"The List" was a strong episode for CSI. There was great character interaction, a well laid-out mystery and the added bonus of a returning guest star.
When an ex-cop, Vance Tolsom, was murdered in prison, the CSIs processed his cell and discovered a list that supposedly contained the name of the real killer of the Vance's wife. Some interesting names turned up there, including Brass, Ecklie, and Detective Vartann.
Sometimes I'm taken by surprise in regard to what certain characters will react to. Both Brass and Ecklie seemed oddly nonchalant about their affairs with Anne-Marie Tolsom. Detective Vartann, however, got really defensive when Catherine asked questions about the investigation. I suppose his response was due to his close relationship with Catherine, which made him feel attacked. His overreaction to things like this make me wonder how much longer he and Catherine will remain a couple.Ray has gotten very serious since Nate Haskell's escape. The way he barked commands at the prison, and his non-response to a playful barb by Doc Robbins, served as excellent insight into his state of mind. This semi-subtle touch will hopefully add extra strength to his showdown with Haskell at the end of the season.
Dina Meyer returned as a guest star. You might remember seeing her way back in season five in the episode "Swap Meet." Her turn as Anne-Marie - the supposed murdered wife Vance - was brief, but captivating. It's easy to believe that she would have had so many lovers wrapped around her finger, ready to do her bidding.
I did find the arrest at the end to be contrived. It had the feel of a badly played Bogart movie, especially with Brass saying a line like: "It's been a long time, baby."
I want other cop shows to take note of the way CSI manages CGI blowflies. The graphics aren't the best, but the crew gets the insects to look just realistic enough while using the lighting to hide any major imperfections. It's a minor thing, but it's refreshing not to be distracted by iffy special effects.
For the most part, the story here was solid and I was properly engaged in following the evidence without ever getting ahead of the CSIs. The twist that Anne-Marie was still alive became a solid reveal, not an expectation.