Burden Of Proof

Episode Report Card
Sobell: B- | Grade It Now!
"Meat Bullets" Is A Fine Name For A Band

Night has fallen over Las Vegas and its surrounding environs -- including a forest that looks awfully familiar. We see a flashlight's thin beam pass over a pond, then some detritus, then the inert body of a nude woman. Because this is network television and not cable, she is, of course, strategically covered in leaves. Her skin is a mosaic of white flesh and livid bruising. The flashlight -- brandished, we see, by Gil -- passes over the woman's figure and pauses on her outstretched arm, the better to study the insects hanging out there.

Gil then passes by the body and heads toward the cab of a broken-down old truck. He shines a flashlight in the passenger window; the beam rests on the slumped body of a man behind the wheel. There's a rat sitting on his shoulder, looking considerably more adorable than the filthy rodents I've seen slithering in and out of gutter grates in San Francisco. I wonder if the blow-dried rat in this scene came about per someone's request: I won't do the scene unless the rat is having a good hair day. I also wonder if the show has some sort of vermin wrangler on call to style the animals ("Mr. Petersen, we're sorry, but one of the hissing cockroaches refuses to do the scene until I've buffed his carapace to a glossy sheen. Would you mind waiting?"). Anyway, Gil studies the body and the rat, then moves on. He continues through the woods and stops at a third body, then hunkers down to look at it. A bespectacled middle-aged man bends down as well, and murmurs, "That one's not ours." I instantly wonder if Gil has somehow stepped into the middle of a cult crime scene -- an anal-retentive cult crime scene where, after everyone else drank the Kool-Aid (tm), one person stayed behind to organize the bodies. Gil asks for confirmation. The bespectacled man says, "I authorize all cadavers and associated research. He's not ours." My dreams of recapping Jonestown: The 24th Anniversary DVD Special Edition dissolve.

The camera pulls back to reveal that Gil and company are in an enclosed area, surrounded by a fence bearing an expositorily convenient sign reading, "Anthropology Department. Private Property. Keep Out." No word on whether this anthropology department is affiliated with the University of Western Las Vegas. Anyway, Brass -- who apparently did not bother to acquaint himself with the local forensic landmarks during his prior tenure as CSI head -- walks into the body farm with Catherine. "People donate their body to science and end up submerged in a pond? Crammed in a car?" he asks incredulously. Catherine looks around and decrees, "Body farm. Creepy." The reaction these two have confounds me: knowing Grissom, he probably throws the office's Thursday night get-togethers out here. Gil steps in to correct his colleagues: "It's not creepy. It's a controlled study of situational decomposition. All in all, a very healthy place." I wonder if he practiced that speech in front of a mirror to make it appear more natural. Catherine invites Gil to keep working on that speech's delivery with the skeleton hanging from a nearby tree. Gil doesn't have time to respond, as Brass has donned the mantle of Captain Exposition and told the audience precisely why we're at the body farm: "Whoever dumped the body here knew about the body farm. What he didn't know is that each body is tracked by a bunch of scientists." Because this is Vegas, Catherine brings the gambling metaphor: "You can't slip a card into the deck." David The Emergency Backup Coroner interjects with some of that pesky science, adding that there's no rigor mortis yet, so the death of the body farm transplant took place less than six hours ago. The CSIs roll the body over -- cause of death: a gunshot wound to the chest -- and peer at the corpse. Catherine murmurs to Gil, "Well, look, one of your friends," as a beetle climbs out from under the victim's shirt and begins scaling the placket. Gil leans in to see if it's someone he recognizes from the Bugmont Stakes. He picks up the little insect and sputters, "It's a carpet beetle. It shouldn't be here!" Catherine asks, "He looks more like a hardwood floors kind of guy to you?" No, that would be the Christopher Lowell beetle. Gil is not amused; he explains, "Carpet beetles are the last to arrive at a corpse, when it's almost a skeleton. This guy's still fresh." He swings the flashlight around -- evidently looking for the source of the carpet beetles -- and looks no further than the swinging skeleton which is, upon further TMI-errific inspection, wreathed in shreds of flesh and covered in carpet beetles. Gil puts two and two together and shouts, "David, get this body out of here now. We've got cross-contamination!"

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