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S15.E12: Dead Woods

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After witnessing a shooting, a woman remembers scenes from her own families brutal murder. She asks CSI Sara Sidle to reopen the 10 year old cold case.

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The whole setup with the teenager's connection to Sarah seemed pretty weak -- Sarah has been keeping tabs on this girl for 10 years, but has never brought it up before now with anyone she works with ?  And the teenager was with her boyfriend in that neighborhood for what reason exactly -- to score drugs ?  And what happened with the cell phone ?  After the teenager gave her cell phone to her boyfriend, it suddenly reappeared in her right hand when confronted by the junkie robbing them, and then she handed it to him -- again.  Was the boyfriend charged with murder or did he get off with a 'stand your ground' style defense ?

 

And Greg's "You know, we've never really talked about how your father died" conversations with Sarah seemed particularly forced into the episode.

 

But the worst crime in this show was making Ben Browder the bad guy -- John Crichton/Cam Mitchell would never be going all deliverance on campers in the woods.

 

How far away from Las Vegas would that hunting club or camp site have been for the killer to be shooting elk such that the killer left trace in the tent (ie. the elk's blood in the tent) since elk aren't commonly found in Nevada ?  The co-conspirator lived in Henderson which is renowned for it's elk hunting </snark>.

Edited by ottoDbusdriver
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Another episode with all the gigantic plotholes this show is famous for, as outlined by ottoDbusdriver above; still I enjoyed it.  It had a relatively happy ending for CSI.

 

When Greg mentioned the Cyranose 320  I thought he was talking about Hodges, who is well known for his sensitive sense of smell.  I was actually disappointed that it was a real machine - at least real on CSI, don't know if it really exists or not.

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First we get Abby Fisher and bf Slade confronted in an alley by a bum with a gun and Slade fights with him and shoots him. Abby then remembers as Slade runs off, scenes from her own families brutal murder. He must have been there to score drugs. I did like how later when he was brought in for questioning that Sara pushed him against the wall and warned him to stay away from Abby. "You saw that didn't you?" he told the Officer, and he replied that he saw nothing. Lol. Later I thought on an outside chance he was the one who shot suspected murderer Donald Wraith in his old Dodge truck. But like with the father, Barry Fisher, it was made to look like a suicide. Also how would Slade have found out? I didn't see the cell phone magically switch hands from Slade back to Abby,as was pointed out . It was interesting that she recognized same smell, from 10 years ago.

I liked Officer Andy Akers,and if Det. Crawford or Officer Mitch aren't there, he is a good choice. Maybe make Mitch a CSI after Nick leaves. Or better yet a Detective to replace Jim Brass.

Tori Spellings hubby Dean McDermott as the molester Garth Fogel still looks good. But I only for a minute thought he was involved. Nick pushed him well to break him. I thought when he stood up, Nick was going to knock him back in his seat. But probably with Officers around, he thought better of it then to confront Nick. But Hannah the youngest was his daughter.

Well Mrs.Kathy Fisher did look good. But I would think that Randy Pruitt could get his own women and not have to rape campers. The bearded Donald Wraith did look more like a guy that strikes out more, or is to into his alone time to try to date. But after Wraith was found dead, and my other options were implausible, Slade killing him to get back on Abby's good side, but he would be to weak. Or Abby herself, I even thought foster mom, Joanna Higgins, but how would they know? I figured it had to be Randy Pruitt.

I thought at end when Barry Fisher was cleared as the murderer/suicide, that Sara would set up the funeral Abby missed. I did like Abby and Joanna happy with Sara's findings and happy as a family. It was nice that Sara talked to Greg about her father. Maybe if Nick is leaving then Greg will get closer to her.

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...But the worst crime in this show was making Ben Browder the bad guy -- John Crichton/Cam Mitchell would never be going all deliverance on campers in the woods....

I know! My reaction was somewhere between H!ITG! it must be him (which it was), and: Seriously?

...I thought at end when Barry Fisher was cleared as the murderer/suicide, that Sara would set up the funeral Abby missed....

Off screen, a memorial service could have happened.
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But the worst crime in this show was making Ben Browder the bad guy -- John Crichton/Cam Mitchell would never be going all deliverance on campers in the woods.

exactly.  I so wanted him to be a red herring.  The guy played a bad guy on the HoCaine franchise way back when too.  I am glad to see that Ben has shaved off that beard and mustache he grew to be on Dr. Who.

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Can they really get fingerprints off a sleeping bag that has been stuffed in a box for ten years?

 

To me, the biggest "Oh, come on now, really?" moment was when they ask the hunting club guy for the list of members who had hunting licenses in 2004, and he walks over to a nearby file cabinet, opens one of the top two drawers, which only contains a messy stack of 4-5 white binders, grabs a binder, which contains very few pages inside, and hands it to Sara.  I am not sure, but I don't think there was any writing on the binder, so how'd he know that one was for 2004?.  Why on Earth would he have 10 year old hunting licenses in a readily accessible spot?  In real life, they would have combined those few pages with the other few pages from other years into the same binder and put it in a box in a storage room or on a shelf (who puts binders in a file cabinet drawer?) - if they kept the hunting licenses for 10 years.  

 

How far away from Las Vegas would that hunting club or camp site have been for the killer to be shooting elk such that the killer left trace in the tent (ie. the elk's blood in the tent) since elk aren't commonly found in Nevada ?  The co-conspirator lived in Henderson which is renowned for it's elk hunting </snark>.

 

Actually, Henderson is known for its Welk Hunting - a group in search of Lawrence Welk impersonators and dedicated to convincing Cirque du Soleil to do a show based on accordion music (snarking, too)

 

As far-fetched as the elk hunting thing seemed, it may not have been far-fetched at all.  I googled "snow near Vegas" and found out that Mt. Charleston is about a half hour drive from the strip.  I assume that is where we are supposed to believe the murders took place.  And according to a 2005 article from the Pahrump Valley Times written by a guy who was happy to get his Mt. Charleston elk hunting permit, there was a herd of about 300 Elk on Mt. Charleston.  

 

Still, it makes no sense that he would have fresh elk blood on his clothes when his purpose of his night-time trip was a to drug a guy and rape his wife.  Did he just happen to see an elk on the way to the campsite and kill it?  Was he busy butchering an elk when his friend stopped to pick him up for their excursion?  Did they decide to save on gas by combining a couple of activities "hey, while we are elk hunting at night, why don't we stop by that couple's campsite and rape that woman."

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That fingerprint on the sleeping bag, I was highly skeptical about it; I work with fingerprint examiners.  it would have to be a really densely woven, almost nonporous slick fabric for a fingerprint to show like that.  Especially after 10 years.  I don't recall what method they used to bring up that print but after all that time it would have degraded greatly and would not have looked that good.  

 

I often give a side eye to the fingerprint work the CSI's do.  (AFIS does not work like they show it. The program does not spin prints to match submitted latents and you don't see the prints flash on the screen, its all internal. Its like the magic DNA machine that way) There is so much that gets glossed over because its boring TV to watch a real live person staring thru a magnifying glass for hours or to watch cyanoacrylate prints develop.  Most of the processes that they gloss over take hours to develop prints.   But that's Hollywood!  Gotta chalk it up with the numerous serial killers running rampant in our country and that profilers are always right. And it only take minutes to get from Vegas to Pahrump and Henderson.  Its all the geographical magic of Hollywood.

Edited by Linderhill
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My biggest gripe on CSI is when they fume prints in the chamber, and the chamber is see-through. Cyanoacrylate sticks to everything ... including the container you're fuming things in. So it should be opaque. I guess they figure we want to see what's inside? I just want to see it look like it's supposed to lol.

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this is very true but watching actual fuming is kind of boring.  Even if you can see into the chamber, and some of them are see thru or were in the past.  Its kind of like I mentioned in my previous post, these things can take hours.  Most of the time the examiner goes off to do other things while the processing is being done because they always have plenty of other cases to work on.

 

As for the recycling of scripts, I never watched Cold Case or Numbers but I remember many recycled scripts on many police procedurals over the years.  There really is a limited pool sometimes of what they can use.  Its a tried a true practice in procedurals.  CSI used to be fairly "fresh" because they would often use real live case to pull inspiration from.  I'm going to blame the lack of originality on The Schue simply because she seems to have smothered all of the originality out of this show.  (I know it probably isn't really her fault but I can't stand the character.  its probably Change of management maybe?)  I am surprised that they didn't at least try  to tie this case in with some of the old cases from years past.  It would have been great if it had been tied to "Gum Drops" but then it wouldn't have been able to center on Sara.  

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Wasn't there an episode many years ago in which Hodgins mentioned that the boring CSI procedure would be sped up with background music for TV?  Maybe a reality show was filming?  I was thinking that was the show explaining within the show to viewers what they do.

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There are things I gripe about - like the hunting club guy finding the 2004 binder in a nearby file cabinet drawer - because doing something more realistic - like him walking into a back room and coming back with the list or printing it off of his computer - would not change how boring or exciting the scene is.  I also complain when there are big jumps in logic - like the recent prison death episode where there were no cameras in the prison - that could easily be explained - the camera in the laundry room had been damaged in a recent prison fight.  However, there are a lot more things I overlook because It makes for better TV.  

 

For instance ---

 

- They are the night shift, yet we see them working on cases during the day.  

- They bring in witnesses no matter what time it is.  

- Most cases couldn't possibly be solved in one shift, yet they never pass the case onto the next shift or are handed a case from the previous shift.

- They use flashlights even in empty buildings with working lights.

- They rarely find evidence that doesn't further the case.  The hair on the jacket is from the murderer not a random hair that was picked up from the coat rack at the corner bar.  And if it was picked up from the bar, the hair would be from the ex-con bartender, which would lead them to the bar, where they would find a piece of fuzz that leads them to the killer (not the bartender who would have a solid alibi)

 

And there are many times that we say "I wonder if this equipment really exists," but that is fine.  All this stuff makes the show more interesting.  

 

That said, I have recently watched (I should say re-watched, but I didn't remember them) a few episodes from one of the early seasons.  I really miss having 2 cases per week.  

Edited by needschocolate
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They use flashlights even in empty buildings with working lights.

The flashlight thing has always bugged me, especially in the early seasons. This episode--as many this season--just seemed like the plot was unnecessarily complicated.

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I didn't mind this episode. For elk hunting in Nevada, I just assumed that the club imported elk for its members to kill. Quite a few hunting clubs do this.

 

I love the fact that Jorja Fox is brave enough to age naturally because I am so tired of the many actresses who are so botoxed that they can't move their faces.

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Since Sarah's mother is in an institution for the mentally ill in Vegas and Dr. Spenser Reid's mother is also in one. I can see a cross over between the two shows if Reid's mom is in the same place. It might be the most organic crossovers ever.

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Since Sarah's mother is in an institution for the mentally ill in Vegas and Dr. Spenser Reid's mother is also in one. I can see a cross over between the two shows if Reid's mom is in the same place. It might be the most organic crossovers ever.

 

Two thoughts popped into my head  ---

 

The BAU gives their profile - "white male in his early 30's, likes The Beatles, but doesn't care for for the Rolling Stones, enjoys wearing new socks everyday, was very close to his older brother as a child."  And then, as the patrol cops are wondering how they are supposed to use this information, a CSI says "We found mustard and mayonnaise stains at the scene.  The only place that uses that both of those varieties is a Russian deli in Henderson.  We found flecks of pastrami, saur kraut, and gorgonzola cheese in the victims hair.  The only customer at the that deli that likes gorgonzola on his rueben sandwich is Fred Blenderman.  Units are picking him up now.  

 

The CSI teams spends 4 days piecing together a windshield to find the make and model of the car driven by the killer.. They make a replica of the victim's body out of lime gelatin, then have a similar car drive into it to determine the angle at which the body was hit - to find out if the victim was leaving the Sands or the Belagio.  Then Penelope says "Okay, Chocolate Soda, you ask and I deliver, every time, Sweet Cocoa Man... I cross referenced white males in their 20's with at least one parent who has visited Guam, with members of a gambling addiction group that meets on Wednesdays, with everyone who bought a peppermint mocha latte at Starbucks in December of 2009.  There were 3 matches.  But only one of the matches wears sweater vests - Ralph Medleburg.  He lives at 312 Harrison Court, but he is currently waiting to cross the street at Fremont an Pine. You better hurry, the light is about to change."

Edited by needschocolate
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There are things I gripe about - like the hunting club guy finding the 2004 binder in a nearby file cabinet drawer - because doing something more realistic - like him walking into a back room and coming back with the list or printing it off of his computer - would not change how boring or exciting the scene is.  I also complain when there are big jumps in logic - like the recent prison death episode where there were no cameras in the prison - that could easily be explained - the camera in the laundry room had been damaged in a recent prison fight.  However, there are a lot more things I overlook because It makes for better TV.  

 

For instance ---

 

- They are the night shift, yet we see them working on cases during the day.  

- They bring in witnesses no matter what time it is.  

- Most cases couldn't possibly be solved in one shift, yet they never pass the case onto the next shift or are handed a case from the previous shift.

- They use flashlights even in empty buildings with working lights.

- They rarely find evidence that doesn't further the case.  The hair on the jacket is from the murderer not a random hair that was picked up from the coat rack at the corner bar.  And if it was picked up from the bar, the hair would be from the ex-con bartender, which would lead them to the bar, where they would find a piece of fuzz that leads them to the killer (not the bartender who would have a solid alibi)

 

And there are many times that we say "I wonder if this equipment really exists," but that is fine.  All this stuff makes the show more interesting.  

 

That said, I have recently watched (I should say re-watched, but I didn't remember them) a few episodes from one of the early seasons.  I really miss having 2 cases per week.  

 

 

I've read a few of the paperback novelizations and it always makes me giggle that in the books, the first thing they do at a crime scene is turn on the lights to get a look around. The novels also make a point of the night shift setting and why they may be outside of it.

 

I agree with you about two cases a week. It seemed like the show flowed smoother and there wasn't this insane pressure to shoehorn in all the characters. Right now they just randomly flit through the lab dropping clues as needed to whoever is getting the spotlight. I can't think of the specific example but in this episode someone learned something in one scene and in a later scene, someone else was stating how new information matched what we'd learned earlier. Really? How do you know? Was there a conversation we missed?

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I was disappointed by the "Kid I've known for years" that we'd never seen before. It would have been nice to have had a case from x years back - though that would have implied that they've ever made a mistake and obviously that would be impossible. And since it was Doc Robbins (I presume, I think they only said "The Coroner") who determined that it was a suicide, wouldn't you talk to him and ask if he remembered the case and was sure about his conclusions? It's the idea that "the gang is never wrong!" attitude that gets annoying - couldn't they (for once) admit they might be fallible? Are they all the Pope!?

 

I agree with webruce, needschocolate you really ought to submit that story for next Season (assuming there is one)!

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