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Field Mice
Field Mice.jpg
Season 10
Number 18
Writer Wallace Langham
Director Brad Tanenbaum
Original Airdate 15 April, 2010
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Previous Episode: Irradiator
Next Episode: World's End

Field Mice is the eighteenth episode in season ten of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Hodges and Wendy pose as CSIs to impress a group of "Crime Cadets" and get some help in solving a crime, and Hodges becomes jealous when Henry asks Wendy out. Meanwhile, Nick and Greg solve a bacteria outbreak at the police station.

Plot

Victim: Stacia Borala (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, David Hodges, Raymond Langston, Wendy Simms, Jim Brass

With Langston on leave following his encounter with Dr. Jekyll, Nick tasks Hodges with processing a multiple homicide at a high school. Inside the school, several people are dead, including the shooter. When one of the victims opens his eyes, we see that this is a staged crime scene. The students are teenagers that are referred to as 'crime cadets' - wannabe CSIs who are there to learn how to gather evidence and process crime scenes. One of the cadets, Katy Cypress, tells Hodges that she wants to do real police work and nail bad guys. Hodges agrees to fill her in about a real case.

In the lab's break room, Katy and her fellow cadet Guillermo meet with Hodges with the impression that he's an actual CSI and not a lab tech. Hodges shows them files from a four-month old case where an apartment building caught fire. The bottom three levels of the building were consumed by the fire; however, in the middle of the rubble, the body of a woman was found without a mark on her. Catherine and Langston, the CSIs on the original case, note that there's no way someone could have carried the body into the rubble with the heavy presence of police and firefighters in the area. Wendy has entered the break room and told part of the story. She pulls Hodges aside and chastises him for what's he's doing, but agrees to play along after he reminds her that she wants to work in the field.

Katy and Guillermo display their strong observational and investigative skills, pointing out the fire's point of origin (a furnace) in the crime scene photos and deducing that the fire was arson. They ask two important questions: whether all of the tenants been accounted for and whether the female victim been identified yet. Hodges envisions him and Wendy at the scene of the fire talking to Brass, who has been visualized as a drunk vigilante. They're told that all of the tenants have, in fact, been accounted for.

Katy spots a bathtub in one of the photos and is told that it came from apartment 2B - whose tenant just happened to be out of town right before the fire. The tenant doesn't have a record, but has been in trouble for illegal sublets in the past. Katy theorizes that the victim was in the bathtub when the fire started and that she died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The bathtub fell through the floor and the bath oil on the body shielded it from the flames until she was found. It's a solid theory, but she's told that most essential oils have high flash points, which means that the flames would have been drawn towards the body. Guillermo asks about the autopsy report and Hodges leaves try to locate a coroner.

David Phillips tells the cadets that the victim's fingerprints weren't in the system and that she had safe sex before she died. Furthermore, she had poor dental hygiene, including crowns made of white gold, something not normally used in the United States. Based on this and a tattoo on the victim, Guillermo quickly concludes that she's Russian or eastern European. There was no soot in the victim's trachea, nor did she have any signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, indicating that she was dead before the fire. A tox panel revealed a blood alcohol content of .30 with several sedatives in the woman's system, including zolpidem. The cause of death was labeled as multiple drug overdose.

Wendy explains that after the area of the fire's origin is found, one must search for any ignition sources nearby. Envisioning themselves at the crime scene again, Hodges and Wendy find an uncapped gas line with fresh tool marks on it; however, the gas cap is nowhere to be found. With Hodges now depressed that Henry asked Wendy out, she perks him up by telling cadets that part of the building collapsed and that Hodges saved her life while also preserving the evidence.

Hodges shows the cadets a charred breaker box, which just happened to have been serviced the day of the fire. The same company also maintains the gas lines. With this lead, the police questioned the maintenance man and found the pipe cap in his van. The maintenance man told the police that he had gone to the apartment building to service the gas line and removed the corroded gas cap. However, he found that he didn't have a replacement and just left the scene. This left a slow leak in the pipe that the maintenance man didn't notice because he was losing his sense of smell. The cadets conclude that natural gas gradually filled the room and when the furnace clicked on, the fire started. Their arson was actually an accident.

Guillermo looks at an autopsy photo of the victim and asks what the patches on her skin are, something David Phillips couldn't answer earlier. Hodges, imagining himself as a CSI and Langston as a nerdy lab tech, reveals that the patches were vaporized cornstarch. Perplexed, the cadets wonder how someone gets coated in such a substance. Guillermo notices packing peanuts in one of the crime scene photos, leading him and Katy to conclude that the victim was killed and stuffed in a box with the peanuts. The cardboard and cornstarch acted as insulation and protected the body from the flames, and everything got separated when the firefighters arrived and started blasting water everywhere. Hodges and Wendy congratulate the cadets on a job well done and inform them that the CSIs never got further than this. However, the apartment building has been declared structurally sound, and Hodges tells the cadets that with their parents' approval, they're going on a field trip.

Mandy joins Hodges, Wendy and the cadets in the burned-out building. Soon after, another cadet, Derrick Gold, joins his friends. Guillermo pulls Wendy aside and informs her that he knows her and Hodges are not CSIs, correctly guessing that Hodges works in Trace. Wendy replies that she lied because she didn't want to spend her life fighting crime in a test tube, but Guillermo convinces her that her job is just as important as a CSI's, if not more so. Katy and Derrick find a pair of charred men's jeans in the rubble with a driver's license belonging to Stacia Borala, their victim. An open blister pack of zolpidem is found in one of the jeans pockets. Hodges congratulates the cadets on identifying the victim.

Catherine is impressed with the initiative Hodges and Wendy showed in reopening a forgotten case, but doesn't believe that it was "for the children." Semen stains are found on the pair of jeans and Wendy says that she'll use magnetic bead separation to hopefully get some DNA from them. This leads to a metaphoric conversation between Hodges and Wendy about relationships, leaving Catherine puzzled. Using the process, Wendy is able to extract two DNA profiles from the jeans - one belongs to Stacia, while the other belongs to an unknown male. She tells Guillermo that they just have to compare the DNA profile with tenants from the building.

In the police station, several of the building's male tenants are lined up and asked to provide DNA samples. One tenant, who identifies himself as Melvin Hodge, refuses to give his DNA, claiming that it's an invasion of his privacy. Brass, unsurprisingly suspicious, pulls Melvin into the interrogation room. It's revealed that Melvin moved to his apartment just three days before the fire and hadn't even gotten time to completely unpack. Brass mentions the cardboard boxes and packing peanuts and asks the increasingly nervous Melvin for his DNA. Melvin relents and says that he met Stacia and the two started drinking and doing drugs. When they woke up the next morning, she was dead. When he came home later that night and saw the apartment up in flames, he thought he got lucky. Unfortunately for him, the packing peanuts helped preserve Stacia's body.

Katy and Hodges have been watching the interrogation from behind the glass. She seems uneasy that Melvin's life is now over and asks Hodges how he deals with something like that on an everyday basis. He responds that it's good work when you know you're on the right side. After Brass exits the interrogation room, Katy stops him in the hallway and tells him that she's glad he got his life back together. Brass stares at Hodges and wonders what the lab tech told the girl.

Victims: Multiple police officers (alive)

On the case: Greg Sanders, Nick Stokes

Nick is on the phone with Catherine at the police station when he sees an officer throw up into a trash can. Other officers find this funny until a chain reaction is started, which results in the paramedics and Hazmat being called to the station. It's determined that the toxin isn't airborne or a contact toxin, narrowing it down to something the officers ate or drank.

In the hospital, Greg tries to question one of the officers, but gets thrown up on instead. Back in the lab, Henry is tasked with analyzing all of the food and drink samples from the break room along with the officers' blood and fecal samples.

Greg calls Nick and informs him that the toxin is shigella, a food-borne toxin that typically comes from unsanitary handling practices. However, none of the uniformed officers ate the same things, but came down with the illness anyway. While on the phone, Nick observes Officer Metcalf wiping his nose and touching a bunch of food in the break room. He hangs up and swabs Officer Metcalf's hands.

Greg tells Nick that shigella wasn't found on Officer Metcalf's hands; however, the bacteria that infected the squad room also infected a daycare in Summerlin the week before. Nick goes through evidence photos and spots a child's drawing on the desk of Sgt. Barclay. Under interrogation, Sgt. Barclay claims his innocence despite being told that the bacteria came from his pastry box. He tells Nick that his fellow officers are always stealing his food and that he's staying away from sugar because he's on a diet. The sergeant also adds that the drawing on his desk was made by his ex-girlfriend's son and that they had just gone through a nasty breakup.

The ex-girlfriend is identified as Mona Foster, a nurse in the hospital where the sick officers are laid up. Greg questions her and informs her that her little stunt got these officers hospitalized. Furthermore, her prints were found on the pastry box. Mona believes her punishment will be minor, but Greg tells her that she's looking at a Class B felony for causing a disruption at a police station.


In a separate storyline, Henry pulls Hodges aside and asks him if it would be alright if he asked Wendy out on a date. Hodges swallows his pride and gives his approval, watching Henry ask Wendy out from a distance. Henry later tells Wendy that their date is a romantic one that requires them to dress up, something she wasn't expecting.

Henry's in a good mood, but bad things keep happening to him. While working Greg and Nick's case, he finds that the GCMS isn't working properly. Greg fixes the problem, telling him that the GCMS' run cycle had been altered. Henry insists that he didn't set it like this and starts wondering who did. Later, in the parking garage, his car won't start and the radiator begins to smoke. After Hodges and Wendy witness this and then drive off with the cadets in tow, Henry starts to get suspicious.

With Catherine's help, Henry discovers that someone purposely poked holes in his radiator hose. When asked if he's had any enemies recently, Henry comes up with one name - Hodges. He confronts Hodges in the hallway, but Hodges denies having any involvement in Henry's bad day. Henry accuses him of tampering with the GCMS and his car. He adds that his date with Wendy is still on and threatens Hodges with his knowledge of colorless, odorless and vomit-inducing toxins.

When he goes to pick up shoes from his locker, Henry finds them superglued to the bottom. As a matter of fact, the entire locker is superglued, causing him to have his face and arm get stuck. Langston, who has decided to come into work, finds Henry and frees him by applying acetone. It's discovered that the lock was jimmied and Henry angrily leaves to seek out Hodges once more.

With her hands in her pockets, Wendy goes to speak with Hodges. He tells her that he hasn't been messing with Henry and that he hopes she enjoys her date with him. Curious about Wendy's awkward stance, he throws something at her, which she doesn't try to catch. He informs her that he sprayed "detection spray" all over the surfaces that Henry would be most vulnerable to pranks, including his locker. The solution leaves a stain on anyone who touches it, and the more that the person tries to wash it off, the more the stain spreads. Wendy pulls her hands out of her pockets to reveal their dark purple color.

Busted, she tells Hodges that she really wanted to go out with Henry, but ultimately realized that she would be dating the wrong lab tech. Instead of letting Henry down gently, she tortured him with practical jokes all day. Catherine enters the lab with Henry and asks about their beef. Before Wendy can confess, Hodges falsely confesses instead and apologizes to Henry. With his face a mess, Henry cancels the date and asks for a rain check. Wendy privately tells Hodges that the date is never going to happen and kisses him before returning to her lab.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Music

  • Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra

Quotes

Henry Andrews: Remember that time you said that thing about you having a higher commitment to the lab and the pursuit of justice?
David Hodges: Yeah, I may have said that more than once.
Henry Andrews: Yeah, you have.
David Hodges: Car trouble?
Henry Andrews: Yeah, no kidding. This ruins my whole lunch break and I had things to do!
David Hodges: You know, Henry, maybe you should stay out of parking garages. Bad things seem to happen to you there.
...
Wendy Simms: Hey, I saw you and Henry in the hall earlier, and...
David Hodges: Look, I haven't been messing with Henry. I'm not trying to spoil your date and I hope that you guys have a very nice life together.
Wendy Simms: I really wasn't trying to blame you for anything. I was just checking in.
David Hodges: Why are your hands in your pockets?
Wendy Simms: (awkwardly): Because I'm socially awkward and it gives me a sense of security.
David Hodges (throws a cardboard box at her head. When she doesn't take her hands out, he continues): You know, after Henry accused me I suspected that someone was trying to pin their practical jokes on me so... I mixed up a little something called "Detection Spray" and I put it all over the surfaces that I thought Henry would most vulnerable to pranks, including his locker. It's essentially a ninhydrin solution that goes on clear and reacts with the amino salts in perspiration, leaving a stain on anyone who touches it. And the more that the person tries to wash it off, the more the stain spreads.
Wendy Simms: That's really fascinating - I should go (starts to leave)
David Hodges: It can last up to five days. You may want to wear a dress with pockets tonight.
Wendy Simms (stops and turns around. After a moment, she takes her hands out and shows him the stain): I'm not proud of this.

Goofs

  • When Langston and Hodges are in the lab, Langston quotes "You are great, I am great" from Star Trek. However, they mistakenly attribute the quote to the M5 computer instead of the creator, Richard Daystrom.

Notes

  • Hodges suggests to Henry that he should maybe avoid parking garages, as bad things seem to happen to him there. This is likely alluding to the season ten episode Appendicitement, when he, Greg and Nick kidnapped Henry on his birthday when he was walking to his car.

Trivia

  • The two 'field mice' teens, Lucas Gabreel and Cassi Thomson, later reunited as regulars on the ABC family series Switched at Birth.
  • The episode bears a similar name to the season seven episode Lab Rats, which also focused on Hodges and Wendy. The episode also included the song "Mr. Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra.
    • On a similar note, Hodges tells the cadets that "you always get something from Trace," a line he also uttered in the season eight episode You Kill Me when he was designing a board game.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 10
Family AffairGhost TownWorking StiffsCoup de GraceBloodsportDeath & The MaidenThe Lost GirlsLover's LanesAppendicitementBetter Off DeadSin City BlueLong BallInternal CombustionUnshockableNeverlandThe Panty SnifferIrradiatorField MiceWorld's EndTake My Life, Please!Lost & FoundDoctor WhoMeat Jekyll
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