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Dead In His Tracks
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Season 14
Number 22
Writer Andrew Dettman
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate May 7, 2014
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Dead In His Tracks is the twenty-second episode and season fourteen finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The CSIs investigate a present-day crime with ties to a mob heist that occurred 25 years ago. Meanwhile, Brass has a decision to make when his daughter attempts suicide.

Plot

Victim: Roger Mathers (deceased)

On the case: entire team

In 1989, three young boys walk along some railroad tracks in the desert. They come across a shoddy-looking shack and see that the door is slightly ajar. When they walk up, they see what looks to be blood on the door. Inside lies the body of a man in his 30s who appears to have been shot. The boys stumble across a bag full of money and are alarmed when the "dead" body starts to cough. They soon have a gun pointed at them.

Twenty-five years later, the body of Roger Mathers is found alongside the same railroad tracks in the town of Ellis Springs; he's been shot once in the chest from a close range. Evidence suggests that Roger, a Texas resident, was hiking through the desert before meeting his grisly end. Nick is introduced to Ellis Springs' Sheriff Combs, who says that Roger was born and raised in Vegas. He tells the story that 25 years ago, Roger and two of his friends ran across an armed robbery, which resulted in one of the kids being killed. Legend has it that the money from the robbery was never recovered, and that people frequent the area trying to find their payday. This could be why Roger was back in town.

Gasoline receipts indicate that Roger drove straight through from Texas, so he was definitely in a hurry. At the scene, Sara finds a piece of a photo that appears to be an aerial view of the area. A call into Roger's company reveals that he was in financial trouble, which could be why he was in such a hurry to find the missing money. Fingerprints on the photo all belong to Roger, except for one partial print with a tented arch. Cell phone records show that Roger made five calls on his way back to Vegas and that all of them were to Tyson Briggs, one of the other boys from 25 years ago.

Nick talks with Tyson, who confirms that Roger was back in town looking for the money. Tyson is upset that Roger's sole focus was the money, as he never brought up Scotty Gates, the third member of the group who was killed in 1989. He recalls walking into the shack and being held at gunpoint by the wounded robber. The robber soon succumbed to his injuries, but a gunshot he fired alerted his brother, who was coming back to render aid. When the guy realized his brother was dead, he forced Scotty to grab the money and leave with him. After they left, the two other boys ran back into town to get the sheriff, but they were too late. Scotty was never seen alive again.

Finn and Greg pull all the files from the original case. The suspects involved, brothers Paul and Ben O'Malley, robbed a house owned by mob boss Michael Scarno. They made off with $100,000 in cash and some valuables; however, Ben was shot in the process. The haul seems light, but Greg mentions that Michael was an art-theft guy who had acquired a 2,000-year-old sculpture of a Persian-stone lion. There were only two sculptures made, and the other one recently sold at auction for $10 million.

Finn recaps the fates of the three boys, saying that Scotty was taken when Paul O'Malley tried to make a getaway. Paul was apprehended two hours later near Hoover Dam. By then, however, both the money and Scotty were gone, and the assumption is that his body ended up at the bottom of Lake Mead. Paul, meanwhile, was found dead in his jail cell the following morning, so police weren't able to follow up on the case.

Russell believes the story to be sketchy and wonders if there's small-town corruption afoot. Finn goes through the remains of Scotty's personal effects: a baseball cap and a pair of eyeglasses. Upon examining the eyeglasses, she finds a partial fingerprint that appears to have a tented arch. It's a match to the print on the photo at the scene and, when the two partials are combined, the system matches it to Sam Bishop, a deputy in Ellis Springs under Sheriff Combs back in 1989. Curiously, he left the department two weeks after the incident with Scotty and the heist.

Greg, Nick and Officer Akers take a trip to Sam's house and find him inside. When confronted by the police, Sam knows it's about Scotty's murder and says that he's been waiting for 25 years for them to come. However, he and his daughter, Karen, are surprised when he's placed under arrest. The CSIs search the basement, finding a case file that contains photos of the three boys along with a rabbit's foot that still has an evidence tag on it. In fact, Sam has several old case files in the basement.

Russell questions Sam, realizing that the former deputy is actually a criminalist. Sam's work files indicates that he was fired in 1989 for insubordination; however, he claims that he was fired because he found evidence that was "inconvenient" for Sheriff Combs. He has two theories: either the sheriff just wanted to close the case, or he was dirty and in on the heist. Back then, the O'Malley brothers were getting arrested frequently. Several times, Sheriff Combs had the two serve their time by working on his house. In other words, the sheriff knew them well enough that he could've hired them to pull off the robbery.

Ecklie tells Finn to tread carefully, as Sheriff Combs has over 30 years of service under his belt. There's also no definitive proof that the sheriff was in on the robbery and murder. Finn theorizes that Roger came back because he knew about Sheriff Combs and tried to blackmail him. This would give the sheriff motive for murder.

Nick and Sara go through Sam's evidence box and find aerial photos similar to the torn one discovered with Roger's body. However, none of the photos have a tear on them, which means Roger had the only copy. This would explain why Sam's fingerprint was on the photo - it was one of his photos. When questioned by Russell, Sam claims that he has no idea how Roger got possession of the photo, saying that they've all been sitting in the same evidence box for 25 years. Sam adds that he was looking for Scotty's body, but Russell reveals that he was on Michael Scarno's payroll. After he had been fired by Sheriff Combs, Sam was paid by Michael to take the photos in an effort to find the missing statue. Sam cops to being paid by the mob boss, but says that his sole focus was to find Scotty.

Morgan and Hodges obtain the negatives of the photos Sam took, eventually finding the ripped photo in question. Upon analyzing it, they spot an irregular pattern in the ground that looks like dirt had been turned over. Greg and Sara head out to the current location and find evidence that someone was there recently; the person even left their shovel behind. There's an impression in the dirt that looks like it could've been made by the statue in question, and a cast pulled from the hole matches the approximate size and shape of the statue. The CSIs also find an old sneaker and a bone fragment; it would appear that they've located Scotty's grave. Sheriff Combs soon arrives at the scene, and he tells Sara that the discovery of Scotty's body means that this is his case. However, Sara informs him that they're still working Roger's murder and that everything they recover is going back to the Vegas lab.

Dental records identify the skeleton as Scotty Gates. There's a jagged, circular impact on the skull that could be the cause of death, and Sam believes Scotty could've been killed with the lion statue. If so, the killer wasn't burying treasure, they were burying the murder weapon.

Henry is unable to isolate DNA off the shovel found at the gravesite; however, Hodges finds a unique lotion on the shovel's handle. He notes that only one vendor sells a lotion with the precise mineral proportions, and it's only offered online. One of the local customers who purchased said lotion is Karen Bishop.

Under interrogation, Karen tells Nick that she and Roger were out in the desert looking for the lion statue, and that she had no idea it was also Scotty's grave. She explains that she caught Roger sneaking into her father's workshop two nights ago, desperate to get his hands on the aerial photos. Roger told her about the statue and its value, and the two decided to go out to the desert and find it. When they reached the supposed site, they discovered that someone had already dug up the statue. Roger broke down in tears and told Karen to leave, and she dropped the shovel before doing so. She adds that she and Roger had been friends since childhood and that she would never kill him.

Using replicas of the skull and statue that Sam created in his workshop, the CSIs duplicate the blow that killed Scotty. The goal is to prove that the killer had a height and build consistent with Sheriff Combs. However, upon recreating the exact event, they find that the killer was barely five feet tall and was left-handed. There's one kid from 1989 that fits that description - Tyson Briggs.

A flashback to 1989 shows the boys coming across the body of Ben O'Malley. After Ben succumbed to his injuries, Tyson told his two friends to grab the bag of money on the ground. When Scotty refused, Tyson shoved him to the ground, breaking his glasses. Scotty steadfastly refused to keep the money, telling his friends that they needed to inform the cops. After the boys got into an argument, Tyson grabbed the statue and clocked Scotty in the back of the head. In the present, Tyson tells Nick that the blow to the head didn't kill Scotty. The boys were also not alone that day.

As the flashback continues, Karen Bishop ran up and told the boys that someone was following them. While Scotty laid on the ground bleeding and in pain from the blow, they watched Paul O'Malley arrive at the shack. He soon found his brother dead and the money missing. The boys and Karen hid behind a nearby car, with Karen putting her hand over Scotty's mouth to keep him quiet. However, by doing so, she smothered him to death.

In the present, Karen confirms what she did, telling Nick that if she didn't, all four of them would have died that day. She, Roger and Tyson buried Scotty with the lion statue and took the money back to Roger's house. They hid the money under the front porch; however, a few months later, the house caught fire and burned down, taking the money with it. Scotty died for nothing.

Nick believes that Karen has been lying to the cops the whole time, theorizing that she and Roger found the lion statue the other night. However, when they got back to the car, something went awry. A flashback shows Roger informing Karen that he wasn't planning on splitting the statue's profits 50/50. He claims that Karen didn't even know the statue was worth anything, but she retorts that he needed her father's photos to find it. Betrayed, Karen pulled out her gun and shot Roger when he egged her on. It's a solid theory, but there's no evidence to back up the story.

There isn't enough evidence to pin Scotty's murder on Karen, so the focus has to be on Roger's murder. Just then, Sam arrives at the police station with a box. He explains that when she was a teenager, his daughter used to have a hiding place by the nearby creek. Upon searching the same spot, Sam found the box - which contains a 9mm handgun and the lion statue. Both items can be traced back to Karen, and her father has given the police the evidence needed to send her to prison.

---

Meanwhile, Brass gets a call that his daughter Ellie is in the hospital following an overdose of medication in prison. She was back in Vegas to attend a preliminary hearing, in which she was going to testify that her father was responsible for her becoming a killer. Brass grapples with his feelings while Ellie fights to survive, and they speak for a long time after she wakes up. Brass is unwilling to lose the only person he has left, and he vows to support Ellie moving forward.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Marc Vann as Conrad Ecklie
  • Teal Redmann as Ellie Brass
  • Larry Sullivan as Officer Akers
  • Zeus Mendoza as Roger Mathers
  • Kiko Ellsworth as Tyson Briggs
  • Donald Bowen as Young Roger Mathers
  • Nathaniel James Potvin as Young Tyson Briggs
  • Justin Ellings as Young Scotty Gates
  • Treat Williams as Sam Bishop
  • Derek Magyar as Paul O’Malley
  • Jonathan Cahill as Ben O’Malley
  • Gina Holden as Karen Bishop
  • Grainger Hines as Sheriff Combs
  • Assaf Cohen as Doctor Lownis
  • Chiara Aurelia as Young Karen Bishop

Quotes

David Hodges: I think I discovered the secret about the most beautiful woman in history!
Henry Andrews: Kate Upton?
David Hodges: In history, Henry! I was talking about Cleopatra
Henry Andrews: Oh, fascinating but I am busy.

Goofs

  • Some of the $100 bills from the 1989 heist were from the series printed from 1996 - 2003.
  • Roger Mathers was 12 years old in 1989, which would make his birth year 1977. When he's found dead 25 later in present day, the CSIs look at his driver's license for identification. The driver's license shows his birth year as 1967. He couldn't be born in 1967 if he was only 12 years old in 1989.
  • The murdered boy's name is Scotty Gates. However, a newspaper article about the crime and photo of the boy beside the article shows his name as Scotty Pope.
  • When Karen is smothering Scotty, she is only covering his mouth, and at least one of his nostrils is exposed. He would still be able to breathe and would not have died from suffocation.

Notes

  • This is Paul Guilfoyle's last appearance as Jim Brass until Immortality in 2015. He was not part of the main cast in season 15.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 14
The Devil and D.B. RussellTake the Money and RunTorch SongLast SupperFrame by FramePassed PawnsUnder a CloudHelplessCheck In and Check OutGirls Gone WildLost ReindeerKeep Calm and Carry OnBoston BrakesDe Los MuertosLove for SaleKiller MovesLong Road HomeUninvitedThe FallenConsumedKittyDead In His Tracks


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