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Appendicitement
Appendicitement.jpg
Season 10
Number 9
Writer Evan Dunsky
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate December 10, 2009
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Appendicitement is the ninth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Plot

A woman is found dead in the home of sickly real-estate mogul Bernard Higgins. He is initially considered a suspect until he drops dead during questioning. The autopsy reveals that he has a second, highly septic appendix inside him, suggesting that Dr. Jekyll is responsible. In the meantime, Nick, Greg and Hodges "kidnap" Henry to celebrate his birthday at a famous BBQ restaurant, but end up being stranded there along with a dead body and the owners.

Synopsis

Victim: Gomez Gilpin (deceased)

On the case: David Hodges, Greg Sanders, Henry Andrews, Nick Stokes

A joyful Henry leaves work, happy to have gotten time off for his upcoming birthday. In the parking garage, he's ambushed by three men in masks and has a bag placed over his head. The men take him on a long road trip and threaten him before revealing themselves to be Nick, Greg and Hodges. They happily tell Henry that they're taking him to the best barbecue place known to man - Harry's Hog Hideout. The problem? Nobody in the car is really sure where the place is. On the way, they're run off the road by a female motorist, resulting in the car getting rolled. A supposedly short walk to Harry's takes much, much longer, and when they finally arrive, they find that it was closed five months earlier due to a Hepatitis outbreak. As Nick shines his flashlight through a broken window, he spots a dead man with a gun in his hand - and a dead raccoon attached to his face.

The men crawl through the open window to get a closer look at the body. There's no blood pool around the body and no bullet wounds to be found. Lack of decomp leads Nick to believe that the event happened recently. Furthermore, the upper half of the body looks like it's singed. From the looks of things, it seems that something propelled both the victim and raccoon through the window at a high velocity, breaking it in the process. The men have a problem, though - they have no cell phone service to call the incident in. Nick has Greg and Hodges take a look outside, while he works on clearing the building and finding a phone. Henry gets the job of keeping the victim - and the raccoon - company.

Outside, Greg and Hodges find a container of compressed ethylene gas, a used book of matches and raccoon bait at the bottom of a barrel. The opening of the barrel lines up with the broken window. Inside, Nick locates a phone, but finds that it's out of service. As Henry keeps himself busy by talking to the victim, a man comes up from behind and aims a shotgun at him. The man accuses Henry of killing his friend, Gomez, before Nick, Greg and Hodges intervene. Nick gets the man to give up his shotgun, while Nick and Hodges explain that Gomez's death was an accident - he baited the barrel outside to lure the raccoon, filled it with ethylene gas and tried to ignite it. However, because the gas pooled at the bottom, the ignition was unsuccessful. Gomez decided to fire his gun at the raccoon, which exploded the barrel and propelled both Gomez and the raccoon through the window. The man identifies the raccoon as "Raccoonzilla" and says that it and Gomez were in a long-standing battle. He mentions that he last saw Gomez alive only an hour ago and identifies himself as Slick, the handyman/night watchman. They're all alerted to the sound of a car screeching up the restaurant. Slick says that the woman is Harry's wife, Shirley, and that she can explain Harry's whereabouts. An inebriated Shirley exits her car and stumbles past the group into the restaurant.

Shirley laments the loss of Gomez, who she says was the heartbeat of the restaurant. She tells the group that Harry cleaned out the bank accounts and left town a month before the place was closed down; she figures Harry probably tipped off the Board of Health. Shirley's car is wrecked and reeks of alcohol, leading the CSIs to conclude that she's the one who ran them off the road earlier. Nick is told that there's no working phone in the place, but that there's a ham radio buried somewhere in the back.

While looking for the radio with Slick, Nick catches a glimpse of a body hanging in the freezer. Against Slick's wishes, Nick goes to check it out and finds the body is a dummy. Slick explains that Harry set it up to give first-timers a scare. The rest of the group is stuck with Shirley at the bar. Greg excuses himself and tries to go find a phone while Hodges, under the guise of having to use the bathroom, checks out the basement. Down there, he discovers that someone was making moonshine. Nick gets the radio working for a whopping three seconds, while Greg finds a non-working phone and a toolbox nearby with a bunch of wires. Meanwhile, Shirley tells Greg about Harry leaving with $250,000. In return, all she got was a postcard from Harry sent from Boca Raton, Florida; in it, he tells her that he left her for a younger woman. Henry then makes the mistake of telling Shirley that it's his birthday.

Using the wires he found, Greg climbs a telephone pole outside and is able to call Catherine for help. Inside, everyone sits and waits for the highway patrol and the coroner to arrive. Henry excuses himself and goes to wash his hands, but before he's able to do so, he spills a bottle of sulfuric acid on the back of his hand. Nick helps neutralize the burn by getting charcoal from the nearby oven. While doing so, he discovers a burnt human skull. Neither Slick nor Shirley know who the skull belongs to, but Nick holds them at gunpoint until help can arrive.

The guys eventually make it back to the lab. In autopsy, Gomez is laid out on one table, while the bones from the oven are laid out on the other. Based on the dental records from the skull, Nick concludes that the body is Harry's. It's discovered that Gomez has a record, having been busted for forgery 13 years ago; however, he jumped bail while awaiting trial. Upon laying out the bones, Nick also sees that the ribs are completely missing and that they were cut along the sternum and spine. He and Greg remember that the restaurant was closed due to a Hepatitis outbreak a month after Harry disappeared and, sure enough, Harry had Hepatitis B. Due to Hepatitis having an incubation period of four weeks, they come to a logical conclusion - Harry was killed, and his ribs were fed to the hungry patrons of Harry's Hog Hideout.

Brass interrogates Shirley and Slick separately. Shirley tells him that she and Slick were going to get married long ago until she met Harry, and she figures that Slick killed him to get back with her. Slick's story is a little different - he kicked her out, and she ran into Harry's arms. He accuses Shirley of barbecuing Harry.

Greg and Nick discuss the case in the break room, saying that there's no evidence that links either Shirley or Slick to Harry's murder. Henry, complete with a crutch for his sprained ankle and a cast for his burned hand, speculates that someone else killed Harry. He shows Greg and Nick the postcard Shirley showed him earlier. A fingerprint on the postcard came back to Gomez's mother, who just happens to live in Boca Raton. An analysis of the postcard reveals that Harry's handwriting was forged and that it was good enough to fool Shirley. The conclusion is that Gomez, a convicted forger, wrote the postcard and sent it to his mother, who then mailed it all the way back to Shirley. All of this was done to obscure the details of Harry's death. The belief is that Gomez killed Harry because Harry knew he was on the lam and was using it to keep him under his thumb. One day, Gomez got sick of it, killed Harry and barbecued him.

Victim: Lily Xiaoping (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Raymond Langston, Jim Brass

A woman calls 911 frantic that someone is trying to kill her. She's next seen with her head being shoved underwater. The police are dispatched to the house, where they find the woman dead in the upstairs bathtub. Downstairs, an officer is alerted by screaming until he realizes that the television is on. An older man, Bernard Higgins, is sitting in a chair wearing a sleep apnea mask; the officer is not able to fully wake him up. Brass is called to the scene, and he is finally able to alert Bernard that there is a dead woman in his house.

Upstairs, Catherine photographs the body and finds reddish abrasions on the back of the neck, indicating that the woman was forced underwater. Upon lifting the body out of the bathtub, David Phillips finds a broken tip of a hypodermic needle, suggesting that the woman may have been drugged. Downstairs, Bernard identifies the woman as his girlfriend, Lily Xiaoping. He's upset upon realizing that he slept through the attack and explains his sleep apnea. Bernard suddenly groans and says that he also has Crohn's Disease, but is in no need of immediate medical attention. Despite being told by Langston that the sleep apnea machine can be very loud, Brass believes Bernard's alibi to be flimsy and notes all of the true crime shows that he has in his DVR.

Langston photographs some blood on Bernard's chair and finds a bloody piece of metal on the floor nearby. In the lab, the broken hypodermic needle is found to have contained ketamine; however, there's no ketamine found in Lily's system. The needle fragment extracted from Lily's arm is a 16-gauge needle, inconsistent with the 31-gauge set of needles Bernard keeps in the house. Catherine questions whether Bernard could have two sets of needles, one of which he has for recreational use. The piece of metal that Langston photographed is identified as high-grade stainless steel; Langston wonders if the metal came from scissors or a pair of snips.

Under interrogation, Bernard tells Brass that he would never hurt Lily and that they were in love. Brass theorizes that Lily was going to break off the relationship, which led Bernard to dosing her with ketamine and drowning her after she called the police. Bernard suddenly dozes off and, upon awakening, explains that he's also a narcoleptic. This happens a few more times until Brass loses his patience and tries to wake Bernard up - only he's unable to. Bernard has died.

Catherine finds an errant size 13 shoeprint in Bernard's house and guesses that it could belong to the killer. She relays this information to Langston, who is with Doc Robbins in the morgue. The doc lists Bernard's cause of death as a coronary infarction onset with severe sepsis. As the two men look through Bernard's insides, they find that he has two appendices, and that a septic one has been sutured to the healthy one. Combined with the fact that Bernard has a laparoscopic incision near his navel, they come to the same conclusion - this is the work of Dr. Jekyll.

In the lab's layout room, Langston tells Catherine that since the sutures had started to dissolve, the septic appendix was inserted into Bernard's body no more than four to seven days ago. He also suspects that the piece of steel he found in the house was from a laparoscopic scissor that was used. Dr. Jekyll has now moved on to living victims and is escalating. Bernard and Joseph Bigelow, the first victim of Dr. Jekyll, seem to have nothing in common. Catherine states that they can run DNA on the septic appendix, but Langston notes that if the appendix was stored in formaldehyde and flushed prior to surgery, it could've been in storage for years. They wonder if Dr. Jekyll knew Bernard personally since the surgery was performed in Bernard's house. Langston theorizes that since Bernard was doped up on so many medications, the septic appendix didn't kill Bernard as quickly as Dr. Jekyll was hoping. This would explain why Dr. Jekyll went back to house; he planned to finish the job and killed Lily in the process. Langston wonders if there's something back at the house that connects Bernard with Dr. Jekyll.

At the house, Bernard's personal effects are collected and will be put in storage. Catherine tells Langston that one thing is bothering her - in the case of Joey Bigelow, Dr. Jekyll took a bow tie and left another one behind. But, with Bernard, he added an appendix. So, what did Dr. Jekyll take? Langston, now curious, goes through the book that Bernard wrote and finds a name cut out of the appendices. Meanwhile, in autopsy, Doc Robbins finds the tip of a hypodermic needle in Bernard's body. There's a piece of paper inside that, when unrolled, reads "Michelangelo."

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jon Wellner as Henry Andrews
  • Alan Blumenfield as Bernard Higgins
  • Jessica Lu as Lily Xiaoping
  • W. Earl Brown as Slick
  • Rebecca Wysocki as Shirley
  • Eric Nenniger as Officer Collins
  • DaJuan Johnson as Officer Desmond
  • Cooper Huckabee as Gomez

Quotes

Nick Stokes (a car had swerved into the path of Nick while he was driving with Henry, Hodges and Greg causing Nick to wreck the car, subsequently flipping it several times before it comes to stop. Everyone gets out of the car and is staring at it): Damn, I rolled that bad boy, didn't I?

Goofs

  • When Henry asks why he never heard of the Hog Heaven BBQ place, the camera cuts to a farther shot showing the car driving down the road and everyone still in the car still has their masks on, but everyone had taken them off earlier in the shot when they revealed themselves to Henry.
  • There is a possible error with Lily's name, it is likely that her name is Lily Xiao Ping as Chinese naming customs follows western name, surname, and given name.

Trivia

  • Alan Blumenfeld, who played Bernard Higgins, also appeared in the season 4 episode Last Laugh, where he played club owner Alan Sobel.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 10
Family AffairGhost TownWorking StiffsCoup de GraceBloodsportDeath & The MaidenThe Lost GirlsLover's LanesAppendicitementBetter Off DeadSin City BlueLong BallInternal CombustionUnshockableNeverlandThe Panty SnifferIrradiatorField MiceWorld's EndTake My Life, Please!Lost & FoundDoctor WhoMeat Jekyll
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