Throwing words away one syllable at a time.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

CSI: bullet holes in the plot

OK. So, I don't watch TV but I do download CSI every week. I discovered that on Google video. Oh sure, one day Google and Walmart are going to own our souls. (I notice Googlezon isn't listed among the fun clips from Google video.) But while Google is buying my soul for the price of allowing me endless free searching, free e-mail, a blog and letting me see CSI every week without having to commit to the brain melt of cable, I don't seem to mind.

CSI is the only reason I really miss TV. Well, I get a jones for the local news periodically but mostly CSI. The rest of TV programming is generally vapid. I used to wait and watch CSI on DVDs when they came out. I don't watch the "how we did it" voice-overs. I dig CSI so much I don't want to see behind the curtain.

But sometimes, the writers leave the curtains open and it pisses me off. Since I've been watching 'em online, I've started noticing inconsistencies -- which supports my theory that the moment you look to a small screen across your living room your reason leaves your mind. Usually, I think the writing is tight. But this last episode... "Kiss-Kiss, Bye-Bye" bothered me. The holes got to me -- the ones in the plot left by stray bullets.

Basically, a waiter, Vincent Pullone - aka Tim Duke, is found dead in the closet of Lois O'Neill, an aging Vegas showgirl with mob connections. Pullone was shot in both the the heart and the head. The head shot was a "through and through" according to David at the scene. Over the autopsy table, Grissom fingered the bullet hole in his brain -- commenting there was no blood in the wound track. Doc Robbins said the shot to the head happened 10 mintutes after the shot through the heart.

OK. Great.
But when Sara and Greg take to Lois' closet collecting evidence, Sara finds a bullet hole in the floor about 5 feet away from blood spots on the nice white carpet -- which means this bullet hole would not be from the through and through to the waiter's head. And the bullet from the waiter's heart was found lodged in his spinal column. Personlly, I think the purpose of this hole was to allow Sara and Greg to use Hawkeye -- a gadget that looks like a plumbers snake with a camera on the end --- to discover $1 million under the floor. A nice plot point but where did the bullet hole come from they were probing?? There was no blood around it and nothing in the plotline ever explained it.

Further, when they wrapped up the "whodunit" for the waiter, they don't explain the trho shot. The head shot is supposed to connect the mob to the hit. Are we supposed to assume Louis or her assistant came back and shot a man who was already dead, as well as shoot another errant hole through the floor into a million dollars which they both know is there? I suppose that's viable but the second shot Sara and Greg find doesn't make sense.

Then, there are the plane tickets.
Nick and Archie pull images from the survelliance tapes to find that Pullone and his girlfriend were taking off to Sarajevo but the waiter missed the plane. The problem here is that the tickets were purchased by Lois' company but Nick didn't figure that out until much later in the episode. But early in the episode, when Warrick and Sophia interview Lois' assistant Eve, they know the tickets came from the someone in the house. Now that information just wasn't apparent at that point in the plot -- nothing disclosed that information at that point. They don't figure that out until they find Lois dead in her bedroom later. That information comes out a few minutes from the end of the show when Grissom reports over Lois' dead body that "Nick just found out" the tickets were purchased by someone from Lois' company. The official recap on CBS's website even corroborates that point.

Somebody fucked up in the editing room.

Don't get me wrong, it was a nice piece. The intro cameos of old footage of Dean Martin and Joe DiMaggio at a fight are a nice stylistic visual tying together the mob, the history and touching on the fact that Pullone was supposed to be a fighter. Overall, the theme touched on sentimentality and it was a lovely way of bringing Sam Braun back into the picture, dating Catherine's mother again. An interesting vignette in the closing seems to suggest that Braun actually loves Catherine. Very well acted on his part. Marg Helgenberger gets on my nerves for some reason -- I think it's because her character rocks between stringent ethics and bending them. And, even dressed to the nines like she was at the end of this episode, she looks a little cheap. She's believable as a former stripper.

Best lines:
When pop star Lil' Cherry, whose alibi was going down on her bodyguard as a birthday present, asks Brass what she can do to get him to believe her story, he replies, "I already had my birthday."

Sara tells Hodges gray hair can be very attractive, visbily unsettling Grissom for the second week in a row. Is Bill Peterson looking old around the eyes lately, or what?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have to give the producers credit for a winning formula. CSI is essentially "Miami Vice", techno-geek style. You've got montages set to 'cool' music. The lighting is generaly sparse; you can see that many times it is daylight though the windows when they step into the crime scene, why are they walking around in the dark with flashlights ?!...turn on the friggin' lights. Then there is the 'Tech': biological tech, computer tech, psycological profiling... etc. But even the 'tech' has holes in it; how do you enhance a grainy low-res image to a sharpened profile of the killer? As someone who works in the photo industry, I can tell you this... you can't enhance image data that's not there to begin with.

I prefer the "Without a trace" series... great drama, fantastic acting... and on TV no less. Hollywood should take notice. But regardless, I will still be watching CSI; my wife says that Greg is 'geek-ily cute'... there again, it's the geek aspect.

8:17 AM

Blogger Cher said...

I didn't think anyone read this blog.

Again, it was something I created for in-depth reporting but then never went back to because, well, when it comes down to it, who really cares what *I* have to say about news stories and "CSI"?

I agree with you on the sharpened image thing -- I've wondered that myself. I used to work in the print/copy business, and there are things you simply can't do when pixels aren't there.

I like "CSI." I own Seasons 1-5. But as a rule, I don't watch TV - at all - unless it's a DVD I rent. This year, I've been watching CSI and the other "CSIs" online because CBS is running full episodes for free. I do give the producers credit in that the shows are just about the only TV I watch. If "Without a Trace" runs online, I'll give it a whirl.

I generally think that the writing behind the shows is tight. That was why I was so surprised to find a hole in the plot.

I always thought geeks were cool.

10:07 AM

Anonymous tjs98tj said...

Fellow csi er dont watch to much on tv series but do like csi so your not alone!!

10:54 PM


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