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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'Who Shot Sherlock?'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at January 11, 2005 - 11:27 PM GMT

See Also: 'Who Shot Sherlock?' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

An ordinary man comes home and transforms himself into Sherlock Holmes, complete with a study made in the image of 221B Baker Street. The man plays his violin peacefully, but he doesn't survive the evening. The CSIs are called to the scene, where Sherlock, AKA Dennis Kingsley, sits in his chair, dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Grissom notes the man's accoutrements: a deerstalker cap, the violin, a pipe, and the Persian slippers and immediately recognizes the basement mock-up as 221B Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes's residence. It's Greg's final proficiency test, so he takes the lead, noting that the situation looks like a suicide at first sight.

Kingsley's associates, Nelson Oakes AKA Dr. Watson, Josh Frost AKA Professor Moriarty and Kay Marquette AKA Irene Adler arrive at the scene for the Holmes society meeting and immediately offer to help the CSIs. They maintain their facade until they see Kingsley's body brought out. Inside the house, Greg finds the bullet on the floor, which he determines is consistent with a revolver. Sara discovers a syringe. Outside, the Holmes aficionados tell Brass and Grissom that they would meet at Kingsley's house to re-enact the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. The week before, Dennis had told them that the meeting this night would be their final one, and he promised it would be a night no one would forget. Grissom decides to fingerprint all of them.

In the basement mock-up, Sara and Greg comb the room for evidence. Sara finds signs of forced entry on the back door, while Greg notices a copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles. The book has blood from the shooting on it, but it also has blood on the edge of the pages which is apparently not from the murder.

Warrick and Nick are across town looking into the death of Corey DeMayo, a 25-year-old man who drove his jeep into a ravine. Corey is lying dead in the car, the key in the ignition and the car in drive. However, the engine is dead. Warrick finds pot, but while the CSIs discover an ID on Corey, they find no cash or credit card.

Back at the morgue, Dr. Robbins tells Sara that while Kingsley's cause of death is no surprise, he did find evidence that the man was a long-term cocaine user. He also found morphine in the man's system, enough to incapacitate him in seconds. But the GSR on Dennis's hand indicated suicide--was it staged? Greg thinks it may have been. Elsewhere, Warrick and Detective Vartann talk to Corey's friend Lyle, whose prints are all over the car. He says he and Corey went wind surfing together, but Corey left without him, with a girl named Jennifer.

In the lab, Hodges examines a pearl fragment from the floor and tells Greg and Grissom that the tobacco ash on the floor is a special kind grown in Louisiana. Grissom sends Greg after the two suspects with pipes. Brass visits a harried Kay Marquette at the seedy bar where she works as a waitress to get her pipe, while Sara goes to the Palms where Nelson Oakes is a security guard to get his. While there, she notices blood drops on his shoes.

Dr. Robbins tells Nick and Warrick that a contusion on Corey's head is superficial and that he can't determine what exactly killed the young man. Puzzled, the two CSIs go over the jeep. The breaks are working, so it wasn't a malfunction in the jeep. What killed Corey DeMayo is a mystery, but Conrad Ecklie is none too pleased to find that Warrick and Nick are pursuing the case. He tells them to close it, but after he leaves Catherine tells them to keep working if they're not satisfied. She says she'll deal with Ecklie.

Brass questions Oakes, who had Kingsley's blood on his shoes and apparently left behind his brand of tobacco in Kingsley's study. Brass correctly suspects that Oakes wanted to be Holmes, but Oakes denies murdering Dennis. Dennis was going back to his wife and daughter; Oakes didn't have a reason to kill him as he was leaving anyway. Greg's analysis of the blood on Kingsley's shoes actually backs up Oakes story when he pairs it with the syringe. Clearly, someone drew blood from Kingsley and sprayed it on Oakes's shoes. Someone was trying to frame him.

Archie, Greg and Sara surf eBay when they learn Dennis was auctioning off his Sherlock Holmes paraphernalia. His first edition copy of The Hound of the Baskervilles. Josh Frost, who played Moriarty, wanted the book, and when Sara and Greg visit him at the fast food place where he works, he admits he offered every spare penny he had for it. He and Dennis squabbled over it when Dennis put the book up for auction, during which Dennis yanked the book out of Josh's hand, giving him a papercut and resulting in the blood on the edge of the pages. But Josh denies killing him--if he had, he says, he would have taken the book with him.

Nick and Warrick take Corey's jeep apart, and Warrick notices scorch marks on the bottom of it. Nick finds melted plastic on top, and the men theorize that if an electrical charge hit the jeep it might have traveled through Corey, too. But it the day Corey died was clear and lightening-free, so they go back to the scene hoping to find more clues. Warrick spots fresh wire splices on the above power lines, and Nick notices a bent road marker. If the power line fell when Corey was driving and he hit the marker at the same time, it would have completed the circuit and electrocuted Corey.

With Grissom in tow, Greg goes back to Kingsley's basement. Near the mother-of-pearl chip from the gun Greg also found red clay, possibly from the wall. Was there a struggle? Grissom reminds Greg there was no evidence of one. Greg looks around the fireplace and finally in it: the gun is hanging in the fireplace from a piece of surgical tubing. Looking at the evidence, Greg concludes that Kingsley committed suicide: he drew blood to put on Oakes's shoes to frame him, then injected the morphine and promptly shot himself. Sara wonders about the motive for framing his friend, but Greg reminds her she's told him motive isn't their business.

In order to discover what happened to Corey, Warrick and Nick create 'Ballistics Joe'--a dummy filled with liquid to simulate the human body. Catherine isn't pleased, but she observes as the men perform the test by electrocuting the car with Joe in it. The first experiment fails, until Warrick remembers they need to dress the dummy. The second is successful: Corey was electrocuted when the current traveled from his watch to metal holes in his shorts, right across his heart. Ecklie is none too pleased to see that Warrick and Nick pursued the case, but Catherine brushes him off.

Grissom goes over the Kingsley case file and finds something that bothers him: the victim habitually used cocaine, so why would he switch to morphine. Grissom sends Greg back to the evidence, and he discovers tobacco residue in the surgical tubing. The evidence leads to Kay Marquette. Brass questions her: the Sherlock Holmes meetings were the one bright spot in her life and when she found out Dennis was ending them, she became unhinged. She killed him and framed Oakes because she believed he convinced Dennis to go back to his family. Rather than regretting her actions, she boasts that Dennis would have wanted his murder to be worthy of the great detective.

Greg is despondent when he's summoned to Grissom's office. Waiting there for him is Ballistics Joe, with a "You Passed!" sign hanging on him. The team congratulates a thrilled Greg.

Analysis:

I watched this episode twice hoping I'd like it better the second time around, and in some ways I did, though the same problems stood out on a second viewing that irked me in the first. Initially, I liked the idea of splitting up Grissom's team and shaking up the CSI team. Change in a show, while not always embraced by devoted fans, usually makes for good drama. But the weaknesses in splitting up the Las Vegas team show in this episode.

Poor Catherine. I knew the swing shift wasn't what she wanted (she made reference to it in this episode as well, to Ecklie, when he wonders aloud to her if he made a mistake promoting her), but it's starting to look like she's pretty much been relegated to a desk job, which would be a shame. Nick and Warrick have an easy, jovial rapport, but they're not the most interesting pair to watch week in and week out, especially if they're going to be given such boring cases.

I can't believe I'm siding with the slimy Ecklie on this one, but it seems to me that a lot of time and department funds were wasted on a case that didn't merit that level of investigation. Was there a compelling reason to go to the trouble to make up "Ballistics Joe" if Warrick and Nick had already pretty much figured out the guy had been electrocuted? Did they really need to spend time and department resources to trace the exact route of the current? And while CSI is indeed about getting to the bottom of mysterious deaths, this one didn't seem to warrant the attention it received, especially once they both figured out that Corey wasn't murdered and had been electrocuted.

This leads to pretty much the biggest weakness of having two teams: the writers are forced on a weekly basis to come up with two cases. This is true of most CSI episodes, so it's not that big of a change, but they've lost the benefit of character rotation. We're mostly always going to see Nick and Warrick cases together, and on the late shift, Sara and Greg (or one of them with Grissom). That takes out some of the spark in the show: it's fun to see how the different characters work with and react to each other.

I half-suspect that the reason the writers decided to have Warrick and Nick made Ballistics Joe up was so that they could play the trick on Greg at the end. That was a nice moment (and a good use of Ballistics Joe) but it still didn't justify making the audience sit through the dull secondary case. It was great to see the team reunited for a moment to congratulate Greg, even in Ecklie tried to break up the party before everyone could even get in their personal congratulations.

The Kinglsey/Holmes case faired better. It was fun to see Greg work the case as the lead with help from Sara and Grissom. Eric Szmanda mentioned that Greg would be passing his final proficiency test in this episode, so that wasn't a surprise, but I was impressed that it didn't happen as easily as I might have assumed. I'm glad he didn't fail, but both Grissom and Sara underscored, in different ways, that CSIs are charged with gathering the evidence and coming to a conclusion and aren't required to go beyond that. Motive isn't their business, and if they get something wrong, they can go back to the drawing board. Greg's possibly compromising evidence in "Viva Las Vegas" was far worse than coming to the wrong conclusion about the case and going back to reevaluate it.

But as the viewers aren't CSIs and often like to have a motive, I have to say that the one offered in this episode wasn't very compelling. Catherine Dent conveyed her character's desperation well, but her motive was decidedly weak. Clearly, she was unhinged, and it was a neat twist (and a logical one) that she tried to make the murder "worthy of Holmes" but wouldn't it have been easier to find another person to play Holmes (or Watson, if Oakes wanted to take over as Holmes)? It seems to me that there won't be many people willing to recreate 221B Baker Street in jail.

One other minor point: with the exception of the victim, Dennis Kingsley and Oakes, we don't learn any of the Sherlock Holmes re-creators names in the episode. Thank goodness for TV Guide and the episode guide here, otherwise I never would have even known the characters' names. Knowing who they played in the Sherlock Holmes recreation was helpful, but it would have been helpful to learn their real names in the course of the episode, especially that of the killer.

The episode, while uneven, did offer some nice moments, especially in the music for this episode (discussed in depth in this week's Music Recap). I enjoyed the lighthearted staccato crescendos that led into each commercial break. And the light-hearted tone of the episode worked well, especially coming after the weighty "No Humans Involved". And, despite its failings, the Sherlock Holmes mystery was a fun puzzle to unravel.

Next week: The actor who played one of the murderous brothers from CSI: Miami's "Blood Brothers" shows up in Vegas as a sexy Latin crooner.

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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