Code Blue Plate Special
Season 13
Number 2
Writer Andrew Dettmann
Director Louis Shaw Milito
Original Airdate October 10, 2012
Previous Episode: Karma to Burn
Next Episode: Wild Flowers

Code Blue Plate Special is the second episode in Season Thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


When eight people are shot to death at the CSIs' favorite diner, a man who stalked one of the victims becomes a prime suspect. However, the discovery that one of the victims was out of place opens up new lines of inquiry.


Victims: Alex Brenner, Connie [no last name given], Dahlia [no last name given], Edie Graham, Owen DeMarcus, Robert Rios, unnamed elderly couple (all deceased)

On the case: entire team

Frank's Diner is a frequent hangout spot for both cops and CSIs alike. There are also several regulars who visit, most of whom the waitress, Edie, knows by name. Edie's shift is over, but she's hesitant to leave due to a stalker who watches her from across the street. By the time the cops are ready to go talk to him, the stalker has disappeared.

Greg, Nick and Sara pull up to the diner, eager to have their post-shift breakfast. A police car also rolls up; Vincent DeMarcus, the owner, has locked himself in the back freezer and has been unable to contact his brother, Owen. When everyone enters, they find that everyone in the diner has been shot and killed. The cops are shocked, as they just left the place a few minutes ago. Vincent is released from the freezer and is overcome with grief at the sight of the massacre.

Brass arrives and orders the officers to find the stalker and detain him immediately. The diner's register has been emptied, which means robbery could be a motive. Brass makes his way through the diner, sadly looking at the patrons he had come to know; there are two unfamiliar faces. He arrives at Edie's body and sees that she's been shot once in the head, execution-style. Based on the carnage, Brass doesn't buy robbery as the motive. Sara identifies the stalker as Ronald Basderic, who had been stalking Edie for six months. She tells Brass that she tried to help Edie get a restraining order, but the judge denied it, as Ronald has known how far he can go without breaking any laws. A bloody shoe impression near Edie's body doesn't match any of the victims' shoes.

Finn enters, analyzes the blood spatter at the counter, and concludes that it was caused by a dismembered finger. She sees that Owen is missing a finger and has an officer mark the spot where the finger landed. Finn then has the other CSIs step out so she can analyze the blood evidence herself. Greg processes the freezer and gets locked inside, just like Vincent did. He has no phone service, but is able to eventually find a signal. While looking around, he finds a hidden camera.

Outside, Nick consoles Vincent and takes his clothes as evidence. Owen's wife, Sheila, arrives and breaks down when told that her husband is one of the victims. Meanwhile, Ecklie is recovering from being shot and has been discharged from the hospital. Morgan gets a call that everyone is needed at the diner, while Finn told Russell that everything was under control.

Russell grabs his kit and meets Finn at the diner. She's released every body from the scene, but is stumped by the placement of three bodies in and near the corner booth. A man is lying on the ground; however, blood on his chin indicates he was upright when he was shot. Another man is sitting in the booth; he has no exit wound in his back, but his back is all bloody. The third victim in question, a bus driver named Connie, has been shot in her right side, which is out of place with where she's sitting. Finn concludes that someone moved all three bodies after they were shot.

Greg looks at the security camera from the freezer, seeing that Vincent was trapped in there for seven minutes before he was found. Down in autopsy, David Phillips prepares to process Edie's body, but is interrupted by Ronald. The stone-faced stalker tells Doc Robbins that he and Edie were going to be married, and he pulls a wedding ring out of his pocket. David has run off to get Sara, who comes back with a uniformed officer in tow. Ronald is arrested, and Sara sees that his boots match the bloody impression from the scene.

Sara and Brass interrogate Ronald, who admits to "observing" Edie from across the street. He knew the officers would harass him, so he took a walk around the block. When he returned, he sensed something was wrong. He entered the diner, saw Edie's body, and stepped in her blood. Ronald doesn't know who the shooter is and he refuses to give up his DNA, citing it will be difficult to get a court order to do so due to the recent corruption in the LVPD.

The victims who were moved after they were shot are identified as Connie (the bus driver), Robert Rios from Arizona and Alex Brenner, who has a local address. When David Phillips runs Alex's prints, they come back as "access blocked." A Deputy U.S. Marshal tells Brass that Alex was in Witness Protection, having recently testified against some really bad people. She believes that the "bad people" are the kind who would sacrifice seven innocent people just to get the one they want.

Figuring that Ronald isn't a first-time offender, Sara goes through records trying to find if he stalked anyone else. With Greg's help, they find that Ronald was the plaintiff in a lawsuit where he sued for damages after some guy attacked him. Sara assumes that the attacker was the husband or boyfriend of the woman Ronald was stalking. The judge sided with Ronald and awarded him $200,000. Furthermore, Ronald shot the guy in self-defense, which contradicts his earlier statement in which he told Sara and Brass that he doesn't own a gun.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Finn and Nick that he found talc granulomas in Alex Brenner's lungs. The guess is that Alex spent a lot of time in a drug environment, where heroin and cocaine are cut with talc. Alex's stomach contents show that he was eating waffles, which places him the corner booth where Robert Rios was found. Curiously, Robert's stomach contents contain pizza, something Frank's Diner doesn't serve.

Fibers are found in Alex's upper trachea and esophagus. The fibers are consistent with polar fleece, and Hodges guesses that Alex was wearing a mask. Combined with his belt testing positive for lead, Nick believes Alex walked into the diner with a gun in his waist—he was the shooter, not a victim.

The question now is: if Robert is the shooter, who shot Robert? The thought is that Robert was hired by the people who wanted to take out Alex. After the deed was done, a cleaner came in and took care of him. In the diner, Morgan runs ballistics on all 15 rounds fired and finds that two of them were fired from a second gun. Two of the shots missed their target, hitting a can of olive oil. Russell determines that the shots came from the corner booth where Alex was sitting. This isn't much of a surprise; Alex, in Witness Protection and fearing for his life, was probably carrying a gun.

Finn, Russell and Sara recreate what they believe to be the chain of events. Robert Rios entered the diner with a gun and fought with Owen DeMarcus, shooting his finger off in the process. After killing Owen, Robert then shot the patron who was at the counter. Edie, the waitress, was next, getting shot once in the abdomen. An elderly couple was then killed, and Connie, the bus driver, was shot as she tried to run out the back door. Alex Brenner, seeing the gunman coming towards him, whipped out his gun and fired—only he missed and hit the can of olive oil. Robert then shot Alex, who was his final victim. Finn theorizes that the cleaner came in through the back door and shot Robert. He then saw Edie, who was still alive, crawl out from behind the counter. Edie was finished off with a shot to the head.

It seems Alex was the target, but Sara notes that they haven't accounted for Ronald, who admits to coming into the diner afterwards. Sara believes that Ronald killed Edie in response to getting rebuffed by her frequently. Nick calls Russell; someone involved in the case has been writing Robert checks for substantial amounts—his ex-girlfriend (and Owen's wife), Sheila.

In interrogation, Sheila tells Brass that she was helping Robert out because he had a gambling problem. She insists that there was nothing romantic going on between them and that her marriage to Owen was rock solid. Vincent tells Nick the same thing, adding that Owen and Sheila fighting about money was one of the things that attracted them to each other. Owen didn't need the money, either, as Vincent mentions that he and his brother were planning on putting a Frank's Diner in the Mediterranean casino—in other words, they were about to be rich.

Shots are fired in the same location as the diner, and Nick heads to the scene again. He's told that it's a false alarm; a gun accidentally discharged and hit a newspaper delivery guy in the leg. The gun, a 9mm, fell out of a stack of day-old papers. When the newspaper delivery guy picked the gun up, it discharged. Nick knows there were two guns and searches the truck for the other, eventually finding it wedged between another stack of papers.

Both guns have been wiped clean, as have their shell casings. However, there are fingerprints on the newspapers. Nick and Sara theorize that the shooter hid the guns in the newspaper machine knowing that nobody would buy the papers because it was too late in the day. When the fingerprints from the newspapers are run, they come back to an obvious suspect—Ronald Basderic.

Ronald is interrogated again. He denies knowing Robert, and is more fixated on having Brass smooth out the newspaper in the evidence bag. After calming down, Ronald says that the newspaper machine is on public property, which means he can legally stand there and watch Edie. Russell, watching from behind the glass, calls Sara and Brass into the hallway. His belief is that Ronald grabbed a newspaper from the middle of the stack the day before (as the top one would be too wrinkled), which would explain how his fingerprints were found.

Back at the scene, Finn tells Nick that the newspaper machine has been jammed with something, ensuring nobody else would buy a newspaper. Nick pulls a foreign coin out of the slot and quickly comes to a painful conclusion—Vincent kept foreign coins in a bowl by the front door of his diner, and this is his doing.

In interrogation, Nick shows Vincent two photos: one before he entered the freezer and one after he was rescued. The strands on the aprons are different colors, and Nick knows Vincent switched them to hide evidence. The bloodied apron was eventually found buried in the back room. But why would Vincent, a lifer at the diner, do something like this? Nick's belief is that Vincent's brother, Owen, is the reason for the massacre. The brothers were going to strike it rich when they worked a deal with the Mediterranean casino; however, Owen nixed the idea without a discussion as to why.

Vincent admits that he hired Robert to do a fake robbery. Knowing that Owen would fight back, the plan was for Robert to shoot him, then quickly leave. However, Owen pulled Robert's mask off in the process. Now exposed, Robert shot every person who saw his face. When he came back from the freezer and saw what had happened, Vincent picked up Alex's gun and shot Robert. In an effort to cover his tracks, he then moved the bodies around and tried to make Robert look like a customer. Unfortunately, Edie saw everything that just happened. With tears in his eyes, he pointed his gun at Edie's head and fired, silencing his final witness.

Sara watches Nick walk by with Vincent now in handcuffs. Standing nearby, Ronald tells Sara that she was wrong about him. "I didn't hurt her. I couldn't. I loved her," he says. Sara corrects him, letting him know that his "love" terrorized Edie to the point where she couldn't sleep and was too afraid to walk home from work by herself. Furthermore, Edie was supposed to be off work at the time the shootings occurred. However, because she was too afraid to walk home, she worked late. "It's because of you that she stayed, and now she's dead," Sara angrily tells Ronald before walking away.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • Ecklie is released from the hospital after being shot, while Russell's daughter and granddaughter have moved to Seattle. Both of these occurrences are fallout from the episodes Homecoming and Karma to Burn.
  • Frank's Diner is a frequent hangout for the CSI graveyard shift. During another notable visit in Season Six, Nick's SUV was stolen from the parking lot with crime scene evidence inside (Rashomama).
  • Ronald Basderic also appears later in the season in the episode Forget Me Not.


See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 13
Karma to BurnCode Blue Plate SpecialWild FlowersIt Was a Very Good YearPlay DeadPick and RollFallen AngelsCSI on FireStrip MaulRisky Business ClassDead AirDouble FaultIn Vino VeritasExileForget Me NotLast Woman StandingDead of the ClassShelteredBackfireFearlessGhosts of the PastSkin in the Game