“Someone out there is playing Grand Theft Auto—only this is no video game.”
As the Cyber gang investigates a drag race turned fatal, Patricia Arquette delivers that line with a straight face. I’m starting to think someone slipped a cursed amulet into her Oscar swag bag, trapping her in this role. The team discovers that one of the cars in the drag race crash had no driver, and was controlled remotely by an unknown bad guy, who also had the ability to hijack the other car involved in the accident at the same time.
“Gone in Six Seconds” is based on the car hacking report this summer, where researchers showed Wired how they could remotely hijack a Jeep, and it features a cameo from the dudes who did it. CSI: Cyber is getting really good at a certain type of ripped-from-the-headlines story where the writers take a thing, consider the worst possible scenario, and then somehow make it even more panic-inducing. The car hacking story is perfect for that: While the potential for havoc has been confirmed, nobody has actually hijacked cars in the wild yet, so why not do a show where somebody hijacks a whole bunch in a short period of time? (But from his place of work, so he’s fairly easy to track down within an hour network drama, obviously.)
Maybe it’s because we’re well into the season and my ability to look for the best in this corny show has eroded in the face of wave after wave of garbage, but I’m not too worked up about the problems with this episode. Except one:
Jessica Szohr (Vanessa from Gossip Girl) guest stars as an undercover police officer infiltrating the street racer gang, giving off a mild off-brand Michelle Rodriguez vibe. Szohr’s presence in this episode is INFURIATING, not just because I have holdover animosity towards Vanessa from Gossip Girl (which I do, damn, she sucked) but because Szohr already played a recurring character on CSI: Miami. On the most Florida of the CSI installments, Szohr played a lab tech named Samantha Barrish.
CSI: Cyber just casually dropped Ted Danson’s character in from the original CSI as though he was an established presence in the Cyber Crime Division’s world, which gave the impression that the various CSI shows all existed in the same narrative universe. Yet Szohr pops up in two completely separate roles in the same franchise like it’s no big thing!
This is either careless casting OR the writers slyly hinting that doppelgängers exist in the CSI franchise’s alternate reality. Or they’re hinting at the existence of multiple realities. Maybe the DB Russell in CSI: Cyber isn’t meant to be the same DB Russell in the original CSI. Maybe the CSI installments are meant to exist in similar but distinct universes with their own histories, rules, and characters.
Double Szohring is a dangerous game to play with your audience is all I’m saying.
Hopefully CSI: Cyber will make up for this fart of a casting choice with its next episode, which has a very promising theme: