CSI Season 14 Review “Passed Pawns”

In the latest turn of the “CSI” did-they-or-didn’t-they celebrity guest star roulette wheel, the answer on the episode “Passed Pawns” was, as you might have guessed from that title, yes and no. In that, it was actually a little bit celebrity, a little bit character actor, when all was said and done. In the celebrity guest star corner, we had Illeana Douglas, as a brassy mother of two- one a “Rain Man”-type savant, and the other a gruff brute that ended up dead himself.

On the lesser-known side, we had pretty Shannon Lucio, a TV-vet best known for “The OC” and “Prison Break,” though I recognized her more immediately from the ridiculous TV-movie “Spring Break Shark Attack”– there was even a joke to that end on the show. She played a woman scorned who sought out revenge via hit man, a local homeless guy who she hired via a pawn shop, through Ruby (Douglas), the owner.

Ruby in turn, murdered the guy for some cash he won at a local casino that Lucio’s character coincidentally worked at; never knowing the guy who won big was the guy who actually killed her husband. Ruby subsequently pawned off the murder on Delgado (Jason Manuel Olazabal, “Dexter”), a local thug. Meanwhile, the casino owner thought his security guy made off with the cash after he told him to follow the guy and rough him up a bit, and he didn’t come back, so he killed him. Oops!

So, one murder led to another, which led to another and so on, until everyone was dead or caught. Hence the title. Overall, it was a reasonably clever episode, I suppose. On the one hand, when Douglas cropped up and all but disappeared for most of the rest of the episode, you couldn’t help but figure she was involved somehow, but on the other, the involvement of multiple offenders kept you guessing somewhat, so it was a bit of a draw.

I did like the “Rain Man”-type, and was glad he wasn’t involved, and it was fun seeing former “The Vampire Diaries”-star Matt Davis again, even if his character was a bit douchey at first. (He was the day-shift CSI that tangled with Morgan.) I also like that the homeless guy-cum-hit-man-cum-thief just plain got lucky at the tables before he was offed (hey, at least he went out on a high!), and that his dealer just happened to be the wife that hired him to kill her husband, rather than their being in it together. What goes around comes around, I guess. Just like roulette.

It’s also always nice to see former “Frazier”-star Peri Gilpin, even if her role as Russell’s wife is a bit thankless. And who doesn’t like to see Brass get his gangster on? I can’t decide if he was just feeling lucky, or if he doesn’t care anymore after what happened with his wife and daughter. Either way, it was pretty bad-ass, as was his completely nutty shooting of one of Delgado’s henchmen. If he keeps this sort of thing up, it probably won’t end well for him, and we need all the original cast members we can get these days!

All in all, a pretty decent episode, I’d have to say. It did keep you guessing, and had some nifty twists, and good guest stars, both known and lesser-known, but still appreciated. I wonder if Davis is being set up as a semi-regular? That would be okay, assuming they level his character out a bit, and make him a little less of an a-hole. It seemed to be where they were headed with it, anyway, given that he gave the “win” to Morgan in the end.

What did you think of the latest “CSI”? One for the books, or one for the dumpster out back where they thrown the bloody evidence away? Did you like the guest stars? Were you fooled by the main mystery at hand? Let me know in the comments and see you next episode!