'CSI' review: William Petersen's Gil Grissom returned to liven up this show: VIDEO

CSI began this week with a tease: Jorja Fox’s Sara Sidle at a benefit for a foundation for the deaf, received a call from her hubby, William Petersen’s Gil Grissom. Ah, how nice it was to hear Grissom’s familiar rasp, even distorted through a smartphone. “I’m still in Peru,” he said — he’d miss the function, which was attended by his mother (Phyllis Frelich), a guest star (Marlee Matlin), and … surprise!: a death. By the end of the hour, we were granted a glimpse of the much-missed Gil.

Matlin, playing a testy academic, was briefly a suspect in the murder case, before the investigation’s net was cast wider. The tale was complicated by, as Matlin’s Julia Holden signed to Sara, “my history with your husband. We were involved, intimately.” Smug and aggressive, Holden was actually the woman Grissom’s mother preferred to Sara; Betty Grissom had bonded with Holden in a way she never has with Sara. “Julia has been like a daughter to me,” she said. (Makes sense — I mean, how long have Gil and Sara been married-but-separated-by-vast-distances?)

CSI has lost its mojo since Petersen’s Grissom left; enough time has passed to say flat out that Laurence Fishburne’s Ray Langston just hasn’t been as interesting a character. Langston is less a strong leader — or, as in the case of Grissom, a fascinatingly eccentric one — than just another member of the team, which has pushed Marg Helgenberger and George Eads to the fore. They’re fine, to be sure, but their characters always seem to be waiting for Gil to poke his head around a lab corner to give an inscrutable order or test them on an arcane theory.

This episode had a teleplay by coexecutive producers Treena Hancock and Melissa R. Byer, good writers who authored one of this season’s better episodes, November’s “Wild Life.” Hancock and Byer are adept at sketching fully formed female characters, whether it’s Gil’s firm, intelligent mother (Frelich embodied her perfectly) or creating the gal-pal dialogue between Sara and Helgenberger’s Catherine.

Nevertheless, this episode, titled “The Two Mrs. Grissoms” — a humorous reference to Gil’s mom and Sara — despite the explosion of two bombs, didn’t have much to spark it, not even with Matlin cranking her flintiness to full flare.

To be honest, the whole thing left me thinking, during the commercials, of CSI‘s glory days, with Gil parrying quips and whips with Lady Heather.

“What kind of marriage do you have?” Mrs. Grissom asked Sara. “We talk every day,” Sara protested. “What Gil and I have works.” Too bad CSI doesn’t, very often, these days.

At the very end, the case solved and already forgotten, we saw Sara talking to Gil via laptop camera. It was great to see Petersen again, bearded, happy, and chattering about Incan culture. Gil’s mom soon joined Sara. Gil said, “When I come back, the three of us will go out to dinner, soon.”

Can’t come soon enough, Gil.

Did you watch? What did you think?

Twitter: @kentucker

For more: CSI scoop: William Petersen to reprise role in upcoming episode

Comments (106 total) Add your comment
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  • Nikki

    i too was thinking about the good old days with Gil and the gang. i have never been a Ray supporter and in fact stepped away from the show when Billy left only to come back to watching shortly after Jorja returned and she is about the only part i am watching the show for these days.

    • girlie

      Did exactly the same thing! Love all the characters, but a big chunk is gone and can’t be replaced!

      • Milly

        Best episode this season one of the best ever Jorja looked fantastic. Grissom was an added bonus.

      • Shasta

        Loved it Jorja was amazing as were
        Phyllis Frelich and Marlee Matlin

      • Massey

        Sara is the reason I watch.

    • CSIfan

      Great episode.Jorja was was a totally awesome.

      • Lara

        I loved this episode because Jorja was fantastic, it was nice to see Grissom at the end but he was not a big part of it.

      • Tina

        Lady Pleather is mad as a box of frogs,

      • Matee

        IB408B Got it! Thanks a lot again for helping me out!

    • Japanese HIROSHI

      Dear internet : ) (producers),

      Re Gil and Sara, “divorce” them, if you please.

      And, for raw fish’s sake, kindly bring back the foxy and beautiful, the one and only mysterious Lady Heather, and make sure Grissom’s heart as ever start missing a beat whenever his eyes be laid upon her.

      Thank you.

      • MaryAnn

        Hiroshi, I agree with you. I thought the chemistry between Grissom and Lady Heather was awesome. Sara is too young and has too much emotional baggage!

      • Kate

        The problem with bringing back Lady Heather is that she is a total nutcase (as we therapists say). She was good for a brief run but she couldn’t maintain a stable adult relationship with Grissom. And Lady Heather’s emotional baggage is a truckload compared to Sara’s walk-on bag.

      • jac-in-the-books

        I’ve never liked the Sara Sidle character and cringed every time it became clearer and clearer she and Grissom were going to have a thing – ack. I thought the Lady Heather episodes were clever and intriguing and I liked Grissom with her. I wish they hadn’t brought the Sara character back, she’s the one thing I don’t like about the show.

        And what’s up with Catherine and the detective? That was short-lived.

        I miss scenes with Wendy and Hodges. Not sure why they killed that either.

        And does anyone every wonder what happened with Warrick’s kid? That went nowhere.

        And please, please no Starbuck, no Starbuck!!!

    • Jill

      Jorja is the main reason I watch, I just like the episodes with Sara more. This one I liked a lot. Hodges made me laugh, good episode.

    • Dana

      Amazing epi the end with Gill Sara and his mom was realy touching.

      • Ethanael

        HMIC8a Wow! Great idea! JJWY

  • sarah

    LOVED the episode! Love Grissom and was thrilled to see him!

  • Lynn

    I do not consider that a “return”, could have kept that!

  • Caitlind

    I thought the episode was brilliant, and not to sound like a sentimental sap but the ending was beautiful. Grissom is very missed and the show has lost a certain something since he left.

  • Paul

    This was probably the best episode all season. Last year was actually a lot better than this year, adn the year before, which was Laurence Fishburne’s first year.

    This show is over now. With all the cameos seemingly every week it’s all just a gimmick. This maybe gives fans closure of how the relationship between Gil and Sarah works. What else does anyone want to know about this show anymore?

    • MCS

      It depends. SVU makes cameos work, they always have famous guest stars and they manage to still do a good show. I think CSI is just a barren wasteland abandoned by both its writers and actors.

    • Shane

      Cameos every where? Huh. This is his first time in over 2 years!

  • jason

    A little odd that his mother was talking about their sex life and Gil was cool with it.

    Shrugs.

  • AnnaSophia

    It was a great episode. Loved the end scene so much. Yes, seeing Grissom we are reminded of what CSI has lost. It can never go back to what it once was sadly but we can still enjoy moments like these. One of the best episodes of the season (and one of my all time favorites)…

  • Brenna

    Darn, I forgot to watch. I watched the first post-Grissom year of the show and then quit. It was one of my favorite shows before that. Sad…
    http://www.laughingattherain.blogspot.com

  • Vanessa

    William Peterson: “I’ll come back to CSI: but only if I can Skype it in.”

    • kronos

      Ha! Anyway, I wish they hadn’t booted Liz Vassey. She was one of the few remaining bright spots on the show.

  • Elaine

    I thought the episode had a lot of what CSI sometimes lacks–honest emotion. Jorja Fox is really turning into a force of her own and, as stated, the female characters in this episode were so defined and well-crafted for a one hour drama.

    The ending made me teary. For a show about science and criminals, I’m not sure another does those moments better. They can make the most mundane moments so loaded and…sweet…for lack of a better term.

    • jen

      I completely agree, Elaine. Jorja was superb throughout this episode, and the ending with Sara and Grissom and his mom was just so well done. It was nice to see Petersen and to see him and Jorja interact with such warmth and ease again. I think this episode would have been okay without him; but his appearance made it perfect.

  • Helen

    Can’t wait for Grissom to come back soon! It’s true Grissom and Sara should be together, but in Las Vegas! I think the show could be amazing again with a come back.

  • Joe Jackson

    The show lost its mojo when they killed off Gary Dourdan

    • Cam

      I totally agree. I loved Warrick. I stopped watching when Grissom left. The show just doesn’t feel the same to me anymore. With CSI:NY I kind of feel the same way too, with Stella gone. But Jo has really grown on me and I like her. I miss Stella a lot, but the show still has the same feeling. Not with the original CSI. I don’t watch it anymore.

    • jac-in-the-books

      Loved Warrick.

    • Beth

      I agree with u. I miss Warrick n Grissom. Although I love Fishbourne, I wish they made him real replacement for Gil’s character so he can showcase his acting talent more. Anyway, I love the show and will watch until they cancel the darn thing. It would be nice to have better written episodes.

  • Elicia

    just perfect. …. Wonderful episode.

  • Claudia

    I loved the whole show,
    I was great to see so much of Sara
    and the ending was just the icing on the cake I love Grissom & GSR

  • Teresa

    I haven’t watched an episode of CSI since Sara left (I know she came back, but it just wasn’t the same without Billy). I really enjoyed it. Jorja was fantastic as always and the end scene made me feel so nostalgic. It was bittersweet and lovely.

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