means that the writers can fully flesh out the chase. Of course, the fun of CSI is that as the manhunt goes on, the CSIs are uncovering clues: fertilizer on the bodies, the hat their killer is wearing, the number dialed information for. The fact that the killer is clearly on a spree makes for very exciting television, and it's fascinating to watch as the puzzle pieces come together and the picture becomes clear.

Jack Malone stands in stark contrast to the CSIs. Though Anthony LaPaglia's FBI agent is sometimes as cool and contained as Grissom, he has a simmering anger that can boil to the surface at any moment. As often as we see the CSIs chase, wrestle and even trip suspects, I can't recall a time we've seen one punch a suspect the way Malone does with Tom Michaels when the man tries to run. And though we've seen Brass and the CSIs get aggressive or even angry in an interrogation now and then, manhandling a suspect is definitely rare. Make no mistake: the FBI and the Las Vegas Crime Lab definitely do things differently.

Of course, Grissom and Malone stand in contrast to each other. Malone's reaction to Grissom's office is priceless: looking around at the clutter and the pig in a jar, he wonders if it's actually a storage closet. Grissom looks both amused and proud of his oddball office. The two men do have something in common: both have had relationships with their younger, attractive colleagues. Malone immediately picks up on the intimacy between Sara and Grissom, which makes him recall his own relationship with colleague Sam Spade (Poppy Montgomery). The two men are aging, somewhat disillusioned heroes and though their approaches to their jobs and their methods are fairly different, both are intelligent and dedicated to what they do.

Sara's exit in "Goodbye and Good Luck" is heavily foreshadowed in this episode. As much as the job sometimes gets Grissom down, it's clearly taking its toll on Sara in a heavy, overpowering way. When she looks at the dead wife in Boulder she walks out of the house after learning the husband died after his wife was raped and murdered. She observes to Grissom that they were just enjoying a quiet evening in on the couch when the killer randomly selected them. Grissom wants to comfort her but he's clearly at a loss. And really, what is there to say? There's nothing that can take away from the horror of what the CSIs encounter on a daily basis. "It's wrong," Sara says, and she's right.

Despite the heaviness of the episode, it's not without its humor. Ever the suck-up, Hodges makes a point to track down Malone and directly give him some of his findings, and then he proceeds to ask the agent about "opportunities at the FBI." Malone rather cruelly tells him he should stay put because they have enough ass kissers in the federal government. Ouch! Hodges might be a little obsequious at times, but he didn't deserve such a harsh and dismissive brush off. Still, it's worth a chuckle, even if it is at poor Hodges' expense.

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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