CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, or referred to as CSI, or unofficially CSI: Las Vegas gave us what I expected with their season opener – a tragic, emotional death, and a funeral of a beloved fellow officer and a few roles rekindled for an episode or two.

We saw last season Warrick Brown (Gary Dourdan) get set up for the murder of the mafia boss Lou Gedda but the team saved him from that predicament.  But Gedda had a mole in the LVPD force and it was Undersheriff Jeff McKeen.

At the end of the 8th season finale, we know Warrick is gunning for the mole and that mole, McKeen, shoots Warrick in his car.

Season 9 PremiereDVR SPOILER ALERTS following the break.

After McKeen shoots Warrick, he calls the shooting in, giving a bogus description of a shooter.

It was with eerie calmness that McKeen returns to the scene after Gil Grissom (William Petersen) finds Warrick in his car, dying.  McKeen arrives afterwards and when Warrick sees him, he tries to say something but all we get is a death gurgle.  Wow.  An emotionally compelling scene.  Afterwards, the amount of blood on Grissom’s shirt was on the level of almost disturbing, gut wrenching to say the least.

This was an excellent opportunity for the cast to spread their emotional wings as their characters grieved for Warrick.  Coincidentally, this was a different way to present a crime for a CSI episode.  We know who, now we watch and hoped the team figures it out.

Through the course of the episode, we find out that Warrick was fighting for custody for a child we didn’t know about, and that he looks to Grissom as a father figure.  A role model.  We see this in a video tape he made for the custody issues he was facing.

Though I was a little worried about it, they discovered McKeen was the culprit and they capture him.  As it should be.

This is not a complaint but what would have made it better for me:

I would have liked to have seen this be a multi-episode story arc, just to keep it going.  Angles like this are superior for creating anxiety and tension in the viewers over a period of time and gives us something to talk about.  The conjecture of everyone trying to figure something out is just plain fun.  Yet no one does that much any more except on season finales to make sure you come back next season.

Cast News:

There were a few non-surprises for me on this episode.

I knew Gary Dourdan was leaving.  Depending who you read, he was either fired or it was a mutual parting.  The fact that they finished him off the way they did, well, you do the math!  Dourdan had a few legal issues over the last few years.  It ranged from a serious assault on a paparazzi to being found asleep in his car outside of Palm Springs and being busted for possession.

Jorja Fox will be back for a few episodes this season.

William Petersen will be stepping out of his role as Gil Grissom mid-season.  Grissom will be replaced by a character played by Laurence Fishburne.  Fishburne’s character is an ex-pathologist who consults on an investigation and ends up joining the “CSI” team.

Fishburne’s role will be more in the direction of Dexter because he has an interesting genetic profile that lends itself to that of a serial killer and he knows this about himself.  It’s his journey of discovery.

Though William Petersen will be leaving the role, he will remain with the show as an executive producer.

With their attempt to bridge the Dexter gap and possibly make the show “more interesting”, are we seeing a shark fin in the water?  I hope not.  I like this original CSI franchise series that spawned the other two shows in Miami and New York.  What do you think?

Sources:  TV Guide, TMZ, MSNBC,  TV Guide,  TV Week,  THRFeed