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Dog Eat Dog
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Season 6
Number 9
Writer Allen MacDonald,
Dustin Lee Abraham
Director Duane Clark
Original Airdate November 24, 2005
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Previous Episode: A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2
Next Episode: Still Life

Dog Eat Dog is the ninth episode in season six of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a man is found dead in a dumpster having literally eaten himself to death, the CSIs retrace his steps to find out how it could have happened. Meanwhile, a divorcing couple are found dead together on the floor of their house, where their dog becomes the first suspect.

Plot

Victim: Jerry Gable (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Greg Sanders, Jim Brass

A man is found dead in a dumpster outside of a restaurant. Though a lot of homeless frequent the area, the man is dressed well enough that Grissom believes he has a home. Initially thought to be blood, a red substance near the victim's mouth turns out to be cranberry sauce.

David Phillips puts the time of death at two hours before. Catherine finds a silver metallic substance on the victim's cheek, as well as a mark across his forehead. She guesses that he may have been thrown into the dumpster. A white clump in one of the victim's fists turns out to be mashed potatoes. Grissom notices that the victim has very short fingernails on both hands, leaving Catherine to wonder if he lost them trying to claw his way out of the dumpster. There is scarring on one of the victim's wrists, but not the other. David pulls a napkin from the victim's pocket that is from Aunt Jackpot's Pretzels, leading Catherine to remark how good their pretzels are.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Catherine that human stomachs have the ability to expand and hold up to four liters. However, the victim's stomach had six liters in it. The cause of death is labeled as asphyxia due to mechanical compression of the lungs due to gastric dilation - his stomach expanded, leaving no room for the organs to do their job. Doc Robbins adds that the victim's fingernails were chewed down, not pulled off. There are also no signs that the victim was force-fed as a torture device. The doc's guess is that the victim ate himself to death.

Catherine visits the pretzel stand and talks to the vendor. He recognizes the victim from his autopsy photo and recalls him cutting people in line and taking a pretzel, leaving his wallet behind. Catherine opens the wallet to find a picture of the victim with two other people along with a business card for Digger James, a promoter for the Extreme Eating Federation. She calls the number on the business card, but hangs up when it reaches voicemail.

Hodges gets the unpleasant task of separating all of the foods found inside the victim's stomach. He separates them into cake, macaroni and cheese, pretzels, pasta, beef, shrimp, fish and hot dogs. Most of the food is unchewed and, because it takes the stomach two to four hours to digest food, it's determined that the victim ate all of this two to four hours before he died. Hodges also labeled one of the containers as "weird," and has separated out a crumpled up piece of paper. When Grissom examines the paper, he finds that it's a advertisement for the Circus Town Buffet. Hodges adds that the silvery substance on the victim's forehead was theatrical makeup.

Catherine and Brass speak to the manager of the buffet, who recognizes the victim from his photo. She tells them that the victim was taking "all you can eat" to the extreme, eating food off of his plate before going to sit down. The manager called security to come escort the victim out, but he was gone by the time they arrived. She confirms that the victim paid in cash, meaning he still had his wallet on him at the time.

Greg buys every brand of hot dog in town in an effort to identify the brand that was in the victim's stomach. This proves successful; upon identifying the brand, he sees an advertisement on the package for a hot dog eating contest. Catherine and Brass visit the competition. There, they notice that the contest's announcer is wearing an "EXEF" hat, which is the same name that was on the business card in the victim's wallet. It seems they have found Digger James. Catherine also sees that one of the competitors is wearing silver paint on his face.

Brass speaks to Digger, who identifies the victim as Jerry Gable. Jerry had finished third in the hot dog eating contest the day before, which qualified him for the eating federation's finals and got him his picture in the newspaper. Digger says that after the contest, he gave Jerry his business card and left him to celebrate. Meanwhile, Catherine talks to Marty Mayron, the competitor in the silver face paint. She takes a sample of the paint for comparison in the lab. Marty tells her that he was mad that he lost to Jerry, but then realized how disturbed Jerry was. A flashback shows Jerry desperately searching the grounds for more hot dogs; he bumped into Marty, which could explain the paint transfer. Marty tells Catherine that someone came by to pick Jerry up and he identifies the person in the photo that was in Jerry's wallet.

Grissom goes through his medical textbooks and concludes that Jerry had Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that causes never-ending, uncontrollable hunger. Sufferers are born with a flawed hypothalamus, where the brain doesn't recognize the signal from the stomach that it's full. Grissom tells Catherine that people with this syndrome must be monitored twenty-four hours a day and guesses that the scarring on Jerry's wrist was from him being tied down. Jerry could have escaped, but If someone set Jerry free, he says, then they are responsible for his death.

Brass is able to track down Jerry's residence, an apartment rented under his sister Suzy's name. Inside, they meet Susan's boyfriend, who is the other man from the picture in Jerry's wallet. He admits that he felt bad for Jerry and agreed to take him to the Circus Town Buffet while he went to the sportsbook. While there, he saw an advertisement for the hot dog eating contest and entered Jerry into it in order to make money off of him. He claims that on the way home, a still hungry Jerry left the car and ran down the street.

Catherine talks to Suzy, who is in the hospital getting ready for surgery. She tells Catherine that she couldn't afford professional help for Jerry and that there were no family members that could help her take care of him. Catherine shows her the picture of Jerry in the newspaper from the hot dog eating contest and she tearfully says that Jerry probably had the time of his life.

Victims: Michael Tinsley (deceased), Lori Tinsley (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle

Nick and Sara are called to investigate the deaths of homeowners Michael and Lori Tinsley. They notice a beat-up car in the driveway, which seems out of place in the affluent neighborhood. Inside, they find the bodies in the living room - Lori's throat appears to have been cut by something jagged, while Michael has an abrasion on his forehead, but no visible blood. Lori also has a substance under her fingernails. There are blonde hairs on both victims, even though they are both brunettes. Nothing of value appears to be missing, which rules out robbery. Sara notices a cabinet with a bunch of vinyl records in it; the door is slightly ajar. Inside the cabinet, she finds evidence that a bunch of records were recently removed. Nick follows the blood trail into the kitchen; when he reaches the back door, he finds that its strike is loose, which would allow an intruder easy access. He steps outside and sees that the bloodstains stop at the grass; water from the sprinkler has washed away the rest of the evidence. Sara finds a dog bowl with a significant amount of blood on it. Just then, they hear a noise from down the hall. With guns drawn, they push open the door at the end of the hall and find the dog laying in his kennel. The dog's muzzle is covered in dried blood, as are its paws.

The dog, named Kahlua, is brought into the lab for processing. Tech Jesse Menken tells Nick that Kahlua shows no signs of having rabies, but will still need to be quarantined for ten days. She says that prior abuse could have sparked the attack or it could be "springer rage," a form of epilepsy associated with several breeds including springers and retrievers. The dog will back its owner into a corner ready to attack, then be completely docile a few minutes later. They prep Kahlua in order to take bite impressions.

The owner of the car in the driveway, Missy Halter, is brought to the station for questioning. She tells Sara that she lent her car to Michael because his was in the shop. Missy reveals that she is Michael's girlfriend and that Michael and Lori were separated and in the midst of a divorce. Sara tells her that her fingerprints were found inside the record cabinet, and Missy says that Michael gave her the keys to the house, the alarm code and a list of vinyl records for her to take. Michael told her he couldn't live without the albums and didn't want Lori to take them in the divorce. Missy is surprised when told that both Michael and Lori are dead.

It is confirmed that all of the blood in the house belonged to Lori. Sofia learned from the divorce lawyers that Michael and Lori were fighting over everything; when Lori found out that Michael was stealing his stuff back, she changed the locks and had the alarm codes changed. In the DNA lab, a stressed out Hodges tells Nick and Sara that he hasn't been able to process a lot of their evidence yet. He does tell them, however, that the hairs found on both Michael and Lori were consistent with a golden retriever, and he gets even more frustrated when told that the Tinsleys owned such a breed, saying that knowing so would have saved him a lot of time.

In autopsy, David Phillips processes the bodies and finds something in Michael's brain during an x-ray. When Doc Robbins opens Michael up, he finds a .22 caliber bullet lodged in his brain. No blood was found at the scene because the bleeding was intracranial. Sara is surprised by this revelation and says that they didn't look for gun shot residue at the scene. Doc Robbins shows her and Nick that the bullet's entry wound is through one of Michael's nostrils. She guesses that Michael broke into his own house, tripping the alarm. Thinking he was a robber, Lori shot him, which provoked the dog attack. Nick wonders where the gun is if the Tinsleys died alone at home.

Sara goes back to the house to look for the gun. She finds a scratch mark on the floor in the living room, and finds the gun underneath the couch. Meanwhile, in the lab, Nick finds that the teeth marks in Lori's neck are inconsistent with Kahlua's teeth. He concludes that, based on the hair on both victims, a golden retriever did attack Lori, but it wasn't Kahlua. The dental impression from Lori's neck indicates that the dog they are looking for has a chipped tooth.

Nick learns from Hodges that the substance under Lori's fingernails was bacon grease. He relays this information to Sara, who tells him that the Tinsleys were fighting over custody of Kahlua and, according to Missy Halter, the dog chose Lori. Nick figures out that Lori smeared her hands in bacon grease before the "showdown" in order to entice Kahlua to come to her. They wonder if Michael knew if Lori was playing dirty.

Nick gets a call from Jesse Menken; a golden retriever was picked up in the park and brought to the lab. The tags on the dog also say Kahlua, and they find out that this dog was adopted by Michael on the same day as the murder. Nick observes that this dog has a chipped tooth. Jesse leads the docile dog to a kennel and has a tech fire a gun; the noise from the gunshot sends the dog into a rage. When asked about the dog's behavior, Jesse said it was likely the replacement dog had been abused in the past. She also mentions that if the shelter knew about the dog's aggression, they wouldn't put her up for adoption. Nick and Sara guess that Michael broke into the house attempting to switch the two dogs in order to take the real Kahlua home with him, but Lori caught him. When Lori fired the gun, the replacement dog went ballistic and attacked her, leaving the house via the back door soon afterwards. Once the commotion was over, Kahlua came out of hiding, sniffed around the bodies and went back into hiding when the police arrived.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Louise Lombard as Sofia Curtis
  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Hal Sparks as Digger James
  • Joel David Moore as Guy in the Blue Hat
  • Jessica Collins as Missy
  • Angela Goethals as Suzy Gable
  • Bill Chott as Jerry Gable
  • Bailey Chase as Marty 'The Meat Machine' Mayron
  • Doan Ly as Jessie Menken
  • Terrell J. Ramsey as Pretzel Vendor
  • Daphne Ashbrook as Buffet Manager
  • Paul Trickey as Lori Tinsley

Music

  • Big Weenie by Eminem
  • I Want it All by Depeche Mode
  • Hung Up by Madonna
  • My Name Is by Eminem
  • Baby's Got a Temper by Prodigy

Quotes

Catherine: Do you think we may be able to ID the hotdogs through the ingredients?
Hodges: No. Believe it or not most hotdog companies are very proprietary over their recipes.
Catherine: How about though griddle marks?
Hodges: Oh, yeah, I'll run it through the hot dog appliances database.

Goofs

  • The "Aunt Jackpot's Pretzels" napkin has the logo superimposed on a blank napkin. The logo seamlessly covers the bottom part of the stack of napkins where several napkin layers overlap. The logo is also very bright and reflective.

Notes

  • While Hodges is sorting out the stomach contents he labels all the containers with the different types of food: one says "mac & cheese" another "bacon"; etc. And on the last container, the one with the newspaper ad for the buffet (which the victim had swallowed), there's a label that says "WEIRD."
  • During this episode, when they "fade to black" for the commercial breaks, the first time you hear a chomping sound and the second time a cat growling.
  • The Prader-Willi syndrome's characteristics are hypotonia, hypogonadism, hyperphagia, cognitive impairment and difficult behaviors.
  • In this episode, we learn that Brass is cleared by the review board for the shooting of Officer Bell, which occurred in the previous episode A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2.
  • Hodges can't stand the smell of hot dogs, especially hot dog breath.
  • This is the last episode where Nick has his mustache.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 6
Bodies in MotionRoom ServiceBite MeShooting StarsGum DropsSecrets and FliesA Bullet Runs Through It, Part 1A Bullet Runs Through It, Part 2Dog Eat DogStill LifeWerewolvesDaddy's Little GirlKiss-Kiss, Bye-ByeKillerPirates of the Third ReichUp in SmokeI Like to WatchThe Unusual SuspectSpellboundPoppin' TagsRashomamaTime of your DeathBang-BangWay to Go
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