CSI Review: Trend Setters

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With the advent of social networking and smart phones, we know more about what our friends and family are doing every minute of the day than we ever have in the past. I enjoyed the creative use of this fact in "Trends with Benefits."

Major kudos to the writers for not getting tangled up in trying to use Facebook, Google Plus, My Space, etc. and keeping the social network aspect of this story generic so that we could focus on the meat and potatoes of the crime to solve. 

Morgan and Julie

However, when all was said and done, I was a bit disappointed this turned out to be a “voyeur recording of a rape” case. That story trope has been done in several different ways before on TV and in movies. I was honestly expecting the big reveal to be that Laudner was sleeping with Brook Cassidy, and that Pete had caught that on tape. Given the overt amount of attention they paid to Brook and her celibacy pledge, it would have fit in perfectly.

Brook was a fun addition to the mystery as a generic Miley Cyrus or Selena Gomez type of character, where she is aware she is in the spotlight and really wants to stay on the right path, not just because she is being watched but because it’s what she believes. 

Then again, the celibacy pledge also turned out to be a great “red herring” that I fell for hook line and sinker, so I didn’t see the real ending coming.

While we are talking about the ending... I still haven’t fully decided what I think of Laudner’s walking free from jail but becoming a pariah in the social network. 

Part of me likes the symmetry of his actions effectively branding him with a modern day version of the scarlet letter, the very topic he was discussing when the character was introduced. But the other part of me wonders if being "outed" on a social network would really amount to much beyond needing to move to a new area. I’m honestly not sure if the punishment would really fit the crime if the victim didn't want to press charges. 

What do you think? Do you think social networks have the power to appropriately punish social criminals? More importantly, should they be able to?


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.2 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

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




This was a pretty sad and poorly written episode, imo. The college kids appeared to be 30 years old--old looking! Nick's hair--what is wrong with his hair! It looked like a bad wig! But with Shue and Morgan and DB--all that hair--hair--hair--everywhere!! Why am I talking about hair instead of the story/case/investigation? Because it seems CSI has turned into a poor faded image of what it once was. Sorry--Danson and Shue look like they are sharing a joke all the time and I'm already tired of DB's family. Why do we have these 3 people on this show?
Where is Greg? Where is Sara? And please, Nick, get rid of that hair!


The question shouldn't be if social networks have the power, but if lynch mobs should have the power to punish whomever they want (meaning whomever one group or another decides someone needs to be punished). It's sort of like an up-to-date version of de Tocqueville's tyranny of the majority (or what can be called bullying today). I enjoyed this episode and appreciated how it all tied together. Really good script! But, this might make a good discussion in an ethics class.


Frank, Our Webmaster-coding-wizard is actually working on a way to edit your own post just for those typos!


Well said, DCB. You hit the nail right on the head.


What did Nick do to his hair. It looks HORRIBLE. I always thought he was so cute now he looks so bad

Frank lee meidere

Why do you always see the mistakes in your comment only after posting it? That should be "the person with high moral standards."

Frank lee meidere

As much as I wanted Laudner punished, I'm uncomfortable with the social network's role in doing so. Sure, in this case it's just -- but students (hell, people in general) are notoriously unconcerned with accuracy, and just because several thousand people Tweet something doesn't make it true (in fact, it's probably about a 50/50 chance that it has any truth at all). And I'm with DCB on the ending. I'm so, so tired of finding out that the person who with high moral standards is actually a rutting sex machine, child-porn addict, or whatever. The shocking truth (at least in terms of television and movies) is that it's not just liberals who occasionally live up to their professed values.


Well said DCB.


". I was honestly expecting the big reveal to be that Laudner was sleeping with Brook Cassidy, and that Pete had caught that on tape."
"the celibacy pledge also turned out to be a great “red herring� that I fell for hook line and sinker, so I didn’t see the real ending coming." Exactly! That's just what they wanted us to think! They took a well-worn plot line and distracted us with false expectations. We all suspected a predictable, tired outcome, yet they went another direction, kept us guessing. I say Huzzah! "Do you think social networks have the power to appropriately punish social criminals?"
Only if those social criminals are capable of feeling remorse, or are not sociopaths. Normal people like you and me who get embarrassed by an unfortunate coffee stain on our trousers would indeed be completely crushed by an onslaught of public rebuke. Then there's people like, say, Rod Blagojevich, for whom any attention, regardless how hateful, is like crack.

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CSI Season 12 Episode 17 Quotes

Greg: It's Pete's phone
Nick: Think this is Pete's killer?
Greg: [holds up phone] I think we got a strong connection.

Maybe someone pushed this kid over the edge.