The CSI team must confront one of their lowest points when a ghetto-ass Reverend is murdered on the grave of dearly departed CSI Warrick Brown. The four and a half years since his death may not have been kind to those he left behind.
Sometimes, amidst all the chaos of the case of the week, plus whatever the season arc happens to be, the CSI team doesn’t really have time to see the effect all this shit has on the people caught up in these events. Murders, suicides, rapes, kidnappings; all of these are work for them. I’m not saying everyone at the crime lab is made of stone, but they deal with these things week in and week out. For the day players, these incidents are singular, hugely traumatic events, and as the audience, we often aren’t afforded a look at the long-term impact.
Warrick’s death was a huge moment for the series. CSI was never the same afterward, but at the same time, it felt like we all moved on a little too quickly. I remarked in my review of the season premiere that it seemed odd that Nick would have a huge outburst over the death this long afterward, but I’m glad we got anything like that at all. Not to mention, Warrick left a wife and child behind. A husband and father was lost to this job. There was a funeral, and everyone was sad, and the CSIs, and the audience, moved on. We and the characters kind of forgot that there was still a grieving family out there, and in one of the best writing choices all season, Warrick’s widow, Tina, calls them on it. She knows damn well yet more shit with McKeen has gone down and she’s furious that they allowed it to happen.
She might be a mess, she might be on a downward spiral she doesn’t seem capable of recovering from and her depression may have made her an unfit mother, but she’s right. We all moved on. We forgot about her. We didn’t really think too hard about the destruction left behind. It’s similar to the Gordon saga from earlier in the series. “Grave Danger” came about because Walter Gordon carried a grudge against the crime lab for putting his innocent daughter behind bars. Following episodes in Season 6 dealt with the daughter, Kelly, now a free woman, bitter towards the CSIs for driving her father to do what he did. Tina doesn’t act out quite so violently, but it’s definitely worthwhile for our cast to get a reality check about just how much it hurts to have the job take someone from you.
We get a good deal of focus on Nick, as is appropriate for Warrick’s best friend. It’s a different side of grief than we saw during the McKeen business. There, Nick was furious. Here, he’s introspective, and quieter. You really feel how much of a hole losing Warrick has left in his life, and how much it pains him that he hasn’t been able to look our for Tina and Li’l Warrick. Sara gets in on the mope-fest, too, showing her anger at the way Tina refused to let them help her through her loss.
“Fallen Angels” is an extremely well-paced mystery with a lot of clever links in the chain beyond our standard forensics. It’s dark, it’s moody, and it’s just a little creepy. CSI of course, is grounded in science, and the supernatural has no real place there. But, as Morgan remarks, it’s kind of chilling how the bodies keep piling up and the evidence continues to lead right back to Warrick. Hell, if it weren’t for the Halloween party scene near the beginning, I’d have swapped “Fallen Angels” with “Play Dead” because it makes for a much better spooky story.
Of course, it isn’t Warrick’s ghost going around murdering people, and no, he hasn’t somehow survived and become a dark vigilante. The real answer, however, is still very intriguing and is a nice reminder of how much Warrick cared about his old neighborhood and the positive influence he was on the people around him.
I’ll be honest, Warrick was never one of my favorite characters. I found him to be a little flat, and beyond his friendship with Nick none of his stories really clicked with me. “Fallen Angels” is a prime example of how to take the death of a character and make it resonate years later. I’d go so far to say that if they keep this sort of thing in mind, Warrick’s story might be more fascinating now that he’s dead. Season 13’s apparent theme of family and how people working in law enforcement can cause a lot of pain to the people around them because of the nature of the job has never been more clear than it is in “Fallen Angels”. Let’s just hope this plot thread doesn’t up and disappear for another four years.