I have to give credit to to the writers of CSI. The concept behind "CSI Unplugged" - the power is out, the team must actually use its brains over its technology - was brilliant.
If you ignored the fact that most city and state building (especially those housing evidence or refrigeration areas like a coroner/morgue) usually have generator backups, or portable gas generators could have been brought in for equipment that needed it, the story was a lot of fun. Watching Morgan and Greg do the blood testing reminded me of high school chemistry when we determined our own blood type.
Do high schools students still do that in chemistry these days?
Even without all the gadgets they normally possess, everyone was as clever as ever. I loved David's chemical "mood light" he made for Doc Robbins. Although I'm curious why Hodges thinks Morgan has a grudge against him. Either I'm forgetting an episode or I missed one early on this season because his comment to DB about omitting he was in the elevator with Henry made no sense to me.
Did anyone else think the mother-in-law was involved because they had Bess Armstrong (from My So Called Life) portraying her? Using a well-known star as the killer is one of the classic blunders that many crime shows make. Nicely done. I totally fell for it! However, when Finn suspected her, I knew she wasn't involved and it had to be the medium, Karen, seeing as the other mistake crime shows commit is that the killer is always someone we have seen several times - and Karen was the only one remaining.
I had a little trouble with the father, TC Riordan (Jeffrey Pierce). He was really flat through most of the episode, I couldn’t tell if he was missing Harper or not until he told DB and Brass that he was a father who wanted them to find his son. I saw Pierce previously in The Sarah Connor Chronicles when he played a cyborg. It's pretty clear his emotional range is better suited for a robot over that of a worried father.
But the only wet blanket was Finn and her pessimistic attitude towards kidnapping cases. I’m betting there is some history there (DB made one reference to her history of forgiveness) where she lost a child in Seattle because it went over the three-hour rule. But, if there was, I wish they would have given us more info on it so that we could sympathize with Finn instead of feeling like she was being a snarky bitch.
So far, in three episodes Elisabeth Shue has been in, we have seen three different versions of her. I hope that she can nail the character down a little bit more and figure out how she wants to portray Finn to be a bit more consistent. Personally, I liked the first incantation we met: confident but not obnoxious or rude. Which Finn have you liked so far?
Jim G. is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.