Saturday, December 13, 2008

CSI “19 Down”, One to Go?

It’s unusual for a CSI episode to end with the words “To Be Continued”, but Thursday’s episode “19 Down” did just that. It seems that a serial killer is somehow back to work again…even though he’s been in jail. It’s suspected there has been an accomplice involved all along.

But the real news in the episode was Gil Grissom (William Petersen) telling his group that he was leaving, and the show introducing university professor Dr. Raymond Langston, played by Laurence Fishburne. What was interesting in the episode was the reaction of Gil’s colleagues to his leaving. Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) said she knew it even before Gil did, Hodges (Wallace Langham) was clearly hurt and a little bent out of shape that he heard of Grissom’s leaving via the grapevine, and Gil’s comments to "Super” Dave (David Berman) seemed to really tear at Dave’s heart and made me a little teary eyed myself. It’s going to be a sad day when William Petersen leaves the show, but since many viewers have already prepared themselves for it, it shouldn’t be too traumatic.

The real test for the show will be how Fishburne’s character will be integrated into the team. I’ve said before that I have never been a big fan of Fishburne and I was underwhlemed when I heard he was joining the cast. But I have to admit that his limited appearance in “19 Down” was just enough to pique my interest. With only this brief exposure to go on, he seems like a very intense character, much more so than the introspective Grissom. Maybe this will turn out to be a good match for the show.

What displeases me more is that CSI seems to be taking a very dark turn with its stories as of late. This episode made me even more disappointed in the direction the show is taking. Sure, CSIs must deal with all kinds of crime, many not so pretty in nature. But it seems like serial killers must be everywhere if we look at the world from the eyes of CSI. We just seemed to get over the miniature killer and now we have a new nutball to worry about. Are serial killers the only way that this show can sustain a continuing story line? Another problem with serial killers in CSI and other shows is that they always seem to be portrayed as evil geniuses that seem to plot and scheme their murders as if they are artwork. It seems to glorify who I see as really sick, sick people. Thinking of real serial killers we’ve seen over the years, none of them seemed particularly bright to me, just crazy. Sure, last night’s serial killer did come off as being a sicko, but the fact that he actually got a chance to be interviewed for a college lecture seems to give him the fame and importance he wanted. Why reward someone like that with all that attention?

What was also odd was letting this serial killer actual see his audience, especially if there is a chance that he does have an accomplice out there. Granted, Gil didn’t tell Dr. Langston that he had suspicions the killer had a partner, but still, why even give the killer a chance to target someone else in some other manner? Funny was the ditzy blond who was told to put on a sweater to cover her cleavage and arms, yet she still let her cleavage clearly visible. What part of cover up didn’t she understand? Also, the professor should have covered the attire long before anyone came to that lecture.

One thing that was a true amusement to me was Gil deciding to throw away his crossword puzzle with one word left blank – which I assume is where they got the title for the episode “19 Down”. It seemed that Gil was ready to put aside his structured job as head of the CSI team, where he had to make sure every I was dotted, every T was crossed, and every blank filled in. Sure, he probably had the answer in his head, but he didn’t feel the need to finish it off and actually write it in. He had already mentally moved on. But what was the missing word? Take a look, and see if you can figure it out. Does the missing word mean anything, or is it just a tease to make fans crazy? The second half of this two-part show is titled “One to Go” which may speak to Gil's going, so maybe we need to see the whole story before we decide.

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Anonymous said...

I believe 19 down is mainly derived from the 19 victims that have been found so far. The 19th vic being the last man at the end of that episode, and "one to go" is his girlfriend, since these murders are "Dick-Jane" style. But I also agree with your interpretation since mine is literal... and we all know from Prison Break, things aren't always as they seem.

Anonymous said...

19 Down- Stayed