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Got Murder?
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Season 3
Number 12
Writer Sarah Goldfinger
Director Kenneth Fink
Original Airdate January 16, 2003
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Got Murder? is the twelfth episode in Season Three of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.

Synopsis

When a raven is spotted with a human eyeball in its beak, it's up to Catherine, Nick and Sara to find the rest of the body and the killer. Meanwhile, a normal autopsy turns into a special one when the victim isn't dead. Doc Robbins and David Phillips manage to save his life, only to have him die later. Grissom and Warrick then try to find out who wanted the man dead.

Plot

Victim: Amy Ennis/Kelly Easton (deceased)

On the case: Catherine Willows, Nick Stokes, Sara Sidle, Jim Brass

A group of birdwatchers are looking to cross some sightings off of their list in Floyd Lamb State Park when they see a raven carrying a human eyeball. At the scene, Grissom notes to Catherine that ravens have been known to travel up to 30 miles from roost to feeding ground, giving them a 2,800 mile search area.

In the lab, Grissom examines the eyeball and removes a contact lens, as well as some vitreous fluid. Elsewhere, Catherine removes different things from the raven's nest, including a baby's toy and a piece of foil. Grissom enters and tells her about the iris's color; Catherine quickly concludes that the body has been dead for less than 48 hours. They note that there are seagull feathers in the nest, and seagulls can be found near Lake Mead. However, ground limestone is also present, and that isn't found in the same location. Catherine guesses that the raven got the eyeball from Pendale Landfill, where limestone is used as ground cover.

Catherine, Nick, and Sara visit the landfill. With help, they're able to zero in on where they believe they should be looking for evidence. Catherine uncovers a severed leg belonging to a female, while Sara find the torso and head, which is missing an eye. They note that the temperature under the body parts is about 120 degrees. Based on the time of the death, the body should be bloated; however, it isn't. The body looks torn up, but they realize that it could be from the bulldozers. But how did the body get to the landfill?

In the morgue, Doc Robbins determines that the electrolyte and glucose levels in the victim's eye were normal, showing that the victim wasn't dehydrated or diabetic. He tells Catherine that the cause of death is indeterminate, but blunt force trauma could be a possibility. There's some perimortem bruising around the left eye, and the doc determines that the limb removal was done postmortem. A scar on the abdomen indicates that the victim previously gave birth, while the x-ray shows that the body has something implanted in the spine.

In the layout room, Nick and Sara sift through the trash that was buried near the body. Among the items are a frying pan, a home pregnancy test (result: negative), and a bag of frozen peas. Nick goes through mail in the trash, while Sara marks down the addresses on a map as they try to narrow down where the victim came from. They narrow the location down to a street—Storm Cloud Lane.

Doc Robbins tells Catherine that the item he was able to pull from the victim's spine was an artificial spinal disc. The doc states that less than 1,000 surgeries have been performed in the United States using that kind of disc, as it's still in the clinical trial stage. With the components of the disc and its angle, Doc Robbins informs Catherine he narrowed the list down to one person—Amy Ennis from Austin, Texas.

Catherine, Nick, and Sara head to Storm Cloud Lane and line up all of the trash bins in the street. They're able to find the presence of blood in five bins, with two of those testing positive for human blood. Sara notes that if the body was in the trash bin, it would've pooled to the bottom. Due to the fact that there was blood on the outside of one of the bins from it being dumped into the garbage truck, the CSIs conclude that the body was in this particular bin. They match the bin with the house it belongs to. Catherine speaks to Daniel Easton, who has no idea how blood got in his trash bin. He's also never heard of Amy Ennis. Daniel's two kids, Charlie and Nora, come home, and Catherine correctly guesses that the man is divorced.

Brass tells Catherine that they haven't found Amy's next of kin yet. Catherine points out that Amy had a kid, but Brass corrects her and says she gave birth, not that she necessary had a kid. They did, however, find Amy's car in the parking lot of the Tangiers. The car is brought in for processing. Sara goes through Amy's suitcase and finds some risque lingerie to go along with regular clothes and toiletries. Catherine has Greg run DNA on the toothbrush, and the DNA is a match to Amy Ennis. Nick fumigates the steering wheel and finds a print; however, results show that there's no Amy Ennis in the system. The print matches someone named Kelly Easton. Catherine remembers that Easton was the last name of the guy she interviewed earlier.

Catherine questions Daniel Easton again, and he changes his story. He claims Kelly went to get her hair done five years ago and never came home. Catherine suggests that maybe Kelly left because of some type of abuse, something Daniel denies. After Kelly's disappearance, CSIs did a grid search of the area and came up empty. All Daniel wants is to be given a reason as to why his wife left. What it left him with was neighbors who think he killed his wife, in-laws that sued him for custody, and a loss of job and friends. All he has left is his kids and his house. Catherine remarks that Daniel didn't kill his wife—at least five years ago he didn't.

Catherine and Sara search Daniel's house. In the bedroom, Sara finds blood on a chair and a pair of lace panties, while Catherine tape lifts some hairs from the bed. Evidence points to Kelly resurfacing and being in the house recently. Outside, Daniel admits to Sara that his wife came back a month ago and that they "reconnected."

Meanwhile, Nick finds disturbing drawings in a notepad in Charlie's room. He talks to Charlie, who says he's not surprised; his mother left without telling the family and died the same way. Elsewhere, Catherine speaks to Nora, who says she last saw her mother when she was in seventh grade and was under the assumption that she was dead. During the questioning, Nora asks to sit down as she starts rubbing her stomach. When Catherine asks her if Daniel is seeing anyone, Nora curiously replies "How could he?"

Back inside the house, Catherine looks through Nora's room and finds a bottle of high potency supplements and a hidden diamond bracelet. In the kitchen, Sara finds blood on the tile and a circular void on the wall where a frying pan should go. Elsewhere, in the garage, Nick tells Catherine that he found hairs in the freezer between packages of frozen peas—the same brand as the peas found at the landfill. Catherine notes that Kelly's body showed no swelling and that her fractures were clean. She surmises that Kelly's body was frozen before it was brought to the landfill. A reenactment shows Kelly getting hit with a frying pan, hitting her head on the corner of the kitchen counter, and getting stuffed into the garage freezer. Someone in the Easton family is guilty of murder.

In the interrogation room. Daniel says he didn't know Kelly was dead, figuring that she just left him again. Brass relays the information that Kelly had been gone for four years, 11 months, and one week. After missing for three more weeks (five years total), Kelly's estate would be allowed to be distributed to Daniel. Brass notes that Daniel had a $500,000 life insurance policy on his wife, but Daniel says that they had a policy on each other. Daniel's financial records also show that he's been spending a lot of money on expensive things recently, as if he were expecting a windfall. Brass lays out the theory that Kelly came back before Daniel could collect, and so he took action. However, Daniel continues to insist that he didn't kill his wife.

In the lab, Greg informs Catherine that the blood from the bedroom chair and the blood from the kitchen both came back to Kelly. The hairs from the freezer and from the bedroom pillow came back to her, as well. However, the hairs from the bed are pubic hairs, and they share alleles with someone. Catherine guesses that Daniel did have a new girlfriend—his daughter.

Catherine talks to Nora, who says that the diamond bracelet found was a gift from her father. Nora remarks that she deserved the bracelet for taking care of everything after her mother disappeared. She clams up when Catherine asks her if that's all she took care of. When confronted with the evidence that she was in her father's bed, Nora simply says that her father loves her. She looks down and sees that she's lactating through her shirt; Catherine shockingly realizes that Nora is pregnant.

Catherine rushes to the interrogation room and starts berating Daniel. He's shocked when told that Nora is pregnant. Catherine guesses that Kelly came back home and saw Daniel in bed with Nora, so he killed Kelly and bought Nora off with a bracelet. Daniel says he bought the bracelet for his wife and wonders how Nora even knew about it, but Catherine is insistent they're going to nail him for murder.

Nora visits the doctor, who runs a checkup on her. As the doctor leaves the room, she whispers something to Catherine. The shocking revelation: Nora is actually a virgin. Catherine later tells Sara that Nora actually has pseudocyesis, or "imagined pregnancy." When the desire to become pregnant is so strong, the hormone levels can change, setting off all of the biological signs of pregnancy without conception. Signs include a swollen abdomen and milk production in both breasts, which can be set off by stress.

Nick enters and tells them that the two stains found on the inside of the shirt from the dump tested positive for Nora. However, the blood on the outside of the shirt came back to Kelly. Epithelials from the bracelet confirm that it was Kelly's, as well. Sara concludes that Nora is in love with her father. This would explain why Nora was in her father's bed—she was fantasizing about him.

In the interrogation room, Nora admits that the shirt belongs to her; however, she doesn't know how the blood got on it. Catherine tells Nora that the bracelet was a gift from her father to her mother, but Nora denies it and says the bracelet was for her. In a flashback, Nora is seen catching her parents "in the act." She ran to her room and began clutching her stomach. While fixated on photos of her and her father, she popped some potency supplements. Later on, when Kelly tried to surprise Nora in the kitchen, Nora whirled around and smacked her in the head with a frying pan. She stole the bracelet off of Kelly's wrist and dragged the body to the freezer in the garage.

Nora tearfully says that it wasn't fair. She yells that she never asked for her anything, and Catherine tells her the one thing she wanted she couldn't have. Nora is arrested. While being hauled out of the room, she hysterically yells out that she's going to have a baby. Brass guesses that Nora's attorney is going to tell her to plead insanity. "Good defense," Catherine replies.

Victim: Fred Stearns (initially alive)

On the case: Gil Grissom, Warrick Brown

David Phillips seems relatively excited to perform the autopsy of 35-year-old car salesman Fred Stearns, who dropped dead of a heart attack. He notes to Grissom that it's just "a routine autopsy." On his recorder, Doc Robbins states the body was warm to the touch and that rigor mortis wasn't present. They find a black substance on Fred's mouth, gums, and lips. As David starts to slice open the body, it begins to bleed, indicating the victim is still alive. David and Doc Robbins rush to revive Fred.

Grissom and Warrick visit the car dealership that Fred works at. Warrick informs Grissom that Fred is in the ICU with respiratory paralysis and that the preliminary report on the blood work shows an organic poison in Fred's system. This would explain the discoloration around the mouth. They observe car salesman Marty Gibson hard at work trying to sell a car and forge a relationship with a customer.

Grissom and Warrick go inside the dealership and speak to receptionist Nancy Linden, who has secretly brought her dog to work with her. They show her a warrant to search the premises regarding Fred's attempted murder. Nancy is under the assumption that Fred had a heart attack and died; however, Grissom corrects her, saying that Fred didn't have a heart attack and is very much alive. She brings Grissom and Warrick to Fred's desk, where nothing of his has been touched. Warrick notes that the poison could have come from anything on the desk. Grissom finds an odd substance on Fred's phone, while Warrick collects something from the sleeve of Marty's jacket. They open fellow salesman Clyde Hinton's drawers and find super glue (the substance on Fred's phone) and chewing gum, which turns one's mouth black. Clyde is a prankster, and he uses his jokes to gain a sales advantage. Warrick gets a call and tells Grissom that Fred passed away...again.

In autopsy, David slices Fred open again and, to his relief, doesn't draw blood this time. He observes how the poison may have gotten into Fred's system; Fred had an ulcer, which opened a channel directly from the digestive tract to the bloodstream. The tox screen rules out the "ink gum" as the deadly poison; however, it's possible it was still a factor.

Warrick looks under a microscope and finds that the material found on Marty's jacket was snakeskin. Grissom confirms this by adding that the toxicology report result shows that Fred was poisoned with snake venom. They visit Marty Gibson back at the car dealership and ask him to explain the snakeskin found on his jacket, a question Marty tries to avoid answering. Warrick goes over the company's expense reports and finds that Marty charged the company for two dozen mice. When they ask Marty what he did with the mice, he shows them the venomous snakes he has for pets, as well as the mice he feeds them.

Animal expert Jessie Menken informs Grissom that the snakeskin came from a diamondback rattlesnake, one of Marty's lovable pets. Grissom notes that Fred didn't have any puncture wounds, but she says Marty could have milked the snake since he clearly knows how to handle them. Since venom proteins were found in Fred's coffee cup, Grissom figures that the snake could've been milked and the venom brought to the office and put in Fred's coffee. Jessie says she knows macho people who drink bits of snake venom and they're fine; however, since Fred had a stomach ulcer, the venom could've done him in. Based on the fact that Fred showed no signs of tissue death, Jessie concludes that the venom didn't come from the diamondback rattlesnake. Marty has two other snakes that could've been used for the venom, as their venom is neurotoxic and the test on Fred came back positive for alpha neurotoxins. Those toxins cause total paralysis, which explains why Fred ended up in the morgue the first time.

Greg tells Grissom and Warrick that the proteins in snake venom vary from species to species and even from snake to snake. The venom found in Fred didn't match any of the snakes that Marty owns. Warrick questions whether it was a coincidence that Marty owns venomous snakes and venom was found in Fred's system. Grissom replies that a coincidence is a scientific anomaly; perhaps Marty got rid of the snake.

In Nancy Linden's house, a snake wrangler tells Grissom that Nancy called the police hysterical that a snake ate her dog. The snake is a monacled cobra, indigenous to southeast Asia. The wrangler asked Nancy where she got the snake from and she replied that a coworker asked her to "snakesit." Grissom guesses that it was Marty Gibson. Nancy, sitting crying on the couch, tells Grissom that Marty said he had a surefire way to win a trip to Cabo and that he would take her with him if she promised to watch the snake for a few days. She admits to Grissom that Marty used to be the "goodwill guy"—he had no client list of his own so he had to live off of hand-me-downs from other salesman and perform tasks for them like getting them coffee. Now that Fred is dead, Marty got to move up the ladder.

Grissom guesses that Marty, tired of getting coffee for Fred and getting bossed around, slipped the snake venom into Fred's coffee. As Marty is arrested, Grissom tells him that snake venom plus coffee led them directly to him. Marty admits that he worked hard to get a desk on the second floor, only to get bossed around by Fred. He rants that Fred never threw him any clients and that opportunity knocked. Unfortunately for Marty, Fred had an ulcer that resulted in his death. "Who doesn't?," Marty asks, as he's put in the back of a police car.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

  • Terry Bozeman as Attorney Brad Lewis
  • David Berman as David Phillips
  • Evan Rachel Wood as Nora Easton
  • Joey Slotnick as Marty Gibson
  • Allison Smith as Nancy Linden
  • Rebecca Boyd as Kelly Easton
  • Candace Edwards as Medical Examiner
  • Marc Lynn as Clyde Hinton
  • Joel McKinnon Miller as Ornithologist #1
  • David Starzyk as Fred Stearns
  • Michael O'Keefe as Daniel Easton
  • Colton James as Charlie Easton
  • Doan Ly as Nora Menken
  • Joe Ochman as Man #2
  • Jules Sylvester as Jake

Episode Title

  • Got Murder? makes reference to the famous Got Milk? advertisement. In the episode, Nora Easton's lactation leads the investigators to discover her pseudocyesis and her role in her mother's murder. Additionally, the car dealer, Fred Stearns, is killed with venom that was milked from a cobra. 

Featured Music

  • Half Life by The Sneaker Pimps

Goofs

  • When Catherine takes apart the raven's nest, she takes out a baby toy and puts it aside. When she shows the nest to Grissom, the toy is back in the nest.

Quotes

Warrick: Hey, I hear David's resurrecting the dead now.
Grissom (chuckles): Yeah, our little miracle worker.

Trivia

  • Got Murder? was the debut script for show writer Sarah Goldfinger.[1] 
  • The scenes at the landfill were filmed at an actual landfill with real garbage.[2]
  • Nora's false pregnancy condition is an actual condition called pseudocyesis. As Catherine described, it causes pregnancy symptoms to occur without conception.
  • Evan Rachel Wood, who played murderer Nora Easton, is most famous for her roles in the films Thirteen, Whatever Works, and Across the Universe and on the TV show Once and Again.
  • Joey Slotnick, who played car deal Marty Gibson, is famous for his roles in Too Big to Fail, Nip/Tuck, and The Good Wife
  • Allison Smith, who played car dealership receptionist Nancy Linden, played Jennie Lowell in Kate & Allie and Mallory O'Brien in The West Wing

References

  1. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.
  2. Flaherty, M. & Marrinan, C. (2004). CSI: Crime scene investigation companion. New York, NY: Pocket Books.

See Also

CSI:Las Vegas Season 3
Revenge is Best Served ColdThe Accused is EntitledLet the Seller BewareA Little MurderAbra-CadaverThe Execution of Catherine WillowsFight NightSnuffBlood LustHigh and LowRecipe for MurderGot Murder?Random Acts of ViolenceOne Hit WonderLady Heather's BoxLucky StrikeCrash & BurnPrecious MetalA Night at the MoviesLast LaughForeverPlay with FireInside the Box
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