CSI Review: Know When To Walk Away

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Why does it take a major character leaving for the intensity and excitement on CSI to be cranked up to 11? I haven't sat with sweaty palms watching this show since Warrick exited in 2008. 

CBS has been making sure we knew that Catherine Willows only had two more episodes remaining. Given that Marg Helgenberger has called the show home for more than a decade, I'm glad to see the writers are giving her a complex and emotional send off. But the big question is still how she is going to leave. 

Most fans have been thinking that the when Sheriff Liston told Catherine she had put her in for a job in D.C. several episodes back that she would be written out, heading for greener pastures. I certainly thought so, and after the introduction of Agent McQuaid (Grant Show), I had hypothesized that she might even make a love connection there and end up moving for a job and a guy. Sounds very "happily ever after," right?  

Annabeth Gish on CSI

Apparently I forgot this is CSI, and all of those theories were dashed during "Ms Willows Regrets," as Agent McQuaid was killed and burned along with Catherine’s friend Laura because a professional hit team out smarted the FBI.

I’m not a big fan of important events happening off camera" especially any type of character death. Too many times writers will use the fact we didn't see someone die as a loophole to bend reality and bring a character back from after they were decapitated, blown up, hit by a meteor or dropped in a volcano.

So I have to say thank you to the writers for the handling of McQuaid and Laura's death. Even as sad as it was, having Catherine walk up to the car and take a long look at the bodies, allowing us – the viewing audience – a chance to reconcile that they were the ones killed (and really dead) was well done.   

This, of course, lead to the climactic final scene where Catherine managed to escape from three highly trained hit men by running into the street and the convenient arrival of DB. Don’t get me wrong, she was shooting back, so I can understand why they hesitated to follow her through the house. The part I didn't get was why DB was there, or how he had any idea that she was in any kind of trouble.

Because the episode ended on a To Be Continued... note, I may get answers to these questions next week. I should also mention that those questions are very minor, given that the overall episode was very well done. I enjoyed DB stepping up and taking the heat from Brass. It’s rare to find a supervisor that’s willing to do that for you. It's these moments that make me like DB a little more each time.  

But we still have the question of exactly how Catherine will be leaving. How do you think the powers that be are going to have her depart the show: 

  • Death? 
  • New Job? 
  • Witness Protection?
  • Ride in a Tardis?   

Sound off now with your best theories!


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (41 Votes)

Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


i think catherine is so good


Im having doubts that McQuaid and Laura are actually dead. I have a feeling McQuaid comes back next episode and wants to settle down with Catherine. Catherine probably goes into witness protection and relocates to another part of the country with McQuaid.


I'm new here, but didn't anyone remember that Catherine was being escorted home when DB received the resignation email. If these people were targeting her and can clean an office of evidence do quickly, maybe they sent the letter--and DB picked up on the fact that Catherine couldn't have sent it, so that's why he was there. Just a theory. :-)


Catherine is clearly an idiot. She just crossed swords with a guy who can clean an office in half an hour, has inside men/women in the fbi never mind all the really serious stuff and she doesn't think they won't turn up at her house. Terrible writing!

Frank lee meidere

@JimG: I know what you mean -- but to me it looked too much like they were saying, "We know that you don't trust deaths that don't occur on screen, so we're showing you this to 'prove' it to you, but still allowing us to do an end run and bring her/them back." Tell you what. If I'm wrong, then I owe you 100 Internet dollars.


@Frank Lee, Normally I am right there with you, but if you re-watch, Catherine's slow view of the body shows the blue scrubs and white long sleeves Laura was wearing and most importantly, it focused on the ring she was wearing. I would have to call foul if she turned up alive without McQuaid too.

Frank lee meidere

Laura's not dead. The FBI guy might be. But Laura's not dead. And while I don't know how, she may well be less innocent than we believe her to be. If the cops hadn't been blaring their sirens as they approached her cousin's house, thereby warning any bad guys they were coming, they may well have discovered Laura in the process of killing the couple. Maybe not. But still. I don't trust deaths off screen. If you don't see them die, they're not dead. Maybe her husband wants her out of the way, but not dead. Or maybe she's wrapped up in stuff and throwing up some kind of smoke screen. (No, I don't know how that would work, and it doesn't really make sense -- but I learned long ago not to use normal-life deductions for crime dramas.)


Kristen, you might be on to something.. it's possible she didn't send it.. You would think Lou would have noticed her resign, right?


I was disappointed--guessed almost every scene before it happened--special bugs, under the floorboards, somebody on the inside. And if Catherine fakes her death and goes off into witness protection--how many times has that been done? Most recently on Criminal Minds! Think up something original, please. Maybe I'm wrong?! Hope so...
And why not a shout-out to Grissom about those bio-bugs? Pllezzze--does Petersen get paid half a million for the mention of Grissom?
And Sara mentions Natalie Davis? What was that about?
DB went to see Catherine to get her to revoke her resignation--but why did Catherine stand in the street like a real dumb-@$$ when the car was coming toward her--smart move!
I really was hoping for a better, more "CSI" story for Catherine's exit.


I believe that DB didn't think she sent the resignation, so he headed to her house thinking she was in trouble. The execs left the possibility of her returning for a couple episodes open.

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CSI Season 12 Episode 11 Quotes

Morgan: We are talking about a 45 min window.
Sara: Russell said the hit was professional, clean up professional too.
Morgan: Who are these guys?

DB: Are you ok?
Catherine: I'll live.