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Drops Out
Drops Out.jpg
Season 8
Number 14
Writer Dustin Lee Abraham
Director Jeffrey Hunt
Original Airdate April 29, 2008
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Previous Episode: A Thousand Days On Earth
Next Episode: The Theory of Everything

Drops Out is the fourteenth episode in season eight of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Brass, Catherine, Grissom and Nick work the case of a female victim found in an apartment building with a gun shot wound. Drops, a nightclub promoter and old acquaintance of the team, becomes a person of interest during the investigation, even though he is still in jail. Nick and Brass take him out of prison for a ride to track down the perpetrator. As they go from dead suspect to dead suspect, it becomes apparent that the killer is already one step ahead of them.

Plot

Victims: Jessica Jaynes (deceased), Maria Espinoza (deceased), Valinda Carlisle (deceased)

On the case: entire team

A blonde woman carefully walks down the hallway of an apartment building and slowly turns the door to the one of the apartments. Upon entering, she's shot multiple times. Grissom and Greg are the first ones on the scene. The victim has two entry wounds and two exit wounds, both through-and-throughs. They are unable to find any forms of identification on the victim and the tenants in the building don't recognize her. Greg suspects that she might have interrupted an armed burglary because the drawers have been rifled through; however, Grissom points out that there are no signs of forced entry. There are seven empty bullet casings on the floor. Grissom spots a strange, circular blood drop on the floor, far from the victim. He visually traces the path of the drop to a hole in the ceiling. While Grissom orders Officer Mitchell to check the apartment above, he looks through "Hawkeye", a periscope-like object. There, he sees a second victim in the apartment above.

Upstairs, an elderly woman, Maria Espinoza, lies dead in a pool of blood. There's a bullet wound in the side of head; David Phillips is unable to find an exit wound. Grissom uses a laser to pinpoint the trajectory of the bullet and concludes that Maria was almost lying down when she was shot. Nick guesses that Maria heard the commotion downstairs and put an ear to the ground to listen. However, Grissom says that neighbors only heard gunshots, but no voices or arguing. Downstairs, Greg examines the seven 9mm shell casings and finds that one of them has urine on it. He runs an ALS over the area and finds a puddle, leading him to wonder if the shooter wet himself.

In autopsy, both bodies are laid out for examination. Catherine goes over the blonde's body and sees that she has a tramp stamp, or more like "tramp belt" of dollar signs tattooed around her waist. Greg calls Catherine and tells her that he recovered seven shell casings; however, one of the bullets is supposed to be in Maria. A test of the blonde's hands comes back positive for gunshot residue, meaning that she had a gun of her own. It's determined that all of the 9mm casings were fired from the same weapon; however, Maria was shot with a revolver, which doesn't produce a shell casing. The team concludes that the blonde came to her apartment packing heat and was shot. In the process, she accidentally fired her pistol into the air, killing Maria above her. Brass calls Nick and informs the team that both the upstairs and downstairs apartments are owned by Kellen Tyford, aka "Drops," the now-jailed nightclub promoter.

At the prison, Brass pays Drops a visit to ask about the blonde victim. Drops identifies her as Jessica Jaynes, or JJ; she was on his payroll to help create "atmosphere" in his clubs. He has no idea what Jessica was doing in his apartment and denies pimping her out. Brass shows him a picture of Maria, and Drops is saddened to see that she died. He explains that she took care of him when he was young and he leased the apartment for her when she lost her own home.

In the morgue, Jessica's husband Walter identifies the body, carrying his infant son all the while. He pulls the sheet down a little bit to reveal the tramp belt, and laments the fact that she didn't get it all the way around.

In Maria's apartment, Nick is having trouble recreating the crime scene with a dummy and the laser. He lightheartedly complains to Catherine that Grissom came up with the theory but that they're the ones that have to test it. As Nick continues to struggle, Catherine notices that the laser goes straight up into the ceiling fan. When she moves the fan blade, she finds a bullet hole and recovers the bullet. They see that it's a bullet from a revolver.

Upon comparison, it's found that the bullet recovered from Maria's ceiling was fired from the same revolver that went into her cheek. Grissom is puzzled, as there are now two bullets in the apartment, but only one hole in the floor; the kill shot had to be a separate event. Nick guesses that they got the timeline backwards - Jessica shot Maria in the upstairs apartment first, went downstairs and was gunned down there. The question now is: who is the other shooter? The only name on the lease is Drops, and he has good alibi.

Wendy informs them that the urine stain from the downstairs apartment had female epithelals in it. Furthermore, the suspect has half of her DNA in common with Maria. Her daughter, Dana, has a record; she was charged with attempted murder, but exonerated based on testimony from Drops.

Nick and Brass go back to the prison to visit Drops again. He admits that Dana is pregnant with his child, and due next month. Nick says that this would explain the urine stain, as Dana had a lack of bladder control from the pregnancy. Drops tells them that Dana is notoriously difficult to track down, and that phone calls and text messages from an unknown phone number won't get her out of hiding. He says that the only way to find Dana is to let him out of prison for 48 hours so he can assist. Nick and Brass reject this idea and leave.

Archie checks Jessica's phone for the last text messages she sent. The last text she sent was to her husband; it mentions being with someone named Val and that they know where "D" stashed the money. Catherine questions whether "D" is for Dana or Drops and notes that there was no money in either apartment. A search of Jessica's calls identifies Val as Valinda Carlisle. When Catherine calls Valinda's number, Warrick answers on the other end. It turns out that Valinda has been murdered, shot in the driver's seat of her car. Witnesses placed a pregnant woman getting into the car from the passenger's side. As the bodies continue to pile up, Drops' idea is put into action. He's escorted from prison to assist and fitted with an ankle monitor. Nick and Brass meet him, already regretting this decision.

Drops thinks that Dana may have gone to one of his financial advisors, Bruce "Zig Zag" Zagberg, for help, as she would need some "on-the-run money." However, Bruce is found dead on his front porch, having been shot in the eye with a 9mm. Grissom arrives to process the scene, while Nick and Brass take Drops to the next location - his stepsister Sherry's place of work in the hood. Drops insists that he has to talk to Sherry alone, without the badges around. Brass removes Drops' handcuffs and gives him a business card so Sherry can contact the police. Nick stands watch nearby; however, Sherry, however is immediately hip to the fact that he's a cop. As Nick listens in, Drops tells Sherry that Maria and Jessica are dead and that Dana is on the run. Sherry recalls that she last spoke to Dana two days ago and that Dana wasn't feeling well. Brass writes down information on the back of the business card and tells Sherry to contact Nick or Brass if Dana comes around. Before he goes, Sherry gives him a bag of the lunch special, which immediately prompts Nick and Brass to pull out their guns. However, the bag turns out to contain only chicken gizzards, much to Brass' disgust. Drops has one last place he wants to check out: the office in one of his clubs, as there's a big safe there that Dana might try to get her hands on.

In the CSI garage, Warrick processes Valinda's car and finds a 9mm shell casing on the floor by the driver's seat. He finds Jessica's purse in the glove compartment and the address of the crime scene in the GPS. From this, Catherine guesses that Jessica and Valinda were in on this together. They went to shake down Drops' family for some money, but things went awry. Jessica killed Maria before being killed herself by Dana. Valinda was then shot the next night while sitting in her car. Warrick still thinks something is off, as the bullet that killed Valinda entered through the back of her skull and out an open window. The bullet grazed the window frame on its way out, giving them a trajectory. Warrick points out that if Dana shot Valinda while in the front passenger's seat, the bullet wouldn't have gone through the back of Valinda's head. Since Dana would have had to fire the shot from an awkward angle, they conclude that there was someone in the back seat.

Nick and Brass take Drops to the club, where one of Drops' second-hand man, Dale D., tells them that Dana visited the place an hour ago with a "NASCAR-looking dude." In Drops' office, they find the safe empty; however, Drops says that Dana didn't know that there was nothing in it. Surveillance videos show Dana walking through the club with Jessica's husband, Walter. It appears that Walter was holding her at gunpoint. Drops doesn't know why Walter would be there and explains that Jessica would tattoo her waist every time she pulled a high-roller trick. Nick tells Drops that Jessica was after his money and now Walter is, taking Dana hostage in the process. Dale arrives with sandwiches for the group. Unbeknownst to Nick and Brass, Drops' sandwich has been fitted with a GPS jammer that disables the tracking on his ankle monitor. He escapes through the refrigerator in the room and runs out of the club. Nick pursues him on foot, but Drops is able to get into a car and is driven away.

Nick is able to provide Brass with the type of car Drops got into as well as a partial license plate. When he checks the ankle monitor tracker and sees that there's no signal, he realizes that Dale slipped something into the sandwich. Dale is arrested, but he tells Nick that he gave Drops a GPS jammer. He produces the business card that Brass gave Drops earlier. While it appeared that Drops was writing down contact information for Sherry, he was actually writing down that he needed a GPS jammer delivered to the club.

Grissom calls a frazzled Nick and tells him that the 9mm casing found at Bruce's apartment was fired from the same gun that killed Valinda. However, the same gun was not used to kill Jessica. Nick informs him that Walter seems to be on a rampage and that he's dragging Dana along with him, but he doesn't know where. It's discovered that the car that picked up Drops is registered to Walter. Nick questions why Walter would just let Drops into the car, but Brass quickly figures that Walter wants the money and needs Drops' help to find it.

Walter goes back to Drops' apartment and demands the money that is owed to him. He holds both Drops and Dana at gunpoint with two different guns while Drops gives him the money from inside a couch cushion. Drops gives Walter $50,000, but Walter isn't satisfied. Since his wife was killed and his baby left without a mother, he gives Drops a choice: either he kills Dana or he kills her unborn child. While making a decision, Drops reaches down and turns the GPS jammer off, reenabling the tracker. Nick sees the tracker come back online, and he and Brass figure that Drops turned it on because he's trouble.

Several police cars arrive at the apartment. As Walter is about to pull the trigger, he hears a voice in the hallway. This gives Drops the opportunity to jump Walter, which results in Dana getting shot in the shoulder. During the melee, Drops is also shot. Walter is arrested while both Drops and Dana are tended to. However, Dana's water has broken as a result from the trauma from the shot and she starts going into labor. Nick coaches her on her breathing while the paramedics are called.

Drops awakens in the hospital and finds himself handcuffed to the bed. He's happy to see Dana and his healthy, newborn son next to him. His mood changes, though, when she tells him that she won't let him anywhere near the child. Dana tells Drops that, because of him, she heard her mother die. A flashback shows Dana hearing Jessica asking for Drops' money, then shooting Maria dead. She then shot Jessica and ran, seeking help from Valinda. However, Valinda was used as bait; Walter had forced her to call Dana. Dana watched as Walter shot Valinda from the back seat. She took Walter to see Bruce, but when Bruce said he didn't have the money, Walter shot him, as well. After all of this, she tells Drops that she's mad at him because he said he didn't have any money, which was an obvious lie.

Dana tells Drops that they don't have a future and that by the time he is released from jail, she and the baby will be long gone. Since they're not married and Drops is a convict, she figures she can pull this off easily. Drops is taken back to the prison hospital, but he's relieved to know that Dana will probably not have to do any time since she killed Jessica in self-defense. Furthermore, the money that he was hiding is technically Maria's, so it now belongs to Dana and her child. Trying to see the bright side of things, Drops is glad that at least his child will be taken care of, even if he won't be there to raise him.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Archie Kao as Archie Johnson
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Liz Vassey as Wendy Simms
  • Method Man as Drops
  • Larry Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Grant Sullivan as Walter Jaynes
  • Cara Santana as Dana Espinoza
  • Al Shearer as Dale D.
  • Octavia Spencer as Sherry
  • Nikki DiSanto as Valinda Carlisle
  • Terra Jole as Mini-Britney
  • Anya Monzikova as Jessica Jaynes
  • Omi Vaidya as College Student
  • Ludo Vika as Maria Espinoza
  • Kristen Kimmick as Party Goer (uncredited)
  • Elle and Ithaca Kremer as Jessica & Walter's Son (uncredited)
  • Liz Racster as Club Goer (uncredited)

Quotes

Grissom: (looks up to see blood dripping from the ceiling): It looks like this crime has a second story.

Trivia

  • Method Man reprises his role as Drops from the season 6 episode Poppin' Tags and the season 7 episode Big Shots.
  • Octavia Spencer played Sherry in the episode. She is an established television and film actress, with her most notable role being that of Minny Jackson in the 2011 movie The Help. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for the role.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 8
Dead DollA La CartGo to HellThe Case of the Cross-Dressing Carp The Chick Chop Flick ShopWho and WhatWhere and WhyGoodbye and Good LuckYou Kill MeCockroachesLying Down With DogsBullGrissom's Divine ComedyA Thousand Days On EarthDrops OutThe Theory of EverythingTwo And A Half DeathsFor Gedda
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