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CSI: Crime Scene Investigaton - Fannysmackin'

Eric Szmanda

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the fourth episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in season seven, one with the dubious title Fannysmackin’.

What’s the story? What at first appears to be a crime of hate soon becomes something far more disturbing as the CSI’s investigation into three brutal attacks gathers momentum.

Why so good? When this particular episode was shown in America, it was hailed as a classic and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it have all the hallmarks we’ve come to expect of a great CSI, it also makes a bold and shocking statement about certain aspects of today’s society.

Digging a little deeper: With a male victim dead and another, a woman, badly injured, Greg (Eric Szmanda) is on his way to collect evidence when he comes across an attack in progress – a felled man surrounded by a hooded gang. Although he “calls it in”, he knows the victim might well be fatally injured before help arrives and so, he intervenes…

In spite of Nick’s (George Eads) ordeal in an earlier series, it still comes as something of a shock to find a CSI on the receiving end of violence. And it is extremely violent – not something I’d ever want to see for real. And, as it later transpires, it’s a totally mindless violence, it’s all the more shocking.

Greg does, in fact, fatally injure one of the attackers but manages to save the victim’s life, almost at the cost of his own. Yet, as always with CSI, we’re reminded that no matter how heinous the crime, its perpetrator is loved by someone – in this case, a parent whose wail of anguish when her son dies is disconcertingly chilling.

In many ways, this is Greg’s episode. We learn that he is the only surviving son of a doting mother who remains blissfully unaware that his work no longer confines him to the lab but takes him out into “the field” and into potential danger. And misfortune befalls Greg on the day he makes his first, successful court appearance as a CSI.

For the most part, CSI‘s crimes are motivated. But not in this instance. Tourists are beaten up, murdered as it turns out, just for the hell of it by bored teenagers – a sad indictment, indeed, of today’s society.

For Nick, the Vegas lifestyle is to blame, while for Sara it’s the youngsters themselves. Grissom, however, believes the current culture of shamelessness is at least part of the problem. Besides, as he so rightly says in the closing frame: “A moral compass can only point you in the right direction. It can’t make you go there.”

As for the title, it’s not as rude as you might think. In America, Fannysmackin’ means beating up tourists which, sadly, is what Fannysmackin’ is all about.

Tell us what you think.

  1. Great review of a cracking and, sadly relevant, episode. We have only to hope that the fannysmackin’ culture doesn’t make its way to England as many of America’s bad habits have. Sadly, the sceptic in me thinks otherwise, having just read an article about “hoodie youths” throwing a pensioner from a train. It’s a sad indictment of the age in which we live. But keep up the good work with these reviews. I’m enjoying the new TV views….

    Roger    Feb 21    #
  2. This episode demonstrates why CSI is one of the best shows on US TV; it’s real, unlike exaggwerated shows like 24

    Naz    Feb 22    #
  3. This episode rocked. Hard-hitting, shocking, controbversial… no wonder Americans were a little senstitive to it’s issues when it aired over there

    Darren    Feb 24    #