This is a good, creepy, nasty episode: the first with just one crime at its centre. The scene is dripping in gore – allowing for a popular CSI trope, the vomiting cop, to make its own first appearance.
Also showing up for the first time? O’Reilly, about whose big craggy face I feel rather fondly.
Anyway, so the crime is a quadruple homicide. Mum, Dad and two sons have both been murdered, leaving only the daughters alive. The oldest one, Tina, soon finds herself under suspicion
along with her boyfriend, who looks a little bit like a less attractive Heath Ledger.
Meanwhile, the youngest sister (second celebrity guest of the season…) is busy making friends with Sara, who Grissom assigns to look after her (and who is less than thrilled with the job).
It seems like in the end, Sara doesn’t mind spending time with Brenda (who calls their tiny daughter Brenda??) but she is able to MESS WITH GRISSOM’S mind in one of those scenes that makes me love her, just a bit.
Grissom: What are you doing now?
Sara: Going back to the girl.
Sara: I left her in the car.
Sara: (Explanatory) The windows are cracked.
Sara: Give me a little credit. She’s at the hospital.
Anyway. This ep is so good I actually don’t want to go into more detail about how things turn out (in case anybody ends up going back to watch it) but suffice to say that this time it’s Grissom who wants to know not just how, but why (something that Catherine was harassing Nick about back in Episode 5) but it’s Catherine whose excellent moment of realisation
provides the forensic confirmation. Oh, and there’s time for just one Petersen Pout along the way.
The broader theme of this episode is to do with the CSIs’ respective priorities. There’s the first inkling of Sara’s extreme all or nothing attitude to the job, as she pops up at Grissom’s side almost as soon as the crime has happened:
Sara: Heard on the scanner, quadruple – figured you might need a hand.
Grissom: You don’t sleep, do you?
Catherine is struggling with related problems, as CSI-ing seems to be taking over her life at the expense of everything else. She misses picking Lindsey up from ballet, for instance. Eddie the Ex does it instead and pretends to be all nicey nicey by making pancakes and giving her a massage…
… but he is secretly FULL OF NASTINESS, swiftly accusing Catherine of parental neglect and setting Ted the Social Worker on her case.
Outrageous behaviour. Meanwhile, an ongoing dispute is established as Grissom responds badly to pressure from the sheriff about this high-profile case, wanting to get on with his job.
Sheriff: Here’s a thought: why don’t you try being more like Ecklie?
Basically, this is about how Grissom might be a great scientist but he’s very bad at people-pleasing. This sets him at a disadvantage against day-shift supervisor Ecklie, who pops up to be very competitive and sanctimonious about how Grissom is committing career suicide by alienating the sheriff. I spy a long-running rivalry in the making!