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Evaluation Day
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Season 1
Number 22
Writer Anthony E. Zuiker
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate May 10, 2001
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Next Episode: Strip Strangler

Evaluation Day is the twenty-second episode in season one of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

It is evaluation day for the CSIs as Catherine and Grissom find a severed head in the back of a car that had been stolen by two party girls. Meanwhile, Nick and Sara deal with a headless body that appears to have fallen from the sky and landed in the desert. Warrick has problems of his own when James, the boy from Crate 'n Burial, is the only witness to a murder in his juvenile detention center and his decision about testifying may cost him his life.

Plot

Victim: Victor Da Silva (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

The driver of a stolen BMW leads the police on a high-speed chase down a desert highway. When the car is finally stopped, two half-naked girls emerge from it. One of the officers clears the car, but finds blood on the rear bumper—and something else in the trunk. Upon arriving at the scene, Grissom sees that the trunk contains a severed head. The vitreous humor in the eyes is glazed over, leading Grissom to conclude that the victim was alive six to eight hours ago.

The victim is identified as Victor Da Silva, and the stolen car was his. In autopsy, Grissom examines a gash on the top of the severed head; Doc Robbins believes that this was the fatal blow. However, there's no way to tell what the weapon was without making a mold. Catherine observes cut marks on the jawbone, indicating that the killer took a few practice swings before finishing the job. Much to Grissom's delight, Doc Robbins offers to boil the head in order to get a better idea of the weapon used.

Under interrogation, the two girls tell Catherine and Brass that they were playing strip poker in the van of a man they met in a bar. When he started creeping them out, they ran out of the van and stole the BMW to get away, leaving their clothes behind in the process. While the two girls don't appear to be murderers, Brass informs them that they're being booked on evading arrest, grand theft auto, and DWI.

Grissom and Brass go to Victor's house and are met by his roommate, Trent Calloway, who is curiously painting the inside of the house in the middle of the night. Trent doesn't know much about Victor other than the fact that he worked for an advertising agency. He claims that he last saw Victor a day or two ago, adding that the two weren't really friends. While Brass finds a picture of Victor and an unidentified person torn in half, Grissom finds a pair of shoes in Victor's closet with peanut shells on the soles. The shells appear to be a match to the peanut shells found on gas pedal of Victor's car.

Nick is transferred to the case to assist, and he and Catherine are called to a storage facility, where the rest of Victor has been found. In the hallway outside the unit, they find bloody sock prints; someone ran from the scene without their shoes. The rest of Victor's body has been wrapped in plastic and stuffed into a foot locker inside the storage unit. Based on the amount of blood, Catherine and Nick conclude that Victor was killed there. They search the unit and find two weapons that could've done the trick: a hammer and an axe.

Back in the lab, Grissom confirms that the claw end of the hammer was used to strike Victor on the crown of his head. However, he wonders why the killer would use the claw end and not the hammer end. Catherine guesses that the killer was trying to fit Victor's body into the foot locker, but was unable to. Therefore, they had to cut the head off and used any available tools to do so.

With Sara in tow, Nick heads back to Victor's house and searches the closet again. He tells Sara that both the sock print and the shoes Grissom took from the closet earlier are size 11; however, Victor wore a size ten. As he looks at the different pairs of shoes, he comes across a pair of khaki pants with peanut shells in the cuff. The pants are part of a work uniform for a restaurant named "Spur's Corral," which serves peanuts as a starter.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins confirms that the torso found is Victor Da Silva. However, he admits that he was wrong about the cause of death; Victor was actually shot point-blank in the heart with a .380. Catherine notes that no gun was found in the storage unit, indicating Victor was shot somewhere else. When she mentions that the body was wrapped in plastic, Grissom is unhappy that this information was withheld from him, informing Catherine that Victor was having his house painted. The house was wrapped in plastic itself, and Trent the painter is now on the top of the suspect list. However, when questioned, Trent says that he doesn't own a gun, and he reveals that his shoe size is 13.

Nick brings Grissom and Brass to Spur's Corral. To Nick's surprise, though, the manager says that he doesn't recognize Victor, nor was he an employee. As Nick apologizes for the fool's errand, Grissom focuses on the sombrero hanging on the wall behind him. He comes to a realization and has Brass bring out the torn photo of Victor he found earlier. The same sombrero is in the background of the photo, and Grissom sees that the person ripped out of the photo was wearing a unique set of earrings. When shown the ear, the manager recognizes it as belonging to Fred Applewhite, one of his employees.

Catherine and Nick have Fred walk and run on sheets of paper, and they're able to match his footprints to the ones found in the storage unit. From the foot impressions, they're able to conclude that he first walked to the unit, but ended up running later on. Confronted with the evidence, Fred admits that he and Victor were partners; however, three months ago, they split up when Victor found someone else. The plastic confirms that Fred went to Victor's house to try to reconcile with him. When this didn't work, Fred shot him and wrapped the body in plastic. Upon arriving at the storage unit, he discovered the body was too big to fit into the foot locker, so he cut the head off and brought it with him to the car. In the process, he took his shoes off in an effort to avoid identification.

Evidence shows that Fred ran back to the storage locker, and Grissom asks him what he forgot. "You wouldn't believe it," Fred replies, "but I forgot to lock the shed." He says that by the time he got back out, his car was gone, as it had been stolen by the two girls. Fred is arrested for the murder.

Victim: Gorilla (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle

Nick and Sara are called to a crime scene in the desert. They're led to headless body whose hands and feet have been amputated. The body has also been skinned, most likely to avoid identification. Nick takes a look around the surrounding area and notes the lack of footprints and tire tracks. The ground under the body has been severely impacted, and the CSIs guess that the body fell from the sky.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins lays the body out and immediately sees that it's way too big to be human. He tells Grissom that the bones are 10-15% larger than a human's, and observes that the trauma to the bones is consistent with someone who fell from a great height. However, he can't identify the species and advises Grissom to contact an anthropologist. Forensic anthropologist Teri Miller arrives and identifies the animal as a gorilla.

This upsets Sara, who begins watching videos about gorilla poaching. For the purposes of disease control, Teri is tasked with disassembling the body. She tells Sara that the head was removed as a trophy, while the hands and feet were removed to be used as novelty items, such as ashtrays. Furthermore, the gorilla was skinned because clothes and accessories were going to be made from the skin itself.

Sara's research leads her to believe that the gorilla was killed in Africa and transported to the port of Los Angeles, where it was dismembered and packaged. Afterwards, it was loaded onto a small plane and dumped over the Nevada desert. Sara wants to track down the plane, but Teri tells her that whoever is responsible is already halfway around the world. With the case at a dead end, she gives the gorilla a private burial in the desert.

Victim: Unnamed prison inmate (deceased)

On the case: Warrick Brown, Ray O'Riley

Warrick meets with Charles Moore, whose grandson, James, is in a detention center for a hit-and-run (Crate 'n Burial). There was a fight in the detention center that James witnessed, and he called Warrick for help. The boy has two unfavorable options: either talk to the police and likely get killed by fellow inmates, or get sent to prison for not cooperating with the police. Therefore, Warrick will try to figure out what happened without getting James involved.

At the detention center, James tells Warrick that the center houses gang members from Los Angeles. After Warrick convinces James that he's on his side, the boy recalls the events. Two rival gang members, one from L.A. and one from Vegas, butted heads, and the Vegas gang member got shanked to death. Unfortunately for James, he was sitting nearby when the murder occurred. He tells Warrick that he has two things going against him: he's the newest face in the detention center and he's the only witness.

Warrick searches the living quarters and discovers that one of the toilets is backed up. He reaches in and pulls out a bloody shirt. The facility's maintenance engineer leads Warrick to the back room where all the pipes flow. When he searches the pipe for the toilets, he finds a shank fashioned from a toothbrush.

Warrick meets with James and tells him that inmate Ronnie Connors is responsible for the murder. He had purchased rubber bands and a toothbrush from the commissary, and before he used the razor in the shank, he had shaved himself with it. Therefore, his DNA is everywhere. The overwhelming evidence means James won’t have to testify, and he shares a long hug with his grandfather, who drops by to visit him.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Eric Szmanda as Greg Sanders
  • Robert David Hall as Dr. Al Robbins
  • Pamela Gidley as Teri Miller
  • Skip O'Brien as Detective Ray O'Riley
  • Joseph Patrick Kelly as Officer Joe Metcalf
  • John Beasley as Charles Moore
  • Sam Jones III as James Moore
  • Ingo Neuhaus as Trent Calloway
  • Robb Derringer as Fred Applewhite
  • Keri Lynn Pratt as Anna Leah
  • Shonda Farr as Lori
  • Darren Kennedy as Victor Da Silva
  • Lee Cherry as Stranger
  • Shirley Jordan as Deputy
  • Chet Grissom as Restaurant Manager
  • DeJuan Guy as Black Detainee
  • Fred Ellis as Maintenance Engineer
  • Kareem J. Grimes as Ronnie Connors
  • Laura Zoe Quist as Rookie (uncredited)
  • William Wantland as Extra (uncredited)

Episode Title

  • This episode was originally known as Sleepy Hollow.

Goofs

  • When Warrick finds the shirt in the toilet at the detention center the water level has significant changes from when he first spots it to when he sticks his hand in the bowl to pull it out.

Notes

  • Grissom tells Nick that he isn't ready to work cases alone by giving him the wordplay riddle, "Silk, silk, silk."
  • Dr. Robbins is found in the morgue playing air guitar to music by the dayshift coroner, Gary Telgenhoff. Telgenhoff's band is called Skinner Rat and the song is called "I'll Speak For You."[1]
  • The two girls caught with the stolen car, Anna Leah and Lori, would appear later in the season six episode Spellbound.

Trivia

  • The storyline involving the gorilla carcass was inspired by the text of Practical Homicide Investigation by Vernon J. Geberth. 
  • Nick indicates that it has been nine months since he became a CSI Level 3, which occurred in the first episode of the season.

References

  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 1
PilotCool ChangeCrate 'n BurialPledging Mr. JohnsonFriends & LoversWho Are You?Blood DropsAnonymousUnfriendly SkiesSex, Lies and LarvaeI-15 MurdersFahrenheit 932BoomTo Halve and to HoldTable StakesToo Tough to DieFace Lift$35K O.B.O.Gentle, GentleSounds of SilenceJustice is ServedEvaluation DayStrip Strangler
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