Over the course of 14 seasons, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has tackled a brain-imploding array of freaky topics. Now it's going for the big one. "There's something about cannibalism that is so taboo and forbidden and disgusting that we, as a culture, don't want to think about it — but we can't stop our minds from going there," says Tom Mularz, who wrote this week's man-eats-man episode, "Consumed" (Wednesday, 10/9c, CBS).
The plot kicks off with an Internet wacko accusing investigators Nick (George Eads) and Greg (Eric Szmanda) of doing unseemly things to him. "But it turns out there's an element of grisly truth to this kook's accusations," says Mularz. "It takes our CSIs into a very dark, shockingly thriving subculture of Las Vegas known as the vore world, where people fantasize about eating — or being eaten by — other living creatures." But there's a cannibalistic killer who isn't satisfied just leaving it a fantasy. "His victims do not go willingly," says Mularz. "But they do set a place for him at the table."
This is the latest in a long list of fetishes explored by the series. "We've done plushies and furries and human hamster balls," says Mularz. "Then there was Ted Danson's first episode as D.B., which involved sex with octopi. One of our writers knew a suspicious amount about that one."
The really frightening thing about CSI, notes executive producer Carol Mendelsohn, "is that we never make this stuff up! We do our research and find it. Truth is always stranger than fiction. If anything, we have to tone it down. This vore world actually exists."
But it won't shock or disgust the show's hyper-vigilant forensics team. "That started back in Year 1 with Gil Grissom [William Petersen]," Mendelsohn says. "No matter how bizarre or twisted the human behavior, Grissom remained completely objective, and that has continued to influence the way we write our other investigators. They're not about judgment. They're all about catching killers."