We miss you Gil. The team isn’t the same without you. They’re doing okay, solving crimes, using those micro-wave type machines to analyze anything under the sun, accessing the incredible array of databases (an entire database for the fabrics used in automobile trunks! A national list of shark DNA!), putting on their sunglasses and shining flashlights into the already brightly lit corners of murder scenes. Vegas is still glitzy and sinny and Nick has become a solid, dependable man in your absence. Catherine has struggled some to come to terms with being in charge of the team. She’s had this on and off thing with one of the detectives (does it matter which one? Gil, please. You know it doesn’t!) and he’s pressured her to become something she isn’t. She simply wants to be back in the field. Turns out, she’s come to some sort of acceptance about her father’s life. She owns a stake in a casino, but she’s as straight an arrow as ever. Sarah’s been back for a while, but you know that. I suspect you miss her fiercely, but also clinically. Hard to tell how deep your passions run; your attentions are always been drawn to some insect somewhere, some indicator of decomposition. Greg nearly got sidetracked by a dame this year. Almost. But you trained him good. Truthfully, everyone is doing their best, but something is lacking. Ray’s been a good part of the team, certainly, but we’re all wondering how carefully you vetted the guy. He’s a deeply strange man. He’s hiding something–or wants us to believe he’s hiding something and you know better than anyone that can’t be good. When did a secret turn out to be good news? If nothing else, it means he doesn’t trust his team, yet. But is that it? We’re worried that he might bring down their world. You gave him your seal of approval, of course, so we keep fighting to like the guy. He’s capable and can be quite imposing, but distant too. Not distant like you, Gil. You were distant, but human. Ray seems too composed, with too many skeletons waiting to gum up the works. Ecklie is barely around these days. Maybe because he has no foil, no dark office to barge into demanding results. Maybe he knows that without you, he’s just another bureaucrat trying to close out open cases? Brass? Brass is all sarcasm now. He’s hurting without you. He’d never say it, of course, and I’d hate to be in the interrogation room with him (he’s a pit-bull, that guy, he just won’t let go) but his undeniable, unshakable sense of justice feels more lonesome now, less emphatic. Working without you has simply exhausted him. You were his anchor, but you knew that. Part of the reason he relied on you was because he trusted that you’d never say things like, “I’m your anchor.” It was just something we all felt. And face it, the rest of the world isn’t so pretty either Gil. There are bugs you can examine right here in the deserts surrounding Las Vegas. Part of you left because you could no longer take the ugliness of the streets. But here’s the rub: no matter where you go, people are going to be awful to each other. You leave Vegas, head to Peru or Indonesia, but you find the same stuff there. And you bring yourself with you wherever you go. But us? Left here alone? Our streets are worse without you Gil. The team brings all their best selves to our service. They do, they really do. They are troopers. But they’re not making it without you. And when they hurt, we all hurt. We aren’t the sort of people that would ask you to return simply because we missed you. We aren’t that shallow nor insensitive. We saw you last week, you know. We were peeking over Sara’s shoulder as she spoke with you via iChat. Just seeing you there Gil, that quick flash of your smile, the no-nonsense explanation of how we got the word “sex-pot” into our language, undid us. It wasn’t until maybe that very instant that we realized how much we missed you, and how much we needed you. You carried us through it all, Gil. You made our lives a bit better, hour by hour. So we’re asking–and we know what this entails, we understand the sacrifice–that you come home. We’ll make your return a joyous affair. We won’t take you for granted. We’re sure the powers that be would let you dictate your own terms. So, we aren’t asking that you make a split-second decision here. Take your time. Talk it over with the wife. Get back to us in a week or so. We’ll be waiting. Thursday night is always a good night to call. Or don’t call. Just show up. Surprise us. It’s something that’s been lacking in our lives, that sense of surprise and discovery that you bring to every crime scene you analyze. At least think about it, okay? Your office remains as you left it. Waiting, waiting.