Live Blogging CSI: 'Play With Fire'

Live Blogging CSI

It’s actually nothing short of a miracle that I haven’t done this sooner.  I was easing you guys into the site, getting you used to everything, a nice slow immersion.  But now that you’re in, I’m going to go ahead and cannonball into the deep end with a long-awaited CSI live blog.

I love CSI.  I’m an unabashed fan.  I’ve seen every episode multiple times.  So know that while I will likely poke a lot of fun at this episode, it all comes from a place of sincere admiration and enjoyment.  Much like my Star Trek: TNG live tweet sessions, I approach from a place of “if you love it enough, you can tease it relentlessly”.  

Today’s episode has been carefully chosen completely at random from my DVD collection.  We will be watching Season Three, Episode 22.  It’s called “Play With Fire”.  Pour yourself a nice stiff cup of Tea, Earl Grey, Hot (they don’t have a signature drink on CSI unless you count all the times Grissom’s tasted random stains at crime scenes in the interest of science) and settle in to enjoy.

:25    Horny teenagers under the bleachers at a football field.  Some kind of pop ballad is playing.  CSI nerd trivia alert: the teen girl is Danielle Panabaker whose sister Kay will play Catherine Willows’ daughter Lindsey in later seasons and who herself will go on to play Marg Helgenberger’s (Catherine) daughter in the film Mr. Brooks.  YES I KNOW ALL THESE THINGS FROM ONE SECOND OF SCREEN TIME.

1:11    These kids aren’t the victims.  These kids are the ones who find the victim.  That’s how things work.

1:15    Dead woman in the announcer’s booth.  Everything is very blue.  Nighttime is blue.  Death is blue.  

1:28    Every time Nick appears I coo “Nicky!” as though he can hear me and in hopes my roommate won’t one day punch me in the head to stop me.

3:04    “The killer’s still on her.”  Not one of Grissom’s better puns.  Usually he’s got a Poe quote or a pithy observation that David Caruso nearly killed himself to duplicate in the Miami version of this show to much lesser effect.  I will give Caruso the sunglasses thing, though.  He took off sunglasses like nobody’s business.  But that’s all I’ll give him.  He will forever be Wannabe Grissom because you can’t duplicate Grissom.

3:32    I love the opening credits.  My friend does not.  She loves CSI but hates the credits.  It’s classic The Who, man!  What is not to love about a rock song backing a murder-science montage?  

3:44    I’m not even going to bother explaining the plot.  It pales next to the fact that Nick is running, anyway.  He’s running and breathing heavy.  And that’s all you need to know.  Also shortly thereafter they do science stuff.

5:43    Catherine, the foxiest redhead on TV, and Warrick, god rest his soul, forego logging evidence in with the evidence clerk who isn’t on duty and instead put said evidence somewhere else in the lab.  I’m only mentioning it because it will become important later.  Even though I’m not explaining the plot for reasons of complication.  I’d spend all night just explaining science if I did and science is not my best subject.

7:07    It’s broad daylight now and nothing is blue.  This is the world’s longest shift, apparently.  

8:03    Autopsy is also doused in moody blue light.  A favorite question to ask is “why do they work in the dark?”.  To that I say your work is well-lit and is it absolutely the coolest?  No.  Exactly.  Also, if you’re very good at science then seeing is for losers.  I bet Tony Stark does science in the dark and he has sexy cool locked DOWN.

9:43    Brass, on a notebook found in the victim’s hotel room: “I keep one next to my bed in case I dream anything interesting in the night.  ... What?  I can’t have deep thoughts?”

10:29    Fingerprint lab: shades of blue.  Basically everything they ever do is in half-dark and tinged blue.  

11:25    Hallway in a skeevy apartment.  Not blue.  Warm brown.  Like shit.  I’m sensing themes here.

13:16     Confession: I love the shots where they track actors through the lab.  The lab becomes this labyrinth in blue, full of glass and computers and modernity and crime solving awesomeness.  Even though of course no actual lab looks like this.  Except Stark Industries labs, I guess.  This looks basically like a comic book lair.

14:18    The lab just blew up!!  THE LAB BLEW UP!  And Greg was blown clear out of the room.  Everything is now, for the record, orange, as Greg is wheeled out on a stretcher.

15:15    Grissom isn’t in the ambulance so you know Greg’s going to be okay in time.  If he were dead or dying, Grissom would climb in.  I’m just saying.

16:33    The undersheriff is worried (and channeling his inner asshole) because the destruction of the lab compromises evidence and DAs will rip their cases apart in court using the explosion as a technicality.  Grissom assigns Catherine to run the investigation into the explosion.  Which is smart because more Catherine is better for us as viewers.

19:23    I think Nick’s wearing crimson?  A crimson long-sleeve top?  Or is it just the blue light bouncing off some other color that makes him look as though he’s sporting this season’s sassy cranberry shade?

20:13    Even in the hospital things are blue.  Blue walls, blue sheets, blue curtains, blue memories... that makes sense of course because Greg’s remembering the lab explosion which was, before it turned orange, a study in blue.

21:48    Nicky, I love you, but your highlighting skills need work.  That is one crooked-ass yellow line.

23:04    Easily my favorite technical moments are when they enhance grainy surveillance video.  Such immediate clarity!  Such tiny details!  “Zoom in on the glint in his eye.  Can you magnify that?  Why, it’s the amusement park owner!”  “I would have gotten away with it, too, if if weren’t for you meddling kids and your blue lab!”

23:49    Just like the A-Team before them, CSI knows the power of a good montage.  The A-Team had Building Something Musical Montages for every time they got locked in a fully-stocked welding garage.  Here it’s a Processing Evidence Musical Montage or, if you prefer, a Scienceing Shit Up Musical Montage.  It’s what makes CSI cooler than you.

25:39    New day, new style.  Nick is now sporting a polo with bold chest strips.  Sara, on the other hand, is wearing a shapeless black blazer over a beige-brown ribbed tee.  Depressed, like she is.  Because of the explosion, you know, and angst.  She needs a hug.  

27:02    I do love Sara’s lipstick, though.  It’s a good shade on her.

28:42    Catherine is sporting a kicky green tone denim jacket and has her hair sleek and pulled up.  I can tell you what season I’m watching just by seeing Catherine’s hair.  I have the same skill with Beverly Crusher on Star Trek: TNG, FYI.  It’s a redhead identification protocol.  All seasons are set around the foxy majesty of redheaded tresses.

31:45     Warrick and Catherine are quite the good looking duo.

32:18    Warrick: “Who blew up the lab?”  Catherine: “I did.”  Remember the evidence they didn’t log with the missing evidence clerk?  That ended up being put under a hood with an errantly active heat source which then combusted.  Poor Catherine.

34:00    Catherine is now being grilled by the undersheriff.  Catherine tosses sass back at him because she’s Catherine.  She does whatever she wants.  I love her fire.  She’s so badass.  The undersheriff should have given her points for the amazing jacket and plunging neckline of the shirt underneath but he rocks to a different tune, more’s the pity for him.  This reminds me of a future episode when Catherine decides to interrogate a prisoner by promising to undo one of her shirt buttons for every honest answer he gives her.  Also known as The World’s Best Interrogation Method Ever.  True story: they’re trialling this same method in detainment centers as we speak.  No, I made that up.  But I admit it would work on me.

36:37    Nick is in his signature ball cap now and sporting a forensics vest, looking fine in blacks and official blues.  I can’t help but notice Sara is still in her blazer/ribbed tee combo.  Which means somewhere between the lab and the field Nick decided to change outfits.  Nick is officially the Veronica Lodge of this episode.  “Just wait, I have to get my Gang Member Apartment Bust outfit on!”  

40:58    Catherine, now with her hair down and wearing a sleek black shirt, is visiting Greg in hospital again.  She’s confessing that she’s responsible for the explosion.  They cut away before Greg says “THE HELL YOU SAY?” but of course he wouldn’t because he likes Catherine and also he’s on the good drugs right now.

42:48    Sara asks Grissom to dinner because that’s what you do after a hard case: hit on your boss.  This is foreshadowing to later seasons when you find out they probably actually do get together sometime around now and it’s only revealed much later on for reasons that involve miniatures and bleach.  

- Corinne Simpson