Three sad tales of death unfold, but those passings aren't the ones that fans are talking about

By Lynette Rice
Updated October 17, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT
Credit: Robert Voets/CBS

‘CSI’ recap: The long goodbye

Before I begin this inaugural TV Watch on the most important season of CSI ever, a word (or two) about some of your provocative posts from last week’s message board. I wasn’t surprised to learn that so many of you got choked up at the gut-wrenching scenes from Warrick’s funeral, but I was taken aback by some commentary regarding Sara’s appearance — namely, whether or not she was with child, and if her condition would eventually explain her abrupt decision to leave Las Vegas last season. All I can say is — good God, no. Look, I hated her poofy dress (and the curls she wore with it) probably as much as the next fan, but never in my wildest dreams would I have considered she was trying to cover up a secret pregnancy. That’s why I was relieved to learn from a CSI insider that no such treacly twist is in the cards for Sara — who, based on last night’s episode, has once again abandoned her beloved for destinations unknown (more on that later).

A few more words about your comments that went up last week, a day after CSI attracted its largest audience since last fall’s premiere (we’re talking 23.5 million, folks). While a poster named LC expressed his anger over the many cast changes by writing, “Why not just decapitate the entire cast on TV? That would get more ratings than a post-Grissom CSI,” and Vicki Loudermilk declared, “I will never watch the new CSI shows. Killing off Warrick was the biggest mistake they could have made,” Billy Petersen was back on the Universal Studios lot shooting his last episode as a series regular. Yup, you read that right — his last day was Oct. 10 (though he has hinted about making occasional appearances in the future). Apparently, there were no video crews from ET or Access Hollywood present. Only the cast and crew were there to say their final goodbyes to the “King,” Petersen’s nickname on the set. So it’s real now, folks — Gil’s done flown the coop. Clearly, this development isn’t resting too easy with some of you. Says Becky Hausler, “If anyone thinks that CSI without Petersen will continue to fly, they need their head examined. Puleez! Laurence Fishburne does not have the presence and elegance of Petersen. Adios from an ex-fan.” I have my doubts, too, but I’m willing to reserve judgment. One, Fishburne is wicked good when playing a person of authority (remember him from Mission Impossible: III?), and I like that the producers went after another film actor to fill Petersen’s very large shoes. But we’ve got a while before we have to deal with that much-anticipated transition around January, so let’s talk about last night (otherwise known as, “T-Minus Seven Episodes Till Billy’s Sad Goodbye).

NEXT: Death and desertion

A bikini-clad hottie taking flight out of a tall building kicked off this action-packed episode brimming with not one but three plotlines. I still bristle at the show’s many gory moments, and the sight of that girl’s flattened corpse on top of the bus was no exception (“soup sandwich” is what Catherine called it but it looked more like goopy guts). Catherine and Nick — who seem to be doing everything these days since their unit has been decimated — figured out that their diving damsel had been hypnotized by a mind-sucking vixen and closet criminal played by the marvelous Glenne Headly. Elsewhere in Sin City, Gil responded to the scene of a dead woman whose eyes had been gouged and face had been smashed into the asphalt (again, ew). Turns out this mother of a 2-year-old was battling a serious gambling addiction, as evidenced by her use of a casino day care (or as Gil so aptly puts it, “the fifth sign of the apocalypse.” Seriously, do these places really exist?) But it was her teenage lover, not a loan shark hell-bent on revenge over unpaid debts, who was responsible for her death.

But those cases paled in comparison to a third story involving a man named Tom Adler, who unplugged his comatose wife. It’s this sad case of euthanasia (and, if you really think about it, the confession from that murderous teenager) that seemed to offer some insight into where Gil and Sara are headed. First, we have the teenage boy who exclaimed that his cougar lover “promised me everything and took it all away!” (Hmm, might that also be another way of demonstrating that Sara promised Gil a lifetime of happiness before she took it all away by leaving town?) And then, we were treated to this eye-opening exchange between Gil and Sara as they sparred over Tom’s decision to kill his vegetable spouse. Gil: “Sooner or later a relationship…withers. You get angry. Sometimes, you need more than the safety of knowing that you are not alone.” Sara: “Then he should have just walked away.” Gil: “Maybe he couldn’t. Maybe he needed her to leave him.” Sara (first pausing for dramatic effect): “Who are we talking about right now?”

Unfortunately, I never got the response I craved; Sara packed her bags and hit the road again, with no clue as to when she’ll be back. The possibilities are limitless, like this clever (if idealistic) suggestion from poster Cathy Tockstein: “When Gil and Sara leave Las Vegas, do you think they will try to get custody of Warrick’s son to raise him as their own child?” That’s assuming she and Gil reunite at all. Personally, my guess is that Sara finally figured out that her boyfriend was an emotional deadbeat (Daddy smacked him silly during his already troubled youth!) and she finally gave up on their maddening backroom romance. But hell, I could just be reaching. You guys weigh in: What did you make of that Sara and Gil exchange? Is a romantic reunion in the cards for these two? And what’s up with Gary Dourdan still being featured in the opening credits?