The plotlines on CSI :Cyber are daft bordering on absurd, but tonight's episode wins a special Incompetency Award for inadvertently portraying the Cybercrimes Division as a thoroughly corrupt place to work.
Instead of focusing on the revenge porn case she's directed to pursue, Special Agent Avery Ryan diverts the Cybercrime Division's attention to helping ex-hacker and current investigator Raven. Raven is worried about her friend Tracey, who discovers someone is hacking her and sending emails through her accounts. Though it initially looks like a low-level fraud case, Avery pulls a large portion of her staff to catch Tracey's fraudster anyways -- except Raven, who is forbidden from working on it due to the obvious conflict of interest.
In this week's episode, "Heart Me," online dating gets jackhammered into a stalker's paradise. The episode hinges on the idea that HeartMe, a dating app similar to Tinder or Grindr, get embraced by most young people despite its intense geolocation tagging, which allows people to see every time they have crossed paths with each other and leaves an incredibly detailed map of where users go every day on its servers. The cultural willingness to use a dating app that seems designed to help stalkers goes unmentioned.
But again, that's not the most unrealistic part of the episode. The most unrealistic part is how Avery still has a job after mismanaging her cadre of cyber-sleuths so flagrantly.
Even though Avery tells her not to work on it, Raven proceeds to repeatedly interfere with the case, which grows more and more extreme as the fraud manager -- a resentful beta male named Holden -- frames Raven's friend until she is fired from her job, evicted from her apartment, and finally accused of murder.
While Tracey is on the run, Raven gives Tracey a new "hack-proof" device so strongly encrypted that "the head of the NSA wouldn't be able to find you." Within a day, Holden figures out Tracey's number by using a very compact ISMI catcher.
Even though Raven's interferences help keep a madman at bay long enough to actually murder someone and nearly allow Tracey to murder her stalker, at the end of the episode, Avery praises Raven for her bumbling efforts, and lets Tracey off the hook for attempted murder. This is after she gets in trouble for letting DB submit experimental phone-germ evidence that they both know to be flimsy.
The episode closes with DB showing Avery "weird" push notifications he started receiving from a dating app. They bump into Nelson, who freely and casually admits that he went ahead and impersonated DB on the internet to help DB get dates. Avery puts on a mock-shocked face and laughs, as though a former hacker subordinate committing digital fraud and impersonating his superior in a manner similar to what the criminal recently caught by the division did is just a hilarious gag.
I haven't even mentioned how Mundo is having a nervous breakdown about his dad having cancer, getting hammed at bars alone on work nights despite being recently reconciled with his wife and the father of a small child, and Avery knows about it. Instead of being like "Hey, Mundo, you are supposed to be a member of an elite federal crime-fighting squad, and also you are the dad of a young family, your behaviour is inappropriate and you are on probation and should seek counseling" she half-heartedly yells at him for letting his personal life affect his work and then lets him skip work to go cry in a car as his daughter looks on.
Avery is bad at her job.
RIP, Shad Moss Vest Watch: Anyone who read my recaps last season knows that Shad Moss knew how to rock a sleeveless formal torso cover with aplomb in his role as Nelson, but Nelson is wearing far more casual duds this year. Nary a vest in sight. So I'm putting my vest watch on hiatus until further notice.
Embarrassing Ted Danson dialog: Last week Danson was made to say "You on fleek." This week, we have a tie for worst line of the night:
"Side piece phone?"
Bad graphic explainer of the week: