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Girls Gone Wilder
Girls Gone Wilder.jpg
Season 15
Number 5
Writer Treena Hancock
Director Frank Waldeck
Original Airdate October 26, 2014
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Previous Episode: The Book of Shadows
Next Episode: The Twin Paradox

Girls Gone Wilder is the fifth episode in season fifteen of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

Finn, Morgan and Sara try to relax at a forensics conference, but a mass shooting occurs on site.

Plot

Victim: Paul Carson (deceased)

On the case: D.B. Russell, Greg Sanders

AND

Victims: multiple victims (wounded/deceased)

On the case: Julie Finlay, Morgan Brody, Sara Sidle

A dissolved body is found inside of a barrel at an abandoned construction site. The liquid is poured out and the bones are sifted from the goop. Doc Robbins lays the assembled skeleton on his table, telling Russell that the victim appears to be a white male at least 18 years old. The victim was shot once execution-style in the forehead with a medium-caliber pistol; the bullet was recovered when the liquid was poured out of the barrel. Extracting marrow from the femur is going to give the best chance for getting DNA and identifying the victim.

Meanwhile, Finn, Morgan and Sara are the three lucky CSIs chosen to attend a forensics conference at the Mediterranean. At the conference, Sara runs into Dr. Jane Snyder, a former colleague of hers in San Francisco. She explains to Finn and Morgan that "Dr. Jane" used to be a criminalist until she switched sides and decided to become an expert witness for the defense. Finn also runs into someone from her past: Mark Perlow, who has a vendor booth set up highlighting the latest in digital downloading software. She later tells her fellow CSIs that she met Mark at another conference five years ago, and the two have "kept in touch." The girls' trip has been interspersed with a shadowy figure assembling an assault rifle and aiming it at the crowd of people at the pool.

Back at the lab, Hodges identifies the goop from the barrel as muriatic acid, which can be bought at any regular hardware store. The killer likely assumed that the acid would dissolve the entire body; however, the decomp process itself gradually weakened the acid. DNA identifies the victim as Paul Carson, a security guard at the Mediterranean - which is where the forensic conference is. According to the hotel manager, Paul's key card was used just a few hours ago, so the killer could still be at the hotel.

Finn has left her friends to spend quality time with Mark, while Morgan and Sara get the privilege of watching Jane's "presentation" on defending one's evidence in a trial. The presentation quickly turns into a dance party, complete with strobe lights and male dancers. As the attendees record what's going on with their phones, the shadowy figure from earlier enters and starts opening fire on the crowd. He kills several attendees, as well as an onstage performer. Morgan, Sara and Jane are among the survivors, but one of Morgan's friends isn't so lucky.

Sara radios the incident in; she's also able to identify that there was one shooter who was using an assault rifle. A call to Finn's cell phone goes straight to voicemail, as she and Mark are canoodling in the elevator. When the elevator doors open, they come face to face with the shooter, who soon opens fire and hits Mark in the process. As Finn tends to Mark's wound, the elevator loses power and screeches to a halt.

Back at the lab, Russell tells Greg that the hotel is on lockdown, so they must continue to work the case from the lab. They know that whoever killed Paul Carson used his key card recently. It's a reasonable assumption that Paul's killer is also the shooter.

Morgan is evacuated from the building and called back to the lab; however, Sara is insistent she stays behind to assist. Over the phone, she tells Russell that she knows the shooter's point of access and is hoping to recover a fingerprint from the door. SWAT has cleared the room and deputies are posted everywhere, so the CSI believes she is safe enough to process the scene. Meanwhile, in the elevator, Mark's condition continues to worsen. The paramedics won't be able to assist until the shooter is located and apprehended, so Finn is on her own tending to the wound. She's able to stop some of the bleeding by shoving a tampon into the bullet wound and putting a bandage over it.

Russell and Ecklie watch the live feed of SWAT officers sweeping the hotel. A civilian is soon found tending to another civilian's injuries. The man has short, dark hair, while Sara identified the shooter as someone with long, blond hair. Relying on Sara's judgment, Ecklie tells the SWAT team to move on and look for their shooter.

Russell observes that the gunman shot the one civilian, but ignored the other. He pulls up a schematic of the hotel, pointing out that the shooting started in Conference Room A. However, instead of entering every conference room, he skipped the next two and entered Conference Room D, instead. All four rooms were filled with people, so why would the shooter bypass the middle two? Furthermore, if he wanted a high body count, he could've chosen the casino or the pool area as targets. Russell concludes that the shooter is targeting specific areas - and specific people.

Paul's van is founded abandoned behind a strip club on Fremont Street and Greg processes it in the CSI garage. It's known that Paul went to work three days ago, and surveillance photos from the Mediterranean show the the van parked in a parking spot there. In one photo, a figure in a dark hoodie is seen walking near the van; however, he never exits frame. Greg and Russell conclude that the mystery person broke into the van and hid in the back. When Paul entered later, the shooter held him at gunpoint and forced him to drive to the abandoned construction site, where he shot him and tried to dissolve the body in acid. The van was then left in a part of town where nobody would notice it. When processing the van, Greg found a tissue underneath the backseat. Since Paul is the only one who drives the van, the tissue could belong to their killer.

Using the eyewitness software Mark was peddling to Finn earlier, Morgan and Hodges scan the cell phone videos taken during Jane's presentation. They find an unobscured shot of the gunman's face and are able to identify him as Jeff Lasky, a 26-year-old from Phoenix. A warrant allows access to his cell phone, and his location in the hotel is soon found. When finally confronted by the SWAT team, Jeff nonchalantly raises his gun to open fire, which leads to him getting shot numerous times. With the shooter apprehended, paramedics are given the green light to access the elevator and tend to Mark's injuries. Just before they can, Mark loses consciousness.

A search of Jeff's house in Phoenix reveals that he was obsessed with Luke Reaser, the man who killed raped and killed his wife and young daughter three months ago. Luke also raped and murdered a teenage girl in Texas in 2012; however, the evidence wasn't strong enough to convict him. As it turns out, three of the CSIs killed in the rampage were from the Dallas crime lab; Jeff must've blamed them for putting Luke back on the street. Furthermore, Dr. Jane Snyder was the one who testified for the defense.

Sara confronts Jane, telling her that she was one of the intended victims. She had helped put Luke back on the street, which led to the murders of Jeff's family and the massacre at the conference. Jane replies that the prosecution didn't have much evidence against Luke, but Sara says that a DNA analyst in Dallas simply made a typo, something that shouldn't have had an impact on Luke's verdict. Sara tells the former criminalist that 11 people are dead because of her. It's also revealed that Luke had sent Jane threatening e-mails, but she decided not to report it to the police.

Another body is found on the 18th floor of the hotel, and Sara gets a text message to go up there and process the scene. Back in the lab, Morgan informs Russell that another man was shot on the 15th floor at the exact time Jeff was downstairs shooting up the conference room. It appears that there's two shooters, something that's confirmed when DNA from the tissue in the van isn't a match to Jeff. The deceased gunman didn't kill Paul Carson, and DNA from the tissue comes back to a Cliff Ballard. Russell recognizes Cliff as the unharmed civilian seen earlier when SWAT was sweeping the building. SWAT let Cliff go, so he's still somewhere in the hotel. Meanwhile, as Sara processes the body on the 18th floor, Cliff is seen standing around the corner, screwing a silencer onto his gun.

There doesn't appear to any evidence that Cliff and Jeff knew each other, let alone that they were working together. They seem to be two shooters with two different agendas, but they have one thing in common: they hate law enforcement. It just so happens that they went on a rampage in the same place at the same time. The only connection between the two shooters is the conference itself, and with dozens of cops and CSIs congregated in the same place, there would be no better place to carry out the plan.

It's discovered that Cliff used to be a CSI until he was imprisoned for falsifying evidence. Every case he worked on was called into question, and all of his work would've been audited by a team of forensic experts. Criminalists from all over the country were called in and selected to evaluate his cases; these people are the ones who put him in prison and they could be his targets. Among the ones on the panel were Perry Sinclair, the victim Cliff was standing over earlier....and Sara herself.

Russell calls Sara and informs her that Cliff is their target. She assumes Cliff is still in prison, but he soon reveals himself and points his gun at her. Cliff gets her to give up her cell phone and gun, and she concludes that the text message about the body on the 18th floor was from him. He admits that he wanted to get Sara up there alone, and he confesses to killing a nearby victim because she was on the review board. Sara tries telling Cliff that sending him to prison wasn't personal; however, he tampered with evidence to get the results he wanted. Cliff jabs his gun into Sara's stomach, upset that she treated him like a criminal and destroyed his life. Before he can fire, the SWAT team arrives and kills him on the spot.

In the hospital, Finn visits Mark, who has survived the ordeal. He thanks Finn for saving his life, and the two agree to go on a few dates, as he can't fly back to Boston for at least two weeks. Meanwhile, the CSI ladies still have a VIP table reserved at the Mediterranean, and they agree to go back and drink the day's events away.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Marc Vann as Conrad Ecklie
  • Michael Landes as Mark Perlow
  • Gillian Vigman as Dr. Jane Snyder
  • Hugh Scott as Cliff Ballard
  • Tor Brown as Jeff Lasky
  • Ron del Barrio as SWAT Leader
  • Jennifer Hamilton as Choreographer
  • Jeremy Hudson as Dancer
  • Nolan Padilla as Dancer
  • Stefan Raulston as Dancer
  • Mike Stein as Dancer
  • Dollar Tan as Dancer

Music

  • Sunshine by Teddybears
  • Dangerous by Big Data

Notes

  • George Eads (Nick) and Jon Wellner (Henry) are credited but do not appear in the episode.
  • Morgan warns Finn about hooking up with guys she doesn't know, bringing up what happened in the season 14 episode Girls Gone Wild.

Trivia

  • Michael Landes, who plays Mark Perlow in the episode, also appeared in the season four episode Paper or Plastic.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 15
The CSI EffectBuzz KillBad BloodThe Book of ShadowsGirls Gone WilderThe Twin ParadoxRoad to RecoveryRubbery HomicideLet's Make A DealDead RailsAngle of AttackDead WoodsThe Greater GoodMerchants of MenaceHero to ZeroThe Last RideUnder My SkinThe End GameImmortality
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