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Fur and Loathing
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Season 4
Number 5
Writer Jerry Stahl
Director Richard J. Lewis
Original Airdate October 30, 2003
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Previous Episode: Feeling the Heat
Next Episode: Jackpot

Fur and Loathing is the fifth episode in season four of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

A grisly collision between a car and an eighteen-wheeler leads to a murder investigation at a furry convention. Meanwhile, a man is found dead in a freezer in an apparent robbery-homicide.

Plot

Victims: Linda Jones (deceased), Robert Pitt (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Gil Grissom, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

On a dimly lit stretch of road, Linda Jones is driving and looking for something. She suddenly collides with something, causing a loud thud. As she looks back to see what she hit, she swerves into oncoming traffic, and collides with an 18-wheeler truck. Later that night, while officers investigate the truck driver, Grissom and Catherine follow Linda's tire tracks and see that she was braking for quite a while. They see a set of extremely large animal paw prints leading off the road, and find another victim: a man in a raccoon fursuit.

The next day, Grissom and Willows further investigate the "raccoon". Willows reveals that she once dated a Detroit Lions mascot, while David Phillips is reminded of a children's show he once loved that starred a raccoon character. Grissom determines that the raccoon's cause of death was blunt force trauma by motor vehicle, implying that he was the "thud" that Linda Jones hit before her death. They also find a piece of blue fur in the raccoon's mouth.

The man in the raccoon suit revealed to be an Alcoholics Anonymous participant. While cutting the man out of his costume, a great deal of blood spills out, as it had nowhere else to escape; the forensics team finds a high-velocity bullet wound, thus adding to the man's injuries.

In the lab, the blue fur found in the mouth is confirmed synthetic, and the raccoon is identified as Robert Pitt, who was court-ordered to join AA after being arrested for driving under the influence. A sample of Pitt's digestive system reveals he had no alcohol in him, but rather ipecac (an emetic) and civet oil (an aphrodisiac).

Catherine and Brass search Robert's residence, where they find a bedroom full of raccoon stuffed animals, as well as a calendar with October 29-November 1, 2003, marked as a "PAF-Con" meeting at the Kings River Hotel. She and Grissom go to this PAF-Con - the Plushies and Furries Convention - looking for a "plushie" conventiongoer in bright blue fur to match the sample in the costume's mouth. Catherine is perplexed at the sight of the furries in the hotel lobby, while the fascinated Grissom looks at the situation philosophically and psychologically; the two continue this contrast throughout the episode. Grissom decides to attend a lecture.

At the convention, Grissom takes in the lecture, which centers on concepts of the difference between one's form and one's inner spirit or totem, and, during intermission, asks the person next to him if he recognizes Robert, which he doesn't. Catherine has similar bad luck with a man in the lobby clutching a stuffed dog. Finally, both gain leads. After Grissom buys a picture of "Rocky" (Robert Pitt) with another furry from a photo vendor, he finds two girls in blue costumes; Willows sees a third blue cat walking down a catwalk during a fashion show. Although this cat - "Sexy" - shows some initial playful resistance, hissing at her, all five (the three furries and the two scientists) meet in the lobby.

"Sexy" is brought in for questioning, and he reveals his real name to be Bud Simmons. Grissom recognizes the scent of civet oil on Bud's cat suit, and tells him that the costume may have had a part in Robert's death. Simmons admits that he and "Rocky" did partake in "skritching" - in this context, quasi-sexual caressing - and his costume is taken in for analysis. Robert's semen is found on the costume, as well as ipecac and civet oil.

In interrogation, Bud reluctantly admits that his actions that night led to a "furpile" and some "yiffing" - in short, an orgy - but denies that he was the one to apply the ipecac and civet oil to his fursuit. Catherine and Grissom make their way to a room at the convention where one such "furpile" is still going strong, and enter with a search warrant. Investigation of the fursuits of the participants reveals a wolf costume with ipecac and civet oil on its paws.

The suit's owner, Mr. Lee, is brought in for questioning. Through a number of animal metaphors, Lee explains his actions, first admitting that he indeed applied the mixture to Bud's "Sexy" costume. He reveals that "Rocky" couldn't get enough of "Sexy", and that apparently "Rocky" was a very promiscuous individual, as he believes all raccoons (or raccoon characters) to be. In fact, Robert stole "Linda Lamb", Lee's girlfriend and the woman who brought him into the furry fandom, from him at the previous year's convention. Mr. Lee then reveals the lamb's real name - the collision victim, Linda Jones. Catherine and Grissom check the trunk of Linda's wrecked car and indeed see the Linda Lamb costume. They form a new conclusion about Robert's death - that Linda, tired of Pitt's philandering with other fursuiters, shot him and left him for dead.

After mulling over the known facts, they determine that Robert was on the side of the road because of a lover's quarrel or "car fight" - because of the affair, either Linda kicked him out or he insisted on her letting him out of the car. The fact that Linda's car was heading back toward the hotel suggests to Catherine that she was looking for Robert again to make up. Although the gunshot wound is still unexplained, she finds a valet ticket that might prove valuable.

At the hotel, the valet identifies Linda and Robert, noting that she was angry at Robert and that he was "hammered." Flashbacks reveal the new hypothesis - Robert, still in costume, enters the car, sick from the ipecac. Linda believes he's gone back on alcohol, and the combination of this and his attendance in the furpile makes her extremely angry. Later on, she is mad because Robert is still too delirious or stubborn to remove the mask, and he insists on being let out of the car to vomit. The gunshot still remains unexplained.

Back at the location of Robert's death, Catherine and Grissom find the bullet, which struck from a very steep trajectory. They figure out that Robert was probably on all fours, and when they see a ranger truck driving along a cliff that would be the perfect location for the trajectory of the bullet, they consider the fact that he was not killed as a man but as an animal.

Catherine and Grissom identify the driver of the ranger truck, who, in recounting his night around the time of Linda's vehicle collision, states that he saw a "coyote" - Robert - at the side of the road and shot it to protect his own dogs.

The episode ends with Catherine and Grissom incredulous at the full scope of Robert's murder. A final flashback recounts the time after he left the car - doubled over in sickness, Robert is still throwing up when the ranger sees him and fires. Linda turns around to pick him up, and hits him as he crawls across the road. Catherine sums the incident up as a simple "domestic dispute gone mad," while Grissom calls it "Fur and Loathing in Las Vegas."

Victim: Al Sesto (deceased)

On the case: Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Sam Vega

At the Big & Best warehouse, a man, Al Sesto, is dead and frozen to the freezer floor. Nick and Sara determine the victim died trying to escape and was hit with a shotgun blast. In the next room, Det. Vega is investigating Petey, the night security guard at Big & Best. Caught in a lie about his whereabouts that night, he confesses to an extended time away from his post. While he was away, Al was murdered and six vending machines were broken into. He states that a man named George came by looking for Al before Petey left, and he ate his dinner when he returned. George's car remains in the parking lot, and Det. Vega investigates.

At the warehouse, Doc Robbins helps remove Al from the freezer floor by pouring boiling water from around the body. Nick looks at the blood spatter at the scene and takes a sample of a frozen blood drop and a shotgun pellet, then finds an unidentified black object and collects it. Sara, meanwhile, dusts for prints.

The black object in the Big & Best freezer is identified as a fragment of a shotgun stock. A gray substance on the fragment is identified as adhesive; the conclusion is that the shotgun owner attempted a very inexpensive repair of the gun's stock. Meanwhile, a man, George Bartell, enters the police department with blood on his hands, reporting a crime. Upon interrogation, he reveals that he sells expired ice cream for cash, and was going to let Al in on the scheme when they found someone smashing the candy machine. The gunman then brought Al and George to the freezer, shot Al, knocked out George and locked him in the trunk of his car. When George came to, he twisted a tire iron loose and opened the trunk to escape. George becomes a suspect, however, when a drop of blood is found on his pants; he is held for further questioning.

Looking over the situation in the warehouse and the single drop of blood on George's pants, Nick and Sara initiate an experiment, showing that although blood spatter at room temperature will stay largely adherent to the surface it hits. However, spatter in a freezer tends to freeze immediately and bounce off as a number of pellets. They surmise, then, that such a pellet hit George's pants and, given the angles, George could not be the shooter. While pondering the identity of the man behind the murder, they get word that George's clothing also had a number of paint chips on it, all dual layered - factory-applied burgundy car paint topped with cheap blue house paint. This, combined with the cheap adhesive found on the gun fragment, lower Nick and Sara's opinion of the killer.

The adhesive on the gunstock fragment is identified as granite surface adhesive. As there are few granite specialists in the area, this narrows the search for the gunman down considerably. A man named Virgil is brought in for questioning after being found in connection with both the car and the granite company. Despite the evidence, Virgil denies knowing Al Sesto, remains quiet and demands a lawyer.

George and Virgil see each other in the halls of the police department. Virgil, forgetting himself (and proving himself as dimwitted as the CSIs believed) explicitly admits to the murder by saying he "should have shot [George] in that freezer." George realizes his absentmindedness when he remembers everything he'd innocently told Virgil, including the vending machines and Petey's lax attendance on duty.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Wallace Langham as David Hodges
  • Geoffrey Rivas as Detective Sam Vega
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Willie Garson as Bud Simmons/Sexy Kitty
  • Patrick Fischler as Mr. Lee/Wolfie
  • Brad William Henke as George Bartell
  • Paul Francis as Rich
  • Todd Robert Anderson as Petey
  • Steven Barr as Ranger
  • Kim Robillard as Trucker
  • Chad Einbinder as Tiger
  • Evan Arnold as Robert Pitt/Rocky Raccoon
  • Traci L. Crouch as Linda Jones/Linda Lamb
  • Robert Baker as Virgil (uncredited)

Trivia

  • This episode has been criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of furries. It has even caused some to discourage others from dressing up in fursuits. A report defending furries was broadcast in response to this episode.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 4
Assume NothingAll For Our CountryHomebodiesFeeling the HeatFur and LoathingJackpotInvisible EvidenceAfter the ShowGrissom Versus the VolcanoComing of RageEleven Angry JurorsButterfliedSuckersPaper or PlasticEarly RolloutGetting OffXXBad To The BoneBad WordsDead RingerTurn of the ScrewsNo More BetsBloodlines
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