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4 x 4
4x4.jpg
Season 5
Number 19
Writer Allen MacDonald
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate March 31, 2004
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Previous Episode: Spark of Life
Next Episode: Hollywood Brass

4 x 4 is the nineteenth episode in season five of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation

Synopsis

It's a busy night in the lab as the CSIs investigate four cases: A hit and run involving a stolen Hummer, the murder of a beautiful Convention Girl, the death of a body builder, and the death of a boy found on a bench.

Plot

Victim: Unnamed victim (alive)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Jim Brass

A man driving an old Fiero has his car run over by a Hummer going the wrong way on a one way street. Brass tells Grissom that the driver of the car survived, while the driver of the Hummer fled the scene. Tread marks at the scene indicate that the Hummer was actually accelerating. Brass spots blood on the door handle and, inside, Grissom sees something on the air bag that indicates that the driver had a facelift.

In the department hallway, Grissom overhears Greg and Sara talking about taking a shower together and raises an eyebrow. Receptionist Judy Tremont gets off the phone and tells Grissom that the Hummer involved in the hit-and-run was carjacked from a couple earlier in the night.

Kyle and Wilma Shaw tell Brass that they won the Hummer in a raffle and it was in their possession for twenty minutes before they were carjacked. As Brass looks on with a look of disinterest, the couple has an argument over what the carjacker looked like and how much he weighed.

Grissom and Officer Metcalf go the scene where the Shaws said the carjacker was hanging out; it's three blocks from the hit-and-run. Grissom photographs some blood on a fence post and finds a bloody handkerchief in the grass a little further down the alley. The sound of sirens alerts Grissom and he watches two police cars and a detective car heading to a scene.

The police cars arrive at a local convenience store, where the store owner called the cops after catching someone trying to steal from him. Brass sees that the young man, Vernon Miller, matches the description of the carjacker from the hit-and-run. Brass later tells Grissom that Vernon denies taking the car, but Grissom says that his blood is a match to the Hummer's gearshift and to the handkerchief from the alley.

Hodges informs Grissom that the oily substance found on the air bag was, in fact, oil. Specifically, it was lard mixed with beef, pork, chicken and human flesh. Grissom immediately knows where the sample came from. He visits the taco stand that is down the street from the hit-and-run. The owner tells Grissom that two men tried to rob him the night before. However, he grabbed a knife and stabbed one of the guys, while throwing hot oil in the face of the other guy.

A search of the hospitals finds Lawrence Lafontaine admitted with a burn mark on his face. Lawrence tells Grissom and Brass that everyone in the neighborhood knows the owner of the taco stand, and losing a fight to him was not going to go without retaliation. A flashback shows Lawrence and Vernon running away after losing their fight; Vernon is bleeding from the stab wound. Lawrence removes his bandana and wraps it around Vernon's leg to stop the bleeding. Looking for payback, Lawrence spots the Hummer and carjacks it. His intent is to run over the taco stand and ruin the owner's business. However, before he can get there, he runs over the Fiero and flees the scene.

Brass confirms that the owner refused to let Lawrence steal his money and, as an act of revenge, Lawrence stole a car and tried to run over the taco stand. Grissom says that he believes this is the dumbest thing they've ever heard.

The episode rewinds through some scenes (including Greg and Sara's shower conversation) and heads back to the beginning....

Victim: Lisa Schumacher (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown, Louis Vartann

At a car convention, a Mr. Daluca reveals a new state-of-the art RV to the gathered crowd. When the curtains pull back, a dead woman is lying on the floor of the RV with what appears to be bruises around her neck. Warrick meets Det. Vartann at the scene and is told that the victim is 29-year old Lisa Schumacher. Based on her ID and outfit, Warrick guesses that she is a convention girl - a model, stripper, or showgirl working the convention to make some extra cash. David Phillips finds a laceration on the lower lip, contusions on the neck and petechiae in the eyes. Vartann guesses that Lisa got in a fight and got strangled, possibly even raped. There are some off-color makeup smudges on Lisa's skin that don't look like blood. Warrick finds blood, hair and skin under one of the fingernails indicating that Lisa fought back against her attacker.

Warrick searches the rooms of the fully-furnished RV and comes across Lisa's personal belongings. In the bathroom, he swabs some stains on the toilet seat. He opens the flush unit and finds some used condoms inside.

Doc Robbins tells Catherine that Lisa's cause of death was asphyxia due to manual strangulation and that the killer used more force than was necessary, resulting in bleeding in the neck muscles and fractures of the thyroid cartilage and hyoid bone. A wet mount reveals that Lisa had sex prior to her death; however, there was no trauma "downstairs" and semen was found at a depth not indicative of penetration.

Back at the convention, Kyle and Wilma Shaw are seen winning the Hummer in a raffle. Warrick and Vartann talk to Donny Drummer, one of the convention organizers. He is surprised to hear that Lisa, or 'Cris" as he calls her, was found dead. Lisa was pushing the dreaded 3-0 and was put in a booth to talk to people instead of being clad in a bikini. Another convention model, Gwen, shows up late and is berated by Donny. She runs away in tears after being told that Lisa is dead.

Hodges tells Warrick that several substances were found on Lisa's body. Spermicide was found, which lines up with Lisa handling a condom. Ingredients common with hair gel were found under her fingertips, which Warrick says makes sense, as she likely grabbed at her attacker's hair. Finally, the brownish substance on Lisa's fingers, chest and shoulders was instant tanning lotion.

Jacqui Franco shows Warrick that fingerprints from four different convention models were found in the RV - Dana Simmons, Lane Kelly, Candice Mosti and Lisa. Warrick notices that Candice and Lisa have the same address and are roommates.

Warrick and Vartann question Candice, and Warrick spots what appears to be tanner on one of her arms. Candice admits that Donny asked the four girls to hang out with Mr. Daluca the night before. Since Daluca is a "baller," the girls agreed to do whatever it took to bring in some extra cash. After partying most of the night, they went back to the RV. A drunk Daluca asked which girl wanted to have sex with him first; when Lisa offered, he rebuffed her, telling her she was too old. Candice consoled her friend, then left shortly thereafter. She says that when she left, Candice had locked herself in the bathroom.

Daluca is interrogated by Warrick and Vartann and refuses to give his fingerprints and DNA, claiming that he is "on vacation." He tells them that Lisa was "expiring" and looking for a way out. A flashback shows Lisa crying in the bathroom when she found a used condom in the toilet. Daluca walked in on her inserting the condom into her "area"; when he realized what she was doing, he slapped her. A baby would be a good quickie retirement plan, Daluca says. It seems to be a good motive for murder, but Daluca asks why he would kill Lisa then leave her body in the RV that he was presenting to a crowd of people.

Catherine and Warrick walk past Nick in the hallway, who is on the phone with a Butterfield Academy. She confusingly looks at Nick, picking up some of the conversation as he walks out of view. Warrick tells her that Daluca's DNA is all over the condoms and on one of them, his DNA and Lisa's epithelials are on both sides of the condom. This seems to support Daluca's story. The epithelials under Lisa's fingernails are not a match to Daluca.

Back at the convention, Warrick has Donny take a seat and looks through his hair with a magnifying glass. He finds scratches along the scalp and presents his theory. Donny found out that Lisa angered Daluca, his best client, and realized how much business it could cost him. A flashback shows Donny strangling Lisa in the RV. Warrick guesses that Daluca would be accused of the murder, so Donny would be a win-win situation - kill this "over-the-hill" model and have someone else take the fall. Donny denies this, but Warrick tells him that when his DNA is tested, they will find a match.

The episode rewinds through some scenes (including Nick's phone call and the RV being revealed) and heads back to the beginning....

Victim: Paul Charles (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle, Chris Cavaliere

Gwen, one of the models from the convention, shows up to Paul Charles' house to workout. When Paul doesn't answer the door, she peers in the window and finds him dead on the floor of the workout room. Greg and Sara are on the scene with Det. Cavaliere, who tells them that the 28-year-old Paul was a competition bodybuilder and personal trainer. There is no sign of forced entry, as all of the doors were locked and the windows were closed. In the workout room, Sara sees that Paul has severe bruising around his face. Greg looks around the room and observes all of the posters Paul has of himself. He says that Paul is a poster child for self-love and Sara guesses that this is why the killer attacked Paul's face.

At the station, Gwen tells Det. Cavaliere that Paul had canceled her last two workouts in an effort to train for the Mr. Las Vegas competition. She admits that she tried to get physical once with Paul, but he pulled away before it went too far.

Back at Paul's house, Greg wonders if one of the weights could be the murder weapon. If so, Sara says, the killer wouldn't have to be Paul's size or even a male. In the nightstand next to Paul's bed, Greg finds a gun in the top drawer and syringes in the bottom drawer. Sara looks through Paul's planner and tells Greg that none of the weightlifting equipment tested positive for blood.

In autopsy, David Phillips and Doc Robbins examine Paul's body. Doc Robbins finds puncture marks in the buttocks. There is a laceration at the base of the scalp, but loss of blood from the injury is determined to be non-fatal. Doc Robbins notes that Paul's left eye socket looks swollen; when he presses down on it, the eye sinks into the skull and a thick black substance oozes from it. Greg and Sara are next seen being escorted from Paul's house by Hazmat; they immediately take a decontamination shower.

Doc Robbins tells Greg and Sara that he discovered a type of mold inside Paul's body. Hodges interrupts and tells them that trace on the syringes is steroids. Sara asks how a mold infection would make it look like someone smashed Paul's face in, and Doc Robbins explains that Paul's face collapsed from the inside. The mold caused a deterioration of bones around the sinuses and eye sockets. Pus pushed the eyeball out, while the bones that held it in place were getting eaten away. Because of the steroid usage, Paul's immune system wasn't strong enough to fight the spread of the infection. Hodges adds that this specific type of mold likes to grow on human tissue.

Greg and Sara head back to Paul's house to find the source of the mold. They find traces of the mold through the house, but get closer to the source as they cut pieces out of the hallway wall. Sara finds evidence of blood around one specific spot in the wall and Greg cuts the piece out. Inside, they find a leaky pipe surrounded by black mold. A hole in the air duct tips Sara off as to how human tissue got into the wall. She finds a 9mm bullet, which Greg notes is the same caliber as the handgun in Paul's nightstand. A flashback shows a woman getting shot in front of the wall; as the bullet went through the wall, it took blood and human tissue with it. Water from the pipe leak added to the mold growth. The mold released spores which were spread through the air conditioning unit and up into Paul's nose.

Sara tells Grissom that they ran the phone numbers from Paul's planner and the only person unaccounted for is someone named Tiffany. Greg adds that Tiffany is a street name for Angela Wheeler, a known prostitute, and that she was reported missing last month. Sara lists the side effects of steroid use, which include shrunken testicles, impotence and aggression - or "roid rage." A flashback shows Paul in bed with Tiffany; when she insults his manhood, his roid rage kicks in. He gets out his gun, chases her and shoots her. The lab has Tiffany's DNA from the initial missing persons investigation; if it's a match to the bullet, then their case is solved.

The episode rewinds through some scenes (including Greg and Sara's conversation and the black pus oozing from Paul's eye socket) and heads back to the beginning....

Victim: Chase Ryan (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes

On a bench in front of a laundromat, the body of a dead boy is found under a blanket. David Phillips guesses that the kid is no more than twelve or thirteen years old and puts the time of death at eight hours before. He wonders if the boy is homeless, but Nick thinks that his jeans are too nice for a homeless kid. Nick walks around the scene and sees cart track marks in the ground. He asks Chester, a homeless man, if he brought his cart into the grass, but Chester proudly reveals that he keeps his carts on the pavement to keep their wheels pristine.

In autopsy, Nick processes the body and finds purple fibers on both the boy's sweatshirt and jeans. He also discovers something stuck in the boy's hair and cuts it out. In the boy's pocket is a punch card for a student lunch program from Butterfield Academy; the name on the card is Chase R. Nick calls the academy and asks for the class roster, but is told that they adhere to a strict privacy policy. Catherine and Warrick walk by with Catherine glancing at Nick out of curiosity.

Doc Robbins tells Nick that Chase suffered first- and second-degree burns on several areas of exposed skin. There is a burn mark on his face consistent with an iron. A skull fracture leads the doc to guess that Chase was suffering from child abuse. The cause of death is positional asphyxia from heat damage. Doc Robbins believes that Chase was in a small, hot space for quite a while.

Catherine stops Nick in the hallway and hands him the student directory for Butterfield Academy. She reveals that Lindsey goes to the school and that she wanted to pay a little extra to help tighten the reins on her daughter.

Nick visits the Ryan residence and is greeted at the door by Chase's sister, Jackie. She tells him that everyone in the family is sick, but he peeks inside and sees evidence of a party. Jackie quickly relents and says that her parents are in Vail skiing. Nick asks Jackie where her brother is and she believes that he was sleeping over at his friend Andy's house. He asks her for a picture of Ryan; when presented it, he sees that he has the right boy. He asks Jackie for her parents contact information Vail.

In interrogation, Nick talks to Andy and his mother. Andy says that he and Ryan lied about having a sleepover, with both using the other's house as an alibi. In reality, they wanted to sneak into the party that Jackie was hosting. Andy says that after Jackie kicked them out, they went to the arcade. He walked home from there and when he left, Andy was still playing games.

Hodges tells Nick that tape lifts from Chase's clothing revealed hair samples from most human races, as well as feline and canine. There were also a variety of different fibers, including cotton, wool and polyester. The stuff in Chase's hair was melted vulcanized rubber. Nick wonders where he can find a space that's hot, cramped and full of people's hair.

He heads back to the laundromat and searches the dryers. In one of the dryers, he recovers a piece of melted rubber. He recreates what happened and takes the laundry cart outside; however, when it reaches a certain point, it locks. Inside, the manager tells him that the carts lock to prevent theft and that he is the only one in possession of the device that unlocks them.

The manager, Jared is brought in for questioning. He admits to Nick that there were two boys playing in his laundromat, but he was more concerned with the customer who was complaining about his clothes. Despite being the only one on duty, he left the store to get the smell of detergent out of his nose and went next door to a convenience store. When he returned, Chase was lying dead in the dryer. Nick can't believe that Jared would wheel Chase out the bench instead of calling the police or a hospital.

Nick questions Andy again and accuses of him of putting his friend in the dryer, as the dryers do not lock from the inside. Andy admits that Chase got in the dryer himself and encouraged him to turn the dryer on. He did so, but quickly realized that he had killed his friend. Andy's mother is in shock and asks why her son would do this to his best friend. Andy starts to cry and throws up on the table.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Joseph Patrick Kelly as Officer Metcalf
  • Alex Carter as Detective Louis Vartann
  • José Zúniga as Detective Chris Cavaliere
  • Romy Rosemont as Jacqui Franco
  • Victoria Prescott as Judy Tremont
  • Robert Cicchini as Mr. Daluca
  • Neil Hopkins as Donny Drummer
  • Reni Santoni as Frank Mejia
  • Chauncey Leopardi as Lawrence Lafontaine
  • Scottie Epstein as Vernon Miller
  • Cerina Vincent as Gwen
  • Lauren C. Mayhew as Candice Mosti
  • Shane Haboucha as Andy Jones
  • Mandy Musgrave as Jackie Ryan
  • Pat Healy as Jared Obstfeld
  • Debra Wilson as Divine
  • Clement Blake as Chester
  • Patricia Bethune as Wilma Shaw
  • Michael P. Byrne as Kyle Shaw
  • Dyllan Christopher as Chase Ryan
  • Laurie Fetter as Lisa 'Cris' Schumacher
  • Joy Hadnott as Angela 'Tiffany' Wheeler
  • Raymond Ma as Sammy
  • Johnny Miller as Paul Charles
  • Elizabeth Storm as Mrs. Jones

Episode Title

  • "4x4" is a notation meaning "four-wheel drive". It references the number of cases (4) covered in the episode and their interconnections with each other as well as to an international vehicle expo.

Goofs

  • Nick is on the phone with the Butterfield Academy. Warrick and Catherine are walking in the opposite direction. The first time we see that scene, the camera following Warrick and Catherine, Nick does not cross their path. Catherine turns her head towards him, to her left. The second time we see that scene, the camera following Nick, he crosses their path and Catherine turns her head towards him, to her right.
  • During Catherine and Warrick's case, when Nick is on the phone to Butterfield Academy, he walks behind Catherine and Warrick. However, during this section of his case, that same scene from Nick's point of view shows him walking in front of Catherine and Warrick.

Music

  • Melon by Home Video

Notes

  • This episode makes the final appearance of Romy Rosemont as Jacqui Franco.

Trivia

  • Eric Szmanda was in the movie Rules of Attraction. In that movie, they played parts of the movie backwards like this episode.
  • Cerina Vincent (Gwen) previously worked with CSI recurring actor Archie Kao (Archie Johnson) in the series Power Rangers: Lost Galaxy (1999).
  • Debra Wilson played Divine. She played the same role in the episode Getting Off (Season 4) and would reprise the role in Go to Hell (Season 7). Debra is perhaps most recognized for performing on the sketch comedy show MADtv for eight seasons.
  • This is the second episode where the CSIs are working 4 cases simultaneously. The previous episode to feature this is Viva Las Vegas.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 5
Viva Las VegasDown the DrainHarvestCrow's FeetSwap MeetWhat's Eating Gilbert Grissom?FormalitiesCh-Ch-ChangesMea CulpaNo Humans InvolvedWho Shot Sherlock?SnakesNesting DollsUnbearableKing BabyBig MiddleCompulsionSpark of Life4 x 4Hollywood BrassCommittedWeeping WillowsIcedGrave Danger, Part 1Grave Danger, Part 2
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