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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Who Are You?'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at February 29, 2008 - 8:22 PM GMT

See Also: 'Who Are You?' Episode Guide

With the strike delaying any new CSI franchise episodes until late March/early April, CSI Files is taking the opportunity to go back to the beginning, offering reviews of episodes from the early seasons of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and CSI: Miami, many of which aired before the site's 2003 founding! The retro reviews will run until new episodes of the franchise start to air in the spring, and then pick back up in the summer while the shows are on hiatus.

Synopsis:

A skeleton is found in the concrete foundation of a house in Summercliff and Grissom and Nick set about recovering it. Grissom calls in a facial reconstruction expert, Dr. Teri Miller, in to create a mold of the dead woman's face in the hopes of identifying her. The coroner, Dr. Al Robbins, determines that in addition to being stabbed, their victim suffered blunt force trauma to the head. He also finds grains of sand preserved in earwax. The woman is identified as Faye Green, who went missing just after moving in with her boyfriend, Jason Hindler. The CSIs go to Jason's house and question him while his wife, Amy, looks on. Grissom notices a fish tank in one of the rooms of the house and Nick finds a loose floorboard with sand underneath. The CSIs obtain a warrant and discover blood on the floor. Positing that Jason and Faye fought and he slammed her into the fish tank and stabbed her before hiding her at Summercliff, where he was working as a contractor at the time, they arrest him. Grissom takes him out, leaving Nick to process. The CSI is shocked when Amy Hindler aims a gun at him. She admits it was she who killed Faye, enraged that Jason had left her for Faye. Grissom returns and draws his own gun, getting Amy to lower hers and arresting the right person for the crime.

Sara and Warrick investigate a shooting of a fleeing suspect. Officer Joe Tynar claims he pursued a suspect in a car down the strip who suddenly pulled over and shot himself. Brass is irritated that the CSIs feel the need to throughly investigate Tynar's story, especially when a valet comes forward and claims the officer was the one who shot the suspect. The CSIs scour the scene for the bullet, but can't find it anywhere. When they turn to the suspect's car, Warrick finds the bullet buried in the treads of the spare tire. Bobby Dawson runs the bullet and finds it matches the suspect's gun, not Tynar's. The officer is exonerated. Catherine faces a case that gets even more personal when her ex-husband, Eddie, is accused of rape by a stripper named April. Grissom urges her to turn the case over to Warrick, but Catherine pushes forward, going to the club where April works and finds vaginal contraceptive film in her locker. When Greg runs the rape kit, he finds glycerin, proving April used the contraceptive prior to having sex with Eddie, and therefore the sex was planned, not forced.

Analysis:

The tensions between the cops and the CSIs come to a head in this episode. It's easy to forget now, but early in its run, CSI had the burden of distinguishing itself from the numerous cop shows that came before it. This episode underscores how different what the CSIs do is from what cops do; if this was a cop show, the valet's eyewitness testimony might have been enough to convict Tynar. But the CSIs don't deal with he said/he said; it's all about the evidence. Though he's clearly on the cop side, Brass knows enough to realize that the CSIs need to find that bullet before drawing any definitive conclusions. Neither Tynar nor the valet is a perfect witness: Tynar has a laundry list of complaints against him and was investigated by IA twice, while the valet was joyriding and may have been drinking. The theme "people lie, the evidence doesn't" is one that's emphasized many times during the show's first season.

Like he was in the "Pilot", Brass is argumentative and aggressive, very much a typical cop to the CSI team's somewhat more diverse and quirky roster of scientists. Though he's clearly old guard to the CSIs' more progressive point of view, Brass isn't simply a clichéd arrogant cop by any means, and he's got a point about how the bullet needs to be found before any conclusions can be reached about Tynar's guilt. Paul Guilfoyle proves he was the perfect choice to play Brass with every performance. He's grizzled and tough but there's a depth to his performance: even if our sympathies are naturally with the CSIs, Guilfoyle always allows us to see where Brass is coming from.

Brass's clash with Warrick is just beneath the surface of their interactions, and he brings it up here when asking about the evidence. Brass asks Warrick if the investigation is "payback," referring to Brass denying Warrick a warrant and putting him on suspension after Holly Gribbs was shot in the pilot. It's understandable that the tension would be the greatest between these two: Warrick has a fiery, intense personality that makes him more likely to clash with Brass than say, Grissom. Grissom sticks up for himself and his team, but despite the CSI supervisor not being a politician, he is good at calming people down and he effectively diffuses the conflict between Warrick and Brass.

Given how the episode ends, Brass makes an ironic comment to Grissom when he asks the CSI when the last time he drew his weapon was. The end of the episode sees Grissom pulling that weapon to save Nick, who is being held at gunpoint by the clearly unhinged Amy Hindler. Though Grissom is very much a scientist, this is the first time we really get to see him in action, so to speak, and he rises to the occasion. There's no hesitancy in his action; he's as calm and collected holding a gun and talking Amy down as he is in his lab running an experiment.

If Nick isn't quite as cool in the situation as Grissom is, it's easily explained by the fact that he's the one Amy is brandishing her weapon at and also that he's simply not as experienced as Grissom. Someone having a gun aimed at them on television or in the movies is such a routine circumstance that it doesn't usually make much of an impression with the audience, but because of the way George Eads chooses to play the moment, it's a memorable one. Nick's tears and the fear in his voice make the circumstances feel very real, and force the audience to actually worry about Nick's fate. After all, it was just five episodes ago that Holly Gribbs was shot, and she didn't survive that. Eads' performance makes a situation we've become desensitized to on television feel very real and frightening. It's a risky choice--seeing a man cry on television is uncommon as seeing a gun aimed at someone is common--but it's one that definitely pays off.

We finally get to meet Eddie Willows, Catherine's ex-husband, a manipulative charmer who feels no remorse about playing on his ex-wife's lingering feelings for him. He has no hesitation about using their daughter, Lindsey, to get Catherine to help him: he asks her whether she wants their daughter to see her father in the park...or in jail. Whether it's for Lindsey's sake, Eddie's or her own, Catherine is swayed by his argument and pursues the case, even going so far as to call on her strip club connections to get into the strippers' locker room. The case opens up a glimpse into Catherine's past, and rather than being ashamed of her previous employment as an exotic dancer, Catherine claims it and embraces it. When Greg suggests he might have seen Catherine dance at some point, she brazenly tells him that if he had, he would remember.

And yet, as tough and proud as she is, Catherine is still clearly susceptible to Eddie's charms. He tells her he married up when he married her and reminds her in the park where she's taken Lindsey that they were good together sexually. If Lindsey hadn't interrupted, would Catherine have kissed her ex? It's definitely possible. As much as she's not quite yet able to chuck Eddie, she has no problem defying Grissom. Grissom tells her repeatedly to remove herself from the case, but Catherine is determined to see it through. As clueless as he can be about people sometimes, Grissom does see through to her real motivation: she's still in love with Eddie.

Grissom himself might be feeling a few tugs on the heartstrings himself: there are definitely sparks flying between him and pretty facial reconstructionist Teri Miller. Grissom takes an interest in Teri's work, and Teri takes an interest in him, boldly leaving her number on his cold case bulletin board. "The ones that got away," Grissom muses. Teri clearly hopes not. Also making a first appearance is Robert David Hall as Dr. Robbins. There was nothing wrong with Jenna Wells, but Hall brings a gravitas and presence to the morgue. Like Eric Szmanda, he makes an impression. It's no surprise both were made regulars down the road.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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