TV Article

A Student Body

Preppy murders and sleepwalker stabbings on ''CSI'': In a week of flashy stories, Miami's drug plot is dopey, but New York is a sleeper hit

ELEMENTARY Calleigh had no trouble finding the secondary-school killer
Image credit: CSI: Miami: Robert Voets
ELEMENTARY Calleigh had no trouble finding the secondary-school killer

''CSI'': Preppy murders and sleepwalker stabbings

CSI: MIAMI: ''MURDER IN A FLASH'' (MON., DEC. 20)

Crimes In this rerun, 50-odd students from the exclusive Palm Crest Academy ''flash-mob'' a golf course, causing a stuffy golfer to ask, ''Are these kids on crack?'' (Flash mobbing is a form of mass prank planned via e-mail; snotty preppies would no sooner participate in one than they would joust at a Renaissance Fayre.) After the students disperse, the body of one of their classmates is discovered in a sand trap. While investigating this case, Horatio uncovers a connection between the same prep school and a second murder — this one involving crystal meth.

Oh, shut up As they tiptoe up to a crystal-meth dealer's ''pad,'' Horatio and Yelina are screeched at by a handful of peacocks roaming the parking lot. ''Urban guard dogs,'' says Yelina. ''Yes,'' quips Horatio, ''with feathers.'' The more you think about this response, the less sense it makes. Were the writers worried that we might think the peacocks actually were dogs?

No más! As you know, I love watching CSI corpses being mutilated in the name of science. But the crystal-meth story line keeps flashing back to the increasingly violent beating of a beautiful young girl. That's an entirely different kind of voyeurism, and one the producers should be ashamed of.

I rest my case If I have to watch one more TV show about rich high-school kids and the adults who cravenly protect them in order to get them into college, I'm going to mutate into the chemistry teacher in tonight's episode. She never loses her goofy smile as the CSIs question her about the murdered student — who not only had sex with her the night before but also stole the chem final she was planning to hand out. The crystal-meth story line ends with a nice twisteroo, though the main thing I noticed about both subplots was how poorly they held up on a second viewing.

CSI: ORIGINAL: ''DOWN THE DRAIN'' (THURS., DEC. 16)

Crimes In another rerun, when flash floods hit Vegas, a man is trapped and drowned in a storm drain. (Luckily, the hundreds of stunt rats racing ahead of him make it out alive.) Catherine and Warrick wander through the sewer system for what seems like hundreds of miles, seeking clues to the vic's identity, when — amazingly! — they turn up at a spot where a workman has found some human bones under a manhole.

Uh-huh The manhole — amazingly! — happens to be near the house of a man who stashes explosives all over his property.

Oh, shut up Remarking on the fact that the explosive-stashing man and his wife appear to love their equally unpleasant child, Grissom says, ''Unconditional love between parents and child is biological. It perpetuates the species.''

But I forgive you, because . . . Remarking on the fact that the drowned man's nose, chin, and elbows were chafed away in the sewer, Grissom says, ''He lost all his points.'' Catherine answers, ''Like a rock in a tumbler.''

For once! The CSIs' incessant use of flashlights can be forgiven when they're making their way through waist-deep water underground. Sewers don't have overhead lighting.

I rest my case A bomb squad detonates explosives while the seconds tick away! Grissom boils a fetal pig in Greg's urine! An evil caveman family lurks behind the façade of an ordinary suburban house! I'm not saying that I could have mashed these plot elements into a single coherent story, but someone should have.

CSI: NY: ''NIGHT, MOTHER'' (WED., DEC. 15)

Crimes A young widow who is both a paralegal and a parasomniac — and who is named Ophelia, which never ever happens in real life — wanders out of her apartment and is found, still in a trance, kneeling beside a woman who's been murdered with a wooden stake. There's also a sub-crime about pickpocketing that registered on my own parasomniac brain so faintly as to be invisible now.

Four shopping days until Christmas . . . Speaking of pickpockets, where do they buy mannequins so they can tie bells to them and practice their craft? Also, where do CSI prop people buy eyes to prod onscreen in excruciating close-up? I know live actors portray the corpses, but you'd have to be awfully focused to keep playing dead while your eye was being sliced open.

Oh, shut up ''There's a deeper connection, and you want to know what it is,'' Stella says to Mac. ''Emphatically,'' he replies. Emphatically?

Color my world Just as red means ''pay attention'' on this show, blue means ''science is afoot.''

I rest my case Ophelia is an excellent suspect with a gratifyingly creepy condition. Moreover, she's a widow who can't wake up, and Mac is a widower who can't sleep. Perfect! (Not that I want to see their love onscreen . . .) But the basketball scenes outside her apartment building were too much like a Nike commercial. You could just hear the writers rubbing their hands and saying, ''Maybe this will bring in the youngsters.''

GRADES

I'm not sure I'll ever be able to stop thinking about those Miami peacocks. Vegas stirred too many ingredients into those flooded sewers. And while New York was no Hamlet, Ophelia was okay. Miami: C+. Vegas: B-. New York: B.

What did you think? Which of the crimes were worth the time?

Originally posted Dec 21, 2004