CSI Season 15 Review “Dead Rails”

CSI Season 15 Episode 10 Dead Rails 02

On the latest episode of “CSI,” we had a case where a man who was thought dead was later killed “again” in what must have been one hell of a night for the guy, to say the least, in “Dead Rails.” We started with a scene right out of a zombie movie: a hand reaches out of a grave and a body shambles out of it and walks slowly towards civilization. Only this particular zombie was very much alive- at least until a car slammed into him, finishing him off for good.

A variety of odd clues were also found on the scene, including a piece of green fabric indigenous to London and a piece of coral snakeskin not indigenous to the area, either. The man seemed to have been hit with both a brass knuckle and something made of glass- possibly a bottle- and there was what seemed to be baby powder near his wounds. What the what was going on here?

The victim was Jimmy Turelli (Christopher Atkins, formerly of “The Blue Lagoon” fame- sadly not even given top billing and instead relegated to the end credits), a recently-paroled convict with a long rap sheet, mostly for robbery and the like. Had his past caught up with him?

Morgan solved a key piece of the puzzle when she realized that the green fabric was from a pool table, the glass from a champagne flute commonly used in a billiards trick and the powder of the sort pool players use on their hands so the stick won’t slip. The brass knuckle was from a pool bridge, specifically the kind favored by pool shark Natalie “The Hornet” Barrow (Melanie Liburd, “Stalker”), who Jimmy just so happened to have sponsored in a local tournament, though she was cleared of the crime, as her brand of pool cue was relatively common on the circuit, as it was sold online.

In charge of said tourney was Miss Massey, played by “The Talk” co-host and Ozzy beloved Sharon Osbourne, who Hodges later assessed as the following: “I could see pure evil in her eyes.” In this case, though, Massey was innocent- at least of murder. Further digging, however, did lead to the revelation that she was involved in another sort of crime: she was the madam of a local brothel run out of a pool hall on the side. Said pool hall was Vegas Rails, which used to be managed by none other than Jimmy, and turned out to be the scene of the crime.

Absconding with the pool table used, we got to see a different, lighter side of Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois), who turned out to be something of a pool shark from back in the day. Despite some impressive moves, she couldn’t seem to account for one particular bit of evidence: the odd blood trail seemingly left by a cue ball, which was missing. Trying every shot under the sun on said table, she couldn’t seem to get the evidence to line up until she made an interesting discovery- the bar sold drinks with a huge ball made of ice inside, which was subsequently used in the aforementioned pool trick with the champagne glasses. After that, it wasn’t stolen as formerly presumed- it simply melted away in the pocket as the night wore on.

This turned out to be the crucial bit of evidence used to crack the case, however, as Morgan found DNA in said corner pocket, left there by the guilty party who drank the drink with the ice ball inside. The reason for the murder was as complex as the death itself ended up being. It seems that Mary Hamond (Alexandra Holden, “Rizzoli & Isles”), the same woman who seemingly inadvertently hit Jimmy with her car in the beginning of the episode and was subsequently let go, was also the killer herself.

A con artist who owned several dummy fronts for her money laundering and prostitution schemes, she was currently in the process of extorting married men with the help of Zoe (Laura Slade Wiggins, “Shameless”), the girlfriend of a local pool hustler, who would sleep with said men in a room wired with cameras while Mary took photos and later blackmailed said guys. Jimmy found out what was going on and Mary tried to cut him in on the action, but Jimmy had genuinely gone straight and refused, saying he was going to call the cops, so Mary killed him. By coincidence, after burying him in the desert, he got up and she saw him as she was driving back and ran him down on purpose to finish the job.

This was a decent enough episode, and I definitely liked seeing Morgan’s sunnier side again, after all she’d been through earlier this season, but I had a feeling it was Holden’s character from the jump, as her actions and persona were a little too busy for my tastes. At first, I was inclined to write it off as overacting, as Holden is somewhat known for this sort of character, but it turned out my inclinations were right on the money, as she was indeed the culprit. As a result, the only surprising thing for me about this episode was finding out that actress Laura Wiggins was pushing thirty. Wow! Those are some good genes!

Don’t get me wrong, it was fun seeing Osbourne as a madam, and I was highly amused by Hodges’ aforementioned assessment of her, but they could have used her a bit more, especially given how colorful her character was. Acting-wise, she was fine, although it was admittedly a small part, so she didn’t have to do a whole lot of heavy lifting, albeit more so than her husband did when he appeared as himself in a previous episode. (Fellow rocker Gene Simmons did a bit more scenery-chewing in his role not so long ago, as did title-track screecher Roger Daltrey, aka The Who’s frontman.)

Anyway, the plus side was that the case was just intriguing enough that I didn’t mind as much as I could have, despite having figured out the killer early on. The intro was a grabber, and as a former pool player myself, I really enjoyed all the pool-based twists and various shenanigans. It was a fun episode, even if it wasn’t that challenging to figure out, and being a Harnois fan, I appreciated all of the character-based back-story we got on Morgan, not to mention just seeing her relish a case for the first time in a while. So, all in all, it may not have been a prize winner, but it was far from a scratch game, at least.

What did you think of the latest episode of “CSI”? Did you enjoy seeing Morgan in pool hustler mode? How about Madame Osbourne? Did you figure out who did it as early on as I did? Did you appreciate all the pool-based trivia? How about the cool intro? Or do wish they’d get back to the Gig Harbor thing already? Sound off down below, and I’ll see you next time!