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Worst TV Show of the Week

By Aubree Rankin

Aired Thursday October 28, 2004 at 9:00pm EST on CBS.

C.S.I. is well known for its high levels of sex and violence, but the October 28, 2004 episode, “Swap Meet” deserves special mention for the utter grotesqueness of its subject matter and depictions.  The vulgar title alludes to the fact that the C.S.I. team find themselves entrenched in a case full of sex and intrigue when a woman at a swingers part is found murdered.

The investigators are soon searching the house, which turns up a dishwasher full of vibrators, dildos, anal plugs, and anal beads.  These are held up in full view of the camera as lab techs inventory them.  Also inventoried are over two dozen used condoms found on the scene.  While a DNA analyst works to identify the men and women who used the condoms, she is shown extracting the semen from them and placing them in petri dishes.

Later, the DNA expert shares her findings from the condom research and shows that at the party 11 men and 10 women had sex in various permutations, most people having sex with two or three different people in one evening.  Further interviews with the party guests reveal that they are all married couples that “play” at wife swapping to combat boredom in their lives.  They all claim it helps their marriage to commit adultery and they claim that as long as their kids don’t find out and they don’t have affairs outside the party settings, it is harmless fun.

Further investigation into the murder reveals that one of the married men in the wife-swapping group has been conducting an affair with the dead woman’s 15-year-old stepdaughter.  Flashbacks reveal the teenaged girl taking off her clothes in front of the married man in the back of his van.  The case is solved when the young girl admits to finding her stepmother and lover making-out in a hot tub and stabbing her in a jealous rage.

This episode, full of conversations about sex toys and kinky, adulterous parties, is depressing and tragic in its conclusion.  The side plot about a man who was murdered by having his head shoved into a table saw left the viewer with a lot of graphic views of blood splattered on walls and lead to the revelation that the victim was forcing a female tenant to pay back rent by having sex with him.

The crimes of passion on the October 28 C.S.I. involved sexual misconduct and crimes of statutory rape and forced prostitution.  The crimes against decency by the show’s depictions, descriptions, and themes will continue week after week.

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