CSI
Paper Or Plastic

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When Double-Coupon Promotions Go Horribly Wrong

Ignore the glamorous neon lights in Las Vegas. Tonight, our business is not on the Strip, but off it, in one of the sprawling suburbs outlying the city, where SUVs thunder across the asphalt plains in search of the big-box stores oasis.

Or in search of the "Best Bargain" grocery store, which looks like the kind of grocery store where even determined bargain hunters who are not at all queasy about buying dented cans with a bit of sticky Mystery Liquid on the top might think twice before entering. A patrol car pulls up, and "Clay" the police officer asks the grizzled Officer Fromansky, "What do you need to get?" Fromansky reminds him that rank has its privileges, and young Clay the rookie will be picking up a few things for him. Clay protests that they're off duty, and Fromansky snaps, "You're off when I say you're off."

Clay heads inside the abandoned store. He grabs some milk, and heads towards the checkout counters. A cashier calls that she can help him, and he points out, "That's not what your light says." She flips it on, and there's some small talk about it being a slow night, which is, on this show, roughly the equivalent of waving around the red cape in anticipation of a charging bull. Nothing that happens before the credits is ever innocuous. Anyway, as the woman rings up the milk and prepares to ring up the peanut butter, El Rookie remembers he needs to fetch Fromansky his Ho-Hos. As he's heading back down the completely-inorganic foods aisle, a tell-tale click makes him raise his head, and he checks one of the local security mirrors to see a gun-toting, black-clad figure scooting down one aisle over. Poor, doomed Clay pulls his gun…

And in the next shot, Catherine and Gil are glowering their way into what is now a bustling crime scene. Warrick is hovering morosely on their tails. Did they pick the three CSIs most capable of looking angrily sad? Is that what's going on here? Anyway, as the Downer party heads into the grocery store, some yahoo is being restrained by the cops as he hollers about how he has to get back into the grocery story to check on his wife. We see a woman being wheeled out to an ambulance. She's looking pretty gray, but nobody's pulled a sheet over her head yet, so that's something.

Gil glowers, ever closer to the grocery store. If he keeps this up, he could pull something. Brass steps forward and says curtly that the body count's up to five. Gil glares some more. Over on the steps of an ambulance, Fromansky glares. Someone's face is going to freeze that way, and it won't be pretty.

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