CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Season 6 Episode 21


Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Apr 27, 2006 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (44)

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  • The CSIs canvas the seemingly brutal murder of a young bride's mother-in-law... which took place at her own wedding reception. As facts unfold, it isn't just one lead, a stolen van full of evidence and runny diner eggs that breaks the case.

    I'd like to start out by saying that box sets of CSI used to be what got me through twelve hour shifts when I used to work at a video game store solo for hours. I basically felt like one of the team, at that point. It was just me and the guys. However, I hadn't watched an episode in a while... when this one showed up. And magic happened.

    From the first few scenes at the diner where marriage goes from a 'property exchange between your father and your husband' via Sara to a 'public declaration of love' via Nick with Greg looking on, I knew I was in for a treat. Oh, and I wasn't disappointed.

    Shortly after coffee, Nick's SUV is nowhere to be found. The theft is problematic enough by itself, but the bad luck compounds tenfold with the fact that the vehicle also carries precious cargo; all the evidence from the crime scene the the team had just returned from. The scene itself had been a post-wedding celebration. The mother of the groom, Diane Chase - a lawyer, and one-time defender of organized crime associates - had been brutally murdered. During the reception.

    Mazal tov.

    This episode actually goes out of its way to entertain, employing a gallows sense of humor, and some film-noir aspects, as well.

    The title of the episode itself, pays homage to the Kurosawa film, 'Rashoman', also a story of murder based off of four separate perspectives of the same crime. Pretty brilliant, actually. And no less brilliantly carried out on the part of the writer, Sarah Goldfinger, or director Kenneth Fink. The actors' steller performances speak for themselves. It's obvious, even to the casual viewer that a lot of fun was had on the set.

    Cut to the exterior of Frank's Coffee Shop.

    (Grissom instructs the CSIs.)

    GRISSOM: I'll talk. You guys just look apologetic.
    (Nick takes his sunglasses off and tucks them in his pocket. Jeff McKeen walks up to them.)
    JEFF MCKEEN: All right, let me see if I understand this correctly. You let one of the members of your team drive his personal vehicle to a crime scene investigation; and then, even though there was a perfectly good crime scene vehicle there, that personal car was crammed with every bit of evidence collected at a major murder investigation, because two of you were maxed out on overtime. And then the driver, of said car, instead of securing that evidence in the lab, gave priority to his need for runny eggs and the aforementioned vehicle was stolen from a parking lot filled with police cars. Is there anything I missed?
    GRISSOM: Just this: Even if we recover the vehicle, the chain of custody has been broken, so all the evidence has been compromised.
    (Jeff McKeen removes an antacid from his roll.)
    GRISSOM: No judge will allow any of it to be admitted into court. Also, we released the crime scene, so it, too, is compromised, leaving us nothing to go back for.
    JEFF MCKEEN: Thank you for clarifying the situation.
    (He pops the tablet in his mouth, glares at the silent CSIs, turns and heads back to his car.)

    (sigh) Well, I thought he was trying to help.

    After Grissom preps the kids that ISA is heading their way to take their statements, he warns them to avoid looking any worse than they do, they have to remember all the crime scene data they can, given the circumstances. So, Nick, Greg and Sara head to the break room to pull thoughts and ready their statements, Brass handles McKeen, and Grissom gets the first run of conclusions from Phillips about Diane Chase's body.

    The game is afoot. Or, actually, a very bloody, very deceased lawyer tied to the back of a convertible with a 'Just Married' sign on it.

    Back in the break room, the diner buddies try to recollect what they each saw while collecting evidence at the scene; this is where the real charm of the episode begins to show through. We're treated to film-noir type techniques of the dramatic pan, the over-dub of the characters' voices as they recount their experiences. I wouldn't have been any less delighted, then if they'd stuck 'it was a dark and stormy night' in there, somewhere. What I thought for a dread-filled second would metamorphose into cliche, repetitious hell was turned out as glorious comedy genius. And where? In the belly of drama.

    The more realistic, comedic take on grim reality is one of the hardest, yet also most rewarding things one can do as a writer. The technique really pays off in this case, over and over throughout the episode. I won't strip the joy of the actual experience, but starting with Sara, we get to see each character's point of view, each shot in different ways as they remember what evidence they collected, who they spoke to. The most delightful recount, I thought, was Greg's; it was shot in full blown Sin City type black and white down to the blood red of the bridesmaids' lipstick, and 'Cagney' over-dub.

    SARA: (v.o.) Can the love be real when the flowers aren't?

    Oh, I think it can.

    Our CSIs spend the remainder of the episode discovering that bridesmaids were originally decoys for the bride to stave off assassins, getting hit by Cupid's arrow may ruin your day more than anything else, that a good paint job can really make up for dings and scrapes on an SUV from a bad tow job... and above all, that none of our stories are the same.

    My only (and I say 'only' as in speck of dust 'only') gripe was that the 'who-dun-nit' was kind of obvious, but then again... if the god-awful heel that usually match a bridesmaids' dress fits...
    In that same vein, although in a frightful segue, I must say, the dialogue was so quirky and charming, it drew me back towards the outstanding Darin Morgin episodes of X-Files fame ('Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose', 'Jose' Chung's 'From Outer Space''). I thought about 'Rashomama' for days afterward, and absolutely enjoyed every second of it - so much so, I had to emote through television review. Now that's passion.

    Now that I think about it, yeah - I saw the ending coming. I'm a writer, that's my job, kinda. But sometimes, that's a good thing. After the wedding speech of the newly christened mother-in-law/wedding favor, I think the temptation to go 'Heathers' on her was just too much. Sometimes, drugs just aren't enough to make the problem go away. That, or an entire lifetime of wedded bliss.

    'No, thanks mom. You REALLY shouldn't have.'
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