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Fallen Angels
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Season 13
Number 7
Writer Tom Mularz
Director Louis Milito
Original Airdate November 14, 2012
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Fallen Angels is the seventh episode in season thirteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

The CSI team investigates the death of a reverend who was killed at the grave site of former CSI Warrick Brown.

Plot

Victim: Rick Renkin (deceased)

On the case: entire team

Reverend Rick Renkin gives an impassioned sermon to his congregation. His body is later found in a cemetery in a gang-ridden neighborhood; he's been shot once in the back of the head. The reverend, who preached at a church down the street, is lying on top of the grave of former CSI Warrick Brown.

Nick and Russell find rusted shell casings that aren't tied to this particular shooting. Evidence shows that Reverend Renkin was shot from a few feet away, so it's possible he just caught a stray bullet from a drive-by. Brass talks privately with Nick, and they both reminisce about Warrick. They question what Warrick's next move would be in this case.

The next move is to talk to Aaron Voss, a mafia-type who runs the neighborhood through drugs, fear and extorition. Nothing goes down in the neighborhood without him knowing about it. Under interrogation, Aaron says he's out of the loop on the reverend's shooting. Brass points out that someone took a shot at Aaron a week ago, and wonders if this murder is a case of mistaken identity. Aaron knows that this about Warrick, who had a personal vendetta against him for destroying the neighborhood.

Nick goes to speak to Warrick's widow, Tina. While he waits for her to come to the door, he's met by Warrick's son, Eli. Tina, who has seen better days, answers the door and is less than happy to see Nick. When told about a body being found on Warrick's grave, she tells Nick to leave her and her son alone. As Nick leaves the property, he sees a man wearing a hoodie watching him from across the street.

White trace from Reverend Renkin's pants comes back as oxycodone. It's been crushed into a powder, which means someone likely used it recreationally. The reverend's tox panel came back negative and since the trace on the seat of his pants, it seems he sat in it somewhere. Blue trace from the soles of the reverend's shoes is identified as chalk. Nick overhears and notes that Eli had drawn on the stoop of Tina's house. Her house might be the last place the reverend visited.

Finn and Sara pay Tina a visit and order her to step out of the house. Tina steadfastally refuses until her son ushers her outside. The inside of the house is a mess, with open beer bottles and garbage strewn everywhere. Sara tells Finn that Warrick inherited the house from his grandmother and let Tina live there after their marriage ended. She also says that before he died, Warrick was trying to get custody of Eli so he could move him away from the neighborhood. Finn finds a pair of men's jeans with a bag of weed in the pocket, while Sara finds an unlabeled bottle of oxycodone within a child's reach. Sara snaps a picture of a fingerprint on the bottle and sends it to the lab; the print comes back to Cliff Paul, a local who has priors for aggravated assault and domestic battery. The CSIs agree that no child should be living in a house like this.

Outside, an irate Tina says that she doesn't have to explain anything to anybody, especially the CSIs. Sara theorizes that Cliff is the reason Reverend Renkin dropped by, perhaps to talk to Tina about harboring a felon. Tina continues to berate the CSIs, saying that they let Jeffrey McKeen murder more people from behind bars, just like he murdered Warrick. As the argument continues, a woman from Child Protective Services comes and takes Eli away from Tina, as the house as been ruled unfit for a child.

A search of Cliff's apartment turns up empty. Brass sees a torn window screen and walks over to the window; Cliff's body is on the ground two stories down. His time of death is put at about two hours after the reverend's. There's a broken bottle near the door, and all the shoe treads in the apartment match Cliff's shoes. Morgan theorizes that Cliff answered his door and was knocked backwards by his assailant, which caused him to drop the beer bottle. Cliff then backed up and tried to escape out the window, possibly thinking he could survive the two-story drop. Morgan finds a .45 automatic between the couch cushions, meaning Cliff could've armed himself. The caliber is the same that killed Reverend Renkin.

Both of Tina's visitors died the same night, and Morgan wonders if everything started when the reverend showed up at Tina's house. Unhappy that the reverend butted in, Cliff followed him to the cemetery and shot him. After the murder, Cliff came back to his apartment and stuffed the gun between the couch cushions. Somebody then showed up and drove Cliff through the window. Morgan notes the paranormal feel of the case, as Cliff killed a reverend, was followed back home and killed by someone who didn't leave any shoe impressions. Russell finds a flashlight that's similar to the one the CSIs use; there's dried blood on the lip. There are also some dried gravitational blood drops nearby, indicating that Cliff got into more than just the one fight.

Blood on the flashlight belongs to Cliff, while the blood on the floor is from a different, unknown contributor. Morgan prints the flashlight's batteries, and the prints come back to...Warrick. In autopsy, Doc Robbins says that Cliff suffered a fractured vertebrae, but there's no evidence to indicate he was pushed or kicked out the window. A wound on Cliff's forehead is consistent with the lip of the bloody flashlight. With Warrick's prints having been found, Russell theorizes that Tina kept the flashlight all these years and used it to clock Cliff on the head. Russell also finds a check for $1,000 written by Reverend Renkin to Cliff.

Finn goes through Cliff's seedy internet history and finds that he was online at home at the time of Reverend Renkin's death. Ballistics has confirmed the gun found in Cliff's apartment is the murder weapon, but how did it get there? Whoever killed the reverend had to have gone to Cliff's afterwards. The perpetrator then used the gun to drive Cliff out the window and planted it in the couch cushions. A search of the reverend's finances show that he has much more money than someone in his position should.

Nick talks to Eli and shows him a picture of Cliff. Eli recognizes Cliff and says that he doesn't like the man, as every time he showed up the house, he would get in a fight with Tina. Last night, Tina promised Eli that Cliff wouldn't be coming over anymore. Tina is brought to the station for interrogation, and it's revealed that Reverend Renkin had been scamming people by getting them to sign their houses over to the church. The reverend has been doing this to several people in the neighborhood. Tina admits that she had the reverend over her house and threatened to expose him to the congregation. When told about the bloody flashlight, she's incensed that she's being accused of murder on top of having her son taken away. She says that after Warrick died, she gave all of his CSI stuff away to a kid in the neighborhood that he would help out.

The kid, now a young man, still lives in the neighborhood and is seen standing next to Warrick's grave. It's the same man Nick saw earlier outside Tina's house, and he's still wearing the same hoodie. The young man identifies himself as James Newman, a friend of Warrick's. He admits to hanging around Tina's house because someone needed to look out for her and her son. When asked about Reverend Renkin and Cliff, James says that Warrick would've wanted them gone.

James is brought to the station for interrogation. There, a 911 tape is played; on it, James is trying to get the police to go to Tina's house and break up a fight between her and Cliff. In fact, James called the police four times in one week, but they never responded. Nick and Brass figure James took things into his own hands, as his blood was found in Cliff's apartment. James admits that he went to Cliff's three days ago and threatened him; when Cliff punched James, he retailiated by hitting him with the flashlight.

In the hallway, James' Aunt Jolene defends her nephew to Greg. She believes there's no way James would attack Reverend Renkin, but Greg tells her about the reverend's side business of scamming people, something James knew about. Jolene is concerned, as James may be going down the same path as his mother, whose mind started to slip before she eventually killed herself. Back in the interrogation room, Nick presents a note written by James that lists guns, their prices and where to purchase them. James, however, says he never bought the gun, as the guy on the corner wouldn't sell it to him.

James continues to say that Warrick would've wanted both Reverend Renkin and Cliff dead. He claims that he "wished" for it to happen, and it somehow did. Nick and Brass are skeptical, but James says that it's happened before. He tells the story of a local bully, Ben Drayton, stealing his shoes about a year ago. The following morning, the stolen shoes were at his front door and Ben was never seen again. James believes that Warrick was the one who made things right, as he was always looking out for others.

Ben was reported missing a year ago by his family, which is consistent with James' story. He was working a burger joint one night and never came home; the cops believed that Ben was just a runaway. The aforementioned shoes are found in James' closet and brought to the lab for processing. Finn sees that there's high-velocity blood spatter on them consistent with a gunshot. The blood is a match to Ben, and surveillance footage from the night Ben disappeared shows a shadowy figure luring him away from the burger joint, possibly at gunpoint.

Trace from the soles of the shoes comes back as rust and auto paint chips in oil-saturated soil. The obvious location is an auto junkyard, and there happens to be one a mile from the burger joint where Ben was last seen. It's possible Ben's body might still be at the junkyard, as it's already a pretty good hiding place. Finn and Nick go to the junkyard to search. Noting that Ben had a "find-my-key" fob on his keychain in the surveillance video, Finn uses a remote to try to get the fob to beep. The attempt is successful, as Ben's buried body is discovered after Nick hears the fob making noise. Ben has been shot once in the head; Finn sees that the bullet is still in the skull. The body was wrapped in a trunk liner, and a hair is found near the feet.

The hair isn't a match to James, but it shares alleles with Ben's killer; the killer is a male relative of James. However, James is an only child and has no children of his own. Nobody knows who James' father is, but he seems to be looking out for his son. Greg figures that whoever is protecting James might also be giving him money. A dig into Aunt Jolene's bank account shows she's been receiving checks from the mother's life insurance policy. That shouldn't be the case, though, since the mother killed herself. The checks came from a private account - opened by Warrick. Furthermore, the deposits were being made into the account a year after Warrick died.

Aaron Voss gets shot and is brought to the hospital. Since the killer is all about protecting James, he may have just struck again. Witnesses said a silver Escalade pulled up beside Aaron and fired. The shooter is eventually identified as a rival gang member trying to make a power grab, and he sounds like the same guy who took a shot at Aaron a week ago.

Greg tracks the money wires from Warrick's account and discovers that the funds came from a Nevada corp called XL Industries. The group owns a number of properties around Vegas, including the auto junkyard. Whoever is behind XL Industries killed Ben and buried him on his property. The same person has also been giving money to support James. There's only one name associated with XL Industries - Aaron Voss. As it turns out, Aaron is James' father.

Russell searches the trunk of Aaron's car and sees that the trunk liner Ben was wrapped in came from the car. Reverend Renkin still had chalk on his shoes from Tina's house, and Russell figures that someone gave the reverend a lift to the cemetery. When he searches the front passenger's seat, he finds the reverend's handkerchief tucked in the seat. Sara guesses that Reverend Renkin likely knew he wasn't getting out of Aaron's car alive and stuck the handkerchief there to incriminate him. As to why Warrick's grave was the site of the shooting, Russell guesses it was a message to everyone in the neighborhood - stay away from Warrick's family. A flashback shows Aaron shooting Reverend Renkin in the cemetery and later confronting Cliff in his apartment, which led to him jumping out the window out of fear.

In the hospital, Russell talks to Aaron and lays out all the evidence against him. It's revealed that Aaron saw his son trying to buy a gun and decided to take care of things himself so James didn't have to. Aaron is arrested for murdering three people and subtly admits to wanting James to get out of the neighborhood and be successful in life. Nick later tells James that by committing the murders, Aaron may have saved the neighborhood from himself.

Tina has cleaned herself up a bit, and she tells Sara that she's going to start taking the steps to turn her life around. Sara tells her that the church has cleaned out Reverend Renkin's bad deals, so the house will remain hers. Tina is allowed to see her son and is told that she'll get him back in a few days if her meeting with Child Protective Services goes well. The two hug in the hallway as Nick and Sara happily look on.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Larry Mitchell as Officer Mitchell
  • Meta Golding as Tina Brewster
  • Terrell Ranson, Jr. as Eli Brewster
  • Kofi Siriboe as James Newman
  • Michael Hyatt as Jolene Newman
  • Malcolm Goodwin as Aaron Voss
  • Harrison Page as Reverend Rick Renken

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


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