CSI Review: Farewell to Catherine

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I'll admit it: I will miss Catherine a little bit. More than any other character (except maybe Greg), she was part of Las Vegas. Her father was in organized crime and owned casinos, she was originally a stripper, she now owns part of a casino her father left her. Hell, I'm surprised we don't hear the "chink, chink, chink" of coins falling when she cries. 

That said, it felt like a different team wrote "Willows in the Wind," based on the notes from the writers of the last episode. Except there were certain things they were told they had to include, so they just went down the list: 

Summarize personal history from stripper to cop? Check! Get help from random criminals who really have a heart of gold? Check! Mention something is missing in your life? Check! Praise the team ad nausea? Double Check! 

Goodbye, Catherine

While I was sure how Catherine departed was going to involve her taking a new job, I was shocked that the episode ended with so many questions left hanging.

First, what happened to the job that the undersheriff put her in for at the Pentagon? Last we heard, she was “considering it” when the undersheriff left her. It was never mentioned again.

What about Lou? While I know they were no longer in a relationship, I was stunned there was no goodbye scene with Detective Vartann. After all the start and stop, some closure for the viewing audience would have been nice. 

Closer to home, why is Lindsey not at home? I caught that Catherine mentioned Lindsey was no longer there... but then she stopped. Where is she? School? College? Star Fleet? 

Then we have the case du jour, where FBI Agent McQuaid turned out to be dirty and killed fellow agents while faking his own death. Yet we are expected to believe he had enough feelings for Catherine to have “warned” when he missed with his first shot at her house? Really?!? The cold-blooded killer flinches when it comes to a woman he's attracted to? I didn't buy it when George Lucas tried this with Anakin Skywalker, I'm certainly not buying it here. 

But I can appreciate how there was an attempt to do a double twist by having McQuaid really be dead after we learn he faked his death. Sadly, the delivery of this twist confused and annoyed me long before we got to the big reveal. 

I mean, they used the worn out twist of “faking deaths off camera,” that has been done to, well... death. Second, at no point during the shootout last week did we see (or hear) the “friendly fire” incident. In fact, according to my count (when rewatching) all of the masked men that went in through the back came out the front chasing Catherine. 

Then we have the beetles, which had eaten the body down to the bone in less than four hours when they needed 14 hours for the same effect on the previous bodies. Finally, they used the old-as-dirt-boring “faked deaths off camera” trope!! (that one annoyed me enough to be mentioned twice.) 

For the record, TV Fanatic reader Frank Lee called it last week, even after I defended CBS. He was right and I should have gone with my gut instincts.

So, in conclusion, after 263 episodes spanning 12 years, Catherine Willows (soon to be Agent Willows) has left the Las Vegas Crime Lab to take a job with the FBI that she earned by not getting killed by a rogue FBI agent. Wait - isn’t this how the Empire promotions worked in Star Wars? 

Were you happy with Catherine's goodbye? Are you excited to see her replacement in a couple weeks?


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (68 Votes)

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


We are very disheartened that catherine willows is leaving las vegas.I hope there will be a good replacement for catherine like somebody of same understanding and taking risks like catherine did.Ted Danson is an excellent person befitting to be in the las vegas crime lab.Miss you catherine hope the fbi treat you the same as the las vegas crime lab treated you.


Bad move starting Ted danson and all the other replacements the show was perfect as it started that's what fans want just end the show and start a new cop program with who ever


Really say to see Catherine go, she has been good for the show and a great actress. First we loose Grissom, Ray and not Catherinne, sad to see the good go and then bring in Ted Danson. His attitude is a turn off on the show. He does not fit in. I agree with most of the others, i believe this will be the last year for the show and I had to see it go.

Frank lee meidere

Thanks, Jim. Rules to remember: "The perp is always introduced in the first half", and "Unseen deaths didn't happen." I wanted to like this episode. I've had a crush on Marg Helgenberger since Tommyknockers. But there were too many obstacles. I can see cleaning up forensic evidence, but repairing walls and picture frames? Why? And don't the paint and spackle cans interfere during gun fights? Final scene: as it opened, I said to my wife, "King Kong on cocaine." It was predictable sentimentality, but it provided a nice reference to the first episode. (I always thought it was wrong to kill Holly Gibbs. An inexperienced member would have allowed natural exposition, rather than seasoned pros saying things like, "Use Luminol to make blood traces glow.") Farewell scene: either too short or too long. The lack of build-up made it unreal. Drop it, or give it legs. Speaking of legs, goodbye Catherine. I'm going to miss yours.


it was alright....felt that there should have been a bit more with her and the team....and was disappointed about the FBI agent....i'm kinda glad, that grissom didn't show up...it would have over shadowed catherine's exit. if nick leaves next....then, i WILL be done with the show. alisa


Very disappointed with this episode esp as Catherine's last. Plot holes big enough for a 5 year old to crawl through--cops and robbers, and obvious Catherine's long-ago friend was the villian (last week), and this week sort of went down hill fast. The hooker and pimp were a fun break--but even the kindest pimp would not hand a gun to a law enforcement-person. And Catherine got a flesh wound? And bled that much?! The curling iron? What? And the 'black-ops' guys (and who were they?) were able to clean up Catherine's house, throw bugs on a body, and get outta sight before a dozen cops showed up. And I won't even mention Catherine's new job with the FBI--really?? This is what the writers could do--really? Disappointed.


CSI was served well by Marg Helgenberger, and kudos to the writers and producers for doing a two-part Catherine-centric send off that left open the possibility of future appearances of that character. I agree with your criticisms, Jim.


I liked the epidose this week and last. I have watch since the begining. I did not like the one with Lawrence Fishborn and was glsd to see Ted Danson he seems to fit real well. I guess Marg didn't like Danson taking over. What is she going to do now?


Sad to see Marg leave the series. I've been watching since day one. I hated when they killed off Gary Dourdan.(sp) Really hated it when Bill Peterson left. He was the heart of the show. Loved watching him and 'Lady Heather' interact. After watching last week, with the subplot about the flesh eating insects, I figured Peterson would be back for a cameo, being the resident bug expert. I had read his wife just had twins and he didn't want to upstage Katherine's exit. I can always hope he'll reappear in the future. Willows will be back from time to time. She wasn't killed off. This show is still the best of the CSI series. Good luck, Marg!


Good riddance, I'm glad she's gone, she's the reason I stopped watching this program.

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CSI Season 12 Episode 12 Quotes

DB: What tipped you off?
Ms Kitty: Honey, in that neighborhood, the only suit a man wears under a trench coat is his birthday suit.

This is you're crime scene, but this is my call.