In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably admit that I’ve never actually watched one of these CSI shows before, so I kind of feel like there might a whole language being spoken here that I just don’t jive. I like procedurals as much as the next guy, but the latest rash of them seem largely sterile and contrived to me, so I steer clear. That said, I’ll try not to proselytize too much here and get down to business. CSI: Cyber is the fourth installation of the Jerry Bruckheimer-run CSI infestation of CBS. This one stars Patricia Arquette and James Van der Beeck. There are other actors who seem like they will figure prominently into the plot, but the uneven premiere’s script puts them all in the back seat for most of this episode, so I’m following the lead of the big-time network authorial think-tank responsible for the show and benching them until I feel the need to talk about them later. Arquette stars as Avery Ryan, a former cyber psychologist who now works for the FBI in their Cyber Crimes division. Never mind that her name seems like it should be a palindrome or an anagram or something, this lady has a PAST, and she’s just dying to tell all the gory details to anyone who seems like they might listen. Van der Beeck is Elijah Mundo (and if there isn’t an Italian porn star with that name, there should be) and seems to be the show’s token badass, and the world’s most stud-licious gamer geek. (Wait, a cyber psychologist? That’s a thing?) We get up and running fairly quickly, which I must give credit for. Apparently, some of the burden of character introductions was handled over on one of the other CSI shows during this show’s backdoor pilot last year, so we don’t have to suffer through all the boring intros. Besides, who has time for character introductions when babies are being kidnapped from their cribs in the middle of the night in front of their high-tech video baby monitors? What? You want to know about these characters? All right. Avery is sitting at her computer drinking a Big Gulp™ and brooding when the call comes at 2:32AM. Mundo is playing Xbox when he gets the call. I hope he was near a save position, because the dude drops everything and gets into FBI mode instantly. I found myself to be tremendously distracted through most of the first act of the episode worrying that Mundo wasn’t able to save his spot in the game. Once the team gathers in DC, we get to fill out some of the rest of the cast including their White Hat Hacker (oOOo, buzzy!) named Daniel Krumitz, played by Jorge Garcia and Seth Rogan’s love child, Charley Koontz. A couple of other people are in the room, but they spend most of the time rolling their eyes at each other, so I’m not really sure what function they serve on this team yet. We’ll come back to them (well, maybe). Once they get the parameters of their mission, Avery tells her team (I quote) “Pack your bags, we’re going to Baltimore,” just before the theme music plays, giving me the length of a truncated version of the Who’s “I Can See for Miles” to question why a team in Washington, DC would need to pack bags to go to Baltimore. I mean, isn’t Baltimore just up the road? They can go check out this crime scene and be back in time to hit the Pho place down the street from the J. Edgar building for a late lunch, right? In Baltimore, Avery interviews the aggrieved parents of the kidnapped infant. When the mom starts to get a little too feely about the fact that her infant child has been taken away, Avery shows her professionalism by smacking the whiny bitch down with an allusion to her own Personal Story of Violation and Tragedy™. Mom steps the %#* back and Dad doesn’t really understand what she’s talking about, but he pretends to in an effective way so that we can go outside to where Agent Mundo has wandered up to the open window of the neighbor’s house to strike up a conversation with the little boy playing video games inside. Now, call me crazy, but if I’m a ten-year-old kid sitting next to an open window facing the house where a child was kidnapped less than twelve hours ago and an unshaven guy flashes a cereal-box badge (granted, from back when cereal box toys were awesome, but still…) and starts talking to me about my Xbox game I’m playing, I’m probably gonna start ringing some alarms. If I can get my hands on a rape whistle, I’ll be blowing out the eardrums of everyone in a five block radius. What does little Denny do? Gamer bonding, naturally. Strategies, tips, that sort of thing. At least Denny provides them with a lead (sort of). It’s enough info to get a sweet game tip out of Elijah Mundo, World’s Hottest Gamer™. Mundo scrambles back to Avery, who awkwardly compliments him on his expanding vocabulary before they follow up on Denny’s hot lead of a woman’s voice and a car engine. The kidnapped baby’s mom seems dodgy, but we’re gonna let that slide for now. As Krumitz babbles an expositional lead-in to some sweet post-Tron era malware animation, embedded with the kick-ass Theme for Malware™, my mind wanders and I find myself hoping that the kidnappers turn out to be Nicolas Cage and Holly Hunter. Somehow or other, they end up at a dock and storm into a warehouse to find the actual father of the kidnapped baby (NOT the guy Mom’s married to, which seals up that “mom knows something she’s not telling” red herring from the interview). Mundo draws his weapon and aggressively charges the guy openly holding the infant. I won’t repeat that last sentence, but I will give you a moment to let it sink in… No, I need to repeat that: Elijah Mundo points his gun at the guy holding the infant. So, obviously, the guy complies with Full Metal Dawson™ and Avery is quick to point out that the baby he’s holding lacks a mole or something on its face. It’s beginning to look as if this is just that old “baby-daddy cyber stalker hires people to kidnap his love child for him but kidnappers double cross him and switch babies for some inexplicable reason” chestnut. Avery, determined to pass herself off as the Most Singularly Pragmatic Agent in the History of Procedural Dramas™, offers to change the baby’s diaper, only to reveal that the rough batting on the front of disposable nappies is like Spanish fly for fingerprints. Her snazzy fingerprinting ID app on her phone serves the dual purpose of reminding us that we’re dealing with super-duper high tech investigators as well as revealing one of the kidnappers, and her probable accomplice (wait, did I just read the accomplice’s name right? Nah, couldn’t be). Today’s lesson, kids: it’s a really good idea to wear rubber gloves when changing the diaper of a strange baby. They are able to track down the kidnappers because the guy (whose name actually is Ricky Skaggs, incidentally) owns a totally bitchin’ Camaro. Before I can begin to ponder the possibility of a bluegrass mandolin cover of a Dead Milkmen tune, Mundo goes into epic video game mode and shoots a fleeing bad guy off of his motorcycle. Do we think he’s an excellent shot because of first-person shooters, or is he good at first-person shooters because of his extensive firearm training as an FBI agent? It’s a real-life chicken/egg thing, I think. There’s other gunplay, and pretty much all the bad guys die. Including Ricky Skaggs. Will the sweet Camaro end up at a police auction eventually? Hmm… At this point, Avery’s boss Simon Sifter (seriously, that one has to be either an anagram or an Archie comics character) is kind enough to recap the episode before we move into the third act. Someone’s kidnapping babies in front of their Wi-Fi-enabled video monitors. The monitors have been infiltrated with malware from the central Natal-Cam (or somesuch) headquarters in Chicago, and Kurwitz teleports to the windy city for a quick inspection of the Natal-Cam HQ’s giant server room. He finds that someone has infiltrated their network and is using it to conduct online live auctions of babies shot directly from the crib cams in the babies’ homes. He shuts down their network, effectively cutting off the auctions, which should serve to… like, really annoy whoever our bad guy is. Meanwhile, Avery and Mundo make use of tech stolen from Tony Stark’s basement lab to virtually autopsy the three bodies from the shootout and discover that Ricky Skagg’s girlfriend had been using her breast implants to mule drugs. So, was the drug muling her primary job, or was it just a side gig to the kidnapping/baby auctioning thing? No, no. That’s OK. Take a moment if you need to. So, obviously, with his network taken down, the bad guy has no recourse but to take over little Denny’s Xbox to show everyone that he has the baby from waa-aay back at the beginning of the episode lying on the concrete floor of some warehouse and he has no intention of picking it up or changing the mewling thing until someone turns the Natal-Cams back on, dammit! So they trace the Xbox hack to someplace in Jersey, because of course the baby-auctioning scumbag would be in Jersey, and go Operation Shock And Awe™ on that warehouse. At this point, I’m screaming at the TV “GUYS! THERE’S A BABY SOMEWHERE IN THAT BUILDING!”, but they don’t hear me and continue to send battering tanks through doors and make generous use of their assault rifles. There’s a scuffle or two, and we really cement down the fact that Avery’s superpower is the ability to read facial tics at fifty yards, Mundo gets sort of freaky with a tattoo guy, and we cut back to headquarters where the hacker guy (Wikipedia says his name is Brody, but I don’t remember hearing it said during the episode) tries to impress the girl who hangs out in the command center (who IMDB says is Raven) with his sweet freestyle, but it quickly fizzles, most likely due to Raven’s unwillingness to beat box. Suddenly, we’re in Hazzard County, NJ and Waylon Jennings is preparing to step up to the mic for his narration. The bad guys are trying to get to Trenton-Mercer Airport and are taking every unpaved back road they can find to get there, with the state police hot on their tail. I would be remiss not to comment that I personally live about ten miles from Trenton-Mercer, and I have never seen a dirt road (particularly one that ramps into a pond) in my fifteen years of living here. Anyway, the bad guys, the baby, and their car take a flying plunge into the pond and sink quickly. Elijah Mundo, Captain Action™ dives into the water, breaks the car window, pulls out the baby, and resurfaces in impressive slow-motion. Avery administers CPR to the infant, the baby cries, and the show suddenly transforms into Touched by a CSI Agent™. The gang gathers back in their fishbowl to have a laugh in the Compulsory Ensemble Wrap-Up™. Of course, Avery has to poop the party with her back story. Again. Ugh. She must tell this thing five or six times a week. Imagine drinking with her? No thanks. That’s probably why she ends her day brooding on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Abe’s always a good listener. Friggin’ Bruckheimer. Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.