CSI
You've Got Male

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Not seeing the forest for the trees

The show opens somewhere outside Barstow on the edge of the desert; judging from the rolling green fields and lush foothills, the drugs have definitely taken hold. I remember saying something like, "I thought this show took place in Las Vegas. Maybe I recorded the wrong thing..." And suddenly there was ominous music all around us and the scene was filled with what looked like a woman riding horseback through those green fields. And a voice was screaming, "Holy Jesus! Who changed the setting of the show to the bluegrass fields of Kentucky?"

Then it was quiet again, in part because there is only so much one can crib from Hunter S. Thompson before one crosses the line from parody to plagiarism. Anyway, the woman notices that her horse is especially nervous, and asks her mount, "What is wrong with you?" Surprisingly, the horse fails to answer in standard English. She dismounts at the corrugated metal pipe that's making the horse nervous and looks inside; a very still female figure is hunched in the pipe. The horsewoman presses her hand to her mouth in horror. Some time later -- like, an entire day later, since the golden Kentucky afternoon appears to have given way to a dark Nevada evening. Gil, sporting a CSI baseball cap, peers into the pipe and makes a moue of disgust, then straightens up to tell Brass, "A girl in a culvert pipe at a highway construction site in the middle of an alfalfa field. You got anything to add?" Brass, who has been shaking his head in profound appreciation of Gil's imagery, sighs, "Nothing as poetic. Road crew took off at 3:30, body was discovered at 5:15." Gil asks who found the body, and Brass points a thumb back in the general direction of the horse, expositing, "Our friend Flicka." Gil notes resignedly that the horse stumbling across the body scotches his theory of "Whoever finds the body is the first suspect." Before Brass can comment, Sara calls Gil's name, and he walks over to the pipe where she's standing. Gil asks her what she's got and Sara replies, "The one thing you don't want to find at a murder scene." Gil shines his flashlight to an area slightly to the right of the pipe and says, "A second body."

The Who plays as I ponder how the corpse-finding horse managed to completely miss a body out in the open in favor of finding one in an enclosed place.

Back on the show. David The Occasionally Fun Coroner. We learn that both women died around the same time -- approximately 12 hours ago -- but Gil's not too happy that David's not being more precise, snarking, "My uncle Phil used to say you can't kill two birds with one stone." "All I can tell you is cause of death," David shoots back. The brunette has an injury to the cervical spine; in David's words, it "looks to be hands-on." We get to see how the cervical vertebra snapped, courtesy of the TMICam. Gil and David concur that yes, someone snapped the brunette's neck and she died instantly. The blonde, on the other hand, died in a much different matter, she had cut glass in all her many incised wounds, as well as abrasions on her neck that look a lot like fingernail marks. Thinking ahead, David's already swabbed the abrasions for foreign DNA. As for the cause of death? Severed brachial artery, leading her to bleed out. I should note here that we get to see the severing, and the resultant bloody geyser, in glorious TMI-o-Vision. Gil's brow furrows, and he decrees, "Something doesn't seem right." He goes on to point out, "Look at the brunette. Her elaborate tattoos, perfectly dyed hair. Multiple body piercings...it tells me she craved attention." David, thinking that these things could also indicate someone who slavishly followed prepackaged alt.culture trends, shrugs. Gil continues, "The blonde, however, seems almost prosaic. She doesn't even have pierced ears. She didn't shave her legs." David, who's riding that poetic vibe Gil began back before the credits, says, "A wildflower and a wallflower." Gil muses, "What do our dead flowers have in common?"

Meanwhile, on the forest world of Endor, the sound of Ewoks hooting is visible as the camera pans down and...I'm sorry. This is still CSI. It's just...CSI set in a deep green forest. Exactly how much territory does the Las Vegas CSI jurisdiction encompass? Like, up to Lake Tahoe? Idaho? Alberta? Anyway, Nicky and Catherine have wandered from the desert to this verdant glen, and a random park ranger type is explaining how he happened to stumble over the seated corpse we are all looking at. "He should have been wearing his orange vest," opines Ranger Rick. Yes, but at least the dead man is not wearing the beret Catherine currently has perched atop her head; it's as if she's going to leave the crime scene, then head down to City Lights to listen to Allen Ginsberg read Howl. Nicky notices that the bullet went straight through our dead hunter; Catherine adds that the man bled out. I snap my fingers in appreciation of her observation. Nicky picks up the hunting rifle and notes that it's a Winchester 70. As he's admiring the stock of that fine weapon, he notices Emergency Backup David The Coroner (not to be confused with David The Variably Fun Coroner, despite the two of them having the same job; apparently, the main David is kept in the morgue, while Emergency Backup David is appropriated for autopsies on-the-go) unsheathing what looks to be a meat thermometer and sticking it in through the bullet hole. Aghast, Nicky asks what Emergency Backup David is doing; Emergency Backup David replies that he's checking the liver temperature so he can gather a data point for estimating time of death. We see the entire process. Nicky muses that "there should be a total of five bullets; four in the magazine, one on the chamber. All five accounted for. This rifle was never fired."

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