Episode Title: "The List"
Writer: Richard Catalani
Director: Louis Milito
After a former police officer, Vance Tolson (Bryan Friday), imprisoned for killing his wife is murdered during a botched inmate transfer, Langston (Laurence Fishburne) and the team arrive to investigate. While Doc Robbins (Robert David Hall) examines the body, Nick (George Eads) searches Tolsom’s cell and finds paperwork requesting a new trial and a notebook containing a curious list of police officers, including Captain Brass.
Langston aggressively interrogates a prisoner involved in the murder and learns that the hit was a favor for someone on the outside. It turns out that Tolsom’s wife, Anne-Marie, also a former cop, slept with all the men on the list. Brass (Paul Guilfoyle) admits to a liaison with Anne-Marie, as do several other cops on the list, including Catherine’s lover, Det. Vartann (Alex Carter).
The team soon learns that Anne-Marie’s sister, Jody (Melinda Page Hamilton), had been visiting Vance in prison. She soon turns up dead, after Nick questions her about the visits. She insisted Vance was innocent but couldn’t quite explain why. After re-examining the blood evidence, Greg (Eric Szmanda) explains that it’s been planted. Nick connects the contrived evidence to a case Det. Lucas Martin worked on. The murder begins to look more and more like a set-up, with Anne-Marie’s dead body yet to be discovered after all this time and Martin now looking like the main suspect.
Martin (Louis Herthum) denies having anything to do with it but ballistics evidence links him to the murder. He’s taken in and ultimately admits to helping Anne-Marie fake her death so she could get away from the controlling Vance and flee with him. But he also reveals that they broke up three months earlier and his alibi for Jody’s murder is solid.
With the focus shifted off Martin, the team learns that Anne-Marie is involved with a former police cadet named Jarrod Malone (Max Martini), who’s now a CO on the block where Vance’s cell was located. Malone meets with Anne-Marie (Dina Meyer) at night and she checks him for a wire before discussing their plans to leave for Mexico in the morning, just as Brass and some hefty LVPD back-up swoop in to arrest her. Malone admits to making a deal, not wanting to do time on account of Anne-Marie.
As Brass cuffs her, he tells his former lover that she’ll be going away for a long time. She laughs it off, asking how many men will be on the jury.
Easily one of the best "CSI" episodes this season, "The List" was not only a twisting, turning procedural mystery but it also had some wonderful character moments, which are often missing from the straight "case of the week" episodes of "CSI."
Right from the beginning we got to see the usually calm, stern Dr. Ray Langston get in touch with his badass cop side, demanding a white supremacist prisoner remove his shirt to reveal an upper body worked over with racial hate ink. And he laid down the law to a group of belligerent inmates in order to get DNA samples. I was as shocked as Stokes appeared to be when Langston got down to business at the prison. More of this please.
And then there was the issue of police playgirl, Anne-Marie Tolsom. While re-examining the investigation into Tolson’s "murder," Catherine sees an ugly side in her fellow male officers, in particular, her lover, Det. Vartann. Though it wasn’t "ugly" per se, Brass’ admitting to "partying" hard back in the day, with Tolsom, in particular, showed a side to the gruff captain we don’t often get to see. He’s unapologetic about his youthful indiscretions, which makes him that much more relatable and human.
Just about everyone got to shine in this hour, there was even a callback to Greg’s fling with another femme fatale, Rita Von Squeeze.
As for Tolsom’s faked murder plot, it was full of surprises and fun twists that took the CSI team on an illuminating ride. "The List" shined a light on the characters that all too often simply go through the paces of police work without stopping to feel or react. "The List" was a complex and revealing hour and one I wish "CSI" would give us every week.
Crave Online Rating: 9 out of 10.