Nesting Dolls

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In the next shot, we see Zeljko Ivanek walking into an interrogation room. He tells the willowy, withdrawn Asian woman with him that maybe she doesn't get to come inside with him. She slouches off, no doubt to wonder why she can't ditch the tank top and mini-kilt for something that'll actually keep her warm. Catherine invites him, "Have a seat, Mr. Melton." Sara glares at her invitation. As he sits, Melton says, "I married June about a year after Svetlana left." Sara and Catherine exchange looks that speak volumes about their contempt for this guy. Catherine asks when the last time Melton clapped eyes on Mrs. Melton Number One was, and he estimates it was about two years ago. "She didn't come home one night. Next thing you know, the cops are knocking down my door. I thought something had happened to her, but they were there to arrest me for hitting her." "Are you saying that you didn't?" Sara asks sharply. Melton says he and Svetlana were married for three years, and he never hit her. Sara asks, "Why would she lie?' Melton has no idea. Catherine eyes this exchange with some trepidation, then steps in to ask what happened next. Melton says he went to file divorce papers, "but it was like she fell off the face the earth." "Or got buried a few feet under it," Sara suggests. Catherine gives Sara another, sharper look. Melton protests that he took out ads in the newspaper every day for a month, but Svetlana never responded. Catherine wonders why he didn't also file a missing persons report. Melton replies, "I was accused of abuse. How would that have looked?" "You seem to care a lot about the way things look, Mr. Melton," Sara says, as light and acid as a lemon. She and Melton glare at each other for a while, as Catherine tries to bring this back around to a conversation from which she can get useful information, like a list of Svetlana's friends and family. "She didn't have any," Melton says, and Sara immediately replies, "She spawned from nothingness." Svetlana's parents died in an industrial accident in Odessa. "Russia?" Catherine asks. "Yes," Melton replies. Or the Ukraine. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to, right? This is how we establish that Svetlana was a mail-order bride -- or as Melton insists, they met through an agency.

This is about the point where Sara follows in a fine CSI tradition of crossing the line and getting personal with, "So what happened? The Russian agency denied your appliance for another wife? Or you just lost your taste for white meat? Too...tough." Catherine is gaping. Melton recovers first and shoots back, "Lady, I am not going to feel bad about my decision. I dated American women like you. They don't want to be anyone's wife or mother. You mention the word 'domestic,' they're done with you. It's nice to be needed." Or, as our translators found after they ran this monologue through the de-rationalization filter: "I am secretly ashamed of the fact that I have to coerce women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds into sex-for-security transactions. I dated American women, but I was threatened by the idea that they had access to independent means for economic security and personal selfhood, so I thought it was easier to blame an entire nation of women on my dissatisfaction than it was to work on addressing my own gaping character flaws. And when I made it clear that my fragile ego needed constant massage via the idea of a woman who lived to serve me and act as the repository of my seed, these same women sensibly fled. It's nice to be able to prey on women who don't have the same options you American women do."

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