Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon Mastodon CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Episode 15.01 - The CSI Effect – Review : "Castor and Pollux"

SpoilerTV - TV Spoilers

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation – Episode 15.01 - The CSI Effect – Review : "Castor and Pollux"

So fair warning here, but I didn't realize how much was really packed into this episode until I sat down and wrote this review. For a show with a 42 minute run time, it certainly packs a hell of a story into this relatively small time frame, but it really was a fantastic episode to introduce us into the 15th Season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

With this episode, the beginning alone will pull you in within the first second, so if you haven't seen the episode yet, I recommend checking it out for yourself before I spoil anything for you in this review. Other than that, let's get right into it. This episode officially introduces us to The Gig Harbor Killer, who will be our serial killer arch this coming season. I first want to comment on the fact that I think it's incredible how the writers managed to put together this whole plot after the smallest mention back in the season 12 premier – DB Russell's first episode. It was a small piece of trivia about this former Seattle CSI, when Sara acknowledged his work toward catching The Gig Harbor Killers, but it's given us an opportunity to learn about DB's past, and the chance learn about this sadistic serial killer.

So, The Gig Harbor Killer (TGHK), whose identity belongs to Jared Briscoe, was convicted five years ago for murdering seven women in the Seattle area, all whom were blonde college students that were part time escorts. DB was the main investigator on the case and was assisted by Finn as well as some other colleagues from Seattle (Daniel Shaw and Carrie Torres (*remember these names)). TGHK took notice to Russell though and it wasn't until his fifth victim where he developed his signature. Not only would he take the victim's body, but also in an effort to mock Russell, TGHK would process his own crime scenes as a CSI would, leaving his handwork documented in full. His fascination with Russell escalated though once TGHK began stalking Maya, who if you don't remember is DB's daughter.

It was in 2009 after Russell followed a lead that directed him to Briscoe's boat that he managed to apprehend TGHK. A jury found him guilty and sentenced Briscoe to death row and despite four appeals over the past five years, he has failed to convince a jury otherwise. So with TGHK locked away at Washington's State of Corrections, you can imagine Russell's surprise when he walks into a warehouse and sees the all too familiar sight of a processed crime scene before him.

Where DB is haunted by the memories of this crime scene, Nick isn't aware of the intent beyond this meticulously documentation. In fact, when he joins Russell, he says, "You didn't have to process the whole crime scene yourself, I would of helped." DB immediately denies Nick's assumption though and explains that this is the work of TGHK but further implies a copycat seeming that Briscoe is behind bars. Still shocked by this identical recreation though, he concludes that he wants an in-person interview with Briscoe in hopes of receiving an explanation behind this potential copycat. 

Meanwhile, Nick is still processing this already processed crime scene and not long after we see Sara join him. Now if you haven't seen this episode yet, when I say that this killer has already processed the crime scene, it's to a point where Sara even claims that the work is that of a CSI. Although this claim is true, the killer did follow a procedure that we rarely see in the show. There are multitudes of strings in three different colors covering the crime scene used to indicate blood spatter. Seeing this as their strongest piece of evidence, questioning why the killer deemed it necessary to take the time to organize these threads, Nick decides to use the lab's 3D Mapping System, which essentially is a camera on a remote control helicopter that documents a 360 layout of the room.

After collecting the strings, they are sent to Hodges to process, but soon discovers the strings are made from human tissue which he sends over to the DNA to be processed. Speaking of DNA, CODIS managed to ID their victim, a 19-year-old college student from Seattle named Emily Bartson who was reported missing five weeks ago.

Now you remember that name I mentioned before, Daniel Shaw? Well he is in Vegas right now. You get to see him in an earlier scene, but he doesn't become of real importance until now. Daniel still lives in Seattle and when Finn figures out their victim is from Seattle, she connects the dots and assumes that Daniel is in Vegas looking for her. When she confronts Daniel about this, he explains that Emily's parents hired both him and Carrie Torres (who now work together as Private Investigators) to find their daughter. Shaw was aware that Carrie was in Vegas, presumably following a lead, but when Daniel couldn't get a hold of her, he grew worried and took a trip to Sin City himself to find his partner. Knowing the last place she was seen was at Nell's Street Coffeehouse, he not only requested the security footage, but Finn's assistance, seeming that their cases are now related.

When Finn and Daniel reviewed the security footage, they saw Carrie meeting with someone at the coffee shop, but unfortunately due to the angle of the camera, the faces were too distorted to verify, but luckily Finn catches the man Carrie was meeting with running his finger along the underside of the table. Figuring he could have left a fingerprint behind, she sends Greg to recover the print. As Morgan joins him, he runs the print through AFIS and the results leave him shocked when he sees the print belongs to Jared Briscoe, who has been in prison the last five years. Going one-step further though, he identifies that the print came from his middle finger, which Morgan believed was Jared intentionally flipping them the finger.

With this information coming into question, it certainly introduces a new area of questioning and DB wastes no time when TGHK arrives at LVPD. DB starts with showing Briscoe the photos taken from Emily Barston's crime scene and informs him that both her body and the body of her private investigator (Carrie Torres) are missing. He then leads right into the events at the coffee shop and explains that they found his fingerprint from his middle finger under the table and asks him how it ended up there. When Briscoe holds up his hand though, we are just as baffled as Russell is when we see that his middle finger is missing, which he claims was the result of a prison fight last year and an inmate bit off his finger and swallowed it.

It's toward the end of the interrogation when DB not only introduces the concept of a copycat, but with their current evidence failing to point at Briscoe, he questions the "guilty" man if he truly is TGHK, but the question alone struck a nerve with Briscoe. Looking at Russell, he firmly claimed that he IS The Gig Harbor Killer. Although, I admit, not even I was convinced. To me, his over-aggressive attitude was a little over the top, as if he was trying to portray himself as a psychotic serial killer, but he I failed to leave the genuine impression of a psychopath.

New discoveries are made regarding Carrie Torres when PD found her car. Finn and Daniel met with Sara in the garage to help her with processing her vehicle, but Sara informs them that the car had been washed and detailed. Although the car was spotless, Sara found blood drops on the ceiling of the car. Originally, she had considered if it was cast off, but discounted this thought as it was the only trace of blood in the car and the pattern of the drops was too distinct, as if placed. The only other evidence was in the trunk of the car. A box filled with case files regarding TGHK.

After combing through the box, Sara, Finn, and Daniel all draw the same conclusion that it seemed that Carrie wasn't just looking for Emily Bartson. Having found clear connections between Emily and a potential Gig Harbor copycat, Carrie followed a trail that led her to a client named Mark Turner who hired Emily for her services as an escort. Not only that, but when Finn was earlier reviewing Briscoe's prison logs, she saw that a Mark Turner had paid him a visit at least 6 times in the past year. Realizing that it was Mr. Turner who Carrie was meeting with at the coffee shop, the CSI's choose to meet with Mark seeing as he has been their only suspect with ties to Emily, Carrie, and TGHK.

As Finn and Daniel arrive at Mark's place of work, Winthrop International, they meet with Mr. Turner and confront him about his interactions with both Emily and Carrie, although he denies having ever met either of them. Then when asked about his visits to Washington to meet with Briscoe, he informs Finn that he is defending Jared as a man who has been wrongfully imprisoned. As she challenges this information, it is then we meet Paul Winthrop, and we immediately recognize him as The Gig Harbor Killer.

It’s a shocking development to learn that Briscoe has a twin brother. Paul informs Finn and Daniel that he and Jared were separated at birth and while he grew up in a loving home, Jared was forced into the foster care system. They had no idea that each other existed until Winthrop was watching the news one day and saw his own face staring back at him. Claiming that Jared is an innocent man, he requested that Mark defend his brother and it has been through Mr. Turner that Paul has been able to communicate to his brother anonymously.

Finn is unamused with this information though, knowing that Briscoe is a guilty man, although her meeting with Winthrop certainly rattled her brain and is making her second guess her and DB's judgment five years ago. As she is talking with Russell back at the lab, she reveals her theory that Briscoe may have been working with Winthrop five years ago and that they may still be working together now. It turns out Russell has been pondering the same possibility, as he wasn't convinced that Briscoe was the same psychopathic serial killer he put away. Although Russell believes Briscoe is still guilty, he is convinced that he was not the mastermind behind the Gig Harbor killings. It is also here that the DNA results come back on the human tissue strings, and the DNA is a match to the last three victims of TGHK whose bodies were taken and never found.

So it's now time to tie up all the loose evidence ends here and clear up the last few details that point to both Jared Briscoe and Paul Winthrop, even if they don't prove anything. So you remember when Nick used that 3D helicopter to document the crime scene? After using this fancy software back at the lab, he was able to simulate blood spatter on his computer while using a fisherman's gaff (which was the murder weapon… as I forgot to mention before). After comparing it to the crime scene photos, he noticed that the blood spatter wasn't consistent with the weapon used. Believing that the some of the blood was planted and the fact the killer ran the strings throughout the crime scene himself, Nick believes that there is a reason behind this unexplained spatter pattern.

Greg later supports Nick's theory here once he looks at the distinct blood pattern on the ceiling of Carrie's car. Looking at the blood drops, he recognizes the patter and pulls out an astrology book. Explaining his findings to Nick, Greg admits that it's a long shot idea and that he might even be crazy, but after linking the corresponding dots together, he formed the constellations of Castor and Pollux, otherwise known as Gemini, which symbolizes the twins! Nick immediately denies that this thought is extraneous and admits he came across a similar discovery. With the concept of a constellation on his mind, the green strings that pinpointed the unexplained blood patters, at the points where the threads crossed, they too displayed the exact same pattern in the sky.

One other tie connecting the Gemini theory has to do with the location of the crime scene. The warehouse where Emily was murdered used to house a building a supply company called Castor Novelties, Inc. and that same company used to own a chemical plant named Pollux Petroleum. Greg found in Carries notebook that she was planning on taking a trip to the chemical plant that was located just off Highway 178 in the desert. Nick volunteers to check out the location himself, and is shocked by what he finds waiting for him.

Waiting at the chemical plant is another processed crime scene; a mass grave excavation with a field morgue set up as well. As Russell meets up with Nick, he immediately wants to see the three bodies that are waiting for him. As he looks at them, he notices that the bodies of the three women are all severely mummified, and although he is able to rule out the possibilities of Emily Bartson and Carrie Torres, he confirms that the bodies belong to the last three Gig Harbor victims that were never found, until now.

Final topic to finish off this episode would be to discuss that gripping opening scene, as it is here when it all comes together and we experience this life-or-death moment with CSI Finnley! On her way to bring in Paul Winthrop for an interview, as she gets into her car her doors lock automatically and we see a clock at 30:00 minutes counting down her life. Russell receives word of this quickly and as he shows up to help Finn, we see her lone SUV surrounded by police barricades and SWAT team members. By the time he arrives, the clock on the bomb reads 15:00 minutes now and the bomb squad is confident that they will be able to deactivate the bomb in time, that is until Russell receives a phone call.

As he answers his phone, a distorted voice explains to DB that if he can answer a simple question, that he will be able to save Finn's life, but Russell is unamused with this game this mystery calling is trying to play. Before he can say another word, the timer on the bomb drops from a manageable 11:07 to a mere 60 seconds. With the bomb squad realizing that they won't be able to deactivate the bomb within a decreasing 60 seconds, they are ordered to abandon their mission, as well as CSI Finn. As the timer continues to count down the last minute of her life, Russell receives a phone call again from the same number and the same voice asks DB one very simple question.

"Who am I?"

With no other choice but to cooperate or else risk Finn's life, Russell answers the distorted voices question and admits that he knows he is talking to The Gig Harbor Killer. And as the timer hits 00:00… The doors to the SUV unlock and we see that Finn gets to live another day.

As the episode ends, we see one of the best CSI montages as the totally bad ass song "Come With Me Now" by Kongos plays. It's mostly a recap of all the quizzical thoughts that we were presented with this episode, but the best moment by far was seeing Briscoe and Winthrop, convict and attorney, Castor and Pollux, walking side by side as they enter the interrogation room. Although this is all we see, it implies that this story is only the beginning. And with a whole season ahead of us, I can say that I am excited see what The Gig Harbor Killer will be bring to Sin City.

My Thoughts:

- Born and raised in Seattle, so I slightly love that this seasons serial killer originates from my home town.
- Loved Mark-Paul Gosselaar as Jared Briscoe/Paul Winthrop/The Gig Harbor Killer. Great casting choice, handsome and chilling all at the same time!
- When Finn and Daniel were talking with Paul for the first time, they showed him the picture from the coffee shop. As Paul looked at it, he placed his middle finger on the photo as he slid it towards him. I figured this was intentional on his part, but I was mildly disappointed to see that they didn't dust the photo for the print. As of now, I'm speculating that a switch or something happened between Jared and Paul. How else can you explain the fingerprints! Granted, I can't explain how they could have switched places, but that fingerprint is bugging the crap out of me!
- During the scene when Sara, Finn, and Daniel were looking at the blood drops in Carrie's car, did anyone else think of stars right away? That was the first thing I said to myself… needless to say I had my CSI-smarty-freak-out moment when I saw Greg reaching for the astrology book!
- Not to rant or anything, but is anyone else a little tired of seeing Finn in a perilous situation? I don’t think this much turmoil would happen to one person in such a short period after moving to Vegas. I would like to see her more in the spotlight as a compelling CSI, not some flirt in danger. The first episode where she was introduced (S12E14: Seeing Red), I was captivated by her skills to analyze blood spatter and have such a keen eye for crime scenes. Would rather see more of that than damsel in distress.

I apologize for this review coming late, but that doesn't mean a discussion still can't exist in the comments below. I would love to hear your thoughts and theories on this totally awesome premier!