Tonight was the premiere episode of CSI’s 10th season. At the end of last season, we saw two things: Langston volunteering at a hospital in his spare time – and him having to use, for the first time, deadly force to kill someone. Let’s see where this new season picks up and what, if any, ramifications it has had on him and what the entire team has been up to.

My interest is more than a little piqued for this premiere episode as we see the return of Sarah. The episode descriptions promise that they welcome her return as they become tighter to investigate the death of a famous young actress killed in a dubious traffic collision.

As with my previous CSI recap, review and discussion, I’m warning you now that I’m going to spoil everything. I’ll even spoil the commercials for you (Target, Pepsi). See, already did it. If you have yet to watch the episode, tread carefully as everything below will be spoilers!

A New Light

As the episode opens we’re in the morgue with everything frozen in place. Dead bodies are all over the place, water is spraying everywhere and Doc is chasing after a man with a gun. As more of the lab is revealed we see bullets being fired, glass everywhere and that people have been shot. The opening concludes outside the lab with a delivery van carrying two men firing back at two unknown figures with guns. As the camera pulls back it’s revealed to be Nick and Sara.

With a bright flash we’re back in the lab staring at a tarantula with a subtitle reading “48 Hours Earlier.” We catch Catherine making a remark about Riley leaving the lab and sticking them with 100 open cases (In real life, the actress who played Riley, Lauren Lee Smith, was let go as the producers said, it was “an issue of how we were feeling the ensemble was working.”).

We find Langston in the lab doing stabbing ballistics gel with a knife. After some poking by Eickle, he congratulates Langston on making CSI – Level 2. With that happy moment out of the way Langston is paged to a crime scene where we find the main victim for this episode, actress Olivia Hamilton has been killed in a suspicious car accident.

After another wonderful Who concert, we return to the crime scene, but now it’s early morning. Catherine theorizes that markings on Hamilton’s car showed that she was stopped at the time of the accident. As per the usual CSI episode, a second, but smaller case arises and Catherine gives it to Greg who doesn’t seem too happy about that and a throws a little tantrum.

Finally, we catch up with Brass, for the first time this season, and he’s in his office with two men, a security consultant named Tom O’Neil (Garret Dillahunt) and his client, Hamilton’s boyfriend, Denny Ocampo. After Ocampo reveals no helpful information, we then return to Greg and find him in a hotel room taking pictures of a man who appears to have been killed in the midst of a robbery.

We return to Catherine and Doc in the morgue around the young where they find out she was 8 weeks pregnant. As Catherine walks off we catch up with Langston at the hospital, standing near Richard Wilkes, who is believed to be the person who killed Olivia Hamilton in the accident. As the lab reports come back we find out that Wilkes had a mixture of alcohol and GHB in his system. As Langston and Stokes search through Wilkes’ car they find a vial of drugs and a creepy book with cut up pictures of the actress. Clearly, he’s a stalker.

Shortly after, Langston receives a letter from the review board regarding his shooting from last season. Langston was cleared of all charges. He talks with Nick about how it hasn’t been bothering him and he doesn’t like that feeling.

Everything Changes

As Langston and Stokes turn their attention to traffic tapes of that night, they find out that someone pre-empted the traffic light to force Olivia into that specific intersection. With Nick interested as why they hadn’t found a traffic emitter in Wilkes car, Langston hurries back to Wilke’s hospital room where, after taking a closer look, finds hidden bruises caused by a seatbelt. The problem with the marks is that Wilkes wasn’t wearing a seatbelt at the time of the accident. Someone else was driving the car.

Sadly, the team doesn’t get much time to revel in their new found knowledge as Eickle busts in with a newspaper showing Wilkes confessing to the murder. He then starts yelling at Catherine about how she’s not doing her job properly and cites Riley’s exit interview as something she should read.

With that, Sara finally pops up in the episode, but at the worst time. She’s alone (surprise, surprise) as Grissom is “guest lecturing.” While everyone is catching up with Sara, Catherine returns to her office to read Riley’s exit interview. Inside she finds that Riley believes there is no leadership or unity within the team.

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