73 Seconds
Season 12
Number 1
Writer Gavin Harris
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate September 21, 2011
Previous Episode: In a Dark, Dark House
Next Episode: Tell-Tale Hearts

73 Seconds is the premiere episode in Season Twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


A wild and bizarre shootout occurs on a hotel tram, with the ride only lasting for 73 seconds. The team, now led by the eccentric D.B. Russell, must figure out what occurred. Meanwhile, Greg and Sara work on a case where a young man has the skin of someone much older.


Victims: Tom Finnerty and Robert Mundler (both deceased), Nancy Drake (alive)

On the case: Catherine Willows, D.B. Russell, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

An Asian woman in a red dress, brothers, a mother and son, and a cowboy board a hotel tram traveling from the Palermo to the Mediterranean. In a span of 73 seconds, one of the brothers is stabbed and the cowboy and mother are shot.

Nick arrives at the station, greeted by Greg. There are ants on the floor and a trail of slime nearby. Examining the bodies, he realizes one of the bodies isn't a cadaver—it's D.B. Russell, the new guy in Vegas and his eccentric new supervisor. Sand on the floor leads Russell to believe that the ants came from an ant farm that the boy was carrying. The cowboy suffered a gunshot to the chest, while the other victim, who is wearing a baseball jersey, was shot near the liver and bled out. ID on the jersey-wearing victim identifies him as Tom Finnerty from New York. Outside the tram, the security guard tells Brass that he heard a shot, saw the cowboy with a gun in his hand, and simply followed procedure, firing two or three shots in retaliation. Other witnesses are unhelpful and two others—the Asian woman in the red dress and her traveling companion—are in the wind.

A ricochet mark in the tram's roof tests positive for gunshot residue. When Brass informs Russell that the hotel wants their tram up and running, Russell's plan of action is to take the whole tram back to the lab for processing, making it the casino's job to replace it.

At the hospital, Brass meets Doc Robbins to examine the mother. Her son, Emmett, is a reluctant witness who is traumatized by the events. Brass tells Doc Robbins that the mother told the paramedics that she felt paralysis in her legs before blacking out. The doc observes a puncture wound on the woman's leg, and they wonder if it's from a bug bite. Meanwhile, Russell gets Emmett to open up a little, and he says that he saw a small alien on the tram.

Doc Robbins identifies the dead cowboy as Robert Mundler, who was in town from Arizona to attend a gun show. The caliber of the bullets recovered from Robert's body, as well as from the mother's, are consistent with the gun the security guard was using. Interestingly, though, Tom wasn't shot—he was stabbed to death. Doc Robbins also informs Catherine that Tom was suffering from advanced Mesothelioma and only had a few months to live.

The tram is brought into a warehouse, where the team is able to process it further. They map out the trajectories of the bullets, concluding that the security guard fired three shots, hitting the mother twice and fatally wounding the cowboy. Before dying, the cowboy got off two shots, with one hitting a window; the other bullet is unaccounted for. Catherine guesses that because he wasn't hit by any bullets, Tom was already on the ground when the shooting started. Hodges interrupts and says that the slime is from an octopus, and Russell wonders if the missing bullet hit the octopus before it left the tram.

Russell eventually finds the missing octopus under the tracks at the Palermo station; it was shot with a 9mm bullet consistent with the cowboy's gun. David Phillips also finds human tissue on the beak, indicating that it bit someone. This would explain the mother's paralysis. Hodges notices a tattoo on the Asian woman in the photo and connects the dots to shoukushu-goukan, or tentacle erotica. Based on the woman's purse before and after the tram ride, Russell concludes that the woman was holding the octopus there.

Russell and Brass visit the shoukushu-goukan parlor and find the woman from the photo. She tells them that the man with her in the photo was carrying a knife and stabbed the victim with the baseball jersey. The man gave her a hotel key, which Russell gets in exchange for letting the woman see her octopus friend one final time.

The hotel room is registered to Tom Finnerty. Catherine and Nick enter the room and find the bloody knife on a table. In the bathtub, they find a man with a plastic bag over his head. He has unsuccessfully tried to kill himself and, when awakened, he tells the CSIs that he didn't kill his brother. Under interrogation, Jimmy Finnerty recalls that his brother caught up to him on the tram and had a knife sticking out of his side. When Jimmy pulled the knife out, the cowboy started firing his gun. This would explain why Jimmy's fingerprints were on the knife. Russell watches from behind the glass admiring Nick's interrogation skills, but Ecklie is upset that the CSI team all try to be social workers.

As Nick continues to process the tram, Russell arrives and reprimands him for not having his field report handed in. The two go through the events from the 73-second tram ride and Nick finds a third blood drop on the tram door different from the other two. All of the drops appear to have been deposited at the same time; however, the one he just found has a "ghost ring" around it, indicating that it was there longer than the other two drops. They remember that they still have one witness—Emmett.

Emmett is brought back to a fresh tram and tells Nick and Russell that he didn't see anyone do anything to Tom. The boy runs from the tram onto the platform, where he says that someone smaller than Tom dropped some money before he got on the tram. Emmett picked it up and tucked it in his baseball cap. He produces the bloody $100 bill, which Nick collects as evidence. Russell assures him that he'll get another $100 bill as a reward for helping the police.

Evidence shows that Tom was stabbed before he got on the tram; however, security cameras in the casino and on the platform would've picked up the incident. Russell spots a nearby bathroom, noting that there are no cameras in there. Sure enough, upon searching the bathroom, he finds a bloody door latch.

DNA from the blood on the money and the bathroom latch comes back to Tom. Furthermore, ATM logs show that Tom withdrew money from the ATM right before he got on the tram. A fingerprint from the $100 bill comes back to Allen Krick, who Catherine interviewed earlier in the casino. Allen is in the wind, and it's found out that he and Jimmy were partners in crime. They were busted in a chop shop case, for which Allen was arrested. Jimmy, however, got out of town and ran off with the money. Allen was just released from prison, and phone records show that he called Jimmy several times while making his way to Vegas. Catherine wonders why Allen would go all that way and end up killing Jimmy's brother.

Russell tries to piece everything together and remembers that Tom spent a lifetime looking out for his younger brother. He figures that Tom saw Allen first, followed him into the men's room, and tried to pay him off. Allen refused the money and they got into a fight, which resulted in Allen stabbing Tom. He then picked up the bloody money off the ground and left. In interrogation, Jimmy is disheartened to hear that Tom died trying to clean up his brother's messes. Nick convinces Jimmy to give up Allen's location, and he's eventually arrested with the blood money still in his possession. Elsewhere, Russell follows through on his promise and gives Emmett a crisp $100 bill as a reward for his help.

In the break room (which is also Nick's new office), Nick tells Catherine that he called Jimmy's probation officer and tried to get him to cut Jimmy some slack, as this would be his third strike. Catherine irately tells Nick that they can't do things like this anymore and tells him that she got demoted. As the two argue with everyone on the team watching from afar, Russell texts them and invites them all to breakfast on his dime.

Victim: Del Hartley (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Sara Sidle

Greg and Sara are sent into the desert to deal with a case where a man appears young, but has the sagging skin of an elderly person. There's a strange puncture wound in his abdomen. Lack of blood around the body means the CSIs need to find the primary crime scene.

In the morgue, Doc Robbins cuts the body open and finds that the connective tissues are separated from the fat. He also finds a mysterious black substance inside the body. Greg enters and says that the blood on their victim is deer blood. When combined with gunshot residue on the victim's hand, he and Sara figure that their victim was a hunter. When he sees a puncture wound on the body, Greg is pretty sure he knows where the wound came from and excitedly leaves to make a phone call.

Greg shows Sara a video of his Norwegian cousin, who is also a deer hunter. In the video, the man uses an air compressor to separate the deer's skin from the muscle, making it easier to skin the deer. Noting that their victim had a puncture wound in his torso, Greg believes that he was inflated with a giant air compressor. Sara adds to this theory by saying that the black residue found in their victim is polyalphaolefin, a lubricating oil. It's found in commercial air compressors, like the ones found in truck stops. The CSIs head out to a truck stop that's a few miles from the crime scene.

Greg and Sara later question Ross Gibbs, the owner of the truck stop. At the truck stop, they found a hunting picture of Ross and their victim. They also reveal that a large air compressor on the property tested positive for human blood. Ross explains that he and his friend, Del Hartley, were deer hunting. As they went to prep a deer they shot, it suddenly came to and stabbed Del with its antlers. Thinking quickly and trying to prevent infection, Del took the air compressor and tried to clean his wound. However, the air compressor got stuck, inflated him, and eventually killed him. Ross then moved the body in order to protect his business.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Marc Vann as Conrad Ecklie
  • Larry M. Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Scott 'Carrot Top' Thompson as Himself
  • Chad Faust as Jimmy Finnerty
  • Skylar Gaertner as Emmett Drake
  • Clay Wilcox as Ross Gibbs
  • Elaine Tan as Shizu Yoshi
  • Stephen Amell as A.J. Gust
  • Nathan Anderson as Tom Finnerty
  • Heather Prete as Nancy Drake
  • David Tom as Allen Krick


  • When Nick is examining the semi-automatic handgun on the tram, he pulls out the magazine and says two rounds were fired. Unlike a revolver, it's not possible to determine how many rounds have been fired just by looking how many rounds are in the magazine. The magazine may hold 15 rounds, but there may only have been one to 14 loaded.
  • Tom 'Baseball Jersey' Finnerty may live in Locust Valley, NY, but the zip code is 11560, not 11423


  • This episode marks Ted Danson's first appearance as D.B. Russell.
  • Doc Robbins tells Brass that former CSI Raymond Langston and his wife Gloria moved back to Baltimore and are doing well. He adds that killing Haskell may have saved Langston's life, as it gave him a chance at a second one.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming