Flight Risk
Flight Risk
Season 7
Number 18
Writer Sunil Nayar
Director Joe Chappelle
Original Airdate March 16, 2009
Previous Episode: Divorce Party
Next Episode: Target Specific

Flight Risk is the eighteenth episode in Season Seven of CSI: Miami.


When a stewardess is found stabbed on a plane, the CSIs learn all the dirty secrets of air travel.


A horrific sight greets passengers waiting for their luggage from Pathways Flight 88 from San Diego: the body of flight attendant Suzanne Grady is tossed out with the baggage from the flight. While Ryan questions several passengers, Dr. Price finds Suzanne's body in sad shape: she has broken bones, torn hair and a clipped carotid artery, which caused her to bleed out. Tara also smells alcohol leading her to conclude Suzanne was inebriated at the time she died. After determining Suzanne was stowed in a water ski case, Ryan goes to take a look at the route the luggage took from the plane to the carousel. Arterial spray along the route proves that Suzanne died while her body was thrown against a sharp edge while on the baggage mover. In the morgue, Kyle Harmon prepares Suzanne's body for autopsy and Tara finds traces of a French prescription drug called Dormal in Suzanne's system, leading her to run a sex kit on the flight attendant. Kyle notices a cigarette burn on the woman's hand. Calleigh and Delko retrieve the cigarette from the plane's bathroom and prints on it lead them to Marvin Duffy, who admits to sneaking a smoke in the plane's restroom and being caught by Suzanne, but denies killing her over the incident. He claims she burned her hand when she went looking for the cigarette. Natalia and Ryan return to the plane and find an entrance to the baggage stow from the front of the plane, along with hair from Suzanne. When they check the passenger manifest, they learn only one man was sitting there: Aaron Nolan, the federal air marshal. When Horatio and Tripp bring him in for questioning, he refuses to take off his weapon, and tells the pair that he went to help a passenger in distress when the plane hit turbulence, leaving the front of the plane unguarded. Calleigh and Delko go back to the plane and find another flight attendant named Carolyn Morrow cleaning out the first class area, which was the area Suzanne was in charge of. Picking up on Carolyn's jealousy of Suzanne, the two take the trash bag from her to go over in the lab.

Horatio and Valera come up with a hit from the military database for DNA from Suzanne's sex kit: the pilot of the plane, Grant Lawson. The married pilot admits to sleeping with Suzanne and noticed she was upset about something the last time they hooked up, but says that their relationship wasn't that deep. On the plane, Natalia and Ryan discover the secret hatch leading up to Lawson and Suzanne's love nest above the plane: a romper room completely isolated from the rest of the plane. Natalia discovers two Dormal pills among Suzanne's luggage in the room. Calleigh and Tripp talk to Jenna York, another flight attendant, who says that Suzanne was still drunk from partying the night before the flight and was worried about being caught by Carolyn. Jenna also mentions that Suzanne had a stalker, and hands over a picture of Suzanne sleeping with the words "I enjoyed watching you sleep" written on the back of it. Calleigh runs the handwriting sample against those from the flight's luggage tags and gets a match to Marvin Duffy. Duffy admits to being totally infatuated with Suzanne and that he attempted to draw her attention by smoking after noticing her acting more relaxed than she had in the past, but he insists he didn't kill her. Perusing photos Duffy took of Suzanne, the team finds pictures of Suzanne partying with Carolyn Morrow. Delko questions the flight attendant, who admits to spiking an already drunk Suzanne's soda with more alcohol so that she would be hung over the next day. Carolyn insists she didn't kill the girl. In the lab, Ryan and Horatio go over the trash Carolyn collected and find a neck pillow from the plane that's been emptied of its stuffing. Horatio finds a few Dormal pills inside, leading him to realize someone was smuggling the drug on the plane.

Horatio's suspicions fall on Aaron Nolan, who could have gotten the drug on the plane. Tripp and Horatio try to get the man to admit who he gave the supply of drugs to, but he refuses to offer up any information. They arrest him for drug trafficking while Natalia and Delko return to the plane. They discover blood on the door to one of the overhead compartments in the front of the plane, leading them to suspect it belongs to Suzanne's killer. The DNA matches flight attendant Jenna York. The blood places Jenna near the access hatch Suzanne was dumped down during the turbulence, but they don't have anything to directly link her to the murder until Horatio thinks to check Suzanne's uniform and finds a gravitational blood drop from Jenna on it. Horatio has the guilty flight attendant brought in: she was working with Aaron Nolan to smuggle drugs and Suzanne came upon her stash. Not realizing Aaron was involved, Suzanne told Aaron about the drugs. The Federal Marshal turned around and told Jenna to take care of Suzanne. Jenna drugged Suzanne, waited until she passed out, dragged her to the access hatch, tossed her down and stashed her in the water ski case, figuring that once she was discovered in the luggage, no one would believe her story about Jenna and the drugs. Her intention was never to kill Suzanne. Both Jenna and Aaron are arrested and taken away, while Kyle slides Suzanne's body into the drawer at the morgue.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]


  • The episode's inspiration appears to be the unsolved murder of Susan Taraskiewicz, an airport employee who fought a lot of sexual and misogynistic harassment to be the second woman in the highest position she reached. She was found dead in the trunk of her car after she didn't come back for a lunch break and colleagues clocked her out of her shift. One suspected motive of fatally stabbing her is a later revealed credit card fraud ring within her workplace, which she presumably could've blown the whistle on in a report. Susan, sadly, doesn't have justice from the killer(s) never being identified to this day.

See Also[]

CSI:Miami Season 7
ResurrectionWon't Get Fueled AgainAnd How Does That Make You Kill?Raging CannibalBombshellWrecking CrewCheating DeathGone Baby GonePower TripThe DeLuca MotelTipping PointHead CaseAnd They're OffedSmoke Gets in Your CSI'sPresumed GuiltySink or SwimDivorce PartyFlight RiskTarget SpecificWolfe in Sheep's ClothingChip/TuckDead on ArrivalCollateral DamageDissolvedSeeing Red