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Despite being a heavily scientific show, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation can surprise viewers once in a while by delving into issues of faith, redemption, and forgiveness.

Last night’s special airing of CSI (otherwise known as a re-run) focused on the ongoing investigation of an officer killed by friendly fire during a shoot-out between police and gang members.

While Gil Grissom and the CSI team struggle to piece together the minutes leading up to the officer’s death, Sofia (former CSI member under Ecklie, now turned detective) tries to find redemption when she believes herself to have caused the friendly fire. When she fails to find solace from Grissom, she struggles in confiding to Jim Brass (the veteran officer who almost died last season in a hostage situation). But she feels condemned when she sees two officers whispering about her in a diner. “I’ll always be known as the cop who shot another cop,” she says as she watches the two officers leave.

But in a surprise twist, Grissom discovers that Sofia wasn’t the one who fired the accidental shot–it was Jim Brass. After telling a shocked and dismayed Brass, Grissom presents his scientific findings in an unusual meeting place: The church. Standing below a huge wooden cross, Grissom presents detailed minutiae to parents and cops who lost friends and family–ironically, using science to explain the unexplainable in order to give peace to the grieving and help them find forgiveness through understanding the scientific whys and hows.

Meanwhile, Jim Brass attends the wake of the officer he shot and becomes the unwanted center of attention. As the other officers whisper, stare, and shun him for being “the cop who shot a cop,” Brass glimpses the young, pregnant widow wiping her tears in the hallway. As she enters the living room, an officer leans over and whispers in her ear. A serious and steely resolve enters her eyes as she looks over at Brass. Working up courage, Brass approaches the widow and stammers out an introduction. Abruptly holding up a hand, the widow interrupts Brass by stopping him from speaking further.

Just as it seems the widow will either yell, curse, or hit Brass, she does the unthinkable: She leans over and grabs Brass in a tight embrace. “I know it was an accident,” she whispers as she and hold on to each other and start crying. “I’m so sorry,” Brass whispers, knowing he has been forgiven by the one person who matters in the whole room.

In less than five minutes, one scene was able to show the beautiful, grace-filled, and astounding meaning of genuine forgiveness. Brass finds redemption when the widow chooses to look past his regretful action; she sees someone just as wounded as she is and fills the ache with love that is rarely shown on television–especially on a scientific show.

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