Double Fault
Season 13
Number 12
Writer Melissa R. Byer,
Treena Hancock
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate January 23, 2013
Previous Episode: Dead Air
Next Episode: In Vino Veritas

Double Fault is the twelfth episode in Season Thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


The CSIs need to ace the case involving a rising tennis star. Meanwhile, the team is surprised to hear Hodges is engaged to an Italian bombshell named Elisabetta.


Victim: Claudia Weber (deceased)

On the case: D.B. Russell, Greg Sanders, Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

Claudia Weber and Tara Janssen are battling in a tight, well-played tennis match. The two players are friends off the court, as well as doubles partners on the court. As her husband, Ivan, and her father look on, Claudia pulls off the upset and wins the match. The two players congratulate each other at center court, with Claudia coming away somewhat shaken. The following morning, Claudia's bloodied body is found stuffed in a ball machine. Medium-force blood spatter on the court indicates she was killed there.

David Phillips puts the time of death at less than six hours ago. There's serious blunt force trauma to the head, and Doc Robbins spots a stab wound in Claudia's throat. Finn observes blood spatter on one of the shoes; however, she also thinks it could be clay from the court. The original thought is whether Claudia ran afoul of an obsessed fan.

Ivan tells Nick that he last saw his wife after her match and subsequent press conference. Claudia had booked a hotel room across the street and stayed late on the court to hit more balls, all part of a routine to clear her head. Anybody who knew about Claudia's habits could be her killer.

Scuff marks on the court indicate Claudia struggled with her killer. One of the blood drops has a blade of grass and some gravel in it, possible transfer from the killer's shoes. Greg follows a separate blood trail to a nearby garbage can, but finds that the can is empty.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins observes Claudia's past injuries, the perils of being a professional athlete. Brown discoloration on her brain indicates a past injury to the head, but the doc can't pinpoint when the injury occurred. Claudia has sustained three depressed skull fractures that left one-inch wide rectangular impressions, but her cause of death is a vertical fracture in the throat that led to her choking on her own blood. The margins of the wound are jagged and the puncture is less than an inch deep. Doc Robbins can't determine the murder weapon as of yet.

A janitor at the tennis center leads Greg and Nick to the dumpsters, where they find a broken, bloodied tennis racket. The CSIs theorize that the killer beat Claudia with the racket until it snapped in half; they then jabbed a jagged part of the racket into Claudia's neck. Blood on the frame of the racket and DNA on the handle both come back to Claudia. However, there's also a minor contributor of touch DNA on the handle—it comes back to Tara Janssen, Claudia's opponent.

Tara tells Brass that she and Claudia were like sisters and she would never hurt her. When asked about her DNA on Claudia's racket, Tara explains that she and Claudia use the same type of racket and would sometimes confuse the two. The prize money for the tournament champion is $500,000, but Tara claims to not need the money thanks to her many endorsement deals. Brass notes that Tara is getting "old" for a tennis player and may have been concerned about a younger player like Claudia getting in the way of her legacy. Tara replies that she was happy for Claudia and lost graciously, but Brass shows a video of her losing her temper during a match a month ago and breaking her racket. When asked where she was around the time of Claudia's murder, Tara replies that she had a late dinner with tennis legend Chris Evert, went home, and went to bed.

Chris tells Finn that she's been spending time with Tara in an effort to help her with her anger issues. She confirms that the two had dinner after the match, and Chris dropped her off at her condo a little before midnight. Chris goes on to say that Claudia had an issue with her coach (and husband), Ivan. Claudia had thought about firing Ivan as her coach and replacing him with Chris.

Traces of chewing tobacco are found in the clay, and it's the same trace from Claudia's shoes. The DNA comes back to Ivan, who admits that he went to the practice court that night to talk to his wife. The two had an argument regarding Claudia's wishes to fire him as her coach in order to potentially save their marriage. Ivan adds that he and Claudia had been having marital problems for about a year. The last month was the toughest, as she would have nightmares and call out the name of a guy named "Brent." There's nobody by that name on tour, and Claudia wouldn't talk about it when Ivan asked her. Ivan dismisses the notion that his wife was having an affair.

Items found in Claudia's gym bags taken from her locker include fast food receipts, a stuffed animal—and a vial of LSD. Claudia's tox results came back negative, and Greg notes that LSD only stays in the system for half an hour. The drug also recreational, not a performance enhancer. A fingerprint recovered from the vial comes back to Darcy Shaw, who has priors for felony drug distribution.

Under interrogation, Darcy insists that she's a doctor, not a drug dealer. She's actually a hypnotherapist who was treating Claudia; the LSD was administered as a way of connecting the mind with the soul. Darcy explains that Claudia was having nightmares about a traumatic experience that happened to her when she was four years old. The thought is that someone viciously attacked Claudia and her mother. Claudia remembered parts of the incident, but couldn't piece everything together. Darcy reveals that she videotaped her sessions and submits them as evidence.

Finn and Russell watch Darcy's last session with Claudia. In it, Claudia goes back to when she was four years old. She was camping in the woods and sitting in a tent by herself when she heard someone violently attack her mother. The attacker then walked over to Claudia's tent, unzipped it, and told Claudia to stay put. When the attacker left, Claudia yelled out the name "Brent." She would soon leave the tent and subsequently get hit in the head with a shovel. Russell is skeptical, but Finn points out that Claudia's autopsy report shows an old brain injury right where she would've gotten hit. The fact that Claudia started having nightmares about someone trying to kill her, then getting killed a month later can't be a coincidence. Finn believes that whoever tried to kill Claudia earlier came back and finished the job.

Finn talks to Claudia's father, Simon, and asks him about the camping trip. Simon admits that he's not Claudia's biological father; when Claudia was four years old, he and his wife found her bleeding and lying unconscious on the side of the road near Mount Charleston. Police searched the area, but Claudia's family was never found. Claudia never remembered anything from that night; she was only identified because her name was on her jacket. Simon and his wife figured Claudia was abandoned and they adopted her as one of their own.

Finn retrieves pictures taken at the hospital the day Claudia was found; she suffered from severe head trauma, dehydration, and multiple cuts and abrasions. The head injury and the emotional trauma would explain why she could never remember the night's events. It's also possible the name "Brent" could be a male relative. Russell notices that Claudia was holding a stuffed animal in the pictures—the same stuffed animal found in her gym bag. If she had the toy when she was attacked, there could still be evidence on it.

Traces of Claudia's blood are found on the stuffed animal, and the lack of solubility suggests the sample is very old. She definitely had the toy when she was attacked. Because Claudia's mother never came looking for her, it's assumed she and "Brent" never made it out of the woods alive. Sulfur is also mixed in with the blood sample; when factoring in where Simon and his wife found Claudia, Greg and Nick narrow down where to search. With some help, the CSIs eventually find a male and female skeleton buried on the mountain.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins determines that the murder weapon could've been a shovel, just like Claudia remembered. The injuries to the male victim include multiple depressed skull fractures and a fracture at the base of the skull; he was nearly decapitated. DNA results identify the victims as Claudia's biological parents, Karen and Martin Abbott.

Finn does some digging and discovers that the Abbotts had a son named Brent who was 12 years older than Claudia. Martin had a record, and when the family disappeared, he had several outstanding warrants. The assumption is that the family left town without telling anyone in an effort to give Brent a clean slate. After the incident on Mount Charleston, Brent disappeared; either he's the killer or he's another victim. Morgan retrieves Claudia's phone records, which show that she called at least 50 Brent Abbotts across the country asking them if they were on a camping trip 18 years ago. The CSIs wonder if Claudia found actually found Brent; when she did, he realized that she was remembering what happened. Brent then came to Vegas and killed Claudia to shut her up for good.

A search of Martin Abbott's rap sheet shows that he sometimes used aliases, one of which was Ernest Prestwich. Ernest is the name of the janitor at the tennis center; however, he has a cell phone registered under the name Brent Abbott. Phone records show that Claudia called Brent a week ago. Brent is found at a service station and brought in for questioning.

It's revealed that when he was young, Brent was beaten repeatedly by his father while his mother did nothing about it. He admits to waiting for his parents to fall asleep on the camping trip then beating them to death with a shovel. While beating the bodies, he accidentally hit Claudia with his backswing, knocking her unconscious. Brent believed Claudia was dead, as well, but when he turned around after digging a grave, she was gone. He says that he only came to Vegas to talk to his sister, not kill her. When he went to talk to her after her match, she was nowhere to be found. Brent adds that when he left the tennis court at 1:00 AM, there was someone else on the court practicing—Tara Janssen.

Tara's fingerprints are found in Claudia's blood on the handle of a tennis ball basket. When the audio from the players' meeting at center court is enhanced, it's revealed that Tara whispered she was sleeping with Ivan. Tara admits to being involved with Ivan for almost a year and says that she loves him. She assumed that when Ivan met Claudia after the match, he was going to ask for a divorce. Instead, Ivan told Claudia he loved her and wanted to work on their marriage. Overhearing the conversation, Tara snapped. "She took everything from me that night. She took the match and she took Ivan. I hated her for that," she tells Russell and Brass. In an act of revenge, she killed Claudia and stuffed her in the ball machine.

In a separate storyline, an immigration agent visits Russell in the lab and inquires about Hodges. The agent shows Russell a photo of a woman, whom he identifies as Hodges' fiancée. Hodges confirms that he met Elisabetta during his trip to Italy and is concerned that the agent seemed overly suspicious.

Russell asks Henry about Hodges' engagement, but Henry says he only found out through word of mouth. "Ever since Hodges accused me of trying to steal Wendy...he doesn't really confide in me anymore," Henry adds. Elisabetta later shows up to the lab, and she and Hodges argue in (mostly) Italian. The argument is in regards to her green card and the fact that Hodges hasn't told anyone about them. Hodges assures her that she's the only woman in his life, and the two share a passionate kiss in front of several jealous onlookers, including Morgan and Henry.

Morgan expresses concern that Elisabetta is only using Hodges to get a green card, something Hodges dismisses. He says that he knew people would think this was the case, which is why he didn't mention it to anyone. Morgan then bluntly states that she doesn't trust Elisabetta, which is again scoffed at.

Later, in the station locker room, Hodges thanks Morgan for the glowing character recommendation she gave to Immigration. She says that she only wants what's best for her friend, and if Elisabetta makes him happy, then that's good enough for her. Hodges thanks her with a hug.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Larry Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Larry Sullivan as Officer Akers
  • Catrinel Menghia as Elisabetta
  • Susie Abromeit as Tara Janssen
  • Brit Shaw as Claudia Weber
    • Makenzie Moss as 4-year-old Claudia Weber
  • Justin Gimelstob as Himself
  • Lindsay Davenport as Herself
  • Ivan Sergei as Ivan Cafferty
  • Matt McCoy as Simon Weber
  • David Chisum as Agent Smith
  • Brandon Michael Rowan as Ernest Prestwich/Brent Abbot
  • Christine Marie Evert as Herself
  • Ever Carradine as Dr. Darcy Shaw


  • Little Broken Hearts by Norah Jones


  • Jorja Fox (Sara) is credited but does not appear in the episode.
  • Receipts from fast food restaurants Choozy's Chicken and Tasty Time are found in Claudia's tennis bag. Both fictitious establishments have been featured prominently in past episodes (Choozy's - Deep Fried and Minty Fresh, Season Nine; Tasty Time - Brain Doe, Season Twelve).


  • Matt McCoy played Simon Weber in the episode. He's perhaps recognizable for his role as Lloyd Braun in the television show Seinfield, as well as his appearance in commercials as a spokesman for The Hartford Insurance Company.
  • In reality, Elisabeth Shue is an massive tennis fan and a regular player. She jokingly suggested to the producers they have an episode centered around a murder at a tennis tournament, and her wish was granted. Her friends and former pros-turned-commentators, 18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert, three-time Grand Slam winner Lindsay Davenport, and two-time mixed doubles Slam champ Justin Gimelstob appeared in as themselves in the episode.
  • When examining Claudia's body, David Phillips asks about another player having been stabbed on the court. Finn confirms that this happened to former player Monica Seles. This is a true story, as in 1993, Seles was stabbed on the court by an obsessed Steffi Graf fan. Following the injuries, Seles took two years to return to action and was never the same player she was before the injury. The attacker, Günter Parche, wasn't seriously charged for the crime by the German legal system and was later found to be psychologically abnormal.

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