Friday, April 4, 2008

Grissom’s Divine Comedy: A Seriously Good Episode

Photo from CBS
Last night’s episode of CSI, “Grissom’s Divine Comedy” was probably one of the best CSI episodes in a long time. The story opens with the death of a man who was set to testify in a grand jury after witnessing a gang leader – Emilio Alvarado (Robert LaSardo) - fleeing the scene of a previous murder. We’re introduced to Deputy District Attorney Madeline Klein (Bonnie Bedelia), who begs an ill Gil Grissom (William Petersen) to come and help her with the case, as Alvarado is set to be released in 52 hours if the grand jury is unable to return and indictment.

The case twists and turns, with the team discovering evidence that shows sabotage in the car of the witness, plus a gun in the glove compartment, which was triggered by the heat of the fire in the car. It also leads them to get a warrant for Alvarado’s apartment, which explodes as Grissom and Warrick (Gary Dourdan) approach. With the clock ticking and the team trying to connect all the pieces, the case leads them to different suspects for the murder of the witness, the original murder, and the apartment explosion.

Not only was the story itself top notch, but also the acting was the best I think I’ve seen on this show in many years. Particularly gripping was the scene where Jim Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) is explaining to Grissom about the circumstances where the witness decided to testify, and Brass gets choked up over the witnesses death. It seemed very real and maybe one of Guilfoyle’s best scenes ever on the show.

Bonnie Bedelia did a great job as Deputy DA Klein. Usually when a guest star or new character gets such a prominent role working with the CSI team, I’m usually prepared not to like them, maybe because they always don’t seem to fit. But her performance was great and she seemed to be very comfortable in the role. Her character has just enough flaws that it makes you want to learn more about her. At the end, she comments to Gil that he’s either her enabler or her soul mate. Frankly she does seem better suited for Gil than the always depressive and angst-filled Sara Sidle (Jorja Fox). Funny, I don’t miss Sara at all. By the way, I assume the phone call Gil got at the end – that brought a smile to his face – was supposed to be from Sara? Despite having some sort of “bug” (no pun intended, we know Gil likes real bugs) Gil seemed more grounded that I think he’s ever been. Maybe Sara's absence has removed the oppressive veil from his life?

This episode was the perfect mix of an interesting story, and interesting investigation, and interesting characters. We weren’t subjected to an overdose of Catherine (Marg Helenberger); and people like Warrick and Nick Stokes (George Eads) seemed to be behaving normally, with more focus on the case at hand.

I think it was worth the wait for this new episode, and I hope this means that future episodes will get back to the original quality the show had in earlier years. That would be just divine.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow. I thought this was a great episode too. One thing is the now smaller cast (minus also Louise Lombard) works much better and the stories seem tighter. CSI had too many "lead characters" for a while there and I'm a big fan of returning the focus to the original five stars we saw in the pilot (Petersen, Helgenberger, Eads, Dourdan, and Guilfoyle). This is why last night's episode worked.