Saturday, January 24, 2009

CSI "The Grave Shift”: Fishburne ‘s Perfect Performance

In this episode of CSI, ‘The Grave Shift”, Dr. Raymond Langston (Laurence Fishburne) has his first day on the job. And what a first day it was, starting off with a burglary and then adding in an apparent arson including a homicide.

Both cases were interesting. But what made the show even more interesting was watching Langston come to the realization of what kind of world his just entered. It’s a world where he seems to be told he’s not to care about the people involved in the case, just the evidence. He seems to find this hard to deal with, and when he makes his last attempt to help a young man whose mother was involved in a robbery, he gets thanked for his concern with a spit in the face.

I have to admit that while I was never much of a fan of Fishburne that I thought he nailed his performance. It was as if you were actually the mind of Dr. Langston, thinking about trying to do what he thought was right, yet finding that not everyone can, or should be helped. It was also interesting to watch him as he came to a crime scene thinking he was prepared, and finding in some cases he was over prepared, and in others, under prepared. Watching him at the end of the episode practicing dusting fingerprints showed that despite the way his day went, he was resolved to get better in his job. And maybe that spit in the face was a wakeup call he needed to make him fully understand the world of crime and forensics, and his role in it. I suspect that we will also see him wearing different attire in future episodes, seeing that his tie was cut off because he got “evidence” on it, and his nice shoes seemed ruined from walking in the burned out home.

In what I though was a direct slap to CSI Miami – and it made me laugh – was when one of the other CSIs Riley Adams (Lauren Lee Smith) tells Langston that they are not social workers. As regular viewers of CSI Miami know, Horatio Caine (David Caruso) is always sticking his nose in other people’s business, especially when there are kids involved. CSI in Las Vegas doesn’t have the desire to go there, at least not often, thankfully.

In also a reference to Gil’s departure, Conrad Ecklie (Marc Vann) tells Catherine (Marg Helgenberger) that he doesn’t want to turn Grissom’s office into a shrine. Catherine doesn’t seem to want to move in to the office, so she gives the office to Nick (George Eads). Nick does a nice thing by sharing the wealth with his co-workers, allowing some of them to move in there with him.

Of course we were treated to the normal bitchery of Hodges (Wallace Langham) who seems to be a little threatened by Langston and gives him a hard time just because he can. But even Hodges seems to be won over. When Langston asks him a question Hodges says he didn’t know the answer, Langston remarks that this isn’t Hodges' reputation. This seems to bring a smile to Hodges' face. Later, when Langston realizes the detonator for the explosion in the house was a cornmeal timer, and Langston creates an explosion by making his own cornmeal timer, Hodges looks at Langston as if he was in love.

All in all, a great start for Fishburne. In this one episode, I think they have established what kind of person that Langston will be. While he seems to be a bit of a perfectionist in what he does, he may be a little naïve in what he faces in his new job. I am sure there are more challenges to come. But for his first outing as a CSI Level One, I thought Fishburne was just perfect. I think that CSI will continue to do very well in the ratings and may even draw in new fans with Fishburne on the team. And, like Hodges, I found myself loving the character at the end of the show. I can’t wait to learn more about him, and I think it will be an interesting experience for viewers!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I strongly feel the scene that has Fishburne spat on is RACIAL. Sense the first episodes of CSI, I have never seen anyone on that show treated with the disrespect they have Fishburne endure.