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CSI: Crime Scene Investigation--'You Kill Me'

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at November 26, 2007 - 9:06 AM GMT

See Also: 'You Kill Me' Episode Guide

Synopsis:

David Hodges and Wendy Simms go over case scenarios he's thought out, featuring victims--and killers--from the lab, along with the help of the other lab techs. In Hodges' scenarios, Archie Johnson, Henry Andrews and even Wendy herself all fall victim to nefarious killers in the lab, though the initial suspect in every case--Bobby Dawson--never does turn out to be the killer. Wendy surprises Hodges when she tells him she's contemplating taking the field test to become a CSI. Wendy's sharp eye misses nothing, and she realizes Hodges is up to something when she discovers a tape recorder under the desk he's been using. She confronts him, and he admits he's developing a game called "Lab Rats: The Game of Science and Murder" based on the work of the CSIs and lab techs. Wendy is amused--until she sees the game piece based on her is described as "clumsy yet buxom."

Following Sara's departure, the CSIs reach out to Grissom in different ways. Brass learns that Grissom has talked to Sara, who is visiting her mother in San Francisco. Nick invites Grissom to breakfast with him, but the CSI declines. Catherine suggests Grissom take a few days off and go after Sara, but Grissom says that it's not what Sara wants. Greg is the only one who doesn't offer solace; Grissom's "goodnight" to him is met with a "yeah, whatever!" Grissom seeks refuge in an unlikely place: with Hodges and his game. Grissom solves the murder of Hodges in the game--a frame-up by Hodges in the scenario to implicate Bobby Dawson--and gets some unsolicited advice from Hodges, who tells him that Sara was ready to move on from criminal work and that he can't stand in the way of that.

Analysis:

How do you follow up an episode like "Goodbye and Good Luck"? An episode of Grissom sulking? A routine two-case outing, signaling business as usual? The writers opted for neither, instead offering this lighthearted episode, a bit of comic relief following several heavy offerings. I suspect fans who are drawn to CSI for its mostly serious tone and familiar formula (at least in that usually there's a murder and the CSIs spend the hour solving it) will find "You Kill Me" frustratingly fluffy. It is filler in the sense that it eschews the CSI format, but like its predecessor from last season, "Lab Rats", it's a fun diversion for those willing to sit back and enjoy the ride.

The cases Hodges presents are rife with inside jokes for CSI fans. David Phillips gamely offers with each new victim, "No signs of sexual trauma!" The phrase garners a laugh given that the first victim is Archie, becomes more hilarious when the second unfortunate soul is Henry, warrants a sly smirk when he whispers it to Greg after Wendy's murder and somehow is still funny when he says it with regards to Hodges. There are probably several phrases that could vie for the "most overused" title on CSI, so it's fun to see the show poke fun at itself by underscoring one of the contenders. David Berman delivers the line with gusto over and over, earning the laugh each time he utters the words.

Then there's the CSIs themselves. George Eads and Marg Helgenberger in particular get great moments when they become "frustrated" and gesture towards the evidence they're waiting for the lab techs to discover. All the actors take the lively material and run with it, whether it be Helgenberger purring about the virtues of the trace lab and the incomparable Hodges or Robert David Hall letting lose with a rousing, "Thank goodness!" when David tells Dr. Robbins that there's "no sign of sexual trauma" on one of the male victims' corpses. Even the dour Grissom gets in on the fun, asking for another game after he figures out Hodges framed Bobby Dawson in the scenario he investigates. William Petersen expertly conveys that the game is just what Grissom needed.

But the hour belongs to those delightful lab techs who make their mark every week and impressed in "Lab Rats." Gerald McCullough, who didn't appear in the previous outing, gets to make up for lost time when poor Bobby Dawson falls under suspicion for each and every murder in Hodges' scenarios. By the time Grissom asks Hodges just what he has against Bobby Dawson, we're all wondering, too. Jon Wellner delights as Henry, who immediately confesses to the first murder before Brass can even begin his interrogation, and then earns a hearty laugh when he's enraged at the implication that he died in the second scenario after using PCP. His comically righteous anger is one of the funniest moments in the episode.

Liz Vassey continues to impress as Wendy Simms, in perhaps the most challenging role, as the straight woman to Wallace Langham's zany Hodges. She's by turns amused, involved, suspicious and in the end hurt, when she sees the figure Hodges has made to represent her. Few women would be thrilled to be referred to as "clumsy but buxom," and Vassey makes the hurt evident in Wendy's face. She calls Hodges the "stupidest smart guy" she knows, making me wonder if there's more behind her friendly rivalry with him than just workplace banter. Might Wendy be harboring a secret crush on Hodges, just as he seems to be for her?

Wendy also drops an interesting piece of news for Hodges: she's thinking of taking the CSI field test. If the writers are looking for a female CSI to step in to take the place of Sara, they really should consider the talented Vassey. Newbie CSIs venturing into the field from other related professions might be a tad overdone, but in the case of Wendy, the move would be a worthwhile one. I imagine both she and Jessica Lucas's Ronnie Lake are possible contenders for the space Sara vacated; either would be a great choice. One has to wonder how Hodges would react to Wendy venturing out into the field. He's clearly none too pleased at the prospect of her applying for the job, and there's interesting dramatic potential for the two if she does end up becoming a CSI. No doubt he'd give her as much trouble as he gives Greg when the former lab tech brings him evidence--if not more.

Langham once again naturally takes center stage, merging perfect comic timing with Hodges' sly sneakiness. Deviously, he sets out to test his new game on Wendy, who in turn does have her own reasons for playing along. The final case Wendy plays--the one involving her own death--is deemed too complex, a sly nod to viewers who are patient with many a convoluted case. Hodges' experiment also highlights another common trick in the CSI playbook: the red herring. In the second case, Bobby Dawson's practical joke of locking Henry in the walk-in freezer didn't lead to his demise...because Wendy had already fatally dosed his lab coat with PCP.

And even Hodges has an opinion on Grissom's break up with Sara. For once, he's right on the money: she was ready to leave the life of criminal investigation behind while he wasn't (and perhaps never will be). Poor Grissom gets more than his fair share of advice and offers of help throughout the episode, save for one: Greg. Greg, who's rarely anything but reverential to his supervisor actually replies with, "Yeah, whatever" to Grissom when he wishes the former lab tech goodnight. Might Greg, who nursed a long-standing crush on Sara, blame Grissom for her departure? Or is he simply too wrapped up in his own sorrow over it to think of what Grissom is going through? Either way, he's clearly carrying some resentment. Grissom brushes it off, puzzled. Is it any surprise that the socially challenged CSI would rather tackle Hodges' game than discuss Sara's departure?

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.


Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.

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