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Eleven Angry Jurors
Eleven
Season 4
Number 11
Writer Josh Berman,
Andrew Lipsitz
Director Matt Earl Beesley
Original Airdate January 8, 2004
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Eleven Angry Jurors is the eleventh episode in the Fourth Season of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis[]

When a stubborn jury member in a murder trial is found dead himself, the investigation reveals that just about every other jury member had a motive and that there were a lot of ways in which the victim could have been killed. Meanwhile, Nick looks into a four-year-old missing persons case that is reopened when the victim's sister comes forward with new information.

Plot[]

Victim: Chris Gibbons (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Sara Sidle, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

In a flashback, we see a storm over Las Vegas. A husband and wife argue, which leads to him strangling her to death with his belt. In the jury room, the jurors argue over the evidence, with the main piece of evidence being the husband's fingerprints on the belt. They've been unable to reach a verdict due to one holdout—Chris Gibbons. He says that they don't have 'beyond a reasonable doubt' because the cable guy was also in the house that day. Chris' fellow jurors react negatively, with one guy opening a window to let in some air. They take a break and wait for lunch while milling around in the hallway outside the jury room. When they reenter jury room after a short while, they find Chris dead on the floor. Grissom and Brass arrive on the scene, learning that the jury had been sequestered for two and a half weeks.

Grissom photographs the body and tells Brass that his early opinion on cause of death is blunt force trauma. Chris has a mark on his forehead; a flashback shows that he possibly had his head beaten into the edge of the table. Grissom notes that Chris has a medic alert bracelet which shows an allergy to penicillin. He also finds a blonde hair on the body and finds out from Brass that one juror, Lana Davis, is a blonde. There are no tags on the hair, but whoever it belongs to isn't a natural blonde. Brass goes through the voting slips and finds that there are 11 guilty votes and one not guilty vote, which could be the motive.

Catherine arrives and silences the arguing jurors in the hall. They want to go home and want to know if a mistrial is going to be declared. However, Catherine tells them that won't happen and that she has to interview them. She starts with Lana, who pulls off her wig after Catherine tells her that they found a synthetic blonde hair. Lana admits flirting with Chris a little in an effort to get him to change his vote, but he turned her down. Catherine informs her that attempting to influence a juror is a felony, punishable with up to four years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

Warrick finds blood on the window latch in the jury room. One of the jurors, Leonard Jervis, was found with blood on his hands. He shows Catherine his bloody fingers from chronic nail-biting caused by the stress of jury duty. When Leonard starts to talk about the case, Catherine stops him, saying that since the case is still ongoing, he can't discuss it with anyone. Leonard tells Catherine that Chris was the only holdout on the jury, and he just wanted to get back to work before he lost his job. A flashback shows Chris taking delight in dividing the room of jurors and having them fight amongst themselves; Leonard grabbed Chris by the arms and threatened him out of frustration. During another heated stalemate, Leonard got up and opened a window to let some air in, which is how the blood on his fingers transferred to the window latch.

Doc Robbins informs Sara that Chris' cause of death wasn't blunt force trauma. He shows her hives on Chris' body, noting that he had a severe allergic reaction and died from anaphylactic shock. The doc speculates that Chris choked as a result of an allergy and hit his head on the table as he fell. Sara remembers that Chris' medic alert bracelet said he was allergic to penicillin. Doc Robbins shows her a puncture mark in Chris' thigh consistent with a hypodermic needle. Sara comments that all of the other jurors hated Chris and they knew how to kill him thanks to the bracelet.

Catherine tells Grissom that there was no penicillin in Chris' system, only epinephrine. Grissom notes that Chris probably gave himself the shot, so they need to look for a used hypodermic. Catherine has Greg test Chris' blood for shellfish and the standard allergies; test results show that Chris was allergic to peanuts. In the jury room, Sara and Warrick go over the lunch orders, and Warrick notices some peanut shells under the table by juror Bob Durham's seat. They look more closely and find shells under Chris' seat, as well. When confronted, Bob tells Sara that he was just messing with Chris by flicking peanut shells at him, not knowing that just by touching a shell it would send Chris into a fit. The reaction was severe enough that Chris had to give himself a shot of epinephrine. Sara comments that none of the jurors mentioned this; Bob tells her that after the shot, Chris was fine.

In the lab, Warrick goes through the trash and finds the epinephrine pen that Chris used in the jury room. Sara looks through the chili that Chris ate and sees no evidence of peanuts or peanut shells. Warrick looks at a soda can and sees a smudge around the mouth hole; he sniffs it and recognizes the smell as peanut butter. He pulls an individually wrapped tube of peanut butter out of the can, and Sara digs deeper in the chili container, finding a glob of peanut butter mixed in with the chili. Knowing how Chris reacted to peanut shells, they figure a whole tube of peanut butter would've done way more damage—in other words, they're looking at murder.

Sara later runs into Grissom in the hall and tells him that the defense has brought a motion for a mistrial on suspicion of jury tampering. Grissom doesn't understand how a juror would benefit from Chris' death, noting that the risk of killing someone greatly outweighs the reward of simply being able to go home.

The bailiff tells Sara that the trial has been going on for four weeks, with the jury having been locked in deliberations for the last two and a half. Due to the high-profile nature of the case, the judge had limited the jurors' contact with the outside. The jurors were allowed to eat breakfast and dinner at their hotel; however, lunch was always ordered in the jury room and it was always ordered from the same place. Due to his food allergies, Chris was forced to order chili every day, much to the criticism of his fellow jurors. Sara asks about the jury's access to the vending machines and notices that the peanut butter found in the soda can is a selection in the machine. The bailiff confirms that the jurors had access to the vending machines, adding that they weren't allowed to have cell phones. However, he caught one of them with a back up cell phone, which he confiscated even though the battery was burned out. Sara and Brass question the juror; he claims that he was taking pictures of the other jurors so that he could make a scrapbook later on. Bank records show that the juror just had $30,000 deposited into his account, and he admits that he sold his story to a tabloid, noting that it's a high-profile case. Since the jurors were at each other's throats, the tabloids wanted the story.

Fingerprints from the peanut butter tube come back to juror Tara Newsome. Warrick questions her, and she tells him that she was supposed to get married in five days just wanted to go home. Instead of having a dress fitting and a bridal shower, she's been stuck in the jury room. She admits to putting peanut butter in Chris' chili when the lunch orders arrived; however, she changed her mind at the last minute and gave him the chili she had ordered for herself. While handing her chili over to Chris, she dropped it on the floor, so Chris took her chili instead—the one with the peanut butter in it. She insists that she didn't know that it would kill Chris, as he only got hives when Bob was flicking peanut shells at him earlier. Her hope was that Chris would get ill enough to the point where he could be replaced on the jury with someone who would vote guilty. She begins to tear up upon the realization that she actually killed someone.

Greg runs tests and determines that the peanut butter isn't what killed Chris; the levels in his blood were insufficient to cause a lethal reaction. This is in line with Tara's testimony, which was that Chris had a dermatological reaction to the peanuts, not a respiratory one. The cause of death was anaphylactic shock, but from some other source.

Doc Robbins determines that Chris didn't die of a food allergy, noting that if it were something environmental, then some of the other jurors would've had a reaction, as well. He examines the body and pulls a stinger out of a puncture wound in Chris' neck. Grissom and Sara head back to the jury room looking for another body—a bee. While searching, Sara relays that Brass talked to Chris's allergist; Chris was allergic to a lot of things. She finds the dead bee by the table leg and recalls that Leonard Jervis had complained about the heat in the room and opened the window. This is how the bee gained access to the room. Chris got stung, had an immediate reaction, hit his head on the table, and died.

Victim: Rita Minden (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Louis Vartann

At the lab, Det. Vartann talks to Nick about a missing persons case that he worked with Grissom four years ago. The missing person is Rita Minden-Westonson, and Vartann tells Nick that Rita's sister Faye is in the interrogation room claiming that her sister was murdered. Nick speaks with Faye and asks why she's coming forward now. She admits that four years ago she lied, and she's been living with the guilt ever since. Faye waives her right to an attorney, saying that she only wants to come forward with the truth.

She tells them that four years ago, Rita didn't disappear. She came home and found her husband, Aaron, in the barn with another woman. Rita said that she was going to leave him, but Aaron lost it and killed her. Nick points out that they investigated Aaron four years ago and he had an alibi, but Faye says that his alibi was a business partner who owed him money and would've said anything. She also tells them that the business partner died a month ago, and he was the only other one who knew about the murder other than her. Nick asks what Aaron did with the body; Faye says that he put it in a barrel and set it on fire. The body burned all night and Aaron dumped the ashes in the river the following morning. Vartann asks how Faye knows all this and Nick correctly guesses that Faye was the other woman.

Nick looks through the photographic evidence in the case. Grissom enters, says that he heard the case was being reopened, and asks if they missed something four years ago. Nick tells him that their conclusions were reasonable at the time, as evidence supported the fact that Rita skipped town. However, Faye has now come forward and changed her story. Grissom notes that since Nick was only a level 2 CSI at the time, it was Grissom's choice to close the case.

Faye takes Nick and Vartann to the spot where Aaron burned the body and tells them that although she hasn't been back there since that night, she's sure it's the right spot. Nick takes samples of the ground to test for gasoline fumes that would've settled into the soil as hydrocarbons. At the lab, the dirt is tested, but no evidence of hydrocarbons is found. The lab tech tells Nick that he's sorry that Nick didn't get the promotion he put in for, as he heard that Grissom only gave Sara a higher evaluation because of their history. Detective Vartann comes in before Nick can process this information and tells him that Faye has another sister, Terry Minden. Terry had just recently gotten engaged to Aaron.

They talk to Faye again and ask why she didn't tell them about her younger sister, Terry. Faye tells them that she knew it would come to this and admits that Aaron dumped her for her younger sister. She insists that she isn't jealous of Terry, but rather scared for her, not wanting her to end up like Rita. Falsely accusing Aaron of murder was her way of getting back at him. They ask about Faye's relationship with Aaron; she says that it ended, not well or badly. She knows that if she told Terry what really happened to Rita, she'd just go to Aaron and claim that Faye was crazy. However, Faye says that she knows what Aaron is capable of since he made her help him dispose of Rita's body. She adds that it was a wet winter that year, but not raining the night of the cremation.

Nick goes back out to the site where Rita's body was burned and digs deeper in the dirt. He then runs tests for moisture, cuts branches off of the tree nearby, and takes them back to the lab. Grissom points out to him that the soil doesn't support the evidence that they have from Faye, but Nick tells him that the moisture test registered 18%, indicating that there had been full saturation of the ground over the last few years. Despite the extra rain possibly washing away evidence of hydrocarbons, it's still possible that the tree rings would show any anomalies. Nick counts back on the rings and finds that the one from four years ago is thinner and distorted, which could be evidence of a toxic event, like the burning of gasoline. He has the branches tested by using sawdust from them to find evidence of hydrocarbons, which they find in the sample.

Nick and Vartann go to Aaron's place and are greeted by Terry. Aaron soon joins her and remembers Nick from the investigation four years ago. He asks if they've found Rita, but is only told that a new lead is being followed up on. They provide him with a warrant for a sample of gasoline from the pump on his property. While Terry, who's an attorney, tries to squash the warrant, Aaron continues to maintain that he had nothing to do with Rita's disappearance. Nick goes to the back of the property and recalls the previous visit, telling Vartann that he and Grissom went over every inch of the property four years ago and found no signs of a struggle. However, the much larger Aaron probably would've had no trouble overpowering the smaller Rita. As Nick pumps the gasoline out, Vartann notes it's reddish hue. Nick informs him that farms don't have to pay taxes on fuel; refineries dye the gasoline red to mark it for agricultural purposes.

Nick tells Vartann that while the fuel pump on Aaron's property is diesel, the hydrocarbons found in the tree were from unleaded gasoline. Vartann suggests Aaron was using unleaded gasoline four years ago; however, Nick searches the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection database and discovers that Aaron only ever had diesel fuel. After isolating the area near the farm, Nick finds that there's only one other permitted fuel tank in the area that has unleaded gasoline—it belongs to Faye Minden.

Nick goes to Faye's farm with Vartann. She mentions that she heard they went to Aaron's farm and thanks them for pushing forward with the investigation. They ask if they can take a sample of gasoline from her pump, which has the word "UNLEADED" printed in large letters on the side. Faye is sure that Aaron has turned on her, but Nick confirms that he didn't say anything. Nick tells her that Rita was cremated with unleaded gasoline, while the pump on Aaron's farm is for diesel. Faye changes her story, suddenly recalling that Aaron's tank was empty, so he had to use gasoline from her pump. Nick goes into her barn and looks around, noting that she has barrels and various farming implements that could be used to kill someone. He sprays them to test for blood and gets a positive result on a tree branch clipper. Upon exiting the barn, he tells Faye that he believes her that her sister was murdered; blood evidence doesn't disappear, and Rita was murdered... by Faye herself. Nick concludes that she killed Rita, put her in the barrel, and burned her body, all so that she could be with Aaron.

Back at the lab, Nick explains sums up the case to Grissom, telling him that Faye killed her sister so that she could be with Aaron. When word got around that Aaron was getting married to Terry, Faye freaked and tried to pin Rita's murder on him. Grissom asks if Nick agrees with the decision that Grissom made to close the case four years ago; Nick says that four years ago, he agreed, but now he'd fight Grissom on that decision, pointing out that they can't just ignore the human element. Rita was a dependable, predictable person, and the CSIs never questioned why Rita would suddenly walk away from the rest of her life. Grissom defends their decision, as the evidence had pointed them in that direction. He tells Nick that when you start to have feelings about a case, you risk your objectivity. Nick defends the empathic angles he takes with victims and their families, saying that it's how he does his job. He adds that he can live without the promotion, as well. After he leaves, Grissom turns to the computer to type up a report, in which he recommends Nick for the promotion.

Cast[]

Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • Alex Carter as Detective Louis Vartann
  • Ever Carradine as Faye Minden
  • Eddie Jemison as Vincent Dorsey
  • Billy Wirth as Aaron Westonson
  • Dean Norris as Bob Durham
  • Jack Laufer as Grant Bell
  • Susan May Pratt as Tara Newsome
  • Andy Berman as Leonard Jervis
  • Andy Powers as Chris Gibbons
  • Sarah Rafferty as Terry Minden
  • Sarah Buxton as Lana Davis
  • Anne Betancourt as Lizette
  • Chelsea Bond as Rita Minden-Westonson

Episode Title[]

  • The episode's title is a take on Twelve Angry Men, a courtroom drama that has been a TV show, a play, and a movie.

Trivia[]

  • Dean Norris plays juror Bob Durham. Years later, he would be a lot more recognized for his role as DEA Hank Schrader in the hit AMC show Breaking Bad. He would also appear later in the series in three episodes playing Phil Baker, fiancée of Ray Langston's ex-wife, Gloria.
  • Andy Berman plays juror Leonard Jervis. Along with being an actor, Berman is an accomplished writer and producer. He wrote 24 episodes of the USA show Psych.
  • Rita Minden bears similarities to Charlotte Grabbe, who was murdered by her husband Fred and burned in a barrel.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 4
Assume NothingAll For Our CountryHomebodiesFeeling the HeatFur and LoathingJackpotInvisible EvidenceAfter the ShowGrissom Versus the VolcanoComing of RageEleven Angry JurorsButterfliedSuckersPaper or PlasticEarly RolloutGetting OffXXBad To The BoneBad WordsDead RingerTurn of the ScrewsNo More BetsBloodlines
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