CSI Season 15 Review “The CSI Effect”

CSI Season 15 Premiere 2014 The CSI Effect-3

On the season premiere of “CSI,” a new ongoing plotline was set into motion involving the so-called “Gig Harbor Killer,” in the very meta-titled “The CSI Effect.” It revolved around a formerly Seattle-based serial killer who killed seven girls before being apprehended by Russell and Finlay the first time they worked together, before their later fall-out, and obviously before being reteamed in Vegas. The man in question was one Jared Briscoe, who readily confessed to his misdeeds, but refused to reveal the whereabouts of some of his victims, which in tandem had landed him on death row.

Fast forward to now, and a killer surfaces in Vegas adopting the exact same MO: a staged crime scene, as if the CSI’s had already been over the premises, down to labeling things with markers and applying strings to simulate the path of blood spatter and the like. In short, basically doing the CSI’s work in advance for them, leaving seemingly no stone unturned, down to leaving a tape recording detailing the MO of the killer, aka him. Was a copycat responsible, or did Russell somehow arrest the wrong man all those years ago? Was it actually a cop or a fellow CSI?

Things got even creepier when it was discovered that the markers and strings emulating the forensics at the scene were made of actual human tissue belonging to some of the victims of the GHK that were never found. What’s more, a former acquaintance and fellow associate of Finlay’s, Keri Torres, was also missing, which brought her former flame and fellow detective Daniel Shaw, into town looking for Torres, who was now his PI partner in Seattle, both having retired some time ago. Faster than you can say rekindled romance, Finlay and Shaw were back at it, at least until she discovered his real reason for being there, which he’d hidden from her early on.

Restaurant security footage revealed that Torres had met with someone shortly before her disappearance, so the team absconded with the table the two sat at and found a fingerprint belonging to…wait for it…Briscoe, despite the fact that he was still very much in prison. Russell had him brought to Vegas, where it was discovered that he was missing the bulk of one of his missing fingers and that the guy who did it kept it, and apparently sold the finger to someone! But who would do such a thing?

After finding Torres’ car, a journal revealed the name of the real person she’d met with: Mark Turner, a lawyer from Winthrop Industries, who just so happened to have visited Briscoe in jail multiple times. Turns out Turner was sent there by Paul Winthrop himself- who just so happened to be a dead ringer for Briscoe himself. Turns out the two were twins adopted by separate people, with Winthrop doing very well, while Briscoe, well, was sent to death row for being a serial killer. Talk about nature vs. nurture!

Winthrop was convinced Briscoe was innocent and was trying to get him released- but just how far was he going to achieve it? Or was Winthrop the killer all along and Briscoe just crazy? Or were they partners in crime? With evidence revealing constellation patterns for the astrological sign Gemini, aka the “twins,” found in Torres’ car and in the patterns of the crime scene, it would certainly appear that way.

Following the trail of Torres’ notes leads the team to yet another freaky crime scene, this one featuring the long-dead corpses of the aforementioned missing victims from back on the Seattle case, once again meticulously staged. One of them had DNA evidence in her mouth and under her fingernails, which turned out to be neither one of the brothers, leading to Briscoe getting released after Winthrop and his team proved the CSI team incompetent enough to get him out. Now it was time for them to get to the bottom of what really happened in order to save their reputations- but not in this episode, as at least another will be in order to wrap up the case.

This was a reasonably entertaining premiere with some nifty touches, including, of course, the staged crime scenes, as well as the twisty narrative, which started out with Finlay being held hostage in a car loaded to blow with explosives if Russell didn’t admit publicly he’d arrested the wrong guy, before flashing back to their past in Seattle and then to the events leading up to Finlay’s car bomb scenario. Along the way, there were also crime scene drones (!), 3-D mapping tech, and the whole constellation angle, which was pretty cool. I’m a Gemini, as was my friend watching, so we were both amused by that revelation. (Nope, sorry, it wasn’t us! Of course that’s just what you’d expect us to say…but I digress, lol.)

Whether all of this pays off remains to be seen, of course, but not a bad way to start out a new season- and a new time slot, occupying what was once the “CSI: Miami” slot on Sundays. Considering how long the show’s been on, it could have been worse, certainly. What did you think of the “CSI” season premiere? Were you hooked by the thorny plotline? Or were you underwhelmed? What did you think of Zach Morris- er, Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s turn as the potential killer(s)? How about those creepy crime scenes? Let me know what you thought down below and see you next week!