Thursday, 26 June 2014

Spenser For Hire, Jesse Stone, Longmire: Books Brought to Life

It's been said that some of the best mysteries and films come from books, and plays which is true, since I said it, ha.  Take the Raymond Chandler books and his eponymous character of Philip Marlowe, Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade.  Turned into some of the best movies going in terms of film noir and the '40's and brought even more closer to life by portrayals from Humphrey Bogart to Robert Montgomery, Dick Powell and James Garner.

This trend continued way into the 1980's and beyond to present day.  Spenser For Hire, based on the novels of Robert B Parker was another show with intelligence and aplomb. The books have been likened to pulp fiction.  Brought to life so wonderfully and amiably by the late and talented Robert Urich.  You may recall him from shows such as Vega$ and the early and original TV series of S.W.A.T. from the '70's.  Spenser was a private detective in Boston who had a knack for getting to the heart of the case and solving the mystery, as well as living and suffering his own personal problems.  Helped along the way with Hawk (Avery Brooks) Wonder if anyone asked Avery about his time on the show at all those Star Trek Conventions?  Something I would have done.


Spenser had charm, wit and intellect, accompanied by an on screen narrative, which was poignant at times, funny at others.  Thing is Spenser was once a cop and we even got to see how he lost his badge in 3.21 Haunting when he investigates a kidnapping case, which was very close to home.

Spenser For Hire truly has become a classic in its own right.  DVDs are available if you missed this first time round on TV.  Writing this listening to the theme tune of Spenser For Hire (of which there were many variations) very inspiring and great for reminiscing too!

Following on from this, adapted for movies was the other Robert B Parker novels, of Jesse Stone.  Starring Tom Selleck in a role which was far removed from his earlier stint as Magnum PI.  As he now played a former cop too with a drinking problem, divorced, who now moves to Paradise, Massachusetts as its new Police Chief.  Met by hostility from the locals and the officials alike, it's hard for him to garner any form of respect or support from the locals.  He's even removed from his job too when he gets too close to home in one of his cases.  That's small town politics for ya!


 The storylines are gritty, where everyone seems to be hiding secrets.  Though not all the books have been filmed since Tom is on Blue Bloods, but once again the casting was just perfect, as he realistically portrays hardened Jesse, who still has a heart and just can't seem to let go of his ex wife.
Jesse: "I'm the Police Chief I know everything."

Some of the characters from the Spenser novels do manage to make it into the Jesse Stone books too, such as Gino Fish who was originally played by Vincent Guastaferro in Spenser, played here by William Sadler. DA Rita Fiore, played by Catherine McCormick in Spenser For Hire first appeared in the book, Spenser: Pale Kings and Princes and played by Mimi Rogers in Jesse Stone.  Captain Healy was also a character from Spenser.

2012 saw another incarnation of a character from novels in the TV series, Longmire, adapted from the novels of Craig Johnson.  A fabulous read and a smart and fitting (thinking of fit here, ha) exemplary casting choice in Robert Taylor, as if he walked right out of the pages of the novels.  The Western genre has long been on our screens in some form or another, but these books and the show take that one step further into a more modern and in many ways, realistic setting.  The themes are relevant.  There'll always be friction between cultures and communities, no matter how far we may have come with Equality legislation.  People are people and no laws will change them or their behaviour.


Walt Longmire is sheriff of fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming.  But is filmed in New Mexico.  He suffers a broken heart with the death of his wife and even though it has been a year still struggles to come to terms with it.  So being back at work is tough, especially with the cases that he must investigate.  Walt prefers to use the old fashioned method and is loathe to rely on forensics.  We can relate to the characters and their surroundings, understanding their lives and woes and of course everyone has secrets.  With just a hint of romance.

If you loved the books, you'll love the show even more. Or if you haven't read the books yet, well what's stopping you?  There's plenty of conflicts, underhandedness and problems which are more shades of moral ambiguity than just one easy ride into resolving issues and personal hardships and rivalries and that's just from Walt's Deputy, the ambitious Branch Connolly (Bailey Chase) who's also vying for Walt's job by being in the running for elected sheriff himself, so the gloves are off.  That'll prove hard for him since Walt is exceptional at his job.  Yet so strong, silent and stoic.  Rob's so great in the role, he can convey so much emotion by just a look or a stare!  Who needs words when facial expressions are just as good, if not better.

Walt's right hand gal is his other Deputy Vic Moretti (Katee Sackhoff) who stands by Walt through thick and thin.  Aided along the way by rookie, Ferg (Adam Bartley) who's eager to impress and to learn at the same time.  Not forgetting Walt's daughter, Cady (Cassidy Freeman) who's headstrong and has given up a year of her life to help him too.  She's a chip off the old block in many ways.

So a brooding Walt's gotta have a best friend who is humanized in the form of Henry Standing Bear (Lou Diamond Phillips) always there to keep him in check and offer valuable advice.  After all, "it is what it is!" Right? Ha. With a nearby Indian reservation, there's bound to be untold trouble and here Walt also has a nemesis in the form of Mathias, Tribal Police Chief who's not shy about being vocal.  Animosities run high and boil over.  Just a few of the multi-faceted characters which grace our screens in this excellent show.

I like that unmistakable twang in the short opening credit music, it's just so atmospheric, you know you're in for something special and in it for the long haul too.  It's a breath of fresh air to actually watch something where we go back to grass roots and little or no technology is involved, in a rapidly changing world where high tech is everything.  It's good to sit back, relax and take the scenic route into solving crimes.

Miss it and there'll be pistols at dawn!

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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

CSI 14.4 "Last Supper" Review

It's the Elite Chef reality TV show where the candidates have been whittled down to four remaining contestants.  The round is the palette test and the object is to guess the protein in the four different dishes and first one to do so will be immune from the elimination round.  Michelle (Cynthia Addai-Robinson) finds an eyeball in her dish and eats it until she gets a contact lens in her mouth and spits out the eyeball.  Apparently Finn (Elisabeth Shue) and David David Berman) are fans of the show and David knows the show is taped in advance.  DB (Ted Danson) tells them they can't watch the show until the case is solved.  Thus the meat is all human and Ray (Charles Malik Whitfield) guesses right with DB asking him why he knows that, cos of the contact lens, but no one is winning the round.

Also they showed Curtis (Matthew Holmes) sipping his soda which was a clue.  Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) and Finn proceed to analyze the CS as DB also questions the producer, Nadine (Holley Fain).  You know as soon as she came from behind the CS tape I had a sneaking suspicion she was the suspect here and the killer, call it a gut instinct!  Ha.  Well that was a lame joke! They have got hours of footage but the cameras stop rolling at 10 and everyone leaves the kitchen.  The food was prepared by other chefs.  Morgan finds blood in the drain and it's human.  All the judges are accounted for except judge Graham (Alastair Duncan) who is missing, so they think he could be the Vic.  Finn got a little too happy in this ep, as she was all smiles and laughs, you know, especially considering the subject matter.

The suspect at first appears to be Derek (Coby Ryan McLaughlin) who threatened Graham as he was sent off the show him and claimed he would never be a chef.  Derek rolls up his sleeve to reveal his tattoo, again another clue!  But Graham turns up, hungover and is questioned by Greg (Eric Szmanda) and Det Kevin Crawford (Alimi Ballard) he has an alibi as he was with Candy and Brown Sugar in a limo.  He tries to light up a cigarette and Crawford asks him to hand it over, thinking he wants a light.  He was in the kitchen which explains the boot print Greg found belonging to him but he was with Cici (Kristen Kassinger) as she was showing him some of her rubbings.

Morgan and Greg get garbage detail as they sift through the rubbish thrown out and Morgan hates maggots. Greg's used to them by now.  He finds a severed arm with the meat been removed away from the bone.  It shows a tattoo, thus the Vic was Derek.  Hodges shows Morgan how to make caviar out of blood, as in molecular gastronomy, of which Graham is an expert.  She adds she knows chemistry too.  David and Finn look at the food and specifically the testicles of a bull, and he pulls out his testicle measure showing that these came from a human too. Eeww.

Nadine tells Finn that Derek was a creep and she edited the footage making him look good, especially as she shows her footage of how he threw one of Michelle's dishes onto the floor and made her pick it up, commenting that's how he likes his women.  Doc (Robert David Hall) finds that Derek had a bump on his head so he was hit with a blunt object but that was 48 hours earlier.  Derek was drugged with kratom which was ordered in from abroad and it seems that Curtis brought this in.  Also his real name is Curtis Gant and he has a criminal record for possession.  The kratom made Derek irritable thus his fight with Graham.  He wasn't poisoning him as he tells DB and Crawford, he just wanted him sick so that he would have an advantage over him as he was beating him in every challenge.

Morgan and Finn search Derek and Curtis's room and Finn finds a bloody alarm clock under the bed, what Derek was hit with.  They think that Curtis must have hit him since he found out about his record and threatened to reveal it.  When checked for prints, it comes up with Michelle.  She said she had to fight tooth and nail to get here and compete with the men.  She was in Derek's room and he drugged her, she could taste liquorice.  When she woke up Derek was on top of her and trying to strangle her.  She clocked him (ha!) and ran away.  She didn't tell anyone about the rape cos it's her word against his, but Finn just heard from Nadine that he was a jerk, so there would have been some backing for her.  Greg finds Michelle did leave the room from the camera footage and he would tend to believe her.  He then sees Curtis also leave the room after her, meaning they both raped her.

Finn checked up on what else the liquorice  flavour could come from, including fennel and she found a cold case where a girl was raped and murdered.  Her DB was torn apart by animals.  This was at a college attended by both Curtis and Derek.  So they re the ones behind her rape and murder.  Nadine tells the crew Legal has shut down the show and the set must be cleared.  That's when Curtis's DB is found in the freezer. It looks like he was hit on the head with a frozen leg of lamb.  Morgan finds a discarded soda cup with some soda still inside it and bags it for evidence.  They think Michelle may have got her revenge on Curtis too and Doc finds he didn't necessarily have to be killed with the leg.  He could have walked into the shelf and dropped it, then fallen onto the leg.  He suffered from anaphylactic shock which would have caused his throat to cease, but no trace of almond in the soda or his stomach contents was found.

This was found in the straw.  A sugar straw was rolled by hand and placed inside the actual straw so he would have sipped it and suffered shock.  On the straw they find a fingerprint, she could've used gloves, which matches Nadine!  No surprises there!  She knew about Derek and Curtis and how they had killed her sister but they were meant to have been her friends.  She made Derek suffer since the animals ripped her body to pieces and ate it, that's why she fed Derek to the others.  She realized it was them when Michelle told her about the rape.

Elsewhere Finn advises Hodges to take a more active role in the wedding arrangements with Elisabetta (Catrinel Menghia Marlon) as he'll regret it otherwise and not helping out shows he doesn't care forher.  They sample wedding cake but can't agree on the flavours.  She wants him to move to Italy after they're married and stomp grapes but he likes his job and living here.  Morgan gives him some advice she got from the groom at a wedding she was at when he said you need to decide if you love the woman or if you can't live without her.  Whatever he decides she'll be here for him.  They part ways as Elisabetta also realizes they re so different from each other!  Can't say I didn't see that coming, it was obvious since last season.

Gotta say the ep was a little boring as they just kept jumping back and forth from suspect to suspect, with no sign of Nick/Geroge as mentioned and it seems that Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) Sara (Jorga Fox) and Henry (Jon Wellner) weren't in the ep in support of George. However, it was cos they weren't in this ep anyway and so that's why it could have done with more of the cast being included, not all vanishing in one go.  One reason why they didn't have to explain why Nick wasn't around if other cast members aren't, but still it was apparent in real life why he wasn't in the ep.

David using the orchidometer was funny and how he was so knowledgeable about such things, okay I know it's part of his job, and watching food shows too.  With reference to the title Last Supper, was also an allusion to Morgan commenting on how Hodges likened himself to Jesus when he said he'll turn blood into caviar.  Also Finn giving them advice about marriage,a little strange since she's had failed marriages but stating that she did love her first husband but they had differences and so ended up being divorced.

CSI delving into food territory, similar to CSI:NY and remember the ep No Good Deed, where Stella found the eyeball in her coffee.  They also did another food ep Fare Game where the chef, played by Kevin Rahm, was into cooking insects, spiders and the like (yuck).

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

CSI 14.3 "Torch Song" Review

Another ep where the subject is a fire in a club.  The opening shows how the people try to get out and trample all over each other, Nick (George Eads) narrating about how colony of ants protect each other, but only humans would crawl over each other to survive.  Four people are dead and it appears one of them was murdered. A mother tuns up looking for her son and sees he may be one of the dead ones.  Nick asks Finn (Elisabeth Shue) if she wants to help with the fire investigation.  She's seen a lot in Seattle but noting like this. Nick reassuring her that she can identify the cause of death by a drop of blood so this shouldn't be too much for her to handle.

David (David Berman) examines a DB and Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) and Sara (Jorja Fox) search through the club.  Sara finds the wallet of one, Timo (Joshua Alba).  One was the band member, a woman who was most likely the bassists as she had a plec in her hand.  The other two also appear to be band members too. Greg (Eric Szmanda) takes pictures of the DB at the lab and Doc (Robert David Hall) undergoes the examination of the others.  Morgan puts back the skin of the Vic, Timo and Doc rules he was already dead before the fire as peticule in his eyes showed he was asphyxiated.  Morgan notices the chain marks around his neck,  and David is a little puzzled over what he's seen.  The bassist has tattoos all over her DB, which are all related to being a White Supremacist.  Sara does a search and finds her name was Rene Nylen.  Of the group White Rising.

At the hospital Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) points out the club owner, Stu (John Ratzenberger) to DB.  Well he was my obvious suspect, who else would it be.  He tells Greg he pawned the guitar to keep his club open and it would have been closed.  Nick continues to look for the point of origin and notices the sound proof foam just went up in flames immediately.  He finds a candle attached to cardboard and thinks it could be the incendiary device.  Hodges (Wallace Langham) analyzes it to find there's a bar code attached which leads back to a Lee Wong Automative, Lee who was attacked by people at the club a while ago and left in a coma.  Brass tells DB about the incident and Nick also recalls it too.  Before that Nick is pestered by the annoying fire investigator Ryan Miller (mark Deklin).  Talk about arrogant.  First he makes a comment about having Finn as an investigator with Nick and then he comments on the camera he's using.  Preferring to use his own.  Also Finn finds red paint on the second door showing it was unlocked but blocked from outside.

DB talks with Lee's sister, Nora (Irene Keng) who runs the shop now but she claims she thought she was here due to her brother's coma.  He can't speak now and it's unlikely he ever will.  DB asks her what car     she drives and she replies her late father's jeep.  She recalls taking her friends back to the club where Lee was attacked and they lit lanterns which must have got stuck on the roof.  Nick thinks this is plausible.

Nick thinks if they can strip back the wiring, then they can find where the wires came away from their coverings and bubbled up.  This leads them to one area and once again Miller tells them they're wasting their time.  Ecklie (Marc Vann) arrives and they think it's cos Miller's been in his ear.  He's not bothered about that but just wants to get to the bottom of it.  Nick singles out the point of origin and searching through the rubble find the incendiary, a bunch of matches attached to a cigarette with an elastic band.

Henry (Jon Wellner) uses CCTV camera footage to find the red Pontiac which shows fire damage at the side but the driver can't be seen.  It's registered to a Jeremy Douglas (Joe Adler).  He didn't set the fire, but he was told to leave the car outside and was sent a text by Caleb Voight (Michael Filipowich).  You don't argue with him cos he breaks rocks.  Ecklie gives him a microphone to record his conversation with Caleb.  He has to get him talking about the wallet with the chain on it, the cigarettes or the limestone, that was found in Timo's throat.

Sara and Brass wait outside and it was so obvious Caleb would attack him, as he throws acid over him and makes a run for it, only to be knocked down by Brass.  Who also finds the chain.  Brass was rearing to do that after everything he's been through, it was an outlet for his anger.  Also mentioning to DB earlier it must be some small comfort for the mother not to know what her son was involved in and the sort of people he was mixing with.  Caleb admits to fighting Timo, he came to the club and got in his face, but it wasn't meant to go down like that.  Claiming he was going to take him to the hospital, yeah I bet he was.  Brass saying he knew Timo was already dead.  Also he couldn't get out cos Jeremy had blocked the door with the car. He saw someone crouching in a corner wearing a dark T shirt with a skull on the front.  He's now in a coma in hospital and Morgan is able to lift a print from his burnt fingers.  Ian Baxton, an arsonist.

Nick and Finn confront Miller about Ian who says he was working last night cos his parole officer said so. Nick adding they could have solved the case a day earlier if he had told them he knew Ian's MO.  Ian is also an arsonist for hire and the trail leads back to Stu, the owner.  There notch up another one for my getting the suspect, ha.  They found money at Ian's apartment, the same amount for which Stu pawned the guitar and it has his prints on it.  He ran that club for 30 years bit couldn't get anyone to buy the building.  He hates how kids these days talk about bad things and what they sing about.  He thought everyone would get out of there and didn't think the fire would spread so quickly.

Nick shows DB some ants going round in a circle, a death spiral cos they're following each other blindly due to their pheromones which alert the others to danger.  Nick saying at least they wouldn't set fire to each other and wouldn't be chaotic when an emergency breaks out, leading to every man for himself.  DB adding they wouldn't break out and compose a symphony or search for enlightenment either.  Nick breaks the circle and gets an ant on his finger, adding that's Beethoven.

So first off this ep reminded me of the CSI:Miami fire ep in 1.22 Tinder Box where the fire in the club was started by a disgruntled man, Danny (Ben Browder) who was rejected from becoming a fireman.  Almost headed that way here with Miller who really was more about his techniques rather than solving the fire by any and all means necessary.

Thought Ted and John wouldn't get a Cheers reunion in cos he didn't speak with him at the hospital, but turns out they did get a scene together at the end and a powerful one at that.  DB adding that they're just "stupid kids" but that's no excuse for setting fire to the place for insurance money.  They maybe just being kids but violent ones at that and their actions wouldn't earn them any points on the humanitarian front.  Look at Lee's attack and Timo being killed in that way just cos they're 'different' in other's eyes.  Seems his remark was rather flippant and thoughtless, especially after his earlier conversation with Brass and his comment about hoping the boy's mother didn't know who her son was in league with.  Maybe if more parents knew, there'd be less senseless attacks.  Also the acid attack reminded me of Eddie Cahill's appearance in Law and Order SVU 2.17 Folly,  they sent Tommy to 'extract' a confession with a wire attached and the woman threw boiling water over him, so knew that was coming!

So this was the last ep with Nick/George before he was 'suspended' for his behind the scene remarks which I won't go into here.  We won't see him back until ep 9!  But at least he got some good scenes here with his narration at the beginning and at the end with DB, but also putting Miller in his place.  Showing him he's just as capable of doing his job if not better.  With Finn adding that Nick's science led to the case being solved, or almost.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

CSI 14.2 "Take the Money and Run" Review

Another card game goes wrong at the Four Kings Casino as there's a robbery in progress.  Knew that card dealer, Audrey (Tyler Kain)was dodgy, she looked so shifty and she looked like she was cheating.  A motorcycle rider hits the streets with police giving chase and is finally shot down.  When the CSIs arrive, they find that he wasn't shot but just died.  Nick (George Eads) tells Sara (Jorga Fox) he'd ask him but it doesn't look like he'll be talking.  Oh Nick, yet more jokes from him.  Nice to see him taking point on the one liner front this time round.  Also thought those motorcycle riding and stunts would be familiar to George since he did play Eval Kineval! Ha.  The money they find on him is counterfeit.

At the other CS Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) and Greg (Eric Szmanda) process the casino and also Morgan is upset over the security guard, Paul (Sean Riggs) being shot since he only just married his high school sweetheart.  Greg tells her he can process the scene if she's not up to it and she soldiers on.  They find strobe lights were used to disrupt the security feed on the cameras and Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) gets a call from NJ where he has to handle his ex wife's estate and is still visibly upset over it.  Greg fills DB (Ted Danson) in over the scene, thinking it's an inside job cos the robber knew exactly when to strike and the dead guard's wife, Karen (Teyonah Parris) arrives.  Making a big hooha, okay a bit rough, but she goes on about wanting to see him and how he survived four tours of Afghanistan only to be shot here.  Poor Greg can't really do much except say sorry.

Back at the autopsy, Doc (Robert David Hall) struggles to remove the leather pants of the DB motorcycle rider, Clint Tyree and Finn (Elisabeth Shue) has to help him.  He was the stunt rider in the Four Seasons' motorcycle show.  His body bloated and he says he suffered from an allergic reaction.  Hoping there's no relation to him.  Nick wonders what footage Hodges (Wallace Langham) got from the camera but the strobes disrupted the feed.  The newspaper clippings from a Chinese paper had traces of gunpowder on them from fireworks, so can't be traced back.   Nick wants him to clean it up or he'll do it himself.  Finn brings in footage from another camera as Gentry (John Allen Nelson) the man at the card game disappears.  He was found using chips from the Four Seasons in other casinos and these chips are all tagged.  He wasn't  part of the robbery but he saw someone in leathers leaving the other way.  Of course he wasn't a suspect but my first suspect as said was Audrey.

When Hodges shows Finn the other camera footage she notices how the biker jumps over the luggage in the way and how his boots don't match those of Clint's.  Apparently his had steel toes and were worn, showing he had a limp. She also notices the hole in his jacket, which was made by a syringe cos he was injected with venom which caused his allergic reaction.  Which Doc IDs as snake venom, from the Russell family.  If he wasn't allergic he would have suffered a slow painful death as Doc tells DB.

Sara and Morgan also question the casino's maintenance man, Ryan (Chad Brannon) and he demos how the lights can be switched on and off by using an app on the phone.  Obviously he was a suspect and especially since he's just showed them what he actually did.  Also cleaning his hands in mechanic's soap right in front of them.  Again that was a clue and not a red herring.  Don't think I've used red herring before in a CSI review, ha.  Well there's always a first. They notice his baby pic in his wallet.

Nick is called to a CS where the DB of Julian has been found, he was the valet and he's been beaten and shot.  He also finds trace on his collar and in the trunk he finds the biker outfit, well that was a plant job if ever there was one!  Henry (Jon Wellner) tells Sara that the murder weapon was the syringe and he's testing part of the jacket which turns out is giving off an orange colour.  Hodges finds the trace on Julian's collar was from pumice and he and Henry have a bit of rivalry going explaining its origins and where it can be found, mentioning soap.  Leading to Ryan.  No surprises there then.

He's brought in but he can't talk cos obviously his baby's been kidnapped but this isn't discovered until Greg finds a kidnapper's note to him on his computer.  Morgan is upset for the baby and as they search the rest of his house, she loses it and thinks the baby might be dead.  She knew they were looking for her we she was taken but what's the baby thinking right now.  Hey where were Morgan's tears?  Outside they find a coin in the garden and she IDs the writing as Pashto, so the coin is Afghani, leading to the security guard.

Greg tries to talk with Karen but she doesn't believe he had anything to do with it and clams up even when there's a baby's life at stake, she was heartless.  Even when Greg tells her they found evidence of the baby in his car. It's not like her husband's coming back is it.  Ryan tells Nick of how he was forced into going through with the robbery and they used to fantasize about staling some money.  He doesn't know who's behind it cos he was only contacted by Julian.  He takes out a pill which he's taking for Meningitis and that was another clue.  Again he had the motive right before them, the medical bills which his wife left behind after dying. How did they think he'd pay them off.

Morgan tells them that Ryan's vanished and they find a note on the computer via email.  Of course there'd be no phones involved since they'd sent a note before, getting a little lax hey CSIs in season 14.  Brass loses it with Officer Akers for leaving him alone and with Nick too.  At the garage Nick and Morgan find Ryan hailing them with blood on his shirt.  They find Audrey dead and Morgan checks her car using the key to find the baby.  Sara brings in the baby's clothes from the hospital to check and Henry remembers how he had an elephant toy called Stinky.  There's orange sweat stains on the baby's clothes showing he was handled by Ryan. They're both on medication so he was the only one who could have known that and given him the medication.  The leather patch and his sweat matches.  The orange was from the chromium in the medication.

He confesses he did it for the baby and to pay off the bills, all he needed was a little money just to look after his son.  Finn asks how he's going to do that now.  Morgan tells DB Greg found the money in the maintenance  locker at the casino, it was still there and that she's okay.  Time heals.  She wishes they could set up a trust fund for the baby and DB tells her how resilient children are and he'll be fine.  Speaking from experience there.  Brass apologizes to Nick telling him he has to testify against his daughter.  Nick tells him things will get back to normal, but his life is far from normal.

Can't help thinking this was all done before, just adding a variation on the story here and there and adding in personal aspects for Brass and Morgan.  Finn's line was straight out of a CSI:NY ep when he asks him how he's going to look after his son now when he's killed four other people, just for money.  Though CSI went all Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express when they were all in on the crime, but there was only one killer, suppose it makes a little change, but not much, ha.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

CSI 14.1 "The Devil and DB Russell" Review

This part picks up where the first part left off last season and we open with a funeral and crying, so we assume that either Morgan (Elisabeth Harnois) or Ellie (Teal Redmann) has parted ways.  It wouldn't be Morgan of course since she's in the show anyway, so it could be Ellie, but then there are so many possibilities there's really no point in guessing.

3 Days Earlier
We see Morgan is still being held hostage and so is Ellie, with everyone lamenting on how they shouldn't have let her go undercover, especially Ecklie (Marc Vann) and Hodges (Wallace Langham) cos she's a CSI and it backfired bigtime on her and them.  The main suspect is still Oliver Tate (Tim Matheson) though and Greg (Eric Szmanda) and Nick (George Eads) still in pursuit, stop the SUV which is like the one Morgan was in and find Jake (Luke Kleintank) inside.  When her SUV is found, it's outside a storage facility and Greg just walks in without backup and disappears as Nick follows a blood trail.  Inside one of the rooms is the DB of a blonde woman with her hair covering her face.  Of course, it's not Morgan, oh stop teasing us, we already know she's not leaving.

 Nick moves her hair to reveal she must have been another kidnap Vic, as he tells DB (Ted Danson).  She was posed like the Divine Comedy illustration signifying anger.  Greg and Nick process the CS and Nick asks Greg about the dimensions of the door, the boat couldn't have fit through in one complete go so it was assembled in two halves.  Much like Gibbs' (Mark Harmon) boats in NCIS.  Though we never got a definitive answer on how he got his out of his cellar, had a feeling he reassembles them.  Anyhow they pull the boat apart to reveal more dowels, each one with yet another code, this time it contains 2's as well.   Nick also asking the significance of the so called 'grim reaper' who Greg replies is Phlegyas, the Ferryman of Styx. Since the DB was found on the boat with a spear through her.

As Finn (Elisabeth Shue) processes Oliver's room, she finds hidden writing which says, 'warm, warmer, warmer, you're on fire' and she finds another dowel.  She hears someone behind her and reaches for her gun, it's none other than John Merchiston (James Callis) the journo.  He's got a flashdrive which was left at his hotel and inside they see a video message from Morgan.  She asks them to choose which daughter they're going to get back.  DB notices she keeps looking up, saying Morgan's intelligent just like Finn so why'd she do it.  Adding she'd be leaving a message.  She analyzes the recording and isolates the spikes from the sound to reveal Morgan looks up when there's a noise.  Sounds like a jet and if they could find the flight plan corresponding with the noise, they could find the airfield.  Of course this didn't pan out, which was a bit different and new for CSI, since no mention was made of this idea again.

Doc (Robert David Hall) and David (David Berman) examine the DB and he notices a message one her back, 'Barb Thee Thorns' but they have no idea what it means.  Larson (Eric Roberts) tells them Oliver is setting him up for the fall cos he knows that Angela (Tangie Ambrose) used to be Oliver's favourite girl. Henry (Jon Wellner) finds the blood they found doesn't match any specific sex.  Db wants him to reanalyze it and this time get Greg to help him.  That was being insulting to Henry considering he is good at his job and it's what he does.  Sara (Jorga Fox) returns from San Francisco and tells Greg she can't find a way to decipher the dowels.  He tells they work by using a ternary code.  The dowels are a decipher key to synthetic DNA which was found by Finn under the floorboards.  Oliver's company should have a bio meter capable of reading it.  They get a warrant for the company and find Oliver stored porn on there from the girls he used.  But he didn't kill them, he was a watcher and got teenage boys to carry out his acts.

Angela calls saying she needs to speak with DB, but she only trusts him.  When he arrives he finds her dead and posed as one of the illustrations.  Oliver pulls a gun on DB and says that he didn't kill any of them but DB doesn't believe him.  But he did kill Angela cos she deserves it as she betrayed him.  He in turn accuses Larson of setting him up and when DB tells him about Larson being in custody, he realizes something is amiss and makes a run for it.  DB follows sending out an alert but Oliver's car blows up.  When the police arrive and CSIs collect his body parts, after a flippant remark from Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) that they'll be here for ages collecting the pieces, DB realizes that Oliver was an intended Vic, since he was the ninth circle, that of violence.  Brass is called by Ellie and she wants him to choose, but he's sad cos he can't, which she already knew.

Morgan tries to speak with Ellie about her parents and how her relationship with Ecklie wasn't all that great either but she's not in the mood to listen.  Realizing that her mother's here and how they're not her parents, he's not her father at least since her mother had an affair with some cop, which she found out about in New Jersey.  Morgan tries to remove a spring from the bed.  DB recalls Morgan's message and she speak about cutting the daughter in two and giving one each half, thinking of Cane and Abel and the Book of Soloman. DB knows Jake won't talk but he wants to confess.  Nick confirms he found a partial print on the bomb trigger and it matches Jake's brother, Matt (Lucus Kerr).  Larson intervenes and tries to find out where his brother is and how Larson helped him when he arrived here and knew what his father had done.  DB shows him photos of Angela and he can't believe she's dead, thinking his brother wouldn't kill her cos of how Jake felt about her.

Matt brings back Ellie and Morgan calls him a coward hiding behind his mask.  He takes it off and gets closer to her, so she attacks him.  Getting Ellie to tie up his hands.  Knew then that Ellie didn't tie him up and Morgan should've done it herself, cos they get out and Ellie tells her there's another girl inside.  But if you'd been following closely, you'd have recalled that Morgan and Ellie were the last two Vics.  Which Morgan didn't know.  Matt gets Morgan and she attacks him and they fight.  Ellie shoots him and then shoots Morgan in the back.  Though we knew at that point Ellie's in on it, didn't realize she was a killer too, so that was a shock.  They arrive and Ellie tells Brass Matt shot her and then she shot him.

Sara looks at the gun and sees that Ellie was the one who got off one bullet and Hodges tells her that Matt didn't have any GSR on his shirt.  Sara calls DB but Brass as already left the hospital and heads for the hotel room.  However he finds his wife, Nancy (Annabella Sciorra) in a pool of blood and Ellie with a gun.  She shot her cos she knew about her and Matt and that Brass says he didn't really love her, after he tells her that Nancy was the only one who loved her.  He's clearly distraught and saddened by her death.

So the funeral was for Nancy and should have seen that coming since she told Brass to stop seeing Ellie as six years old and if they get her back, to accept her for who she is now.  Which he painfully had to do, accepting her as a killer.  Also telling her to shoot him cos, "I'm already dead."  Ellie, boy you're dumb, no really.  She killed her mother cos she'd seen her with Matt but she forgot about his phone and the photos. Also Morgan would have recovered too.  Crazy girl, she's so bitter and twisted.  Mind you she could have gotten away with it instead of hanging around after she shot Morgan cos she'd just have disappeared into the wind like last time.  He knows he would pick Morgan cos he just doesn't have those feelings for Ellie, at least not the adult Ellie.  He is saddened cos Nancy was the only woman he did love, but Brass's poignant performance is indicative of his talent and ability to play Brass so convincingly, from his one liners to the more sad scenes.  It's a shame that Paul won't be around in season 15 cos he really was an important and well loved cast member.

Merchiston asks DB about when there's no more voice in his head and it's all quiet if he will then find peace.  "Or will it be a loss too great to bear?" Or something along those lines.  he and DB kind of bonded too, though he and Finn were giving each other 'looks' when talking to DB and how they'll have to choose which daughter they want back.  Of course the line of the ep had to be nick after they find Matt, "he's dead, Jim."  Oh such a Star Trek homage!!



Monday, 2 June 2014

Revenge 3.22 "Execution" Review

Whilst Emily (Emily VanCamp) looked at the ring Jack (Nick Wechsler) gave her, she was celebrating with Aiden (Barry Sloane) over taking down Conrad (Henry Czerny) and they declared their love for each other. Of course you didn't have to read the spoilers to know what was coming as far as Aiden was concerned as it was obvious.  Whenever characters talk about true love and the future, something bad always happens.  But what Victoria (Madeleine Stowe) did was unbelievable.  The people in the Hampton's are seriously sadistic and mixed up!

Jack, Aiden and Nolan (Gabriel Mann) also celebrate with champagne and have a glass ready for Emily after she's been to court and sees Conrad's bail hearing turn into a farce as the judge opens the David Clarke (James Tupper) case again as he's handed a bundle of new evidence.  Emily sits gloating in her glasses as he's lead away.  Well she has the right to gloat and enjoy herself after taking three years to get her revenge. Oh and no opening or closing narrations this ep, think the ep said it all so no words were necessary.  Victoria sees off Pascal's coffin and tells Margaux (Karine Vanasse) she considers her family now as she was almost married to her father.  Also telling Daniel (Josh Bowman) how Emily and Conrad will pay.  Daniel was behind it too, you silly woman.  Ha, no kudos from fans for me calling her silly, but never mind, that was putting it mildly.  Margaux just wants to know who was responsible for his death, well you're talking to him too, you silly woman! Sorry.

Daniel and Margaux also celebrate her taking over the magazine and she appoints Daniel second in command, big mistake really, she still hasn't learnt to read men has she, still so naive and especially as far as Daniel's concerned, cos he's just using her as a stepping stone to bigger and better, hence his wanting Pascal out of the way.  Cue Gideon (Daniel Zovatto) who tells her he didn't want to run the empire anyway, yeah I bet.  He tells her to save the tears for Paris and they should just celebrate for now.  Daniel reminding him about showing him the ropes at boarding school.  Should've left them both there!

Javier (Henri Esteve) apologized to Nolan cos he was right and Nolan adds he hopes he wasn't asking for an apology from him.  They don't have the Myclone app anymore, but Nolan has tweaked it so it'll work and is working on a plan to get it back.  This includes getting Gideon on side to doublecross Margaux since he really does want the LeMarchel empire.  He doesn't look like he's got the nouse for running a business but he wants to screw her and Daniel.  Then the app will be theirs. So for this to happen, Gideon got Daniel drunk on absinthe, told him a fib about wanting to start his own company and also a girl to spend the night with him. But said girl ends up dead cos he paid her to have some coccaine and she just overdoses on it.  Nolan is angry cos it wasn't meant to be like this and Gideon isn't concerned as he now has leverage over Daniel: a photo of him with the girl's DB.  Sure there'll be trouble next season for Nolan for 'getting into bed' with Gideon who can't be trusted, needs a haircut for starters.

As for Conrad, the police reopened David's death as they received Pascal's handwritten note and Conrad knows he's beaten.  In his cell, he's beaten by a prison guard and he thinks his hell is just beginning.  Boy was he wrong.  As Conrad prays and asks for death, it'd be better than that hellhole, the guard offers him a deal and we know what that was, money in return for freedom, but it would never be that simple.

Victoria found Charlotte (Christa B Allen) wasn't related to Carl so Amanda wasn't really Amanda and this made her believe that Emily was her.  Charlotte won't forgive Victoria cos she's as bad as Conrad and if only she knew the truth too, of how she didn't even want to rescue from  her abductors.  Emily decides to go to   the cabin alone and the PI turns up who attacks her, but he can't win in their fight cos her sensei, Takeda taught her well, ha.  Though Aiden tells her he should have gone with her, which is true, since she should have gone with Aiden too to the shrink's Michelle Banks's (Amy Mandecker) office.  Emily says he tried to get her DNA and Victoria put him up to it.  perhaps and I really think this, but he was most likely working for or with David.  She needs to get her files from Michelle and Aiden goes alone as she knows Emily.

To add insult to injury, he being a Brit was portrayed in typical Brit fashion as a needing his cuppa! Stereotype or what, not all Brits like tea!  The tea contains a toxin and Victoria enters gloating about how it will paralyze him and he won't be able to move.  Poor Aiden he did try to strangle her, but that's just too good for her.  So when he's paralyzed, she suffocates him with a cushion and relished the moment.  You'd think she'd see some remorse, but no.  Nor does she know how wrong she was cos as Aiden tells her in his dying breath, "it wasn't Emily."  She just mistakes that for loyalty.  Like she'd know, she has none.

See the entire Grayson family are nothing but murderers.  Conrad, Victoria, Patrick, Daniel, even Charlotte kind of contributed to Declan's death by her treatment of him cos otherwise he'd never have been in that building.  But Charlotte's just a brainless brat, so maybe she doesn't count, cos she's always putting her foot in it, knows nothing but always thinks she's doing the 'right thing.  Yeah maybe one day when you grow up. Emily gets to the bar and finds that David is exonerated posthumously and Jack tells her she shouldn't cry, but be happy.  Emily returns to find Aiden positioned on the couch in front of the fire and to her horror, realizes he's dead.  As Victoria listens to her screams from her balcony.  Oh you wicked woman!

Emily regrets getting Aiden to return and they could have a life together but she couldn't give up her struggle for revenge.  She loved him.  Which leaves the way open for her and Jack to get back together, but not many want to see this.  Jack and Nolan worry about what she'll do and know she'll kill Victoria.  Jack's worried that they shouldn't let Emily do that cos she's only just got her life back on track.  But Nolan loved Aiden, he was his friend and Victoria deserves it.  Though they look for her, they can't find her and Nolan finds her phone in the toilet flush.

Emily gets to Michelle, who is scared as she should be, telling her she didn't know what Victoria would do. She plays the recording of her in the hospital making Emily repeat that her father is bad and a liar, then leaves her locked up.  That was brilliant foreshadowing for what was to come.  Emily gives Charlotte David's ring and tells her to dig up his body and move it to another safer site.  Charlotte refuses so Emily says she'll do it herself.  Of course this was so Victoria would go there, Emily knows Charlotte so well and Victoria too. Which she does and finding Emily digging the grave she thinks she's right about Emily being Amanda.  I just said she should hit Victoria over the head with a shovel and it's not everyday you get your wish granted, ha. Emily replies that just cos she thinks something is true, doesn't mean it is.  Doink!! She's shovelled! ha.

Conrad is released disguised as a priest and thinks it's his lucky day, well night.  A car will meet him in the woods and he's so chirpy until he sees who gets out, why it's David.  He is shocked but not as shocked as being stabbed by him.  See is there no end to the madness in this town.  David is just as bad as the others too.  Cos no amount of revenge should be justification for murder, yes I know it's just TV, but people are influenced by TV, a lot of them anyway.

Victoria wakes up and finds herself in a hospital.  She thinks Amanda's alive and Emily tells her she was ranting so much that she had her committed.  Still Victoria doesn't stop and still insists that Emily is a dead woman.  She wants another doctor to verify her and Emily says it's already done as Michelle walks in.  See foreshadowing, that's what Emily/Amanda had to go through and no one listened to her pleadings.

So ends season 3 as Emily walks away with kind of a smile one her face.  After the sacrifice and everything that went wrong, gotta ask was it worth it?  Especially since David appears to be alive and well and in murdering mood!  Which means those three years of revenge on her part were for nothing.  Like the entire three years didn't happen and  it'll all be a dream.  No seriously, he kept himself hidden all these years and only resurfaces now.   If it's really David then Emily should have some choice words to say to him.  Thus it seems Victoria also got her revenge on Conrad for Pascal, but in a roundabout way; I think that was such a cop out on the part of the writers cos he did kill Pascal, yes and the others and the plane crash Vics, but Daniel was also to blame and he just gets away with everything.  When will Emily get her revenge on him?

Oh and that Charlotte getting Jack taken if or questioning, thinking he's her kidnapper just cos he held her shoulder and so did the kidnapper, also finding the cut in the carseat.  He should've thrown her into the boot (trunk) and have done with her!  He sees her as he walks out and that look, Charlotte, you're another silly girl, not woman!!  Also Victoria thinking Emily was digging David's grave, when in fact she was digging Amanda's.  Which probably made Victoria think she was on the right trail after all.  Also adding that David was a different man to the one she knew.  Suppose that throw away line was preparing us for what happened when he killed Conrad, that he was no longer the father that she knew, not so innocent.  Just thought, what if David had a part in their scheming ways and wasn't just a patsy, would Emily go after him for revenge too.

He's made no contact with her (cos he was a last thought on the part of the writers, most likely) but then was he watching her all these years and following what she had been doing.  Why did no one know of the cabin sooner?  Aiden's gone, a bit sad to see him go, cos he kind of grew on me, but is Conrad dead too, or does he get some last minute miracle reprieve next season.  Seems like Mason will have plenty to write about and will he get to do this?  Appears they couldn't have Conrad escaping, just like Mason was taken out by Emily and Nolan.   Emily in the cemetery was kind of foreshadowing too for almost half the cast! Ha.