Yes, this is the episode that Taylor Swift guest starred in and shockingly, she was pretty good in it. Speaking of "pretty good," it's hard for a procedural like this show (IMO) to keep the quality up after all these years and not feel like they're re-hashing plots, and especially after losing William Petersen, but I think this was one of the best episodes to date.
It was otherwise the Nick Stokes show...which is a good thing, because George Eads easily could carry the show if he were main actor on the cast. He's very likeable, which is more than I can say about either Warrick or Sara.
I thought I might give it up for good after Grissom left 'cause I'd found it pretty boring for a while -- like you said, that's the nature of a procedural show, but it really felt like there were zero stakes whatsoever except for the annual episode where one of the cast is the victim. But I thought that this was good as was that other recent one with the intertwining stories. I should set my DVR to where it only records the ones where they break from their formula and jump around in time.