The TVLine Performers of the Week: Paula Newsome and Regina Taylor

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THE PERFORMER | Paula Newsome and Regina Taylor


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THE EPISODE |The Promise” (March 30, 2023)

THE PERFORMANCE | We were promised the most emotional CSI: Vegas episode to date. And that, it was.

As Maxine’s team worked to identify the remains of a young girl found in a barrel at the bottom of Lake Mead, a woman named Raquel Williams showed up to put an actual face to “Jane Doe” — that of her daughter Phoebe, who was murdered 41 years prior. And for the next 45 minutes, Newsome and Taylor had us rapt.

Raquel, at first, had zero faith in the crime lab’s investigation providing any closure. After all, in the immediate wake of Phoebe being gunned down “in cold blood, in the middle of the street,” “The police wrote their damn report with a dull pencil on a cocktail napkin. The phone never rang,” she told Maxine, Taylor’s voice reflecting so much long-held resentment. “‘Sorry for your loss,’ my ass!”

Newsome in turn gave us a Maxine filled with resolve, to a degree we had never quite seen before. “‘They’ is me now,” she told Raquel, begging for cooperation. “Phoebe is on my watch. And my watch does not need winding.”

Raquel eventually warmed up to Maxine and recounted what exactly happened on that night in 1982, tears rolling down Taylor’s cheeks while Newsome’s face made clear that Maxine was absorbing every tragic detail. Raquel then revealed where a missing second bullet had landed. “I have it,” she said, pointing to a scar on her chest. “Phoebe died trying to save my life.” Maxine asked Raquel if she’d undergo surgery to retrieve the bullet, so that it could tell its “tale” and possibly ID the shooter. Raquel responded by rhetorically asking Maxine if she would risk her life for her own child. “I think we both know the answer to that,” the CI nodded.

Newsome and Taylor’s most beautiful work came at Raquel’s hospital bedside, where the episode’s title — “The Promise” — revealed itself. “I need something from you…,” Raquel said to her newfound ally. “If something was to happen [during surgery], bury my child in her rightful state.” “I promise,” Maxine warmly assured her. Later, in what would be the last words she’d ever say, a post-op Raquel handed Maxine the bullet, and whispered, “Go get the man.” Maxine did, and that promise was kept.

Scroll down to see who scored Honorable Mention shout-outs this week…

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