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‘Exorcist’ director produces creepy ‘CSI’

When one of Ray's students turns up dead, he and the CSIs are led into the world of Lucha libre and Santeria to find the killer.
/ Source: msnbc.com

Celebrating 200: If tonight’s “CSI” seemed reminiscent of “The Exorcist,” it’s because the director of that famous film, William Friedkin, directed the episode. It was easy to see his touches in the scary opening victim-stalking scene and in the creepy Santeria ritual. We may not have gotten a “French Connection”-style car chase, but he kept those wrestling scenes pretty lively. Happy 200th, “CSI”!

The takedown: A Mexican wrestler, or , followed an obviously drugged Silvia Mallick out of a wrestling hall and under a bridge and murdered her with one wrestling move. But she was able to grab a piece of his wrestling mask.

Teacher’s pet: Silvia wasn’t just any victim — she was a former student of Ray’s. He was supposed to have been her thesis advisor before he quit teaching to join the lab. But as a favor, he had given her crime-scene photos for her thesis research. She was investigating the unsolved murders of some Hispanic women who were killed 11 years prior by the Southwest Stalker.

Don’t mind us: A search for hallucinogenic drugs that had been found in Silvia’s system led Nick and Brass to a house where a Santería ritual was being performed. The people were in a trance-like state, and one woman seemed to go into convulsions, but Nick and Brass promptly ended the ritual before we got to find out how a very large knife was going to be used.

Who us? Surveillance tape led Nick and Ray to the Mexican wrestling arena, where it seemed as if every luchador they interviewed had a police record: rape, armed robbery, attempted murder. And every one of them claimed that he didn’t do it — that there had been a misunderstanding — but also refused to give a DNA sample.

Chicken bones and beer cans: A wrestler named Fantasma owned a mask that matched the fragment that was found on Silvia. (It’s hard to believe that the CSIs actually have equipment to do this kind of obscure leather-matching — color me skeptical). Though he had a previous charge for attempted murder, Fantasma — who compared the throwing of chicken bones and beer cans during a match to poetry — agreed to give a DNA sample. Oddly, he was the only white wrestler.

The real culprit? Fantasma realized that the wrestling MC, Payaso Solitario, had stolen his mask and accused him of killing Silvia. And after kicking Payaso out of the locker room and spending a little time in his tanning booth, Fantasma came out to find all the showers on to block the noise of the gun that Payaso was pointing at him. Even after being shot twice, Fantasma was still able to wrestle the gun out of Payaso’s hands. But then Payaso retrieved it and got off a final shot.

Who me? Ray and Brass came in just as Payaso was dispatching Fantasma. “Don’t do anything weird,” Brass warned. But Payaso claimed that he didn’t murder Silvia. He claimed that it was Ogoun, a god of violence and brute force. Payaso said he tried to reason with Ogoun but couldn’t stop him. At that point, Ray got physical with Payaso and ultimately stormed out. We had to assume that Brass charged Payaso with Silvia's murder.

One last favor: Silvia had asked Ray to help get her thesis published, and staring at her picture on his desk, he kept his word.

Loose ends: So were we supposed to think that Ogoun was behind all the crimes that all the Mexican wrestlers committed and that was why they denied their guilt? Also, the Santería scene seemed just dumped into this episode. None of the people there were even connected to the case. It almost seemed like a two-part episode, but it’s not.