Hey everyone, it's the fabulous MGM Grand Hotel and Casino! How else are we to know we're in Vegas? Other atmospheric shots take place establishing that CSI has not stealthily switched locations in the interval between last week and this one. We see a shot of McCarran Airport in the rain, then the camera settles on a near-deserted parking garage. The elevator opens and we see a soignée young woman get out and begin walking to her car on the far side of the garage; the security guards don't notice her at all because they're gathered around a basketball game showing on TV. The woman crosses the deserted garage, disarms her car alarm, and prepares to open the door. Then every woman's worst nightmare happens: a man attacks her from behind, pushes her up against the car at gunpoint, and carjacks her.
Cut to a car winding through a deserted road outside Las Vegas; it's still raining, so presumably this is the same night. The camera switches to the woman from the previous shot: her suit jacket is gone, her pants are crumpled around her hips, and her blouse is ripped open. The car pulls over, and the occupants leap out to verify that yes, that is a human body by the side of the road.
Cue a battalion of crime-fighting vehicles speeding over to the crime scene. Sara, Gil, and Nicky get out. "Fulfill your contractual obligation as Captain Exposition," Sara orders, and Brass complies: the victim is young, well-dressed, black (or African-American; pick your ethnic designation of choice), and being taken to Cedar Palms Hospital after being shot in the head a few times at point-blank range. Gil orders Sara to go to the hospital with a sexual-assault kit and do a complete workup on the Jane Doe. Sara protests that she'd rather be shuffling through mud with Gil and Nicky, the better to provide one or both of them with another tedious opportunity to clumsily hit on her, but Gil nips that plot disaster in the bud and tells Sara to get the evidence before those clods in the ER do away with it. "Walk in the park, guys," Sara replies bitterly, leaving me to wonder if perhaps she has personal issues about working with sexual assault victims. The boys resume analyzing the scene; Nicky notes the profusion of footprints and wonders aloud how this happened. "Locard's Principle," Gil counsels, continuing, "He took a piece of her with him, and left a piece of himself here. We get to find it."
We get to ponder exactly what Gil means throughout the credits. Well, those of us who are not married to people screaming alternate lyrics about Gary Dourdan's hair as the credits roll get to ponder.
Back at CSI Central, Gil, Catherine, and Warrick are humping a series of file boxes through the halls. Have they been fired? No -- these are boxes of evidence for a murder case. A guy named McCall shot and killed his neighbor over a motorcycle; the DA assigned to the case can't make heads or tails of the evidence. Catherine testily inquires as to why the CSI assigned to the case can't make heads or tails of it either, and Gil tells her that the CSI in question -- one of Ecklie's merry men, by the name of Franovich -- conveniently quit the day before, citing burnout. Warrick responds by looking beleaguered. It's only 9:09; I shudder to imagine what he'll be doing by 9:51 tonight. Gil continues to bear glad tidings: it's a murder one case that's changed hands so many times, the DA can't make heads or tails of the case as a whole, and the trial's preliminary hearing is in four days. Catherine snits about pressure; Warrick kicks up the suffering a notch and stares at the boxes before him miserably. Gil then asks Catherine to step outside, and Warrick's expression shifts from acute pathos to intrigued-yet-baleful.