A Space Oddity
Season 9
Number 20
Writer Naren Shankar,
Bradley Thompson,
David Weddle
Director Michael Nankin
Original Airdate April 16, 2009
Previous Episode: The Descent of Man
Next Episode: If I Had a Hammer...

A Space Oddity is the twentieth episode in Season Nine of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The CSIs are called to investigate a murder at an Astro Quest convention. The victim is responsible for Astro Quest: Redux, a "re-imagining" of the classic 1960s show that faces opposition from die-hard fans. During the investigation, Astro Quest fans David Hodges and Wendy Simms have dream sequences based on their previously unexpressed mutual attraction and their memories of the original series.


Victim: Jonathan Danson (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Hodges is shocked to run into Wendy at the Whatifit convention dedicated to the '60s television show Astro Quest. Before the two can delve too deeply into their shared love for the show, there's a commotion on the convention floor: a man has been found dead on the mock up bridge of the starship from the show. Hodges confirms he's dead and calls Brass, gravely stating, "He's dead, Jim."

When the CSI team arrives, Nick learns the dead man is 36-year-old California resident Jonathan Danson; the lack of cash on him seems to rule out robbery. He has a bloody nose and scratches on his face, indicating that he had been in a fight recently. David Phillips determines that Jonathan died between midnight and 3:00 AM. Unfortunately, hundreds of conventioneers have had access to the booth in that time frame. Jonathan's producing partner, Melinda Carver, tells Brass that he spent the last five years working on a pilot for a new Astro Quest, which had just been picked up. Melinda financed it and retains the rights now that Jonathan is dead.

Back at the lab, Hodges joins Langston in the morgue. Langston observes a perimortem wound on Jonathan's neck and a right-angled laceration at the base of the nostrils. He notes that the broken under the nostrils is split rather than cut, suggesting a sharp impact. Hodges collects a metallic trace from the wound for analysis, but not before having an Astro Quest themed fantasy involving him and Wendy. Elsewhere, Archie plays video footage of Jonathan debuting his new show, Astro Quest: Redux, and witnesses the crowd react angrily to it, displeased by his darker, edgier version of their beloved show. Greg, who is also watching, questions whether the fans would be angry enough to beat Jonathan up and kill him.

Back at the scene, Nick and Riley process the bridge. Riley finds something that appears to be a collar; it tests negative for blood. Nick examines the command chair and discovers multiple semen stains on it. As she makes her way around the bridge, Riley comes across Jonathan's laptop as well as a DVD player with a DVD in it made by outraged fans who find him "guilty of high treason" and execute him in a video effigy.

Hodges broaches the subject of what would happen to two lab workers in a romantic relationship with Catherine, and she tells him that one would have to switch shifts. Meanwhile, Greg speaks with Penelope Russell, a media professor who was responsible for video taping Jonathan's speech. She tells Greg that she was studying Jonathan's relaunch of the classic series and says that Jonathan was a provocateur, comparing him to the science fiction equivalent of Martin Luther. In other words, people kill each other all the time over belief systems.

In the morgue, Doc Robbins confirms that a blow to the nasal bone did Jonathan in, while Langston theorizes that the murder weapon was likely angular and silver-colored. David Phillips, also a fan of Astro Quest, explains that the bruise on Jonathan's neck could be from someone attempting a sleeper hold similar to the one used on the show. The doc shows Langston the odd substances he found in Jonathan's stomach: a mixture of worms and alcohol. David believes that the odd combination is "Astro Quest food," which is served by bars and restaurants around the convention to appease the conventioneers.

Nick speaks with the bartender from the convention bar who served Jonathan the bizarre space-age drink. He tells Nick that Jonathan hit on an Astro girl and got attacked by her two friends, whom the bartender identifies as two angry fans from the video of the Astro Quest Redux unveiling. A fight broke out, which the bartender (a military veteran) put an end to by putting Jonathan in a sleeper hold.

Back in the lab, Wendy excitedly examines the crown found on the bridge—it's a "compliance yoke" from a famous Astro Quest episode. This leads Hodges to have another daydream about he and Wendy. Mandy snaps him out of his stupor and tells him that the prints recovered from the DVD match two locals, Steuben Lorenz and Lionel Rose. Brass goes to Lionel's address and the door is answered by his mother, who leads the detective to a space age room where the two super fans are roleplaying.

When they're brought in for questioning, Lionel and Steuben insist the video was a joke and refute Brass' theory that Jonathan caught them slipping the DVD into the player and was killed for it. They also deny being at the convention center the night of the murder; instead, they sent their friend, Risa Parvess, there to plant the DVD. She's the female Jonathan unsuccessfully hit on at the bar. Her whereabouts are unknown, and both Lionel and Steuben describe her as "unstable" because she eventually refused to go along with their Astro Quest fantasies.

In the lab, Wendy matches the DNA in the chair to Jonathan and an unknown female. She invites Hodges over to watch several episodes of Astro Quest, throwing the smitten lab tech off. He gets lost in another daydream and ends up setting a small part of his workplace on fire. When Wendy saves the day with a fire extinguisher, Hodges blames her for the distraction. She's irate at being the one who's blamed and cancels her plans with Hodges; however, she's also happy that Hodges isn't as oblivious as everyone thinks he is.

Risa is spotted at the convention bar and is voluntarily brought to the station for questioning. Nick tells Risa that if Jonathan forced himself on her and she killed him, it would be self-defense. However, she tells him that they had consensual sex—and that she liked his reimagining of the show. Meanwhile, Riley finds photos on Jonathan's laptop of him hooking up with various women in the command chair, including co-producer Melinda Carver.

Brass questions Melinda, who doesn't seem bothered that Jonathan had other lovers, telling Brass that they were in an open relationship. Jonathan had even told her about the other women. She also admits to readily emptying her 401k and giving it to Jonathan in order to help him finish the project. When she gets up to leave, Brass notices a metal clasp on her purse and says that he'll need to test it for blood.

Riley goes through the photos of Jonathan with the various women and notes to Langston that they all look like they were taken from the same angle. Furthermore, Jonathan's hand is holding a remote control in each photo, with his hand fixated on the same button. Suspecting Jonathan had installed a video camera on the bridge mock-up, Langston and Riley go to look for it. The laser pointer they set up points to a beam with a fake control panel on it; however, there appears to be no hidden camera. They're stymied until Hodges and Wendy call with a revelation: Jonathan was killed by a retractable viewer, likely hidden in the helm. Sure enough, they discover it by pushing the "targeting scanner" button. Langston finds blood on it and a bloody print; the laser pointer also lines up with the camera lens in the scanner.

The print comes back to Penelope Russell, the media professor. She tells Brass that Jonathan was in her Media Semiotics class—and that he stole her ideas for Astro Quest: Redux without asking for permission or giving her credit. When she confronted him, he belittled her life's work. They got into a physical fight and she threw him into the console, where he accidentally bumped into the retractable viewer, killing him. She then pushed the viewer back into the console and left her print behind. Brass arrests her for second-degree murder.

Langston, Nick and Riley head to the break room to watch Astro Quest, but both Wendy and Hodges decline to join them, instead watching each other forlornly from their respective labs. Wendy translates something Hodges said to her earlier at the convention in the fictional Vellikon language; the translation comes back as "We were made for each other." This time, it's Wendy's turn to fantasize.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


Wendy: "So if you're having some fantasies about me dressed up in a tin foil bikini dancing around in a casbah on a strange alien planet then... good."
Hodges: "Good?"
Wendy: "Yes, good. Because it means you're not as oblivious as everyone around here seems to think you are."

Episode Title[]


  • This episode spoofs Star Trek. Wallace Langham, Liz Vassey, Kate Vernon, Bradley Thompson, David Weddle, Naren Shankar and Ronald D. Moore all worked on assorted Trek spin-offs in one capacity or another. Also, many of the 'fantasy' sequences between Hodges and Wendy are obvious spoofs of scenes from Star Trek. For example, the scene where Hodges and Wendy are wearing "obedience collars" and Wendy is running Hodges trough training exercises is clearly an homage to the Star Trek episode "The Gamesters of Triskelion," which has a scene that's nearly identical.
  • At the beginning of the episode Hodges and Wendy meet in a Whatificon. It's a parody of the original Sci Fi con or "sci-fi conventions", dedicated to the sci-fi movies and TV series like Star Trek, Star Wars or Battlestar Galactica, among others. In addition, in the Whatificon, people went disguised as aliens from movies and TV series, a trademark of the real SciFi con.
  • The episode also references the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. The scene taking place at the Whatificon, where Jonathan Danson reveals Astro Quest: Redux is purposefully reminiscent of when Ronald D. Moore (who plays the character yelling to Jonathan "You Suck!") revealed the new Battlestar Galactica as its producer.
  • The alphabet used for the fictional Vellikon language displayed on Wendy's screen at the end of the episode is the same as the Aurebesh alphabet used in Star Wars: Episode IV—A New Hope.
  • Director Michael Nankin has also worked on Battlestar Galactica, as have the three writers, plus actors Kate Vernon, Rekha Sharma, Ronald D. Moore and Grace Park.
  • The gun used in the Astro Quest: Redux scene is a redressed FN P90 submachine gun, which was featured prominently in Stargate: Atlantis. Additionally, Jaime Ray Newman played Lt. Laura Cadman in the series.
  • Grace Park appeared as a convention attendee in this episode. She would later go on to play Kono Kalakaua in Hawaii Five-0 from 2010 to 2017.
  • Jaime Lynn Newman, who played Melinda Carver in the episode, also appeared in the Season Four episode After the Show playing a different character. She also played Mac Taylor's first wife, Claire Conrad Taylor, in CSI:NY.
  • The TV show Astro Quest may also be a reference to the movie Galaxy Quest, which, in turn, was a parody of Star Trek

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 9
For WarrickThe Happy PlaceArt Imitates LifeLet It BleedLeave Out All The RestSay UncleWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaYoung Man with a Horn19 Down...One to GoThe Grave ShiftDisarmed and DangerousDeep Fried and Minty FreshMiscarriage of JusticeKill Me If You CanTurn, Turn, TurnNo Way OutMascaraThe Descent of ManA Space OddityIf I Had a Hammer...The Gone Dead TrainHog HeavenAll In