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Fight Night
Fight.jpg
Season 3
Number 7
Writer Andrew Lipsitz,
Naren Shankar
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate November 14, 2002
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Previous Episode: The Execution of Catherine Willows
Next Episode: Snuff

Fight Night is the seventh episode in Season Three of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Grissom, Sara and Warrick investigate when a boxer dies in the ring during 'Fight Night'. Nick quickly solves a robbery at a jewelry store in the casino where the fight is taking place, but finds reason not to close the case just yet. Catherine investigates when a gang member is shot in a parking lot just outside the casino.

Plot

It's Fight Night at the Venetian, with LaRoi "The Fists Of" Steele going head-to-head with Javier Molina. While an A-list couple makes their way to their seats, a young man runs from the casino with a gang of men quickly chasing after him.

When the next round of the fight begins, Javier attacks LaRoi with a fury until LaRoi is knocked to his knees. With LaRoi knocked out, the fight is over; however, his staff and the medical team are unable to revive him.

Grissom and Warrick arrive ringside and question why they've been called to the scene; after all, boxers have died in the ring before. Brass informs them that LaRoi Steele went from a favorite to an underdog hours before the fight, which would signify fight fixing. Fight fixing, Grissom says, is a felony, and a death during a felony is murder.

Before they start processing, Grissom gets a message on his pager—Catherine and Det. Vega are outside in the parking lot, where a member of the 10th Street Vandals gang has been killed. Det. Vega notes that the gang is from Los Angeles, but the fight brings people in from all over. It's hard to tell whether the murder is part of a gang war or just an isolated incident. Conveniently, there are no witnesses. Grissom notices a flyer on the ground next to the body promoting the fight.

As the briefing concludes, Grissom receives another page. This one is from Nick, who's back inside the casino at the scene of a smash-and-grab in the jewelry store. In the store, Mack Ramsey and his wife are arguing with a clerk, with Mrs. Ramsey refusing to give back her diamond necklace. According to Nick, only one person is responsible for the robbery; he waited for the manager to be alone, knocked her down, and made off with the loot. Sara arrives and is instructed to work the LaRoi Steele case, while Nick is allowed to work his case solo, as the team is tapped out. Welcome...to Fight Night.

Victim: LaRoi Steele (deceased)

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

Sara and Warrick collect everything in the ring in an attempt to find anything that could've been used to give Javier an advantage during the fight. They have a discussion about boxing (two guys beating each other to death? Or is it a sport and a discipline?). Sara finds LaRoi's spit bucket and has to smile to repress her gag reflex.

Grissom and Brass interview the referee, who says that the two fighters hated each other and had fought two times before. However, there was nothing on the line tonight except for pride. He tells them that LaRoi Steele had won the first two fights between the two and that he didn't notice anything out of the ordinary in this fight.

Grissom speaks with Adelle Cross, the fight's promoter. She claims that she spent years hyping up both fighters and that the events that took place are nothing but a tragedy. Grissom notices pictures of Javier Molina's face from previous fights that he used for motivation. He also finds Javier's boxing gloves in the garbage, which he bags as evidence. His attention turns to drops of something in Javier's locker, which he says is mercury.

Sara and Warrick interview Javier, who's in the process of giving his urine sample to the boxing commissioner. Sara swabs Javier's hands, and the fighter says that there's no way he wanted the fight to go like this, as killing a man in the ring is now his legacy. He tells them that LaRoi shouldn't have been allowed to fight another round, and that he kept hitting him because the referee never called the fight. Boxers, Javier says, fight until they're told not to.

Warrick calls Brass and tells him to look closer at the referee. Meanwhile, EMT Hank Peddigrew stops Sara and lets her know that he was in the ambulance that transported Javier to the hospital. They checked vitals, fixed him up, and cut off his hand wraps. Sara finds mercury on the wraps and Hank tells her that the EMTs don't use mercury in their instruments.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that LaRoi had massive soft tissue damage and severe facial fractures. Grissom notes that a punch can travel at 1,000 pounds per square inch; the energy of the punch compounds the brain against the skull, eventually leading to a knockout. He sees that there's heavy bruising under the chin, and Doc Robbins says that it's the cause of a massive vertical hit to the chin; sudden rotation of the neck tears a vertebral artery and blood pours out into the surrounding soft tissue. A tox report shows that LaRoi had sufentanil, a sedative, in his system. Grissom wonders if someone helped the fighter take a dive.

It's discovered that the referee's cousin made money off of the fight by betting on Javier Molina when the fighter was an underdog. When questioned by Brass, the referee denies any involvement in helping fix the fight.

In the lab, Greg tells Grissom and Warrick that only sweat was found on Javier's boxing glove; however, the cotton swab retrieved from LaRoi's corner tests positive for sufentanil. Warrick and Brass talk to Art Kreiger, LaRoi's cut man. He says that he stood to gain from LaRoi winning the fight, so there's no reason why he would help him lose. They note that Javier trains at the same gym where they're talking to Art, so perhaps this was Art's way of getting on Javier's team. Brass hands Art a warrant for his bag, and Warrick finds sufentanil in a bottle of coagulant in the kit.

A search of Javier's medical history reveals that he has a chronic stomach condition and is medically cleared to treat it with mercury. Meanwhile, Warrick tells Grissom that the prints on Art's sufentanil bottle actually came back to Gerry Barone, LaRoi's manager.

Under interrogation, Gerry claims that he was trying to save LaRoi. It turns out that LaRoi had been beaten badly in his last victory over Javier and was showing signs of future brain damage. However, Gerry couldn't stop LaRoi from fighting him again, as he had taught the fighter to never give up. Slowing him down might have been the only way to stop him from dying in the ring.

Sara and Warrick watch a video of the press conference leading up to the fight, and Sara notes that LaRoi was slurring his speech. They then watch the fight itself and see that LaRoi kept dropping his shoulder during the bout, a sign of brain damage. Sara thinks that every one of LaRoi's past opponents helped contribute to his death.

Doc Robbins informs Sara and Warrick that LaRoi suffered tripod orbital fractures, which essentially resulted in the flattening of his face. This means he was struck with an extremely powerful blow, which couldn't be caused by normal boxing gloves; however, an examination of Javier's gloves turned up nothing suspicious. Greg interrupts and tells them that the epithelials found on Javier's gloves don't match LaRoi, which means they aren't the gloves used in the fight.

Warrick breaks open Javier's locker and finds another pair of boxing gloves that look like they're brand new. He spots three red dots on the bottom of the locker; under closer inspection, the dots are little specks of red leather. Meanwhile, Grissom finds some more mercury, and notes that mercury is a vapor at room temperature. They examine the gym Javier practices in and find mercury vapor coming off of one of the punching bags.

Meanwhile, in the lab, Sara reconstructs the wraps that Javier was wearing the night of the fight. She finds Adelle Cross' signature on the them. Sara and Brass interrogate Adelle, who says it's her job to sign the wraps and the gloves used in the fight and watch them get put on to avoid anything shady going on. However, the gloves recovered weren't the ones used in the fight. When pressed, she admits that she didn't watch Javier "glove up," meaning he could've switched the gloves when nobody was around.

Warrick tells Grissom that fighters have been known to inject things into their gloves to increase punching power. Sara informs them that the pieces of leather found in Javier's locker are the same size as a 14-gauge needle, meaning the mercury was injected into the gloves. She questions whether a few ounces of mercury would be enough to cause the damage to LaRoi's face, and Grissom answers with an experiment. They lace Warrick up with regular boxing gloves and have him punch a target. Warrick is then given boxing gloves loaded up with mercury and asked to repeat his moves. While they're able to register PSI with the regular gloves, the mercury-loaded gloves overload the system.

In the interrogation room, Javier insists that boxing is a combat sport that sometimes results in death. Sara tells Javier that he injected the mercury in his gloves, turning LaRoi's death into a murder. Warrick notes that Javier kept his gloves to his side during the fight because they were heavy due to being filled with mercury. With each punch, the mercury eventually got forced to the tip of the glove and onto Javier's hand wraps. The mercury also got into Javier's system; the urine that he gave the boxing commission after the fight tested positive for mercury. Javier responds that he takes mercury for his stomach condition, but Warrick informs him that they found mercury everywhere but in his stomach. After the fight, he had his wraps removed and had different boxing gloves placed with them in case questions arose. Warrick guesses that after losing to LaRoi twice, he wanted to beat him to a pulp in front of everyone. Javier replies that that's boxing, but Brass tells him it's murder.

Victim: Unidentified gang member (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Sam Vega

Catherine and Det. Vega survey the parking lot, where she finds a shell casing next to a car; not far from the casing is a gun. Vega finds another gun nearby, while Catherine comes across a third gun dumped onto the front seat of a convertible. Vega notes that dumping the guns means they can't be traced back to the individual gang members. The gun in the convertible is a high-end Smith & Wesson, quite the upscale gun for a gang member.

In the lab, Bobby Dawson tells Catherine that all of the bullets taken from the victim are from the same gun. However, the bullets don't match the guns recovered in the parking lot. Under the microscope, Catherine sees that there's a foreign substance on one of the shell casings and believes that it could be biological, something trace may be able to confirm.

Since none of the guns recovered at the scene match any of the bullets, Catherine posits that the shooter kept his weapon. This also means that the shooter may have used the weapon before, something confirmed by Bobby when he runs the bullet against the national database. As it turns out, the bullet is tied to a gang murder in Los Angeles from two years ago. The gang is the Snakebacks, and the name tied to it is Timothy 'Tiny Tim' Fontaine, who was released after there wasn't enough evidence to convict him.

Catherine and Vega are able to find where 'Tiny Tim' is staying, but his hotel room is clean. As they're walking by the pool, Vega spots another member of the Snakebacks: Jerome 'The Man' Anderson. Jerome is famous for being a former gang member and elevating his life to being a successful record producer, clothing designer, and sports agent. He's also one of the people the viewer saw at the beginning of the episode walking through the casino and chasing down the deceased. When questioned, he claims that he doesn't know where 'Tiny Tim' is. Catherine notices a burn mark on his neck, and Jerome explains that he burned himself and forgot about it.

In the interrogation room, Catherine swabs Jerome's mouth for DNA. She believes that Jerome fired his gun sideways, making the shell casing fly up and hit him, explaining the mark on his neck. However, his lawyer says that this only proves Jerome was in the vicinity of the shooting, not that he actually fired the gun. Jerome tells Catherine that the more the police harass him, the more street cred he gets.

Catherine gets all of Jerome's clothes delivered to the lab. Grissom stops by and she informs him that 'Tiny Tim' is likely back in California, having disposed of the evidence along the way. This means the only way they can connect Jerome to the murder is by his clothing. Just then, Vega comes in and lets Catherine know that they found 'Tiny Tim.' At the scene, he's propped up against a fence with a gunshot wound and a 10 of Spades playing card sticking out of his shirt—a calling card for the 10th Street Vandals. There's a .380 automatic handgun next to the body, which Catherine notes is his favorite weapon. She also figures the gun likely traces back to the original murder.

A flashback shows the earlier victim from the 10th Street Vandals accidentally stepping on Jerome's shoe while he was sitting watching the fight. Jerome and his crew followed him outside, confronted him, and shot him. 'Tiny Tim' was shot in retribution by one of the 10th Street Vandals. Catherine and Vega agree that gang members shooting each other is a circular pattern with no end.

Victims: Jewelry store manager (alive)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Ray O'Riley

Nick finds blood in the jewelry store display case, indicating that the perpetrator cut himself in the act. The manager hands him the manifest of what was stolen, with the item highlighted on the list being a necklace loaned to Mrs. Ramsey for the fight. She had also brought a ring in to be cleaned, which was one of the items stolen. The Ramseys refuse to leave the store until the ring is returned, but Nick tells the manager that this issue is out of his area of expertise. Nick then calls Det. O'Riley and tells him to contact hospitals to see if anyone was admitted with a forearm laceration.

Det. O'Riley is able to locate Randy Watkins, who's in the emergency room with a cut on his right forearm. Nick notices a new gold watch on Randy's wrist and O'Riley places him under arrest.

Nick tells the Ramseys that they recovered all of the stolen jewelry, including their ring. However, Mack tells his wife that the ring she's holding isn't the ring that he got her; it's a different cut. Nick ensures the couple that he matched every piece of stolen jewelry to the manifest, but Mack insists that it's not his wife's ring. Mack accuses Nick of switching the rings and goes to fill out a complaint form at the front desk.

In the lab, Nick swabs the ring and removes its diamond. Comparing the diamond from the ring and a diamond sample he has on hand, he finds that they're not identical; the diamond from the ring is a fake, as it refracts light differently. He confronts Mrs. Ramsey in the casino and guesses that she knows it's a fake. She blames the thief for switching it out, which Nick denies. Nick tells her that before the store cleaned the ring, he swabbed it for DNA. The thought is that she switched the diamond out a long time ago because her husband didn't know anything about it. Mrs. Ramsey tries to appeal to Nick's Texas roots and hopes he lets her off the hook, but Nick tells her that filing a false insurance claim is a felony. He threatens to have an insurance adjuster go to her house and see how much of her jewelry is fake. Mrs. Ramsey gives up, and Nick tells her the next time she finds herself in a hole to stop digging.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Christopher Wiehl as Hank Peddigrew
  • Skip O'Brien as Detective Ray O'Riley
  • Geoffrey Rivas as Detective Sam Vega
  • Gerald McCullouch as Bobby Dawson
  • Terry Bozeman as Attorney Brad Lewis
  • Joseph Patrick Kelly as Officer Joe Metcalf
  • Roma Maffia as Adelle Cross
  • Khalil Kain as Jerome 'The Man' Anderson
  • Greg Serano as Javier Molina
  • Jennifer Aspen as Mrs. Ramsey
  • Ron Canada as Gerry Barone
  • Richard Biggs as Anderson's Attorney
  • Rick Aiello as Boxing Referee
  • Ryan Cutrona as Art Kreiger, Cut Man
  • Marty Rackham as Mack Ramsey
  • Gary Carlos Cervantes as Molina's Chief Trainer
  • Dawn Marie Church as Jewelry Store Manager
  • Peter Cunningham as LaRoi Steele
  • Rick Fitzgerald as Randy James
  • Charley Rossman as Officer Beltran
  • Mikaela Brownas Girlfriend (uncredited)
  • Patrick A. Horton as Nevada Gaming Commissioner (uncredited)
  • Robert Paul Lewis as Nevada Gaming Commissioner (uncredited)
  • Shane Russeck as Corner Man (uncredited)
  • Larnell Stovall as Timothy 'Tiny Tim' Fontaine (uncredited)
  • Ernesto Trinidad as Ringside Photographer (uncredited)

Goofs

  • The jewelry store thief is identified by Nick and Det. O'Riley as "Randy Watkins." However, in the credits, the character is named "Randy James."

Music

  • Basstrap by Overseer

Notes

  • All of the crimes take place at the same casino (the Venetian).
  • Sara can't handle dealing with saliva. She smiles to control her gag reflex when dealing with the spit bucket.

Trivia

  • The boxing sequence was produced at L.A.'s Olympic Auditorium.[1]
  • As the viewer is about to hear the intro music for the show, Grissom's pager goes off. After the pager goes off a third time, it's then that the intro music goes into full swing. From TV.com:

    "This is the first (and possibly only) time thus far that the pre-title sequence opener was used to mislead the audience. If you listen carefully, the telltale music used to signify the transition between opener and opening sequence begins playing during Grissom's last few bits of dialog in the boxing-ring crime scene, but stops when he gets a page. No doubt that many viewers thought the show was going to start at this point, only to be surprised as the opener continued longer than usual, to show just how busy the team will be in the episode."

References

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

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box
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