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Bloodsport
Bloodsport.png
Season 10
Number 5
Writer Allen MacDonald
Director Jeffrey Hunt
Original Airdate October 29, 2009
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Next Episode: Death & The Maiden

Bloodsport is the fifth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

WLVU's head football coach is severely bludgeoned in his home and dies the next morning, and the case turns out to be connected to a wealthy booster, a dead prostitute and the team's star running back.

Plot

Victim: Jimmy Miller (deceased)

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

AND

Victim: Paige Hammer (deceased)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Sara SIdle

The morning following a big win, Jimmy Miller, the coach of the WLVU football team, stumbles through his house covered in blood. He trips his security alarm and steps outside, where he picks up a newspaper whose headline is about a car being found in a nearby lake. Campus security arrives in time to see Coach Miller collapse to the ground and die.

Inside the house, Catherine follows the bloody footprints upstairs to the bedroom, where she finds Langston taking photographs. There's blood on the pillow and headboard and castoff on the ceiling and wall, indicating that Coach Miller was bludgeoned to death in his sleep. Catherine finds it amazing that he was able to get up with his alarm and complete part of his morning routine without calling 9-1-1. There are bloody shoe impressions near the bed; since Coach Miller was barefoot, the shoes were likely worn by the killer. Furthermore, the fact that the alarm was triggered suggests that whoever entered the house knew the security code and turned it off upon entering.

Mirroring the headline from the newspaper, a car is pulled from a nearby lake with a long-dead woman in the passenger's seat. The car came back as stolen six months ago. Greg and Sara observe that the victim had two escape routes, as both windows were either broken or rolled down. The wallet inside the victim's purse identifies her as 19-year-old Paige Hammer from North Dakota. Since both airbags in the car were deployed, the CSIs conclude that there was someone in the driver's seat at the time of the accident.

Brass speaks with the campus security guard who turned off the alarm, letting him know that he shouldn't have done so. The guard says that everyone in the department knew the code to the alarm system, and Brass sets out to get their names. Meanwhile, Catherine speaks to Buddy 'Pal' Arnold, president of the WLVU Booster Club. He explains that Coach Miller's wife died ten years ago and had they no kids; the football players are his extended family. Pal adds that Coach Miller's house was always full because he wanted it that way and guides Catherine to a hide-a-key in the front yard, meaning that anyone could have used the key to enter the house the night before.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins labels Coach Miller's cause of death as exsanguination due to blunt force and sharp force trauma. The coach was bludgeoned at least a dozen times, driving bone fragments into his brain. He tells Nick that the weapon used was a wide, flat object with narrow sharp edges. Without being asked, the doc explains that the part of Coach Miller's brain that was damaged controls thought, language and reason. However, the paleocortex, which lies beneath it, was intact, which is why the coach was able to complete his morning rituals.

Greg and Sara process the submerged car in the CSI garage. Due to the mud and silt being situated on one side, they conclude that the car settled driver's side down in the lake bed, meaning that the only way out was through the passenger's window. Greg uncovers a gun and sees that one round was fired from it. They have Mandy run prints on it before it beings to rust.

Back in Coach Miller's house, Catherine and Langston look at the coach's trophy case. They find a photo of the coach standing in front of the case with a player and see that photo contains two trophies and a football on the top shelf. However, there's now only one trophy on the shelf. Someone clearly centered the remaining trophy and Catherine wonders if this was a burglary gone bad. When she dusts the trophy for prints, she's able to uncover one.

The print from the trophy comes back to the campus security guard. Under interrogation, he admits to Brass that he touched the trophy and took the missing football in an effort to sell it. Brass theorizes that the guard entered the house using the security code with the plan of stealing the memorabilia. He woke Coach Miller up when he went upstairs and killed him in a panic. The guard vehemently denies killing the coach and says that he only stole the football, not knowing where the missing Coach of the Year trophy is.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Sara that Paige's cause of death was, unsurprisingly, drowning. He found a pubic hair wedged between the incisors and tempered auto glass embedded in her lungs, indicating that the passenger's window was broken after the car was submerged and that she was alive when it happened.

Nick looks at a photo of the missing Coach of the Year trophy and visually compares it with the casts from Coach Miller's head wounds. He concludes that the coach was bludgeoned with the trophy by someone he knew; however, this doesn't narrow down the suspect list since the coach treated everyone like family.

Hodges informs Langston that the bloody shoe impression from the bedroom belongs to someone who wears a size 12 Jupiter brand athletic shoe, a brand that sponsors WLVU football. He also finds that there is only one player currently on the roster who wears a size 12 - star running back Calvin Crook. Filling in for the absent Archie, Hodges shows Langston both of Coach Miller's e-mail accounts. The WLVU-affiliated account contains e-mails between Calvin and Coach Miller from April, which is right around the time of the NFL draft. Rumors were spread that Calvin was going to enter the draft, but ultimately decided to stay at WLVU. One e-mail from Calvin says that he was going to be able to sign a $5 million NFL contract; however, Coach Miller responded that his team is family, which is more important than money. Five minutes later, the coach sent a news article about a 22-year-old restaurant worker named Andrew Jimenez; he was found at the bottom of a lake, the victim of a gunshot wound. Curiously, Calvin never mentioned the NFL draft again.

Langston and Nick speak with Calvin at a WLVU practice. Calvin claims that he threw his size 12 sneakers away a few months ago after they wore out. When Andrew's name is mentioned, Calvin doesn't recognize it. He's reminded of the news article, which helps jog his memory. Calvin says that he didn't personally know Andrew and that Coach Miller sent the article as a "life lesson," reminding his players how short life can be. Nick sees through the explanation and asks Calvin where he was at the time of Coach Miller's murder. Calvin responds that he was sleeping and heads back to his practice.

Greg finds that the gun found in the submerged car ties back to a six-month old homicide, and that the victim died of a single gunshot wound. Fragments of tempered auto glass were found on the tip of the bullet that killed the victim, leading Greg to think that the bullet shattered the passenger's window before entering the victim's chest. Therefore, the victim could be their missing driver. Greg and Sara hypothesize that Paige was trapped underwater and watched the driver of the car escape. Unbeknownst to her, the driver was actually swimming to the other side of the car to try to save her. She spotted the gun and shot out the passenger's window, not knowing that the driver was on the other side. Catherine points out that the homicide victim was found without his shoes, jacket or bicycle he left work with, meaning that there's no evidence that he was actually in the car. She also asks if it's possible for a bullet fired underwater through glass to actually kill someone and makes Greg and Sara test the theory. It's then that Catherine sees the name of the homicide victim - Andrew Jimenez. The two cases appear to be linked.

Using a gel dummy, Greg and Sara recreate the circumstances of Andrew's underwater death. They determine that it actually was possible for Andrew to be shot underwater through glass, as both he and the gel dummy had two-inch penetrating wounds. It seems that Paige shot Andrew, likely by accident.

The team gathers in the layout room to go over the evidence again. At this point, they can't tell whether Coach Miller was murdered because the car surfaced in the lake. There is no direct connection between Coach Miller and Andrew, as Andrew never even graduated high school, nor did he play sports. Paige was arrested for solicitation six months ago, something that goes against the coach's good-guy reputation. The gun found in the car is untraceable and unregistered, and it doesn't have any prints on it as of yet. Nick brings up the fact that both the car in the lake and Coach Miller's car are BMW's. It's found that both vehicles came from Vegas Legacy Motors - and the owner of the company is Buddy 'Pal' Arnold.

Nick and Brass visit Pal, who's hosting a barbecue at his house. They tell him that they found his stolen car at the bottom of a lake with a dead girl inside. When shown a picture of Paige, Pal admits that he hosted a party in the spring and he invited her as entertainment for the players. He figured that Paige is the one who stole his car since he never saw her again. Pal then calls Calvin over and has him look at the picture. When asked how he knew Paige, Calvin clams up and asks for an attorney.

Greg and Sara head back to the lake. There, they find the clothes Andrew was wearing the night he was shot hidden in the bushes. Greg guesses that a red substance on the soles of the shoes is pizza sauce, something that would have washed away if Andrew was wearing the shoes underwater. They conclude that Andrew wasn't driving the car that night. Instead, he was riding his bicycle home from work when he saw the car sinking in the lake. He removed his clothes and dove into the water in an effort to save Paige, whom he heard screaming for help. Paige instead shot him, thinking he was the driver of the car who abandoned her. The driver swam to the shore, ditched Andrew's clothes and fled the scene. Andrew is in the right place at the wrong time.

Nick interrogates Calvin and presents him with the evidence that one of his hairs was on Paige's body, placing him with her shortly before her death. Calvin denies having anything to do with the car ending up in the lake. When pressed, he says that he loved Coach Miller and that he looked up to him. He admits that he was at Pal's party and that he hooked up with Paige in a lapse of judgement. When Coach Miller arrived, he broke up the party, made every player head back to campus and chewed out Pal. A few days later, Coach Miller sent Calvin the news article about Andrew, but there was no mention of Paige. Calvin insists that he would have done everything he could to save Paige's life if presented the opportunity.

Nick tells Langston that he believes Calvin is innocent; there's also no physical evidence connecting him to Coach Miller's murder or the drowning. They figure that if Calvin is telling the truth, then Pal was likely the last person to see Paige alive, since all of the players left the party. Furthermore, if Coach Miller knew this fact and could connect the dots, then Pal would have motive for murder. Langston comes to a realization: they need to find the murder weapon. Figuring that the killer is someone associated with the university, it's likely they walked to the coach's house and then back to their place on campus, ditching the trophy along the way.

In interrogation, Brass reveals to Pal that the gun found in the submerged car belongs to him and has his fingerprint on it. Brass charges him with vehicular manslaughter and negligent homicide. However, when told that he could be charged for the murder of Coach Miller, Pal denies having anything to do with it. Pal admits that he drove Paige home from the party and got some action from her; while doing so, he crashed the car into the lake. Admitting that he's a coward, he rolled down the driver's side window and swam out while the car was sinking, leaving Paige to drown. When Andrew rode up on his bicycle, Pal figured that the good Samaritan would save his butt. Instead, Andrew was shot by Paige when he tried to save her. Pal then hid Andrew's clothes in the bushes and rode the bicycle back to his house. There, Coach Miller was waiting for him. Pal explained what happened and convinced the coach to keep it under raps for the good of the team. Brass guesses that when the car resurfaced in the lake, Coach Miller grew a conscience and was going to tell the police, leading Pal to kill him in order to keep him silent.

The missing trophy and a pair of bloody sneakers are found in the back of a campus garbage truck. The sneakers belong to Calvin - as does a bloody fingerprint on the trophy. Calvin admits to Langston that he valued a big pay day over team loyalty, something Coach Miller couldn't rap his head around. However, after the incident at Pal's, the coach blackmailed Calvin into staying at WLVU for one more season. Calvin says that he killed Coach Miller because he stopped playing him when it mattered, costing him a future in the NFL. Langston's belief, though, is that every time Coach Miller looked at Calvin, he was reminded of his own hypocrisy from the night of Pal's party. Calvin replies that he has no regrets and that he was doing what was best for him. He adds that he's taking responsibility for his own actions, something Coach Miller always encouraged.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jorja Fox as Sara Sidle
  • Sheeri Rappaport as Mandy Webster
  • Palmer Davis as Margaret Finn
  • John Carroll Lynch as Buddy 'Pal' Arnold
  • Josh Henderson as Calvin Crook
  • Christopher Rich as Coach Jimmy Miller
  • Mike Erwin as Julian Bristol
  • Ashley Cusato as Paige Hammer

Music

  • The Fixer by Pearl Jam
  • Intro by The Xx

Goofs

  • In multiple scenes where the CSI team is reenacting the car crash in the lake, the passenger's window is down the above water shots, but in the under water shots, the window is rolled up.

Trivia

  • Ray reveals he was an Army brat born in Seoul, South Korea. Laurence Fishburne had also appeared in the Korean War-centric M*A*S*H: The Tooth Shall Set You Free.
  • Some scenes are based on the 2004 murder of Peter Porco and an attack on his wife, Joan. Joan was found bludgeoned in her bedroom, but survived the attack. The couple's son, Christopher, was found guilty and sentenced to a minimum of 50 years in prison.
  • John Carroll Lynch played Buddy 'Pal' Arnold. Some may recognize him from his role as Drew Carey's brother, Steve, in The Drew Carey Show.

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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