Season 3 Episode 5

Ghost in the Machine

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 06, 2006 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
141 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

Allison gets Joe a camcorder for his birthday. But soon she starts seeing disturbing images through it that may or may not be connected to a murder.

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  • excellent episode

    A haunted video camera, that's the excellent plotline for this week. This episode is like the usual detective procedural, but the haunted video camera is the focus for this week. When Allison buys a video camera as a gift for Joe, little that she know that the video camera is haunted and is determined to let her know all the horrible things that it saw. The writers came up with an excellent plotline. I enjoyed this episode from start to finish. We got a new way of seeing visions from beyond. The video camera thing worked so well. The camera itself was the adventure.moreless
  • Alison buys Joe a camcorder with some echos of the past owners showing themselves to Alison.

    There is a sniper out there and he has shot a woman on her way home from a card game at the country club. It's Joe's birthday and Alison gets Joe a camcorder which starts showing her video footage of the past owners and how they are connected to the sniper death. The birthday scene for Joe was so cute with Bridget's homemade ashtray and Ariel's aftershave and the fun Joe has filming them, Jake Webber is so darned adorable as Joe IMHO. Alison is confused because she keeps trying to fit in these glimpses from the camera to the crime that has been committed but something seems to be missing. All in all it was a really good episode and the culprit was more than alittle freaked out that the DA's office knew her every move. Busted!;)moreless
  • Not exactly the best birthday present!

    The title is from the Police song of the same name as our hero Alison gives her husband Joe a camcorder for his birthday but the birthday present is anything but enjoyable as she sees visions of a would be murder or maybe it isn't. Great show once again as like one viewer has said, like you are watching a sci-fi movie and you forget this is a tv show.
  • Joe’s possessed birthday present.

    Allison buys a used camera as Joe’s birthday present, one would think she should know better by now considering every object she touches is "charged" with its former owner energy, but she simply couldn’t resist the offer and so she pays a high price for the discount as her precious family moments are tainted by these flashes of a woman named Kathy and the lover she uses to kill off her husband.

    Her bosses, however, are more concerned about a shooter who is killing drivers on the highway and an awkward moment occurs when Scanlon faces his former girlfriend/deputy major at the staff reunion. Though she empathizes with the grieving husband, Allison feels useless to help with his wife’s murder because everything she sees is this Kathy person and the crime she’s trying to pull off but once the lover appears to have shot the wrong person she connects the dots and brings Scanlon to the last place the victim was seen where they find not a Kathy but a Diana who was actually trying to get rid of the wealthy wife of the guy she was seeing before her lover and his camera would enter the picture.

    Problem is: How to prove it? Diana has already killed her lover by the time they bring her to interrogation and she denies she ever plot to kill the woman. Elementary my dear Allison, the camera reveals her, she’s the one who brought it back to the store using her lover’s receive and now the guy who sold it to Allison has recognized her everything should go smooth for both Allison’s case and the family camera.moreless
  • The storylines were great as always but I really liked seeing bits of Allison's childhood.

    This show overall has great characters and character development. All very real. In this episode the birthday party and later video recording are great examples. I really liked Scanlon telling DiNovo she was not invited to the intorrogation as well. But he real highlight of the episode for me was in the teaser. I like seeing bits of Allison growing up, becoming aware of her gift and dealing with it. I also enjoyed the twist with Diana/Kathy. While I expected the camera visions to be related to the sniper shooting I did not even think of the result. I kept thinking there was some sort of visual substution going on in Allison's visions, boy was I wrong and that is great.moreless
Kathleen Robertson

Kathleen Robertson

"Kathy" Diana Marvin

Guest Star

Tim Guinee

Tim Guinee

Sean Caffey

Guest Star

Blair Hickey

Blair Hickey

Camera Salesman

Guest Star

Tina DiJoseph

Tina DiJoseph

Lynn Di Novi

Recurring Role

Miranda Carabello

Miranda Carabello

Marie DuBois

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (1)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • Scanlon: You okay?
      Devalos: It's 3:15 in the morning. It was never God's plan for people to be up at 3:15 in the morning.

    • Joe: (opening birthday presents) Ahh. How do I smell?
      Ariel: Like the cool mist of the ocean.
      Joe: Umm, just like the box says. Thank you honey.
      Ariel: Happy birthday Daddy.
      Joe: Thank you sweetie.
      Bridgette: Open mine, open mine, open mine!
      Joe: Wow! Is this for me? Is it a car?
      Bridgette: No, and you did that joke last year.
      Allison: He does that joke every year. That's how we know he's a year older.
      Joe: (looking at the gift) It's beautiful.
      Bridgette: I made it.
      Joe: You're kidding!
      Bridgette: Do you know what it is?
      Joe: Yes I do, but I'm not going to tell you.
      Ariel: He thinks it's an ashtray.
      Bridgette: Ariel!
      Joe: That is so otherworldly, this is so what I was hoping for.
      Ariel: You don't even smoke!
      Joe: And I never will, but I can still appreciate a beautifully made ashtray. Thank you honey! I am going to put this on my desk at work, right next to the one you gave me last year.
      Allison: Here's a little something from me and Marie. Also not a car.
      Joe: Oh my!
      Bridgette: Oh, come on!
      Joe: Oh wow! Look at this!
      Bridgette: Awesome!
      Joe: Now this is even better than the one I saw in the paper. Wow, this one has all the bells and whistles.
      Allison: Don't look at me. Marie picked it out.
      Joe: Whoa ... I can't even imagine how much this cost. So which one of the girls isn't going to college?

  • NOTES (1)

    • International Air Dates:
      The Netherlands: March 30th, 2007 on Net 5
      Norway: December 25th, 2007 on TV2
      Finalnd: April 12th, 2008 on Nelonen
      Czech Republic: February 23rd, 2009 on Prima


    • Episode Title: Ghost in the Machine

      "Ghost in the machine" is a philosophical term introduced by Gilbert Ryle in his 1949 book, The Concept of Mind. It is meant to emphasize that mental activity is of a different category than physical action and that their means of interaction are unknown.

      In everyday language "ghost in the machine" is used to describe a normally lifeless object developing a life of its own - for example a computer or, as in this episode, a video camera.

      "Ghost in the machine" also derives from a much older concept in Greek theater. A "god," appearing in a contraption worked from offstage, appeared on the scene and caused some action to occur.

      The ancient Latin term is deus ex machina. In contemporary usage however, the phrase refers to more or less random plot devices or improbable coincidences.

      There is also a sci-fi movie (1993), a music album by The Police (1981) and an episode of The X-Files (1993) of the same title.