The Inner Crab


[Air Date 04-27-06]



“Corpse Mother-In-Law of the Bride”

Holy crap! It’s daytime! And we’re not flying over Las Vegas in a helicopter, we’re hovering at ground level. In fact, there may not even be a helicopter. This is getting spooky. When the intro is this twisted, you just know someone is going to die.

The camera pans slowly across a crowd of happy wedding guests, who are waving and cheering as the bride and groom are paraded along beside them in the back of their “Just Married” convertible. The crowd moves in slow motion, so this is obviously a rich person’s wedding, because most reception halls charge by the hour. As the car moves out of frame right, the crowd’s upside-down frowns turn upside down, and their joy-waves become OMFG-waves. Something’s wrong. Maybe they all ate the tainted salmon mousse, and it’s just now catching up to them. No…it’s just some beer cans and a dead lady being dragged behind the car. Yawn.

Nick gets out of his truck, which he’s parked on the curb outside a local diner. Greg and Sara are inside the diner, and he’s munching on pie. Or maybe he wishes he was. The low-key flirting these two did when Greg first moved from the lab to the field kind of reminded me of Alanis Morissette’s song “Under Rug Swept,” except with more corpses. After reading this, my friend Anastasia informed me that I’ve completely misinterpreted the point of that song. Oh well. I haven’t seen The Graduate, so this is what I got. Sara wonders aloud why they always come here, and rejects Greg’s explanation that the place is open 24 hours. “Everything in Vegas is open 24 hours,” she says, and from the weight she burdens the word everything with, she’s clearly thinking of that time she was an alcoholic for a season, and went out at 3 am looking for an open liquor store—and found one.

Nick sidles up next to Sara in the booth and starts bitching about how long the scene took to process. They banter about it. Nine hours. No, eleven hours. A dead lawyer and 200 witnesses. Now Nick asks why they always come here, and Greg interjects that it’s ‘tradition’. Which is apparently one of Sara’s many many trigger words, because she immediately snarks on the tradition of a woman being exchanged as property between her father and her husband. Nicky, naturally, thinks weddings are about wuv, and Greg thinks weddings are about cruising for single women a la The Wedding Crashers. Remember these three archetypes, because they may come up again later. The Worldly Wise Older Waitress walks by and muses that people see what they want to see in weddings, particularly if they’re a cynical optimistic horndog or some combination thereof. She refills their coffee and moxies that her first five weddings were good, then disappears back into the trope closet.

Suddenly the TV above the counter is on, and there’s Sara on the news squatting over the corpse. The news lady exposits that Diane Chase, a.k.a. the stiff, was a “noted criminal defense attorney.” She made a career defending mob guys in court, including one Dino Fatelli, a wiseguy who ended up in jail for having one of his rivals dragged to death behind a car. What an odd coincidence. You’d have to think that there would be good money in being a mob attorney, if you live long enough to spend it – but that’s another story. No, wait…that’s this story.

Greg connects the facts that Diane was apparently dragged to death behind a car, that she defended mobsters in court, and that one of those mobsters used a similar technique on one of his enemies, and concludes that she, too, was killed by mobsters via car-dragging. Ordinarily I’d say it was a good, if somewhat obvious, bit of reasoning, but there’s one crucial detail he overlooked: it’s only two minutes into the episode, so you know that’s not it.

There’s eating business to transition between plot points, and then Greg looks out the window and notices something’s wrong. “Dude, where’s your car?” he says, a clear one-off shout out to Ashton Kutscher, the only reason for which I can imagine is that he hopes to get punked by Demi Moore someday. Or maybe that’s me. What? She was hot once, and I can close my eyes. So anyway, Nick’s truck has mysteriously disappeared right out from under their noses.

Cut to the pre-game warmup for the Ass-Reaming by Undersheriff McKeen in the Parking Lot of Frank’s Restaurant, where Brass looks relieved that his troubled daughter is out of town this month, and Grissom tells the three CSIs to shut up and look contrite while he does the talking. Nick takes off his sunglasses so McKeen can see his big brown puppy-dog eyes. Sara and Greg stand a bit behind Nick, hoping to use him a human shield and shoot their way out if things get too bad.

McKeen rattles off the list of ulcer-pokers, during which we learn that the evidence – all of the evidence – for this high-profile murder case was in Nick’s car. “The driver of said car, instead of securing that evidence in the lab, gave priority to his need for runny eggs,” he said, and I know he’s stressed out about the situation, but I think lashing out at defenseless food when you’re angry is a sign of weak character. “Is there anything I missed?” he asks in that tone that says he’s pretty content with the look and feel of this particular horrible mess as it is, and adding anything else would risk a brush with absurdity. Alas, Grissom harshes McKeen’s long-gone mellow with the additional news that the evidence in the truck is useless now because the chain of custody has been broken, so no judge would allow any of it to be used in a trial. The crime scene’s been released too, which means it’s completely full of unrelated cooties now. McKeen takes what’s probably not his first – nor last – antacid for the day. He thanks Gil for clarifying the situation, which I think he meant in a mean way, then glares at Nick and stomps off to his car. Not convinced that his body language has conveyed the full measure of his discontent, he screeches out of the parking lot and knocks over some orange cones that were just minding their own business.

“Could’ve been worse,” Brass says, noting to himself that absolutely no cops have been shot by him so far this week, and Nick sighs because he never gets to give the roll-intro line. Plus the truck thing.

I think Catherine’s name in the credits should say “Collagen Presents Marg Helgenberger.” Anastasia tells me that the terms of Marg’s Botox sponsorship prohibit such an endorsement, so never mind.

Commercials. DHL is keenly interested in the success of “Mission Impossible 3” for some reason. Actually, I read on the internets that Scientology has pictures of DHL naked, so now they’re Tom Cruise’s bitch. He gets to peek in every 20th package, so be sure to ship your anti-Scientology meds and literature via UPS.

Back at Frank’s, Brass and Sofia talk to Nick about the thing that happened before the commercials, whatever that was. Stupid attention span. Nick explains that his car was in their sight the entire time, except for a few minutes while a big truck was parked between it and the restaurant’s 3 rd booth window. He vaguely recalls that the truck had “Distracto Bros. Opaque Trucks – Nothing Interesting is Happening on the Other Side” written on it. Nick’s truck was locked, its alarm didn’t go off, and it has a tracking device on it. Brass figures the mobsters – the Fatelli brothers – have removed the LoJack for sure. At the end of the interview, Nick asks Brass sheepishly for a ride.

Back at the lab, Grissom is prepping the CSIs for a grilling by Internal Affairs. He tells them to write down everything they lost in the trucknapping, in hopes of at least looking professional about their apparent unprofessionality. Greg’s phone goes off loudly (Bad Company’s “Feel Like Makin’ Love”), and he fumbles it out of his pocket and shuts it off. Grissom gives him one of those looks, as if to say that he’s already blown the whole looking-professional thing and it’s only been, like, 4 seconds since he stopped talking. He leaves the three CSIs to their work and meets Catherine in the hall. He tells her to pull the Fatelli case from Day Shift’s files to compare it to…what? Catherine points out that they’ve got nothing to compare it to. Turns out Grissom has a secret stash of photos from this crime scene, but they’re only of the ballroom. And probably a few of some bugs floating in the punch bowl for his personal collection. “Every wedding these days has a videographer,” he muses. “We gotta get the video.”

In the morgue, David the Medical Examiner medically examines Diane Chase, Corpse-at-Law, who lies litigiously on a metal corpse-poking table. See? Even when they’re dead, lawyers still lie. He digs some crud out from under her fingernails onto a fingernail-crud-catcher and takes pictures of the rope marks around her ankles. We flash back to the dragging scene for a second, where it looks like she was tied to the car with a pair of panty hose. Next he shaves the back of her head, so he can see the chewed-up skin back there.

Grissom comes in, and David says he’s sorry to hear about the loss of the evidence. “Yeah, well, it’s all about the body now, David.” No pressure or anything, but you’re not allowed to leave the room for the rest of the shift. Pee in the skull-washing sink if you have to, but face the corpse. There’s a close-up of the back of her head, and it looks like there’s a hole there – more than one would expect from bouncing along a gravel driveway. David points out that the ligature marks on her ankles seem to have been made while blood was still flowing, and Grissom supposes that she might have been unconscious but alive while being dragged, at least at the start. He should know more about how she died after doing an autopsy.

Brass and the Undersheriff walk and talk. “You tell me how I’m gonna spin this thing,” says McKeen. “I’ve got a dead lawyer, a known enemy of the department, who made her career picking us apart, and now we’ve lost the evidence in her murder. Even I don’t buy it.” That’s because you’re a cynic, Undersheriff. None of the CSIs on this show are corrupt, except Catherine. Maybe you’re thinking of CSI: Miami. Brass says he’s checking up on the Fatellis, including the one who’s in jail, to see if they could have orchestrated Diane’s death. McKeen grumps that the press is going to eat him alive, and his choices for defense are either that they’re idiots or they’re dirty. By which he means crooked, for those of you who’ve already cut away to a private screening of Warrick Brown: A Tribute to Flashdance.

Nick, Sara, and Greg are still making their lists of what they’d put in the truck, but it’s apparently slow going. Sara suggests they talk through the order of events at the scene, to help themselves remember. She goes first. She started working on the “Just Married” convertible, but because of the possible mob involvement, the Undersheriff ordered it swept (for explosives, I suppose) before letting it come back the lab. So it’s available for clue-hunting, but not yet. She got some prints off it, but of course they’re gone now.

Now we get to learn what the hell the show’s title was about. Rashomon, first a movie and then a phenomenon named for the movie, refers to the subjective nature of perception – specifically, the way that different people can witness or experience the exact same thing, but then give completely different, or even contradictory (but still plausible) explanations of what happened. Although I know many odd and trivial things, this wasn’t one of them – I had to look it up. So perspective will be a recurring theme here. Sara will Rashomize first. In her flashback (which should have started with the wavy lines of flashing back, so we’d know what it was, but it didn’t), Sara walks toward the lawn area of the reception center. She passes David, who’s poking around some corpse in the driveway. He says, but she VO’s for him, “You’d think she’d know better than to wear white on the bride’s big day.” The reception center, we learn, is called Cupid’s Kiss, “a nuptial neverland where the cheese factor was dangerously high, and the flowers were….” She stops midway into a flower-trellis tunnel and focuses on one of the wired-on flowers. “…obviously fake. Can the love be real when the flowers aren’t?” The grass behind her turns withered and brown as she walks by. On the other end of the tunnel, two women air-kiss as Nick chats up—er, interviews two comely wedding guests in black dresses. They’re wearing the same pearl necklace (well, not literally, but the design is identical), and we see a third on the bride shortly, so my guess is that they’re either the bridesmaids or someone bought a bucket of discount pearl necklaces at Costco. They also appear to have identical cleavage, but that could be a coincidence.

Nick interrupts her recap to point out that she’s kind of a jaded love-hating crankypants, although he’s a little nicer than that, and she counters that she’s simply giving her impression. Of a jaded love-hating crankypants. She goes back to her story and meets her first interviewee, a big jockish looking fellow who’s clearly standing on an active fault line that happens to intersect the lawn at this one point. Also he has a beer in his hand. The two seem unrelated. He identifies himself as “Bryce Gundy, groom’s side.” Sara asks if they (he and his nearby buddies) helped decorate the wedding car with beer cans, and he cheerily responds “Yep.” She asks if they drank all the beer first, which gets another “Yep.” Next she asks if he tied the groom’s dead mother to the bumper. Bryce pauses to think for just a moment, looking up to the left as people do when they’re trying to remember something, then says “No.” Whoever this actor is, he does a good job with his 30 seconds of screen time. He’s got that greasy-faced look that people who’ve been drinking a lot tend to get, which is a nice touch but is probably more a function of makeup than acting.

Sara wants to get his prints to compare to the ones from the car, which he thinks sounds cool. “Um, you are aware that someone has died?” asks Sara, and Bryce informs her that no one is going to miss Diane except her son and her cell-phone provider. She was “creepy close” to Adam, her son, and used to call him 15 times a day. Sara tries to steer the conversation back to collecting fingerprints, at which point Bryce lurches toward Sara, grabbing her for support and declaring his potential love for her. She shoos him away, urging him to switch to club soda, and he passes out at the feet of his posse nearby. “Excuse me, you dropped this,” she says, holding a skimpy pair of panties up with tweezers. Mikey, the best man and brother of the bride, steps in to take over for Bryce and quickly pockets the panties to restore some decorum. He flirts more successfully with Sara than Bryce, and Nick interrupts her again to ask if he should put the flirting in the case file. “I was printing,” she says, “he was flirting.” But she smiles when she says it, just to let us know that lurking somewhere beneath Sara Sidle’s crusty, bitter surface is a slightly less bitter bed-tigress. Or something.

In the Light Table Room, Catherine is looking at photos Sofia comes in. She’s got Nick’s LoJack in a Ziploc bag, and says it was professionally removed and thrown in a Dumpster. I thought these guys didn’t do product placement. She doubts that there will be any prints to recover. Catherine says that Nick’s truck had no street value, which seems a little emasculating to me, and adds that the value was the stuff inside.

Back at the Table of Shame, N-S-G are still working on their lists. Nick reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out a cocktail napkin from the wedding with a lipstick kiss and a phone number for “Mindy” on it. He looks surprised. Greg also looks surprised, and I look surprised too. Greg asks him if he got a phone number. He denies it, and says that Mindy must have slipped it in his pocket. Sara smiles knowingly. She’s fairly cute when she smiles, but I think this show used up all the smiles she’s allotted for the entire season.

It’s Nick’s turn to go strolling through the jasmine in his mind, where jasmine means crime scene, and he also steals David’s line about Diane’s white dress. “The perfume of American Beauties was…everywhere,” he starts, fondling a thusly-named flower, “but a rose by any other name would have smelled just as sweet with that much love in the air.” At this point while watching for the first time, I immediately contracted a blood-sugar disorder and went into a diabetic coma for, like, an hour. When I came to, the show had ended and my dogs had switched channels to Animal Planet. We watched the end of Pet Psychic, and then I went back and found my place in the episode. Good old TiVo. Anyway, Nick approaches the two bridesmaids Sara had seen him with, since he now knows that she’s going to have seen him with them and doesn’t want to create a temporal paradox, and introduces himself. They are Mindy and Cindy, and Mindy is shivering, so Nick takes off his jacket and puts it around her shoulders. Mindy has a demure climax at this point, and makes a note to herself to slip Nick her phone number since she knows he knows she will have done so in the future.

Cindy and Mindy tell Nick that they spent a good part of the day with Diane, since they were all in the wedding party, and Cindy adds that Diane “was on her best behavior, outside that toast she gave.” Diane apparently slurred and swayed her way through the end of the toast, which the bridesmaids attribute to alcohol, but the minute I heard that I figured she’d been poisoned somehow.

Back in real time, Catherine walks into the room with the wedding DVD, courtesy of Cupid’s Kiss. The DVD even has a picture of the newlyweds on it. Everyone is keen on seeing it, especially the wedding toast, so that’s what they watch first. On screen, Diane starts giving a speech she’s got written on a sheet of paper, but after the first few lines she starts to sway woozily and drops the paper over the far side of the table. “To hell with it,” she says, “I’ll wing it.” And she does. “My Adam…he studied at Oxford, he went to Harvard School of Business, and of all the intelligent, wonderful, beautiful women he met along the way, he ended up with Jill.” Jill starts to smile at her new m-i-l, then does a double-take. “Plain little Jill.” Jill seems displeased. The CSIs react as you might expect, making silent “Dayumn…” faces as Diane continues picking the bride apart. Eventually, around the time Diane is asking him if he really wants to “shallow our gene pool” with Jill, Adam stands and gently tries to shut her up. She wraps it up by thanking everyone for coming, which is really the only classy way to finish a screed like that. Catherine looks around the room and says “Justifiable homicide?” And scene.

After commercials, Sara is playing the toast scene for Grissom. “You talked to the bride…this seems like motive. Do you think she did it?” she asks. Grissom point out that she probably wouldn’t have had the time, and then he flashes back to the crime scene too. He steals David’s line and walks toward the flower tunnel. He quotes some poetry and notices a bug, classic Grissom stuff, and then he’s interviewing the bride. There are a lot of close-ups on her ears, jawline, veil, and so forth, which I’m supposing is the camera’s way of showing us that Grissom’s noticing all the little details about her. Just like Sherlock Holmes. Or Sting. I won’t sully Grissom’s character by suggesting that his attention to her pearl necklace has a double meaning, but it would for me. She is pretty cute. Anyway, she’s convinced that everyone is going to think she killed her mother in law, because she had previously told everyone she met that she hoped for Diane to die a fiery death. Diane, it seems, was just as much a bitch in her regular life as she was at the wedding. Jill starts rattling off a long list of mean things Diane had done: secretly changed Jill’s wedding registry from sporting goods to housewares, invited Adam’s hot and single ex to the wedding, and demanded roast beef at the wedding in spite of Jill’s vegetarianism. (In fairness to Diane, I would have done that too.) My favorite was this: “When we got engaged, she ran into the back yard and she screamed, ‘Why, God? Why me?’” You’d hope that her son would have had the good sense to put the kibosh on that sort of stuff right quick, but apparently his character was based loosely on Principal Skinner. When Jill pauses to catch her breath, Grissom asks dryly whether she’s trying to make him think that she didn’t kill Diane. “I would never do that—to Adam,” Jill says. She adds that Diane fought with everyone at the wedding, from the valets to the bridesmaids to the caterer, whom Jill thought for sure was going to poison Diane.

Cut to the caterer, in the kitchen. “You wanna see a crime scene? I’ll show you a crime scene. C’mere,” he says, motioning Grissom to follow. A bashed-in wedding cake slumps forlornly on the counter, a rolling pin sticking out of its side. Aw, poor cake…I’d still eat you. Apparently Diane didn’t want a peach-colored wedding cake. “I’m a 42-year-old paisan,” says the caterer. “She scared me.” He adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if her panty hose had rebelled against her and tied themselves to the car. Then he finally gets to the point that flashed us back here in the first place: weddings are really, really busy, at least for the bride and groom and caterers. He recites the tightly-packed itinerary of introductions, meal courses, toasts and dances. Nowhere does he mention a snuffing segment, although he does point out that there’s a good reason he sells bridal diapers. Back in the lab, Greg says “He was kidding about the bridal diapers, right?” Grissom ponders the question but doesn’t answer.

In one of the interrogation rooms, Sofia is talking to Dino Fatelli’s brother Sylvano. He’s played by Carmen Argenziano, who’s better known as Jacob Carter, Samantha Carter’s dad, on Stargate SG1. Sylvano tells her she’s way too pretty to be a cop, which is true, but she’s appropriately pretty for an actress who plays a cop. She ignores him and asks whether he’s talked to Dino lately. Dino is still in jail, but the two keep in touch. He dodges her question about his whereabouts on the day of the murder, and says, in essence, that the feds who are watching him are probably talking to the cops right now, so why not ask them. On the other side of the glass, we see the Undersheriff talking to a random fed. The fed apparently has a tap on Sylvano’s phone or has inserted a wire into one of his goons, or something. He says Sylvano runs numbers out of his bar, is trying to pass a kidney stone, and hates both his wife and his girlfriend, but he didn’t kill Diane Chase. McKeen suggests he might have asked one of his underlings to whack her, which makes me wonder how many times the Sheriff has delegated such a task to McKeen, but the fed says the Fatelli brothers are very hands-on. Besides, they’re apparently upset that someone stole their MO. “As if it’s copyrighted,” snorts the fed.

Doc Robbins has Diane’s skull open, and he’s showing her brains to Greg. There’s a puncture wound in the back of her head that lacerated an artery and gave her a subdural hematoma, and bobbling around on the driveway made her bleed into the rest of her brain, which is what killed her. The Doc also doesn’t think it was the Fatellis, because they’re far too methodical and sadistic to have not finished her off themselves.

Catherine and Nick walk and talk their way to the AV lab. She saw someone suspicious-looking in some of the wedding video segments, and had asked Archie to blow up those shots. Nick recognizes the guy – he’s the estranged father of the groom, played by Ray Wise. I could swear I’d seen this actor somewhere before too, and it was driving me nuts, but I found it thanks to the miracle of IMDB. He was in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled “Who Watches the Watchers.” He played Liko, one of several bronze-agey aliens being observed by Federation anthropologists. He accidentally saw Picard and thought he was a god. That was a good episode. He was also in an episode of Voyager, but…meh. Nick had found Dad Chase, drunk and trying to sleep it off, in some bushes at the reception. He had Dad taken to the hoosegow to detox.

In the very next scene, Brass is interviewing Dad Chase. He’s quick, that Brass. Dad Chase is playing with his elbow-pit, apparently trying to check his blood pressure. Brass is unsympathetic at first, calling him a deadbeat dad. He denies it, and Brass counters by reciting his interview with the younger Mr. Chase. Adam tells Brass that his mother was powerful woman with a lot of enemies. Even he doesn’t seem too distraught at her death. The wedding was stressful for her, Adam says, what with her wanting it to be perfect for her sonsy-wonsy and all. She was so frazzled that she accidentally brought the wrong dress! And then! His father showed up. He was unstable, you know, and he had a…drug problem. Adam channels his mother’s passive-aggressive spirit perfectly, and back in the interrogation room Dad Chase throws up his hands in disgust. When Brass presses him on the drug issue, Dad Chase tells his story. “Fifteen years ago, Diane decided to go back to work, and I encouraged her. But then she became…driven. And I was slowing her down. She got nasty. I got depressed. I started taking antidepressants. She was mortified. Said it wouldn’t look good. I said, ‘Hey, I’m not one of your clients. I’m your husband.’ ‘Not anymore,’ she said. She filed for divorce.” He added that Diane claimed (in her divorce document, I guess) that the antidepressants had affected his libido, even though they hadn’t had sex for eight months before he started taking them. I’m surprised she wasn’t a divorce lawyer.

Brass asks if he got into a fight with Diane at the wedding, and he says that he did. Normally he doesn’t drink much because of the meds, but on that day he drank, hoping it would take the edge off. It didn’t. He has a flashback to the wedding, in which Diane chases him down as he tries to slip past her into the crowd of people being seated. She drags him back, chews him out for showing up uninvited, and when he argues that Adam is his son too, she jabs him with “I wouldn’t be so sure of that.” That’s just mean. Talk about kicking someone when they’re down. I’m glad she’s dead. Dad Chase tells Brass he stuck around for the wedding anyway, and enjoyed the outskirts of the reception before dozing off in the bushes and getting rousted by Nick. He denies killing her, but he advises Brass to check again whether she’s really dead, “because I don’t think you can kill the devil.” Snap!

A random lab geek (who may have a name but should have worn it on his lab coat) tells Nick and Sara that Dad Chase was way too drunk to have killed Diane, according to his blood alcohol level at the wedding. Diane’s blood work shows that she was also hopped up on goofballs, but hers were the antidepressant diazepam. Since she’s dead, the lab geek got her medical history, and she doesn’t have a prescription for diazepam. So someone slipped it to her, which would explain her behavior and the toast, but not the part about her death. Greg strides up and says “I might know what happened.” Flashback.

“You’d think she’d know better than to wear white on the bride’s big day.” Greg’s flashback is all film-noiry, black and white with splashes of crimson. “A dame was dead, but enough about her.” Someone’s been reading their Mike Hammer. I’m surprised Greg wasn’t wearing a fedora in his flashback. “The air was hot and heavy with wrong, making me thirsty. Thirsty for a tall drink of water….” The camera slowly pans up the legs of a pretty woman in a dress who’s walking through the flower tunnel (get it? Tunnel?) ahead of him. “That’s when I saw her – a flower. But not the kind you’d pin on a lapel…she was long stemmed.” The woman looks over her shoulder and flashes a coquettish red smile at him. Sara tries, with limited success, to ground Greg in stinky old reality. “Alright, Raymond Chandler, we get it.” She totally stole Mike Hammer from me and changed it to Raymond Chandler. Greg makes his way through the crowd to two young women in black, seated on a marble guardrail next to a pond. They’re wearing the same dresses and necklaces as the bridesmaids from Nick’s fanta—flashback, so presumably they’re bridesmaids as well. The women seem amused by Greg’s presence, or maybe they’re enjoying the novelty of being filmed in black and white. They aren’t especially sad about Diane’s death either. “Cruella made me wear underwear today,” says Leftina. “No one makes me wear underwear.” Well, now we know whose panties Bryce had. Rightchel takes an oral swab from Greg’s kit, pops it open, and says to her friend, “I’ll do you if you do me.” She sticks the swab teasingly in the other woman’s red waiting mouth, while Leftina makes arched eyes at Greg. I was all set to see some Sapphic soft-core when Sara bursts the bubble with “They did not.”

Back in color, Nick asks how that helps explain how Diane died, but you know he’s really wondering what Sapphic means and whether they would have let him watch too. “I’m getting there,” says Greg. Back in black, Leftina last saw Diane when she went to fix her hair in the hospitality suite. “I came in to fix my hair, she was complaining of a headache. Next thing you know, it’s bottoms up, Mommie Dearest.”

“So I headed behind the pink curtain,” Greg continues. “Where the girls go to get glossy. A little shine here, a little pouf there, a little.…” He picks up a silicon boob pad and gives it a squeeze, then sets it down. “Well, I don’t know exactly what that was, but I liked the feel.” He looks around the room, noticing some of the gifts which appear to include a set of snowboards. “And that’s when I saw it.” Cupid’s Kiss wouldn’t be complete without a large pewter statue of the cherub himself. It has a rather pointy Saxon-type arrowhead (straight on, it looks like an X) at the business end of the arrow, with red on it. There are two drops of blood on the rug underneath, and Greg swabs them and the arrow to be sure. Greg proposes that Diane, who was out of it because of the diazepam, stumbled and fell backward onto the arrow, poking herself in the brain. The four-sided arrow would leave a diamond-shaped mark in a skull, and that’s just what she’s got. Sara wonders why, if the skull-skewering was an accident, was Diane panty-hosed to the back of the car? Greg doesn’t know yet. “It narrows the field of suspects down to someone who had access to that suite,” says Nick. “Where’s the statue?” “In your car,” says Greg.” “Ah,” says Nick, as the SFX shoot an arrow at us. Whfffffffff-Thunk! Commercials.

Do we really need a remake of The Poseidon Adventure? Is it cynical to suggest that a culture whose best ideas are behind it, which must cannibalize itself in order to produce anything that can be packaged and sold to the short-memoried gawping masses as ‘new’…that such a culture is possibly already mouldering in the box underground and simply doesn’t have the capacity to understand its condition?

On the other hand, the new Berries and Cream Dr. Pepper is actually quite good, in spite of the dumb ads, and I say that as a man who likes his Dr. Pepper pure. What was I saying about our culture before? Mmm…tasty. I forget. It probably wasn’t important.

Hodges blowhards his way into Grissom’s office, saying he’s moved Diane’s fingernail scrapings to the top of his busy, busy queue because he’s a suck-up who knows how to prioritize. “Composite substance,” he starts, “You’re never gonna believe this—” Grissom lists the ingredients in butter cream frosting, which is correct, and it impresses Hodges so much that he decides right then (for about the 14 th time, probably) to have Grissom’s children. “You know, you and me…we’re not the marrying kind,” says Hodges. “The intricacies of our nature could never be understood by just one woman.” “Would you close the door, please?” asks Grissom. Hodges nods, walks to the door, closes it, and turns around. You can see in his eyes that he’s already planning how to get Grissom out of that itchy old coat for a relaxing massage. “From the other side,” Grissom says. Burn!

Sara’s napping in the…napping room? Catherine wakes her up. Internal Affairs isn’t there yet, but the convertible is. In the garage, she and Greg open the car’s trunk and start looking for clues. The snowboards may still be in the hospitality suite, but their carrying case is in the trunk. Greg opens it and finds bloody towels. That’s a serviceable clue.

Archie has been doing Catherine’s bidding, watching the wedding video over and over to see where Diane went and how much eating and drinking she did. She didn’t eat her soup or salad, but she did switch her entrée with her son’s for some reason while he wasn’t looking. She had one glass of champagne, then a waiter brought a second glass for The Toast, which Archie confessed to watching five times. Archie cues up the DVD to Diane’s last time on camera, where Jill’s brother Mikey is giving a speech. Diane shambles across the room behind him, whispers something to one of the bridesmaids, and lurches off. Catherine asks him to replay it, and picks up on the fact that Mikey mentions driving a towtruck. Aha! Catherine calls Brass to have him check out Mikey’s record, if any, and his tow yard.

In the garage, Greg and Sara are going through a suitcase they found in the convertible. Sara holds a lacy white teddy up to her torso as Nick walks in. “What’s up?” he asks, and she turns to him, still holding up the teddy. “I need your hands,” she says. “I thought you’d never ask,” he replies, with limited enthusiasm. He’s sleepy. What she really wants is for him to re-print the car’s bumper. Nick is glad to have something to do to keep himself awake. I guess boffing Sara wouldn’t qualify? He starts printing the car as Greg pulls out a 6-pill prescription of 10-milligram diazepam pills, made out to Jill. Two pills are left. Sara notes that 40 milligrams would match what they found in Diane’s blood. Greg wonders whether Jill decided to calm Diane down instead of herself.

In comes Wendy, who is played by Liz Vassey. Liz played Captain Liberty in the short-lived but funny live-action version of The Tick. She was smokin’ hot in that show – less so here, because they’ve got her made up to be kind of pallid and grey, but still pretty in a mole-woman sort of way. I hereby christen her Captain Laberty. What? She works in a lab now, and she played Captain Liberty before. Fine. Fine! Captain Wendy. Is that better? Captain Wendy tells the gang that the blood from the snowboard bag was a match to Diane, and there were two women’s epithelials on the two handles. One of those was also a match to DNA taken from the knot in the pantyhose Diane was tied to the car with. Greg says that they could compare them with the buccal swabs they took of everyone at the wedding, if they still had the swabs. Sara suggests that they re-collect the swabs – all 200 of them – except that, because they’re confined to the lab until Internal Affairs gets there, someone else will have to do it. At that moment there’s a sharp crack, and it’s Nick. “This is crap! I’ve been waiting on IAB for 14 hours. I’m tired. And I kind of smell. And I don’t have a friggin’ car.” He takes off his rubber gloves and wanders out, leaving Sara, Greg, and Captain Wendy to nod in commiseration.

Warrick is here! He must’ve been laboring away in some Z-plot that didn’t even rate putting on TV, poor guy. He’s tying his shoe on a bench in the locker room as Nick comes in. Nick immediately starts ranting to Warrick about how everyone’s treating him like he’s done something wrong, he’s sick of being hassled by the man, and so forth. He takes off his jacket and hangs it in his locker, ranting all the while, when Warrick notices something and tries to get Nick to shut up for a minute. He finally succeeds, and points to the blood on Nick’s t-shirt. Nick looks at it and is aghast. Commercials.

I am definitely not going to see Mission Impossible 3 now, because you marketing people just don’t know when to back off.

We’re back, and Captain Wendy is cutting Nick’s t-shirt off with a pair of t-shirt shears. He explains to her that he’d loaned one of the bridesmaids his jacket, and because she was wearing black, he didn’t notice the blood that must’ve been on her. It got on his jacket, though, and then got on him. He concludes lamely that he didn’t want to risk contaminating the t-shirt by pulling it off over his head, which is a roundabout way of saying he’s been waiting for Captain Wendy to carefully and methodically tear off his clothes for a while now. I know the feeling. He also wants her to compare the epithelials from the snowboard bag to the ‘call me’ napkin in his front pocket. He turns around and holds up his arms so she can reach right in there and see what she finds. Captain Wendy smiles, because this is like the dozenth time she’s heard that line this week, but she reaches in anyway and grabs the note. It’s basically sitting right at the mouth of his pocket. Nick mentally kicks himself for not pushing it down further before coming in. She opens the napkin, sees the note inside, and gives Nick one of those ‘You adorable little cad’ looks. He laughs and walks out.

Brass tells Catherine that Mikey had a prior conviction for car theft. Nick’s truck was in one of the paint bays of Mikey’s shop, right next to a Distracto Bros. delivery truck. Brass’s guys are looking for him now. Catherine says that Mikey didn’t leave the wedding after Diane toddled off to die, according to the DVD, so Brass speculates that he wasn’t acting alone. The two arrive in the auto bay just as Nick’s truck rolls in, and…wow. If it didn’t have any resale value before, it sure does now. At least among the pimp-and-airbrush crowd. The body shop painted a large Vegas-themed mural on the side, which is a nice touch because it’s topical. “That’s not funny,” sighs poor Nicky. “It’s a little funny,” Catherine assures him. Hell yeah…the only way it could have been funnier is if the bikini-clad woman in the mural had been a bikini-clad guy.

The Cupid statue is back. Greg’s got his calipers out, measuring the hole in Diane’s skull against Cupid’s arrowhead. It looks like a match. Sara comes in, and Greg tells her that the cops found the Cupid statue in a Dumpster behind Mikey’s shop. He adds that there wasn’t any biological evidence, and Mikey probably hocked the cameras, but “at least I’ve been reunited with love’s deadly arrow.” Sara points out that the Cupid statue won’t be admissible in court, and Greg tut-tuts her negativity. All they have to do is convince the suspects that they know what happened. “Do we?” she asks. Greg says they’re close, and asks her to put the UV filter on the camera while he turns out the lights. The white dress that Diane should have known better than to wear is laid out on the light table. Under UV light, two handprints show up on the shoulders of the dress. Sara wonders how he figured out to look for that, and Greg explains. The first two options for Diane’s death-by-Cupid were that she was stabbed with it (too bulky) or that it was an accident (which would likely have been called in as such). The third option for how the arrow ended up in the back of her head was that she was pushed into the statue. Whatever the pusher-person had on their hands made for good fingerprints, too, says Greg. Sara offers to swab the handprints for trace.

The fingerprints are a match to a bridesmaid named Lacey Finn, a.k.a. Leftina, who was in the system because she was a cocktail waitress once. The prints on the diazepam bottle aren’t in the system, which means it wasn’t the bride because she’s a nurse and her prints would be in the computer. Does everyone who works in Vegas have to put their fingerprints into this diabolical system? Creepy. The doctor who prescribed the diazepam is named Whitehall, who turns out to be married to Valerie Whitehall, another bridesmaid a.k.a. Rightchel. Valerie knew where the pills were, and she had access to the suite. Hodges comes in with news on the trace from the dress: it was hair gel. Greg remembers that Lacey had said she went to fix her hair – and if you scroll up to that conversation, you’ll note that that was also the last time she said she saw Diane.

Mikey is drumming his fingers on the interrogation table in the interrogation room when Catherine comes in. Through the interrogation door. “Where’s that Sara chick?” he asks. Catherine tells him he doesn’t really have time for romance, as he’s being charged with Grand Theft Auto, Obstruction of Justice, and Conspiracy to Murder. He immediately cops to everything but the murder. “Well, if you didn’t commit the murder, then why did you steal the car?” Catherine interrogates. It’s a good question. Surprisingly, he has a good answer. Well, alright, it’s a dumb answer, but out of all the possible answers to the question, it’s pretty good. One of the bridesmaids seduced him into doing it, and because he apparently has some sort of auto-erotica thing going, finding a hot chick who wanted him to steal a car really got his motor running. So there’s that. “Besides,” he adds, “I hadn’t gotten a wedding gift for my sister yet.” Snerk.

Captain Wendy informs Nick that Mindy from his napkin is a match to one of the snowboard-case handles. She doesn’t have a match for the other handle yet.

Grissom walks in on the crew in the snacks-and-books room. “You paged?” he asks. Greg brings him up to speed on their theory so far: the bridesmaids worked together to pull off the caper. Grissom gives some anthropological background on the role of the bridesmaid: she was originally supposed to act as a human shield against the bride’s enemies. Sara picks up the narrative and adds that the bride and her bridesmaids would dress similarly, thus confusing the evil spirits that might try to overtake the bride on her wedding day. Funny how that never comes up in the conservative crowd’s patter about ‘traditional marriage.’ “Wow, for somebody who’s anti-wedding, you sure know a lot about it,” says Nick. Sara says she’s not anti-wedding, she’s anti-stupid; she’s irritated by people who do things for the sake of tradition without knowing anything about the actual tradition. I gotta give her props for that one – it’s a peeve of mine too. Or it will be from now on.

Grissom interrupts the banter to get the group back on track, and Greg narrates the short-short solution to the mystery. Valerie gets Diane a glass of champagne and spikes it. Diane starts to feel it during her toast, and when she walks out during Mikey’s speech, she stops to accuse Valerie of trying to poison her. She threatens to have Mr. Valerie’s medical license revoked, and to have Valerie put away for attempted murder. Lacey overhears this and follows Diane to the hospitality suite. Tempers flare; someone pushes someone else into a Cupid statue, and the one who wasn’t incapacitated by an arrow in the brain rounds up her friends to help clean up the mess. They decide to make it look like the Fatellis did it, so they haul her out to the convertible in the snowboard bag and tie her to the bumper. Then they go back to the party and have a gay old time until the car dragging the groom’s dead mother ruins the fun.

In the interrogation room, the four bridesmaids take turns confessing as the camera orbits around them Matrix-style. It was an accidental situation that got out of hand, and yeah, they were all a little drunk, but Diane was a horrible bitch who was mean to their friend and would have been for the rest of her life, so they have no remorse. Case closed! It’s a good thing they’re not in Texas, or I’m sure they’d all get the chair.

Later, in the break room, McKeen strides in with the men from IAB. The tired-looking crew rouse themselves from their couches and chairs to stare blearily at the humorless-looking Internal Affairs guys. Grissom tells them and McKeen that, in the meanwhile, they recovered Nick’s car and solved the case. McKeen’s still got his mad on, and he tells Grissom that there still may be disciplinary action, and wants to know who’s up for being interviewed first. Good ol’ sanguine theme-connecting Grissom replies, “I don’t think it matters. I’m sure our stories are all the same.”

Site Contents © 2004-2006 Robert M. Rowan