The Hunger Artist

Episode Report Card
Sobell: D+ | Grade It Now!
Out of the mouths of babes

It's a magazine! Up close! We see the August 2001 issue of Showbiz Weekly, with the flag reading "Exclusive: Las Vegas Uncovered." Gil looks down, then looks back up at Catherine, asking somewhat shortly, "Why are you showing me this?" Catherine explains, "The cover girl, Ashleigh James -- she's your woman in the shopping cart." Interested, Gil picks up the magazine, and we see a lot of Ashleigh (she's not wearing a top, and her arm is strategically positioned so the magazine can still look prurient without being relegated to the Over-18 rack. For the curious, the cutlines on the cover read, in order, "Vegas.com," "Marvin Mancia, The Man And The Moves," "Samantha Coy, Soft-Spoken But Shrewd," "Brian Joseph Banks On Success," and "John Russell, R&B's Rising New Star." There are also some red headlines, but the contrast is such that they're unreadable. That's going to hurt newsstand sales.) Catherine tells Gil she's got a query in to Ashleigh's agency; she finishes, "Somebody wanted her dead." Gil picks up the autopsy photo and compares it to the magazine cover. He concludes, "They also wanted her ugly."

Cut to Gil and Catherine getting out of a CSIMobile in a less than optimal neighborhood. Brass informs them they've arrived mid-gentrification. Catherine looks at the local homeless and remarks, "It's not doing anything to gentrify them." "Tell that to the mayor," Brass replies. And let's hope he's more effective when it comes to alleviating the homeless problem than Willie Brown has been in San Francisco. Brass continues to provide exposition: "The landlord's on vacation. It's a good thing because he's got a swimming pool in his basement." The three then enter Ashleigh's apartment -- it's your typical urban industrial loft, i.e. random acts of concrete and bare floors. Catherine and Gil look around. The loft is decorated with a lot of professional-quality photos of Ashleigh. Gil walks past a triptych of three Ashleigh posters, mounted and lit gallery-style, and comments caustically, "Well, Narcissus would be proud." Catherine, who's wandered over by a Warholian pop-art collage of colored Ashleighs, is still taking it all in. She notes the stuffed dolls on the bed and comments, "Very much a woman, yet still a little girl." Gil notices a side table nearby; next to the partially melted candles is a small pile of white powder. He hunkers down so he can get a sample, saying to Catherine, "I thought Doc Robbins said her tox screen came back empty." Catherine's going through a cleverly recessed cabinet next to the pseudo-Warhol; she hypothesizes that a boyfriend -- as inferred from the presence of a male dopp kit in the cabinet -- may have been the user. Gil's inspecting the powder, and he comments that it smells like mint.

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