CSI Review: The Problem with Fracking

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Do you know what fracking is?

This week's installment of CSI, "Fracked," hinged on that question, and the answer revealed that this term was not the science fiction expletive we thought it was.

Reed, Langston and Stokes

Fracking, industry slang for hydraulic fracturing, is a process used by oil and gas companies to stimulate wells. This information came to light when it was already fairly clear that the bad guy in this week’s episode was going to be the gas company, Conservo Solutions, which was a common thread between the victims.

My feelings on the hour are torn. There was a lot of genuine intrigue and mystery going on. However, the writers failed to hide their bias, and if there’s one thing I dislike, it’s being preached to.

The episode was saved from being a sermon by excellent guest appearances.  Angela Bettis’ turn as an investigative reporter Rosalind Johnson, researching the gas company that appeared to be making people in the area sick because of its lax fracking practices, was spunky and honest. She had a few excellent lines and a heartfelt moment with Ray Langston that hit all the right emotional marks.

The emotional depth in the character of Bill Gibson, a rancher who had lost everything due to the gas company’s drilling, resonated deeply long before he blew himself up.

Also, the return of Katee Sackoff as Detective Frankie Reed was welcome. The fiery redheaded played so well off of Nick Stokes, delivering wry lines such as: “I’ve got point. Don’t shoot me in the ass." These left me longing for more of this character.

This episode marked the third time this season that the big bad got away with it. I don’t mind episodes where the villain wins, but it has to be done sparingly and in the right fashion. It was realistic that the CSIs did not get a chance to take down the gas company and make it pay for the damage it caused. And realism was fine, but already knowing there was still a bomber and a serial killer on the loose this season left me feeling a little unfulfilled, and as frustrated as Catherine and Ray seem to have been at the end of the episode.

The season continues to have great potential, but it’s a tricky road. Let’s hope that the solid moments continue to outweigh the missteps.


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.0 / 5.0 (30 Votes)

This episode was a replay of the "Cross-dressing Carp" one and did not make much logical sense. Langston is the center of everything, knows everything, just send the others home. Nick keeps getting blown away--no wonder he has no hair. And how many farmers have open wells today? (None!!) And no one in law enforcement thinks its a good idea to pass the word to EPA about possible poisoned water? And please please, get rid of the red haired new girl--who does her hair? Maybe she shampoo'ed in fracked water? and she needs acting lessons!! I thought Fishburne was wooden--she's a cardboard cut-out!


60 minutes did an episode about Fracking the same week! Crazy!


It would of been funny to have Katee Sackhoff say Frack or fracking again but i thnk she has probably had enough of that.
As for the very real problem of Fracking, i think this episode did a fantastic job making people aware of a serious problem that is just going to get worse. It should be illegal to create any exemption to the clean water act.


What people don't know doesn't hurt them. Why should I care about individuals getting cancers before they are 30 when my company pays me a six-figure salary. haha


When you are paying out the wazoo you can thank political hacks like the writers for this show for helping spread the latest lie in support of "green energy".
Millions of viewers now believe that fracking destroys the water supply, even though there is no proof.
Maybe they should work Hollywood's long service as "useful idiots" to the left into their next episode.


I thought it was very clever when Ecklie told Catherine that she wasn't Erin Brokovich :) Marg Helenberger was in that movie, and I was kind of hoping that somebody would make a reference to it.


This episode is another classic Hollywood hyperbole written without any scientific foundation aimed at an industry that few people understand.


My posted comment seems to keep getting removed. I said stick to drama entertainment and tell your writers to leave their anti-industry creativeness in the closet.

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CSI Season 11 Episode 8 Quotes

I've got point. Don't shoot me in the ass.

Detective Reed

Rosalind: Have you ever heard of fracking?
Ray: Sounds like a sci-fi expletive.