are a mixed bag. Sometimes they're fun, like the episode where the corpses told their stories, and sometimes they combine more unbelievable elements than a daytime soap. It's time for our stories!

[Double the fun. Double the spoilers.]

The victims: Art dealer Carston Pennington, head bashed in beside his pool; Jena Makin, shot through the head; Shawn Hagan, shot through the hand, sort of.

The evidence: The three bodies are found in one night, and we start with Carston. The dealer kicked everyone out of his own house party, and was found dead not long after. A broken vase and some amazing video work tell part of the story: Carston had argued with Jeff Luvin, art procurer for the Marrakesh Casino while trying to sell him an antique Mesopotamian vase.

A hungry cat named Gareth helps Ray and Riley discover the broken vase is a fake, rubbed with yogurt and then sprinkled with location-appropriate minerals. A check of the house, though, finds blood on the dress of Darcy Farrow, Carston's fiancee. She's arrested for his murder.

But wait: While working the motel case, Cath finds video of a man named Tripp Linson… who is also Carston Pennington. Rewind!

The vic, Jena, has been shot twice from under the chin, which somehow summons every maggot in Las Vegas to trail into her room. An odd bloodstain leads to the discovery, under the bed, of Gareth the tortoise. Gareth's shell yields the fingerprint of Mickey Ross (John Schneider in a cameo), an actor of the Mickey Rourke school, but without the comeback. Mickey and Jena were married, but Tripp scammed Mickey out of $200K and the fair Jena's attentions.

Jena and Mickey reconciled with the help of the tortoise, but then Jena spotted Tripp's picture, now as Carson, and in despair shot herself.

But wait: While Ray and Cath marvel over Tripp's likeness to Carston, Nick walks in with a picture of Ryan Morton… who is also Tripp/Carston. Rewind!

The man in the car is Shawn Hagan, a private investigator hired by Dr. Paul Anton to track down Ryan. Turns out Ryan scammed the doc out of a chunk of cash. Hey, he's a con man! Go figure. Hagan didn't die well: He was shot in the hand, and the bullet traveled down his arm into his torso, where it ricocheted off the sorts of organs one normally uses to stay alive.

There's a contact lens on Hagan's body, though, and it belongs to… Ryan's twin brother, Gareth. Hoo boy. When does the demonic possessed doll come into the picture? Oh, Timmy.

Gareth is caught speeding and brought in, where he spills a sob story about Ryan always being the cool one, leaving Gareth to care for their mother until Anton claimed the family house as repayment. Gareth sought out Ryan, but left the pool party before he died. So he's off the hook, right?

Wrong. Gareth is wearing Burberry underwear, while Ryan's corpse was sporting undergarments from a discount superstore. You see where this is going, right? Right? Right. Ryan killed Gareth, set up Darcy to take the fall, killed Shawn, set up Gareth to take the fall, and tried to skip town to start a new life. And he will be starting a new life. In jail. YEAHHHH!

The killer: Jena actually killed herself; the two bullets came out because one had been stuck in the barrel during an earlier firing. Ryan killed his brother, then as Gareth confronted and accidentally killed Shawn.

Trivia: Eco-friendly detergents are horrible for getting bloodstains out of fabric. Go for something with chlorine.

Now, I realize CSI isn't meant to scale the heights of realism, but this one really seemed forced. The overall feel was that the writers came up with three vignettes, then forced them into a singular framework. There was very little overlap of evidence, which just left us with the clever rewind sequences and Wendy's text messages.

Posted by:Andy Grieser