CSI Season 14 Review “Keep Calm & Carry-On”

The latest episode of “CSI” was one of those Agatha Christie-style mysteries where everyone in the vicinity has a motive for murder, but it’s also hard to tell who did it by default. In the amusingly-titled “Keep Calm & Carry-On,” we had a whole host of colorful suspects to choose from, including some recognizable faces, like Jaleel “Urkel” White, Joel Grey, and Ethan Embry.

I’m not saying it was impossible to figure out who done it, as I did actually figure it out fairly early on, but there were definitely enough detours to keep you guessing throughout, and it was definitely in the Christie mold, a “Strangers on a Plane,” if you will. (Okay, that’s actually more Hitchcockian, but you get the idea.)

I liked that the suspects kept coming, even among those who weren’t on the plane, like the would-be ex-husband the victim jacked for money, and the high school boyfriend she’d gone to for help getting out of the abusive relationship with said husband- the latter of which was ultimately the culprit. That would be the part played by Ethan Embry, late of “Once Upon a Time,” but who I always primarily associate with the 90s teen-com “Can’t Hardly Wait,” with J-Love Hewitt.

Although it wasn’t entirely intentional, it was sad to see old Ethan was the perp in question, but I had a feeling that would turn out to be the case, simply because he seemed the most aloof about it, whereas the others were all pretty upfront about who they were. For instance, Jaleel White was a would-be player who exhibited some very un-“Urkel”-like behavior, but owned up to it. Meanwhile, Broadway vet Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) was a studied thief that robbed unsuspecting passengers on planes, which was sort of fascinating, and my favorite aspect of the episode.

However, you really had to feel the most badly for the poor victim (Ellen Hollman, of “Spartacus: War of the Damned”), who was an abused wife who asked an ex for help, who then made up a fake guy called “The Wolf” that he said could help hook her up with fake ID and a new life and what have you, basically to extort money from her. Then, when the ex finds out that she was robbed (completely at random by Grey’s character, thus sealing her fate), he flips out, hits her, and she dives out of the car after a struggle, only to die in the fall. Sad stuff.

Best bits: Everything involving Grey’s character, Nick’s “Casablanca” joke, Greg and Sara’s dialogue about “The Goat” (Greg: “I did meet a guy called ‘The Goat’ who said he’d eat anything for a dollar.” Sara: “I had to get evidence out of him once.”), the laser-owning bonehead Nick pulled a “Scared Straight” bit on with others in his cell, and the moment when Nick busted the husband for messing with the Doc and just being a general D-bag, really. Oh, and that Hollman- mighty easy on the eyes, I must say.

All in all, an enjoyable enough episode. Nothing earth-shattering, just a good example of “CSI” doing what it does best, quirky crimes with oddball scenarios that keep one guessing. The guest stars helped a lot, as did some fun banter amongst the main cast. Maybe not among the best of the season so far, but firmly in the middle, to be sure.

What did you think of the episode? Enjoy seeing 90’s stars White and Embry? How about Grey’s nifty turn as the thieving Hank? Would you risk a black eye to hit on Hollman? Did you figure out who did it, or did the answer surprise you? Hoping the “Goat” crops up in a future episode? Sound off on this and whatever else is on your mind down below, and I’ll see you next episode!