CSI: Vegas has found the show’s dynamic duo.
The latest episode “Honeymoon in Vegas” was rife for relationship material, since it centered on a couple who were killed on their wedding day and revealed to be members of a Las Vegas swingers’ club. Any case of the week that involves a sex club (and several shows have gone there) always has a certain amount of awkward moments between detectives and pithy jokes between them about their personal lives. That just seems to be an inherent part of the plot.
SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for the latest CSI: Vegas episode.
The CBS series was clearly utilizing it to comment on the dynamic between Josh Folsom (Matt Lauria) and Allie Rajan (Mandeep Dhillon). The duo were mistaken as a couple by other people. Josh made a corny wedding joke when he handed potential evidence to Allie at the victims’ wedding venue, conveniently right in front of the altar. And there were plenty of amusing one-liners, about each other and otherwise.
The inherent danger in that, of course, is that the show leans too far into this setup and the parallel becomes heavy-handed. “Honeymoon in Vegas” worked because of the understated way Dhillon and Lauria played it. It was fun but not pronounced. They established a banter between Allie and Josh that felt like natural conversation. In the scene where the club employee thought they were a couple you can see Josh subtly take an extra step away from Allie, as if to give her extra personal space. The characters didn’t change even though the plot was out there.
That was critical to the episode because it grounded it. It showed that their rapport and their awkwardness was normal and not forced by the situation they were in. It proved they genuinely care about each other. Where we could have seen two characters pushed into some awkward, unearned “moment” between them just because of the circumstances, we got to watch Josh and Allie’s relationship continue to grow naturally. It just happened to be on a more outlandish case.
Josh and Allie have a chemistry that’s reminiscent of original CSI‘s Gil Grissom and Catherine Willows—the mutual respect for one another’s talents, with a playful appreciation for each other’s quirks. Catherine and Grissom had an extraordinary friendship as they were evenly matched in so many ways and that’s how this series is developing Allie and Josh. They work together because they’re both talented criminalists who know how to work together.
There was one potential tease dangled out, though, and it came near the end of the hour when the two were leaving the lab together. Josh asked Allie where she was headed—as if thinking about asking her to hang out after work—and she awkwardly replied that she was going to “Mark’s house, where I live” before they parted company.
The obvious question that pops out after that final scene: is CSI: Vegas looking to make Josh and Allie the new Grissom and Sara? The Grissom and Sara pairing became a huge part of the original series, embraced by many fans; there’s a reason that William Petersen and Jorja Fox are the only two legacy CSI cast members in the main credits of CSI: Vegas. A large portion of the fan base gravitated to their pairing, those who didn’t like it were at least talking about it, and “ships” bring TV shows buzz. That’s why many shows write to them.
The awkwardness on both sides of this exchange wants to imply that there’s something more than friendly between Josh and Allie (i.e. he’s awkward about asking her out, she’s awkward in bringing up Mark). That might very well be the case; it’s too early in CSI: Vegas to tell. It would make a certain degree of sense because while the show is continuing to explore the Grissom and Sara relationship, it then could set up a parallel with Josh and Allie, which would enable the writers to do a couple of things.
It would create story potential if those two teams ever worked together—such as Grissom perceptibly picking up on Josh’s feelings for Allie and giving him advice, or Grissom and Sara commenting on Allie and Josh knowingly from afar, almost like a second viewer. There are character parallels just like there are story parallels and history repeating itself would be a gold mine for the writers particularly on a series where the underlying themes are history and legacy.
Or if CSI: Vegas season 2 comes to pass, and it should, then Josh and Allie become the new central relationship to carry the show forward. We don’t know how long Petersen and Fox are going to stick with the series and the way the show is set up, it does feel like season 1 is a bit of Star Trek: Generations, passing the torch before the new team takes over in the future and builds another successful run for CBS.
The series does not need to ship Josh and Allie. A “ship” is not necessary for a successful TV series. Allie and Josh could simply continue to have a strong friendship in the way of Catherine and Grissom and that would be entertaining in its own way, particularly with the overall lack of platonic male-female friendships depicted on the small screen. Not every great friendship between a man and a woman has to turn romantic.
But should Jason Tracey and his team be planning to head that direction, they’ve set it up better than most of TV shows on the air today. CSI: Vegas cast two actors who genuinely play well off one another, putting in the little details that build a lasting dynamic. The show is writing their characters in a natural way instead of trying to force or telegraph a direction to the relationship. It feels like a romance could evolve and work, both for the program and for the continued growth of what happens.
Whichever direction they head Josh Folsom and Allie Rajan are CSI: Vegas‘ dynamic duo. They’re characters well worth watching portrayed by actors who bring something fresh to the franchise, and I can’t wait to see what happens for them next.
CSI: Vegas airs Wednesdays at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.
Article content is (c)2020-2021 Brittany Frederick and may not be excerpted or reproduced without express written permission by the author. Follow me on Twitter at @BFTVTwtr, on Instagram at @BFTVGram.