Episode TItle: "A Kiss Before Frying"
Writer: Evan Dunsky
Director: Brad Tanenbaum
Langston (Laurence Fishburne), Nick (George Eads) and Greg (Eric Szmanda) investigate a series of gruesome murders by electric chair. While going over evidence in the lab, the team is joined by a tour group, which includes a curious fourth grade teacher by the name of Ellen Whitebridge (Dita Von Teese). She and Greg have an immediate connection and he asks her out.
Langston and the team determine that the electric chair is actually inside a truck, as the bodies are always dumped on the side of the road. They track down the owner of the truck but it turns out he’s sold it to someone else in a strictly cash deal.
As Greg’s relationship with Ellen begins to heat up, she pays him a visit at work where he catches her going through his files. Her suspicious behavior leads him to look into her background when he discovers Ellen is actually a burlesque dancer known as "Rita Von Squeeze." Greg pays a visit to the nightclub where she works and observes her manager, who upon further investigation he learns suffers from serious psychological problems.
A third electric chair victim comes in with a name that sparks a connection to Las Vegas history for Greg. He explains to the team that all of three victims are grandchildren of men connected to the deaths of a famous Vegas burlesque performer and her lover. Both were killed in a plot orchestrated by mobster Bugsy Siegel. And it turns out that Rita Von Squeeze isn’t actually school teacher, Ellen Whitebridge, but the granddaughter of the murdered couple. Rita used her psychologically disturbed manager to help her get vengeance on the descendants of the men who killed her grandparents.
After nearly getting shot, Greg catches up with Rita and confronts her about the plot. She asks him to run away with her but he declines the offer and she’s arrested soon after.
When I heard that burlesque superstar Dita Von Teese would be putting in a guest appearance on this week’s episode of "CSI" I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. But I shouldn’t have imagined anything less than greatness from a television franchise that’s known for scoring top notch guest stars like Justin Bieber.
In all seriousness, the ridiculously titled "A Kiss Before Frying" was a super-fun, though rather gory, hour of "CSI." Of course, we knew Dita Von Teese would be the femme fatale behind the "mobile electric chair serial killer" but pinning down the culprit wasn’t where the fun was to be had this week. Rather, it was watching Greg fall under Ellen/Rita’s spell as the bodies pilled up on the outskirts of Vegas.
"CSI" works best when one regular gets to take the episode and run with it and Greg was an apt choice for sharing the spotlight with Von Teese. Her campy portrayal of the award winning fourth grade teacher who supplements her income by stripping inside a giant martini glass played nicely with the quirky crime scene investigator. And Nick playing the big brother to Greg, first encouraging him to go after Ellen and then imploring him to get as far away from her as possible, revealed how skewed Greg’s judgement really was. As for Von Teese, she did what she does best – play the slinky, seductress, this time with a dark endgame in mind.
Greg’s breakthrough moment where he explained the connection between the suspects and Ellen/Rita didn’t feel as rushed as the usual eleventh hour revelations we tend to get three quarters of the way through. The episode had plenty of time to build toward the reveal as the clues kept coming in, along with new victims. And the story behind the murders tied in neatly with "CSI’s" Vegas setting, providing the perfect motive for the deadly, Dita, ahem, Rita Von Squeeze.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.