Big Shots
Season 7
Number 19
Writer Dustin Lee Abraham
Director Jeff Woolnough
Original Airdate April 5, 2007
Previous Episode: Empty Eyes
Next Episode: Lab Rats

Big Shots is the nineteenth episode in Season Seven of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


A friend of Drops is shot to death next to him in a limo. A young woman is killed after falling out of a car. The common denominator between the deaths: Aaron James, the brother of Demetrius James, whom Greg hit with a car in self-defense.


Victim: Champ Landley (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

An out-of-control limo goes careening into a crowd in front of a nightclub. The responding officer tells Brass that there's one dead body in the limo, while everyone else suffered cuts and bruises. Witnesses told the officer that they heard gunshots down the street and ran when they saw the limo heading for them. One of the surviving limo passengers happens to be Kellen Tyford, aka Drops. The outside of the limo is riddled with bullet holes. Inside the limo, the dead body is identified as Champ Landley. There's an open champagne bottle on the floor along with some white powder, which Greg guesses is cocaine.

Brass questions Drops, who is covered in Champ's blood. He tells Brass that he and Champ have known each other for a long time. They were on their way to the strip club when, all of a sudden, a bullet came through the limo's window and went through Champ's head, splattering blood all over Drops. Drops says that he's now an event promoter and that he knows a lot of people in town, some of who are enemies. He insists he doesn't know who shot at him, and is incensed at the fact that he has to go to the police station to give a statement and his DNA.

On the street, bullets of different calibers are found, including a .38 caliber Greg pulls out of a wall. Grissom notes that the bullet is too small to have produced the holes in the limo. A shell casing to a .50 caliber bullet is found nearby, as well. In the lab, Nick photographs Drops' injuries and tests him for gunshot residue.

Greg processes the limo, finding a shell casing half tucked on the floor under the carpeting along with a rolled up $100 bill with white powder residue on it. He shows Grissom that the shell casing is from a .50 caliber Desert Eagle handgun, and the diagram that is drawn up suggests that Champ was sitting to the left of Drops. Six bullets were fired at the limo, with one hitting Champ; however, they're unsure as to which one was the kill shot.

Nick interrupts and brings both Grissom and Greg into the layout room. He's reconstructed the limo's window and discovered that two bullets of different calibers were fired into it. Due to the beveling of the glass, it's determined that the shots were fired from opposite directions, meaning one shot came from inside the limo. The radial cracks from the shot that was fired out were terminated by the cracks from the shot that was fired in. Since it seems that someone inside the limo had a gun, Drops' story isn't entirely truthful.

Brass pays Drops a visit at his house and asks him about the withheld information. Drops first says that "we" shot back, implying that both he and Champ had guns. He then says that there was only one gun. Brass tells him that the gun fired from inside the limo was a .38 revolver, the same kind of gun Drops owns. Drops changes his story again and says that someone stole the gun from him a year ago. Finally, Drops says that he ditched the gun after the shooting and that nothing was found in the area because someone picked it up off the street afterwards.

Henry relays the tox results to Greg and says that nobody in the limo had alcohol or drugs in their system despite the presence of cocaine. Greg unrolls the $100 bill and finds some boogers on it from the person who stuck it up their nose. Wendy later tells him that there two donors on the "nose straw": an unknown female and Aaron James, the brother of Demetrius, whom Greg struck and killed with his SUV.

A photo taken at the scene of the accident seems to show Aaron running away from the scene, but the photo is way too blurry to make a positive identification. There's also a pattern in Champ's blood that doesn't match the clothes from Drops or the limo driver. With this information, Grissom and Greg know that there was someone else in the limo. They relay this to Undersheriff McKeen, who is way more concerned about the public relations nightmare he's about to face. He kicks Greg off the case and has Grissom reprocess all of the evidence Greg touched.

Victim: Simone Molinez (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Warrick Brown, Sofia Curtis

The body of Melissa Gentry is found on the front lawn of someone's house; her driver's license indicates that she doesn't live close by. She's wearing party clothes, and her body is covered in scrapes. Since Melissa's keys are missing and there are no unaccounted cars in the vicinity, Catherine hypothesize that Melissa was carjacked and tried to escape while the car was driving at a high speed. Warrick's theory is that Melissa was dead already and that this could be a body dump. As Catherine photographs the body, Warrick follows evidence to try to find where this all started. He comes across a broken black part that contains a partial VIN number.

The VIN number Warrick found is from a GMC seatbelt adjuster. Hodges identifies the make and model of the car; however, there are numerous registered owners of that type of car in Vegas.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that Melissa suffered a skull fracture from bouncing up and down on the pavement. A dislocated shoulder combined with the seat belt adjuster found leads Catherine to think that the victim was dragged by a seat belt. Doc Robbins says that whatever it was, the dragging went on for quite a while, as the abrasions go down to the bone. Catherine looks at the Melissa's eyes and remembers them being green at the scene; however, they're now brown. The doc hands her green contact lenses. Catherine looks at Melissa's driver's license and sees that it lists her eyes as being green.

Warrick speaks with Melissa's mother and consoles her. Catherine calls him and informs him that they identified the victim incorrectly; Melissa is alive. The victim was only carrying Melissa's driver's license. Melissa's mother rejoices at the news until Warrick shows her a photo of the victim. She identifies the victim as Simone Molinez, Melissa's best friend.

Melissa tells Sofia that she gave her expired license to Simone to help her get into clubs. She says that Simone mostly hung out with guys and used them to get drunk and hang out in penthouses. Simone always had the same routine when she partied, starting the night at the Gold Square on Sunset. Catherine goes through Simone's purse and finds a gold napkin shaped into a rose. When unfolded, the napkin reveals the name "Carey" and a phone number.

Catherine and Sofia visit Carey at his place of work. When told that Simone is dead, he insists that she was alive when he last saw her. As it turns out, Carey owns a GMC truck that's parked outside in the parking lot. Catherine is unable to find a broken seatbelt adjuster, but notices that the inside of the truck smells like disinfectant. She sprays the front passenger seat and finds evidence of a large amount of blood. Carey tries explaining it away by saying his buddy, Scotty Brittington, had a nosebleed.

Sofia phones Catherine and tells her that she found out Scotty had been admitted to the hospital, where doctors removed a bullet fragment from him. The doctor told her that it looked like someone tried to pull the bullet out of him in order to avoid police notification. A flashback shows Carey trying to pull the bullet out with needle-nose pliers, which made things worse. Before Sofia can end her call with Catherine, Scotty dies in his hospital room.

Catherine processes the bullet and finds out that it matches the bullet that killed Champ Landley. The two cases are now connected.

*Cases related*

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle

Catherine informs Grissom, Nick and Sara of her discovery. Grissom guesses that Carey and Scotty got into a shootout with the limo, with one person ending up dead on each side. Nick believes that the shootout was over Simone, whose DNA matched the unknown female contribution on the $100 bill, placing her in the limo. Although it doesn't put Simone in the limo any more than it does Aaron, it proves that the two of them were together at some point in the night. It's theorized that Simone ditched the broke guys (Carey and Scotty) in order to party with the rich guys, as Drops knows everyone in town. Carey and Scotty felt dissed, tracked the limo down, and retaliated. Somewhere in between, Simone got tossed from one of the cars. Catherine says that the seat belt adjuster doesn't match Carey's truck, while Sara says that the limo is a Lincoln Continental, not a GMC.

Grissom explains to Sara that despite the limo being a Lincoln, stretch limos are custom-made by cutting a Lincoln Continental apart and stretching it with parts from other manufacturers. They look inside the limo, where Grissom notes that the seat belt adjuster is the same part number as the one they have in evidence. Sara finds that the seat belt on the other side is missing its adjuster. The belt is covered in blood from the shooting; however, upon pulling the belt out all the way, she finds more blood in a spot that would've been untouched in the shooting.

This is enough to get a warrant to speak to Aaron, who now lives in a wealthy neighborhood thanks to the money they got from the city in Demetrius' death. Aaron's mother is irate that the family is getting harassed by the police again, throwing her drink and trying to close the door, only for Sofia to stop her and enter the house to search and have Aaron brought to the station for questioning. Upon facing her, Aaron immediately thrusts his hands out, expecting to be cuffed, but he's not under arrest.

Nick and Sara search the James' house for evidence. Sara finds jeans in the laundry that have the same button pattern that was found in the limo along with a yellow hoodie similar to the one Aaron was wearing in the blurry photo. The jeans smell of bleach, but the hoodie is damp from being air dried. When Nick searches the hoodie, he finds a piece of Champ's skull that turns out to match the missing piece from the skull Doc Robbins constructed earlier.

In interrogation, Sofia lays out the facts of the case for Aaron and his lawyer. Aaron stays silent until he's told he's a prime suspect in Simone's murder. He says that he didn't know Simone and that she approached Drops at the Gold Square, where Drops had taken Aaron in an effort to convince him to invest his newfound money into a club. Drops had grown up in that neighborhood, and Aaron says that walking into the bar made them feel like big shots. Sofia tells him that their big shot attitude is what got them shot at. Carey and Scotty, mad at Drops for stealing Simone, followed him out of the bar and chased him down. Aaron says that he had nothing to do with that and nothing to do with kicking Simone out of the limo.

Greg, watching the interrogation when he wasn't supposed to, tells Sara that Aaron used the word "kick" and has her check Simone's back for a shoe impression. Marla James arrives at the station and starts yelling at Greg for trying to tear her family apart again. This time, Greg stands up for himself and tells her that both of her sons made decisions that have nothing to do with him, but are on her and her sons. She tears up, saying finally that Aaron is all she has left.

Sara finds a shoe impression on Simone's back that matches the shoes Champ was wearing. Brass interrogates Drops and tells him that he saw Champ kick Simone out of the limo and didn't say anything. A flashback shows Simone refusing to perform a sexual favor on Aaron, a potential investor. Disgusted, Simone demanded to be let out of the limo. Champ opened the door while the car was driving and kicked her out. Drops is surprised when told that Simone ended up dead and claims that he couldn't hear her screaming because the speakers were turned all the way up.

Brass tells Drops that he's charging him with Scotty's murder. Drops continues to claim that Champ was the shooter, but Brass replies that Drops was the only one in the limo with a registered .38. Brass adds that Drops didn't toss the gun, he gave it to Aaron and told him to run away and make the gun disappear. A flashback shows Aaron fleeing the scene, while Drops took his spot in the backseat and smeared Champ's blood on him. Drops' lawyer says that the ballistics report states that the shots from the limo were fired second, meaning that Drops fired in self-defense. Drops seems to be off the hook, but Brass says that he'll still take his chances with a jury.

Grissom finds out that Greg requested to the district attorney that he go easy on Aaron, who ends up being released on his own recognizance. When asked if he would've had the same recommendation had Demetrius not died, Greg is unsure. Aaron is shown leaving the police station at the same time as Drops. When Drops goes to shake his hand, Aaron ignores him and pats him on the shoulder before meeting up with his mother.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


Catherine (to Hodges): Don't tell me you're tired of the field already.
Hodges: No, I had to catch up on my Perez Hilton.
Catherine: I take it you're not going to pull a Sanders, then?
Hodges: Let's see, clean friendly lab, bullet-strewn, urine-soaked street? That's a tough call.


  • Candy Coated Sugar Sex by Kaila Yu
  • Deep Inside by Future Funk Squad


  • When the team is together in the conference room talking about the evidence, the scar on Sara's face from the scratch in the previous episode Empty Eyes is still visible.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 7
Built to Kill, Part 1Built to Kill, Part 2Toe TagsFannysmackin'Double CrossBurn OutPost MortemHappenstanceLiving LegendLoco MotivesLeaving Las VegasSweet JaneRedrumMeet MarketLaw of GravityMonster in the BoxFallen IdolsEmpty EyesBig ShotsLab RatsEnding HappyLeapin' LizardsThe Good, The Bad, And The DominatrixLiving Doll