Freaks & Geeks
Freaks and Geeks
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; the tarp's pristine condition indicates that it was likely carried and placed there. There are long needles sticking out of her arms, which were inserted with precision to minimize bleeding and maximize pain. It appears the victim was tortured.

All of the needles inserted into the victim are 20-gauge 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 unable to be identified through the Missing Persons database, which the team finds odd since the evidence suggests that she was abducted weeks ago. Doc Robbins can't immediately label a cause of death, and he tells Catherine and Russell that the victim's scarring indicates that she suffered a prolonged period of abuse. Scar tissue in the wound tracts indicates that the needles were inserted into the skin in the exact same spots repeatedly.

The woman had a knee implant, which gets them a name: Rachel Grier. When filled in about the ongoing case, Rachel’s sister, Dr. Jennifer Grier, says that she and Rachel had a falling out and hadn't spoken in years. Her daughter Silvia, however, reveals that she had lunch with Rachel a few days ago; Rachel reportedly 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 while some people are born "freaks," Rachel needed a little help in order to perform and enhance performance. However, since no Propofol was 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. After she lost the baby, she wanted to try again, something Joshua refused to do. He denies killing Rachel, saying that their love was immesaurable.

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

Willie's cause of death is labeled as massive internal hemorrhaging due to an inch-and-a-half laceration and perforation of the stomach wall. The object that punctured his stomach actually did so from the inside, and it's believed that a sword was the culprit. As part of his act, Willie swallowed strange items, so Greg and Nick go through his 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's surprisingly 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 in order to keep the show running and protect Joshua from the outside world. 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