CSI
Chasing The Bus

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Lab Rat Or Field Mouse?

Go, Nick! I mean it -- we usually see Nicky as this slack-jawed bumpkin who couldn't reason his way out of a paper bag, and it's really refreshing to see him excelling in an area of crime scene investigation. In this case, Nicky's innate empathy for people comes in handy in taking control of a scene and talking to witnesses -- and he had to do so while also Liam-sitting. Go, Nicky! It's your episode!

When we get back from commercial break, Liam and Nicky are climbing down the escarpment, away from an ambulance and back toward the accident scene. Nicky is telling Liam to quit apologizing; Liam says, "But I feel bad! I just froze up!" Nicky replies, "That's why we have field training. No disrespect, but you're not qualified to be out here." Liam says that he was thrown off by the blood: "Pre-collection, it's so different." Nicky agrees, and tells Liam, "I remember my first time in the field. CSI-1, green as could be. Initial call was a robbery. I get there -- triple homicide. Blood all over the place. Mother and two kids." Liam asks, "How do you deal?" "You just do," replies Nicky.

That bonding moment over, Nicky and Liam return to the bus, where Gil is still studying the undercarriage. Nicky asks what's next; Gil replies, "Well, we're missing a passenger. The only one unaccounted for is an ex-con named Calvin McBride. According to Brass, he wasn't admitted to the hospital, and he's not in any of the body bags." The camera swings back to Nicky, who asks if the PAL may have disembarked at Barstow; Gils tells him that CHP is looking into it. Behind Nicky, Liam stops shivering long enough to ask, "Anybody check the bus?" Nicky turns back to give Liam a look; Liam shrugs. Gil looks at them both for a moment; both men look back at him. Nicky takes off his bulky parka and sighs, "I'll find out." He then prepares to climb inside the bus. We see Nicky walking along the bottom -- what used to be a row of windows, mind you -- and shining his flashlight on the detritus he sees there: the sampler that Sylvia's friend was working on, the walkman the kid was listening to, the gambling book one of the men was reading, the photo album with Dylan's pictures. Nicky also sees a lot of blood.

Back outside the bus, Liam is bouncing up and down to try to warm up; Gil tells him that he did good by saying, "Firefighters only look in the obvious spots." Liam asks through chattering teeth, "Just out of curiosity, what are the un-obvious spots?" Gil (who is wearing an exquisitely deadpan expression here) says, "For bodies? Walls. Hot-water heaters" -- and here I scream, "Argh! Redundancy! You don't need to heat hot water!" before resuming my transcription of Gil's inventory -- "stuffed in the box spring of a hotel mattress. I found a head in a bucket of paint once." Liam, who now looks cold, uncomfortable, and squeamish, chatters, "I get the picture." Meanwhile, Nicky gets done with inspecting the bus's loo and concludes that McBride's not on the bus. He does, however, find the bottle of alcohol that the scruffy man had been drinking. Nicky, who doesn't know that the bus driver declined to tipple, tells Gil, "I never gave the bus driver a breath test." In all fairness, it would have been hard with all that blood pouring out of Draper's mouth. Anyway, Gil bids Liam to "bag [the bottle], take it to the lab and swab the rim for DNA." Grateful to have been given an excuse to leave the crime scene for familiar territory, Liam does so. Shortly before Liam takes off, Gil tells him, "You should be wearing gloves." Liam looks crushed as he replies, "Sorry." Gil shrugs him off and returns to figuring out where McBride might be. Nicky notes, "Seat 1C was the only seat with an unobstructed path through the windshield." Gil begins looking around, then asks Nicky, "Where's the other half of this windshield?" Nicky, bless his heart, looks troubled about not being able to answer. He and Gil begin looking for the glass -- find the glass, you'll probably find McBride. They soon find a sheet of glass with the usual spider-web pattern of cracks, and a huge splotch of dark blood at the center of the web. "Laminated safety glass. Pops in, pops out," exposits Nicky. Just a few feet further, Calvin McBride lies sprawled on his back. Gil's all, "I'm afraid our ex-con just got the death penalty." Nicky reminds him that the opportunity for getting the snappy one-liner in before the Who began playing happened twenty minutes ago.

Meanwhile, Catherine's down at the hospital, telling someone at the admitting desk, "I don't know his name. He was one of the victims in the bus crash -- he was in the Camaro, he was driving the Camaro." She then spies the man in question being wheeled somewhere and bolts from the desk, following the gurney as medical personnel try to shake her off. She asks the man his name. "Eric. I just wanted to surprise her, that's all. If I don't make it, please tell her I'm sorry," he gasps. This is the point where medical personnel block Catherine from following him further by pointing out that she's about to enter an operating room and they don't need no unsterile CSIs crowding the joint. Catherine looks crushed. That hairdo certainly doesn't help; when J. Lo did it for the Oscars, at least she had the good sense to make it all curly-like, thus inspiring some (okay, me) to shriek, "My dolls! My beautiful dolls! Nobody gets in Neely O'Hara's way!" whereas Catherine simply looks like she's having a bad hair day. I sympathize with the need to keep one's hair out of one's face, but there are other, equally utilitarian hairstyles out there that don't make one look scalped.

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