Getting Off
Season 4
Number 16
Writer Jerry Stahl
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate February 26, 2004
Previous Episode: Early Rollout
Next Episode: XX

Getting Off is the sixteenth episode in Season Four of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.


Grissom, Nick and Warrick investigate when a halfway house worker is found stabbed to death in a bad neighborhood. Meanwhile, Catherine and Sara investigate the death of a clown who was murdered and dumped in an area frequented by transvestites.


Victim: Ed Burnell (deceased)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Nick Stokes, Warrick Brown, Jim Brass

At night, a man drives through a section of Las Vegas that contains drug addicts, homeless people and prostitutes. He stops the car every twenty feet or so, seemingly asking questions, then continues driving onward. He finally stops the car, gets out, and starts walking toward another group of transients. Grissom and Brass are then shown leaning over the man, who has been stabbed in the chest several times. His wallet, watch and shoes are missing. The victim's car is also nowhere in sight. They wonder why someone as well-dressed and well-groomed as this man was in such a bad part of town.

As the onlookers gather, Warrick talks to one of the prostitutes; she tells him that the victim was nobody's customer, as her fellow prostitutes would've readily made themselves available to him. Grissom notes that they're still looking for the victim's car and that, conveniently, nobody saw it drive away.

In autopsy, Doc Robbins tells Grissom that he matched the victim's prints in the database, identifying the victim as Ed Burnell. The doc finds that Ed had cirrhosis of the liver and showed signs of alcohol and drug abuse. Ed had also received a liver transplant, which can only occur after the recipient has been clean and sober for at least one year. Grissom wonders if Ed relapsed into his old ways after receiving the new liver.

Warrick and Brass are called to another scene, where a junkie has crashed a car into a concrete barrier. The car belongs to Ed Burnell and the junkie is wearing expensive shoes that clearly aren't his. Grissom and Warrick visit the junkie, named Jamal, in the hospital, where Grissom tells him that he was driving a dead man's car. They inform Jamal that the evidence points to him murdering Ed, taking his shoes, and then taking his car. Jamal admits to getting high all day; when he's high, he can't see or hear anything. After the nurse administers morphine into Jamal's IV, he wonders aloud why a dead man would need shoes. Warrick wonders if this was a confession; Grissom thinks it's more of an insanity plea.

In the CSI garage, Warrick goes over Ed's car and finds an unwrapped condom with a fingerprint on it. Greg interrupts him and says that the blood on Jamal's clothes was his own, meaning that Jamal didn't kill Ed in the car. They wonder how a strung-out junkie like Jamal was able to pull Ed out of the car with only a knife and stab him six times. If Jamal was telling the truth about what he remembers, what was the motive for Ed's murder? Warrick finds a bag of powder on the floor of the car and wonders if it's the motive they're looking for. Greg runs tests on the powder and informs Grissom that it's not an opiate. He says that it's a substance he's never seen before and that the substance wasn't in the GCMS library.

While performing some research, Grissom is interrupted by Brass, who tells him that the tox report on Ed Burnell came back clean. Ed also worked at a recovery center. Grissom isn't surprised that Ed was clean; it turns out that the substance found in his car was a hallucinogen that can also cure physical addiction as a side effect. The substance, called ibogaine, is used by the Bwiti tribe of Central Africa and it comes from the powdered bark of a tree growing in Cameroon. They note that ibogaine isn't legal in the United States, and Brass says that Ed was either selling it as an addiction or as a cure—and he was dealing out of a halfway house.

Grissom and Brass visit the halfway house Ed was working at and talk to one of the workers. The worker insists that they don't give out illegal drugs like ibogaine and notes that if the user doesn't know why they started using drugs in the first place, nothing is going to make them stop. They come across Mindy DuPont, who is packing up her belongings and leaving, as the place reminds her of Ed. She departs despite the worker's insistence that she stay a little while longer. Grissom and Brass are shown a video of an addicted Mindy two months before; Ed helped her get clean. The worker says that Ed used to be an asset to the place until he started pushing ibogaine on everyone, whether they wanted it or not. "From one addiction to another," remarks Grissom.

Brass informs Grissom that there were three different prints found inside Ed's car—Ed's, Jamal's, and Mindy's. Brass wonders if Ed simply gave Mindy a ride, but Grissom tells him her print was found on the unwrapped condom. They visit Mindy's last known address, which turns out to be a crack house. After being let in by Riley Renaldo, they find a relapsed Mindy sitting stoned by herself. She admits that she had tried coming on to Ed, but Ed was intent on helping her. Ed had given her the ibogaine and, for a few moments, she didn't want to get high anymore. Grissom spots a knife nearby with blood on it and asks Mindy if she came back to the house to remember or to forget.

Mindy is brought in for interrogation; she's still a little too high to be cooperative. Grissom tells her that the knife they found had Ed's blood on it. Mindy's urine sample also shows that she had been using again for a while, not just recently after Ed's death. Grissom surmises that Ed was out looking for Mindy the night he was killed. He has Sara process Mindy; the results show no defensive wounds or bruising, which Sara finds odd since junkies usually bruise very easily.

Nick and Warrick go through Mindy's clothes and find no evidence of blood. This leaves Nick to wonder why she would go out of her way to get rid of her clothes but keep the bloody knife. Greg interrupts and tells them that the skin sample taken from Mindy's hair tested positive for Ed's blood, but the skin is from Riley Renaldo. Riley's current occupation is "apartment manager," leading Warrick to figure that Mindy paid for her rent in sex.

Grissom, Warrick and Brass pay another visit to the crack house and Riley opens the door. Brass guesses that Ed was bad for business; the more women Ed was able to cure, the less love Riley would get. After being told that Ed was looking for Mindy again, Riley knew where to find him. He stabbed him in the alley to stop him and stashed the knife amongst Mindy's things. Riley says they have no proof, but Grissom says that Ed's blood on his skin shows otherwise.

Back at the station, Grissom tells Mindy that she's free to go. "Go where?" she sadly replies, as she gets up to walk out.

Victim: Donny Zanko (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Sara Sidle, Chris Cavaliere

Catherine, Sara and Det. Chris Cavaliere are called to a junkyard, which Sara notes is a popular location for transvestites. They come up to a body that's been stuffed inside of a tire. The victim has a small cut on his forehead and, based on the fact that the victim is male and is wearing blush and lipstick, they figure that they're looking at a transvestite. Sara and Det. Cavaliere check out an abandoned bus nearby (aka, "the honeymoon suite"), but come up empty.

Catherine is teaching Greg how to run the scope, and he finds semen stains on the victim's underwear. He tells Catherine that he'll cut swatches out and run them in the DNA lab. In autopsy, Catherine and Sara find a fiber lodged in the victim's nostril and remove it as evidence. Petechial hemorrhaging suggests that the victim may have been strangled; however, there are no ligature marks. Sara collects something from under one of the fingernails that looks like silver paint. They note that the victim doesn't look like a showgirl and is too hairy for a drag queen. After turning off the lights, they run the ALS over the victim's face and observe that it appears to have been painted. Catherine remarks that it looks like clown makeup.

They pay a visit to Buddy Ween's Clown Agency; however, Buddy doesn't recognize the victim/clown from the autopsy photo. Sara flips through a book, and Buddy remarks that the book is a listing of all professional clowns; the numbers under their photos are registration numbers. He tells them that each clown's look is registered so that no two looks are the same (like snowflakes). Sara offers to bring the book back to the lab with them.

With the aid of a computer program, Catherine digitally adds makeup to the autopsy photo. Using this, Sara is able to find the clown's photo in the book they borrowed from Buddy Ween. Buddy identifies the victim as Doodles the Clown, whose real name is Donny Zanko. Donny, he tells them, was a mediocre birthday clown who was entertaining enough when he wasn't drinking. Buddy tells Catherine and Sara that the last gig he booked for Doodles was at a car wash a week ago. However, Sara informs him that "Doodles" died 48 hours earlier and that he had his clown makeup on. Apparently, he was working off the books.

Catherine and Sara visit Donny's apartment, where they find a girlie magazine and clown paraphernalia. Catherine plays three messages on the answering machine, one of which sounds threatening. Another message is from a taxi service; Sara notes that there's no clown costume in the closet and Catherine surmises that Donny, or "Doodles," booked a gig out of town. Catherine also offers to call Det. Cavaliere and have him pull the phone records.

Catherine and Det. Cavaliere talk to Al and Merrill Maguire, who had hired Doodles for their son's birthday party. During the performance, Doodles was interrupted by a mime. This wasn't part of the act, and the two got in a fistfight, ruining the party and the kid's birthday cake. However, because the mime paid for the damages, Al decided not to press any charges. Al did get the mime's business card, which identifies him by his real name, Joey Sizemore. He also says that he took all of the kids out for ice cream to help them forget the ordeal they just witnessed. Merrill tells them that since Doodles had been a good sport during the whole ordeal, she drove him home instead of having him call a cab.

Sara and Det. Cavaliere find Joey doing his routine on a sidewalk and interrogate him. Joey shows him the black eye he got from the fight and complains that every time he was booked for an event, Doodles horned in on his business and got hired, too. Tired of losing money to Doodles, Joey decided to get even. However, he claims that he didn't kill Doodles and that he has an alibi to prove it.

Catherine and Sara recap the case. The mime's alibi checked out, the semen stains on the boxer shorts have an unknown female contributor, and Merrill Maguire was apparently the last person to see Doodles alive. He was also suffocated, and yellow fibers were found up his nose. They visit the Maguire residence again and search inside the house. There are no signs of "clown sex" on the bed, but Catherine notices the pillowcases contain the same fibers that were found up Doodles' nose. Furthermore, one of the pillowcases doesn't match the rest of the set. They figure that Doodles was smothered with one of the pillows. Catherine says that, if this were the case, she would wash the pillowcase before throwing it out. Sure enough, Sara finds the pillowcase with the rest of the laundry; there's an imprint of a face on it. Meanwhile, Catherine finds Doodles' clown costume stuffed inside one of the dresser drawers.

The Maguires are brought into the station for questioning. Catherine tells Merrill that the female contribution on the boxer shorts was hers. It's also revealed that Merrill hires clowns for events at least six times per year. A flashback shows Merrill having sex with Doodles. Her husband caught them in the act and suffocated Doodles with the pillow. They then removed the clown outfit and dumped Doodles in an area frequented by transvestites in the hopes that it would all go away. When asked why she kept the clown outfit, Merrill replies that it successfully helped spice up their dull sex life.


Main Cast[]

Guest Cast[]

  • José Zúniga as Detective Chris Cavaliere
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Nicholas Lea as Chris Bezich
  • Paul Dooley as Buddy Ween
  • Heather Kafka as Mindy DuPont
  • Judith Hoag as Merill Maguire
  • Rocco Sisto as Riley 'Boom Boom' Renaldo
  • Joe Chrest as Al Maguire
  • Keram Malicki-Sánchez as Jamal
  • Debra Wilson as Divine
  • Matthew Walker as Joey Sizemore, The Mime
  • James Russo as Sinclair
  • Kevin C. Carr as Donny 'Doodles' Zanko
  • Ross Partridge as Ed Burnell


  • This is the first appearance of José Zúniga as Detective Chris Cavaliere.


  • Debra Wilson played Divine, the prostitute Warrick talked to early in the episode. She would reprise the role in two future episodes, 4 x 4 (Season 5) and Go to Hell (Season 7). Debra is perhaps most recognized for performing on the sketch comedy show MADtv for eight seasons.

See Also[]

CSI:Las Vegas Season 4
XX >
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