CSI: Cyber Season 1 Episode 5 Review: “Crowd Sourced”

CSI: Cyber

Is the modern society too addicted to the rise of new, advanced technology and social media? From my own observations while taking public transit over the years, watching countless videos on YouTube and posting and tweeting on Facebook and Twitter, I would have to agree, and so does this week’s episode of CSI: Cyber, where a cyber criminal set out to punish this social media-obsessed, technology-addicted society of ours by ensuring that our harmless actions, like seeing what’s trending on social media sites or other parts of the Web, would lead to the cause of terrible events much like the theater bomb in the beginning of the episode. I’m glad that the usher got out in time or else the body count would be much higher than six. It was also heartbreaking to see the woman, Mrs. Carter, having to live with the fact that her phone set off the bomb that killed her son when it exploded.

To give more weight to his threats, the bomber/hacker started using page views on a video viewing website to countdown to the next bombing, placing the responsibility and blame on the technology and social media-addicted citizens. Agent Ryan reasoned, as she argued with Assistant Deputy Director Sifter, that the target clearly understood how social media addicts behaved and knew that page views would continue to go up even if the FBI issued an alert about the website to the general public. Aside from the fact that this was basic psychology (and not just a trait of social media addicts), Agent Ryan was right: if the FBI issued the city-wide alert, they would not only alert the public but the target as well, and that would result in more carnage.

This hour also continued to delve into the characters’ pasts, and it revealed a little bit more about Agent Ryan’s past in particular, which brings us to a guy named Tobin, the Black Hat hacker that Agent Ryan tried to reform by recruiting him to work for the FBI’s Cyber Division. However, Tobin ended up betraying everyone’s trust and the country when he tried to sell FBI secrets to criminals, and now we get to meet Tobin in person at the prison where he’s being held. All of the flashbacks and present day scenes with Tobin and Agent Ryan shed a lot of light on who Agent Ryan is, a compassionate person who believes in giving people a second chance at life no matter how much they have screwed it up. The ending flashback scene where Agent Ryan had Tobin arrested was hard to watch. It was like a mother disowning her son for getting into serious trouble with the law, but Tobin deserved it for doing what he did.

The appearance of Tobin also made the relationship between Brody Nelson and Agent Ryan a lot more endearing, and I think that Tobin’s appearance actually made said relationship stronger. Nelson and Agent Ryan are both aware that Nelson is nothing like Tobin, where the latter will always be a Black Hat hacker for the rest of his jailed life, and it has created a much stronger bond between the two of them. The conversation between Agent Ryan and Nelson about Tobin’s failed attempt to dump all of his Deep Web stuff using the prison library’s server at the end of the episode has showed us just that.

After the death of the bomber/hacker Miles Jensen at the hand of Agent Mundo when the former wouldn’t let go of the bomb trigger in his hands, the team had to race against the clock to find that second bomb that he had planted, which was at a tech conference/concert with hundreds of people with cellphones recording the whole thing. I couldn’t understand why a hacker like Jensen would be so mad about our technology and social media addiction. It seems like it would be something that he would support vehemently since what he does is part of the technology that enables him to be hacker/bomber. Though it might just be the whole giving us a taste of our own medicine thing by using the technology and social media that we have come to depend on against us, so that we will come to fear it every time we use it.

One of the scenes that I enjoyed while watching the episode was when Agent Krumitz, Agent Mundo and Nelson went to the Cave to review the video footage of the theater bomb to find the hard drive of tablet that was used to set it off. The whole 3D effect was pretty cool, and when Nelson said to Agent Krumitz that they should use the Cave to play a first-person shooter game, his words fell on deaf ears, as he turned and realized that Agents Krumitz and Mundo had left the room. I also liked the part where Krumitz and Mundo were using the SUV’s starter cables to drain the battery power of the second bomb’s tablet. It was quick thinking on Agent Ryan’s part when she told them to use this particular method to disarm the bomb. When Nelson was asking if Agent Krumitz was still alive after seeing the view count reach 750,000, I was holding my breath when he was met with silence, but all was well when Agent Mundo’s voice was heard. Also, that scene before the ending credits appeared with Tobin reading a card from Agent Ryan was pretty good. She wrote the word “Goodbye” in binary code, which was pretty impressive. I’m not much of a coder, but I still remember a little bit about binary code from all the coding courses I took in school.

This CSI: Cyber team certainly has some great chemistry. The fact that Krumitz’ new nickname is ‘Krummy’ pretty much says it all. Although, the fist bump between Agent Mundo and Agent Krumitz after they disarmed the second bomb was pretty awesome, too. We also learned a new term this week: crowdsourcing, which means connecting a group of personal devices to perform a specific task.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Has it cured you of your own social media addiction?

[Photo via CBS]


  1. Caithleanne Pont May 3, 2015

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