Freaks & Geeks
Freaks and Geeks.jpg
Season 12
Number 6
Writer Christopher Barbour
Director Alec Smight
Original Airdate November 2, 2011
Previous Episode: CSI Down
Next Episode: Brain Doe

Freaks & Geeks is the sixth episode in season twelve of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


When the CSIs find a dead woman who has had needles sadistically pushed through her skin, they must find who did it. Their investigation takes them to a traveling sideshow and finally leads to an unlikely suspect.


Victim: Rachel Grier (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, D.B. Russell, Greg Sanders, Morgan Brody, Nick Stokes, Jim Brass

A young woman is shown being strapped into a chair by two masked assailants and tortured with needles. Her body is later found wrapped in a tarp, and there are long needles sticking out of her arms. They were inserted with precision to minimize bleeding and maximize pain.

All of the needles inserted into the victim are 20-guage hypodermic needles, except for one barbecue skewer. Morgan removes the skewer and finds some black trace on it that later comes back as candle wax. She and Catherine observe that the needles are all inserted approximately three inches apart, indicating that this may be some sort of ritual.

The victim is not identified through the Missing Persons database, and Doc Robbins is unable to immediately label a cause of death. The doc tells Catherine and Russell that the victim's scarring indicates that she suffered a prolonged period of abuse. Evidence shows that the needles were inserted into the skin in the exact same spot repeatedly.

The woman had a knee implant, which gets them a name: Rachel Grier. They speak to Rachel’s sister, Dr. Jennifer Grier, who says she hasn’t spoken to Rachel in years. Her daughter Silvia, however, says that she had lunch with Rachel a few days ago. She says her aunt wanted to mend fences and come home. The two met at the Tangiers, but Greg finds out that Rachel wasn't registered there. Tox reports on Rachel show that she had Lidocaine in her system, which is an anesthetic. It was injected directly into the tissue surrounding the needles at a therapeutic level, so someone was using an anesthetic before torturing Rachel.

There’s a painting on the tarp that has been covered with new paint, and Nick uses optical microscopy to discover the image beneath. It looks like a woman with flames in the same places as the needles in Rachel’s arms. The woman looks like a human candelabra and, through an image search, Morgan finds the website for Major Willie’s Rambling Carnival and Curious Extravaganza. It’s in Vegas, and Catherine, Nick and Russell head there to check out the "Magnificent Femmistopheles: Empress of Pain," aka "The Human Candelabra." Major Willie identifies Rachel as ‘Femmistopheles’, but he doesn’t seem too choked up to learn that she’s dead. It isn’t a surprise, he says, considering how the rest of the world views people like them.

Nick and Russell process Rachel's tent and find a chair covered in blood. However, there's no void pattern in the blood, meaning she might have been tortured somewhere else. A search of Rachel's dressing room turns up bags of blood, bottles of Lidocaine and evidence that she was sleeping with someone. In the lab's break room, Russell theorizes to Catherine that Rachel wanted to leave the travelling show and reconnect with her sister, something Major Willie likely wouldn't allow.

Rachel's tox panel shows that she was killed with Propofol, which in a large enough dose, can paralyze the diaphragm and cause a person to suffocate. Willie, whose real name is Steven Watt, is licensed to practice body modifications and piercings, which would also give him access to the pharmaceuticals found in Rachel's tent. He tells Nick and Russell that Rachel need a little help in order to perform and enhance performance; however, no Propofol is found at the carnival. Willie is released.

The bags of blood found in the tent as well as the blood on the torture chair all come back to Rachel. However, the hormone levels in the blood indicate that Rachel was pregnant as recently as two weeks ago. They also find blood and semen in her bed, and the semen belongs to someone with Proteus syndrome — the Elephant Man in the show, Joshua Helm. In interrogation, Joshua tells Catherine and Russell that Rachel wanted them to leave the show together, but he knew he couldn’t live a normal life the way she could. She lost the baby, but she wanted to try again. He refused, but he denies killing her.

Willie is found dead, staged to look like he was hanged. Rachel’s niece, Silvia, is caught fleeing the scene, and she tells Catherine she just wanted to see the life her aunt was living. She felt a connection to the woman, and she stumbled into the tent and found Willie hanging there. The other people from the show saw her and looked at her like she was responsible, so she ran.

Willie cause of death is labeled as massive internal hemorrhaging due to an inch-and-a-half laceration and perforation of the stomach wall. The thing that punctured his stomach actually did so from the inside. As part of his act, he swallowed strange items, so Greg and Nick go through the man’s stomach contents and find a nipple ring still attached to the nipple. The nipple ring has the Gemini zodiac sign, so they assume it belongs to one of the men at the carnival who goes by the name Zodiac. However, his nipples are intact.

When they check everyone else from the show, they discover that Sergio the Strong is missing a nipple. His real name is Seth Helm, and he is Joshua’s fraternal twin brother. Their mother died in childbirth, and their father abandoned them. When his brother started to change, they knew their only shot was to join a show like this. He says Willie was better than most when it came to his brother, until he convinced Seth to help cover up Rachel’s death. He assumed that Willie killed Rachel and pushed him while he was practicing sword-swallowing. This injured him internally, and he bit off Seth’s nipple in a struggle before he died. Seth thought if he made it look like a suicide, it would all go away. He coughs up a bottle of Propofol as his proof that Willie killed Rachel.

Russell notes that men like Willie are the consummate con artists, capable of convincing anyone to do anything. Since this is the case, Willie should've been able to convince Rachel to stay with the show instead of just killing her.

The bottle of Propofol traces back to Rachel's sister, Jennifer. Under interrogation, she tells Catherine that Sylvia always looked up to her Aunt Rachel. When Rachel tried to reinsert herself into their lives by using Sylvia, Jennifer snapped and killed her. She wanted to keep the "freak" out of her daughter's life and insists that Sylvia is now safe from the "monsters" in the world. Catherine agrees.


Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Jon Wellner as Henry Andrews
  • Suzanne Cryer as Dr. Jennifer Grier
  • Skyler Day as Silvia Grier
  • Kevin McNally as Steven Watt
  • Paul Hodge as Joseph Merrick
  • Tug Coker as Seth Helm
  • Tim Dax as Zodiac
  • Kitty Crystal as Carney
  • Jenny Parsinen as Rachel Grier
  • Lewis T. Powell as Uniformed Officer
  • Cassandra M. Bellantoni as Carnival Goer (uncredited)
  • Verona Blue as Lizard Girl (uncredited)

Episode Title

  • The title of the episode can refer to the television show of the same name (written Freaks and Geeks). The show, which only lasted for 18 episodes in 1999-2000, launched several of its young actors' careers, such as James Franco, Seth Rogen and Jason Segel (who appeared earlier in CSI as a lab tech).


  • Integratron by Dengue Fever


  • Jorja Fox (Sara) is credited but does not appear in this episode.
  • Morgan has been cleared to come back to work after her experience in the previous episode CSI Down.


  • Kevin McNally, who played Steven Watt (aka Major Willie) in this episode, also played Mr. Gibbs in Pirates of the Caribbean, another Jerry Bruckheimer production.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 12
73 SecondsTell-Tale HeartsBittersweetMaid ManCSI DownFreaks & GeeksBrain DoeCrime After CrimeZipperedGenetic DisorderMs. Willows RegretsWillows in the WindTressed to KillSeeing RedStealing HomeCSI UnpluggedTrends with BenefitsMalice in WonderlandSplit DecisionsAltered StakesDune and GloomHomecoming