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October 9, 2015

CSI: 19 Down... (Part One)

by Allison Waldman, posted Dec 12th 2008 10:40AM
fishburne(S09E09) In part one of the two-part episode that will hand off the reins of power at the Las Vegas crime lab from Gil Grissom to Raymond Langston, CSI spent as much time breaking the news about Gil's exit as it did lay the groundwork for Langston's entrance.

Speaking of entrances, Laurence Fishburne was given quite the platform, appearing in shadow until the light clicked on and he was revealed. It'll be interesting to see if Petersen's last scene will replicate Frank Sinatra vanishing into distant spotlights, singing "Excuse me while I disappear." Considering the Vegas connection, I think that would be a perfect way for him to go.

But not just yet. First there's this very complicated, very gruesome case that's still unresolved. The Dick and Jane Killer, a guy who murders couples, seems to have a copy cat on the loose because the confessed serial killer, Haskell, is already behind bars. Brass and Grissom learned that Langston was using Haskell -- via remote feed -- as part of his classwork at the University. Without telling the prof, Grissom got into the lecture hall in order to question Haskell. It seemed like an oblique way to get Langston and Grissom to work together -- they eschewed the direct approach -- but it did immediately create a schism between Brass and Langston, something to be played out when Langston takes Grissom's place at CSI.

Because this was a two-parter, we're left on edge about creepy Haskell -- a good turn by Bill Irwin. With those engineer glasses, he kind of looked like Noah Bennett on Heroes. But if a prisoner is in keep-away, as Gil points out, why was he allowed an unsupervised phone call to Langston to taunt him and tip the authorities off about the ninth D&J kill? Still, Irwin scared me as Haskell, so he definitely did his job well.

Interestingly, for me the best part of the show was how oblivious Grissom was to the way his abrupt news flash about leaving CSI is affecting the team. He seemed genuinely stunned by the tears in assistant M.E. David's eyes when Gil said he would miss him and not the work. Like the bugs and insects he studies, Gil is still in the cocoon emotionally.

For a student of behavior, he should know that some reactions -- like Hodges being hurt that he was not personally informed by Gil -- were predictable. The coolest (as in wise and aware, not reserved and uncaring) reaction was probably Catherine's. She anticipated it, perhaps based on the conversation at the end of the last show about Grissom upping the ante. My favorite exchange was Brass and Grissom's, suggesting that they'll stay in touch and perhaps go out on the boat and celebrate July 4th together. Gil's response, "You have a boat?" was priceless. It was so obvious they never socialized before and likely never would in the future. Their relationship -- and friendship -- was all about the office. Better than Michael and Toby on The Office, but not by much.

As for Fishburne's character, it's too soon to tell. He only met with Grissom and Brass and only on his own turf. He came off as authoritative and imposing, but also intelligent and observant. He also was pretty obvious when dealing with Haskell, like putting him on hold to conference Gil in on the phone conversation. That could have been done in a more stealth-like fashion. I suspect Part Two will have more opportunities for Nick, Catherine and the others to meet/clash with Langston.

So, till then, we wait. And we'll have wait a while because the show isn't on next week, and probably not on Christmas day either.
What's your first read on Langston?
I'm impressed100 (30.1%)
I'm wary about how he'll fit in53 (16.0%)
I don't like his style25 (7.5%)
Too soon to tell154 (46.4%)

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I love the ending, but I don't think the copy cat serial killer was explained well. Were there 4 people involved in the killings? We have Haskell who's in jail, and we know that Thomas Donover was his accomplice. But we also know that Donover and Tolliver were partners, and Tolliver and Keesey were both at Justine & Ian's crime scene. So did Donover kill everyone? Very confusing....

January 28 2009 at 10:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

In another article that I read, it was said that Langston used to be a pathologist but quit practicing medicine because he didn't catch on that there was an angel of death doing mercy killings at some hospital. He isn't there to take over Grissom's position.

And Haskell made me feel like a needed a scalding shower, ish.

December 12 2008 at 7:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

During Grissom's very unprofessional exit speech, he stated Catherine would be in charge and Ecklie was hiring a Level 1 CSI to fill the empty slot.

I can't figure out how Fishburne will wind up being in charge of the team. He's a doctor and doesn't have a police/CSI background. There has to a protocol in place for someone to takeover an entire team of CSI's.

December 12 2008 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Who does a "To Be Continued" and then doesn't give you a preview of the next episode? Oh yeah, CSI does. Many of thier "To Be Continued" episodes in the past have been either the season finale, or a two part season opener, but this "To Be Continued" was in the middle of the season. I've always enjoyed Laurence Fishburne. I like the way he talks and he plays a good authorative figure. One last thing, CSI, give Wendy more screentime! I don't like the new blonde CSI who's now in the opening credits, a wasted oppurtunity that should have went to Liz Vassey. If they are planning giving her more scenes like they did with Hodges, I have yet to see it happen.

December 12 2008 at 12:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh yeah, my wife was watching and when they found the body at the end, she said "isn't that the guy from the class?". The guy who asked the girl if she wanted to go grab a drink after the class was cut short. I didn't rewind it to see but that could be an interesting twist.

I didn't see previews for next weeks show. Are we going to have to wait till next year to continue the story?

December 12 2008 at 12:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm curious to see how they're going to integrate him into CSI. I know this show takes some liberty in who a CSI and what they do (interrogating suspects, kicking down doors with SWAT teams) but I would assume you'd have to have a least some police training and experience before even joining a CSI team, much less taking a supervisors or leader position. This is assuming he's taking Grissoms place and not just joining the team.

December 12 2008 at 12:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to HybridAndy's comment

From what I've read in the past, it has to do with how the CSIs are actually handled in the locations the shows are places. Part of the reason that some shows carry guns, while others are more "support". Some locations have CSIs who have actually been "cops" in the past, while others are more of a "specialist", so they aren't really gun carrying badges.

Can't find a link to it ATM, but am looking for something that explains it a bit better.

December 12 2008 at 1:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think I've ever been genuinely creeped out from a CSI: episode since the Miniature Killer arc resolved last season, but this one took the cake.

Haskell was absolutely unsettling not only as a character, but also from the entire treatment around seeing him on the projector to the class. The writers knew they could work some magic on this one, and they clearly did.

CSI: has always had top-notch production values, and the entire way this episode was presented is worthy of an Emmy. (Sadly, CSI: is often snubbed by the academy, so they'll probably lose out on this one...)

Langston looks like he'll add a new bit of momentum to the show, but the producers are showing that they're not going to let CSI: fade into darkness yet. We could get a good few more years out of this series without it moving towards mediocrity.

December 12 2008 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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